Indieberlin managed to interview William Rezé, aka Thylacine, a young electronic musician from Angers, France. Formerly a saxophone player, he started making a name for himself in 2013. He will be playing with Camp Claude at the Kesselhaus on for the Fête de la Musique 2016 on June 21.
Hi William, I don’t know whether you’re fed up doing interviews.
No worries. It’s the third one today. The first two were for German media, it’s cool to go back to French from English.
You went to art school, did you finish your diploma?
I stopped somewhere along the way, after four years. I got my Bachelor’s and quit before getting my Master’s degree to get on with doing music. It was the about the time things started getting serious and I was seeing no point in going to school anymore. I needed something more concrete, and music brought me this feeling.
I wasn’t sure how to classify the music I was making: techno, ambient, trip-hop or even pop
Were you listening to electronic music before starting this project?
I had started listening to some but I hadn’t ventured far really. I wasn’t sure how to classify the music I was making: techno, ambient, trip-hop or even pop. It was a mix of all that and I didn’t know what I was doing. It gradually got clearer. I discovered a universe which I could go into whenever I wanted.
When exactly did this career start?
Approximately 2013. My first electronic EP came out in 2012. I had played a single electronic concert at the time. Of course before that, I had experienced the stage as part of an orchestra with the saxophone and jazz and what not. But never as a solo artist.
Did people encourage you to play electronic music?
Not at all. I even started out alone because I had no idea of what the electro scene was about. I got into it because I really wanted to write songs. I was fed up with the instrument and what was appealing was the possibility to build a track and feed emotions through it, spend some time on it and make something which resembles you. Electronic music allowed me to do so. Had I had an orchestra, perhaps I would have done orchestral music. Bit by bit I started discovering this global way of doing things and that’s that. I’ve got to say I started in my room by watching Youtube tutorials and by reading books about French Touch rather than going to clubs.
Do you know Camp Claude?
Not much. I know their name, but I’ve never seen them live.
Do you like Kraftwerk?
Because your album cover…
Oh visually of course. The artwork is what it is because I started out getting myself a tattoo of the Transsiberian route. With time it became an idea for an album cover. I also enjoy a minimalistic aesthetic which could represent a trip, a journey. Kraftwerk is part of an era I particularly enjoy in that regard.
Have you ever been to Berlin?
Yup, two years ago. It wasn’t even to play, simply to get together with other musicians and write material together. Some of it was for advertisements, some of it randomly. A sort of colloquium, I stayed for two weeks or so.
How did you like it?
I was surprised, it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. So much is said about Berlin, especially in the electro world, that I was a bit disappointed at first. Above all, we were freezing in August. I started getting to know the scene a little, seeing what happened in terms of culture. I understood a bit better why so many people love Berlin.
The train cabin was full of equipment and stuff, I couldn’t even stand up
You travelled aboard the Trans-Siberian Railway last year, did you ever get claustrophobic in there?
It’s best not to be, I managed through it all. I guess if music hadn’t been there I probably would have gone crazy at some point. I never thought about it because there was so much composing going on. The train cabin was full of equipment and stuff, I couldn’t even stand up. I had to stay seated or lay in order to sleep. At least there was a window, that’s not too bad.
Once in Vladivostok, what is there to do?
In Vladivostok? Well, I went surfing at five in the morning although I hadn’t slept in two days and I also managed to play a concert there, that was cool. We’d prepared it en route. I had all the equipment with me in case I got to play somewhere and the plan was to end the journey in a more festive manner.
Vladivostok is actually a nice city, it’s peculiar but incredibly interesting. It’s a crossroads between China and Russia, and North Korea isn’t too far away.
Do you have similar trips in mind? Orient Express or something else?
I’ll try not to repeat this whole train experience, but it’s a mighty interesting way of writing music. Meeting people and creating music which tells a story. On the one hand it’s extremely inspiring, on the other it allows you to put forth a different project than what could be done inside a studio. I’m really going through a ton of ideas right now. How can I follow up Transsiberian without repeating myself? I’m not in a position to tell you exactly what will be, later perhaps. It’s also an opportunity to play this album and prepare the next one, to take time before heading off to record it. I don’t want to be rushed into recording something unripe.
Does an album have to be made up of tracks which have the same aim, a defined sound which will then guide the listener’s ear, or can you assemble songs and varying rhythms? Is coherence essential?
The album format is more appealing when there is sense to it. When it tells a story, when there is a real narration from start to end. That’s why I immediately thought of this project. If it’s simply to assemble songs written at different moments in a single album, it loses relevance. I like an album which says something and leads you somewhere. But that’s my point of view, my way of approaching the album.
Interview by Patrick Bird. Click here for a French version of this interview.