domingo, 3 de junho de 2018

Fragrance. in interview: "Fragrance. (…) means a sort of an artificial, synthetic smell"

On Saturday, May 26th, we went to the festival MONITOR - Minimal Wave & Post-Punk International Rendez-Vous - in Leiria, where we had the chance to interview Fragrance., the solo project of the French Matthieu Roche, who opened the festival that day. As of now, he released an EP - Dust & Disorders (2017) - and the singles "Heatwave" and "So Typical" (you can find/buy all the work here).

With this interview, we wanted to know the roots of the project, the concept behind his artistic name, the performance at MONITOR, plans for future, among other things.

This show in MONITOR was your first show ever, right? I would like to know how your project started. 

Matthieu – Yes it is. I always had music projects and I was doing electronic and dark music when I was 14, because of my brother, he was using softwares and stuff. So at night or when he wasn't there I was trying some stuff on his softwares and I started some musical projects. For some years, I had some other projects, but not musical ones. I felt the need to come back to music, so I started again to make music and songs at home, and it wasn't even for putting it on the internet, or doing live shows, it was just for myself, to put my anxieties and feelings in somewhere else than just me. I don’t know why but I was really asking myself "Do I have to put these songs on the internet?". I had some debates with some friends, and I think we conclude that it was just human… I don't know (laughs). So it started like that. Then I searched for a name and something…

Yeah, how did you get the name? 

Matthieu – I don't know, it was so long to find a name. So Fragrance., when I thought of that first, it was pretty cool, because, in cosmetology, it's not just a smell, it also means a sort of an artificial, synthetic smell and not necessarily a natural one, so it was pretty interesting… 

Is it like a metaphor for your music?

Matthieu – Probably, maybe… 

Like, your music is synthetic… 

Matthieu – ...and quite "artificial" because there are no real instruments, it doesn't have guitars and everything. I have a special preference for instruments considered as artificial and electronic stuff, so, I think the name was quite interesting with this approach.

You have a lot of visuals besides the music so, I would like to know if that was your main idea for the project and how do you combine all that? 

Matthieu – I’m a graphic designer, so that’s why (laughs). After years and years working for other people, for French bands, making art covers, artworks and some video clips, it was amusing to do that kind of stuff for myself and for my songs. I really like when a band has a good image and visuals, that's why I always do some kind of lyrics-videos and some more abstract visual things.

Fragrance is your solo project, right? I’m asking that because today you brought a keyboardist to play live with you. 

Matthieu – I'm doing everything by myself, but I haven't planned to do live shows. I had some propositions last year, and I was "no no no, it is just to make my stuff and I don’t want to do live shows". I had done several live shows with other projects, and in that case, it was just studio things, a bedroom project. So I declined some propositions but then I've got this proposition with Fade In and it sounded really cool 
Émilie – And Hante., a friend of him, she was playing too so it was a more familiar thing 😉 
Matthieu – And we also loved the bands that played last year at MONITOR

You felt like it was the place where you belong? 

Matthieu – I don't know if I belong there, I guess I do now, in a way, and I really feel good here. I discovered so many cool things by listening to Unidade 304. So at the start, as I wasn't doing live with Fragrance., I could have declined this but because I'm friend with L'An2000 and also Hante., I told her "I've been invited by a festival in Portugal, what do I do?". She said she had been invited to the same festival too and I was like "ok, let's do it!". Then I asked Émilie to play with me because I didn't want to be alone on stage so I could share the experience with someone else.

You don’t have a label, right? 

Matthieu – No, I don't. 

Do you want to release your future work through a label? 

Matthieu – I have my first album quite finished. We played here five tracks from it, but there are still some parts to finish. I have some opportunity with a label, so I’m waiting to see what happens. 

Do you have an expected release date for the album? 

Matthieu – I don't know at all. It will depend on these opportunities so, the sooner the better. Maybe it will be out at the end of the year. Meanwhile, I will release some other songs during the year because I'm too frustrated, my EP is already one year old and I really want to continue to have new videos and songs. 

Once you are a designer, you are also doing all your videos, artworks, the graphical parts. How's the process? 

Matthieu – It's really hard to work for myself compared to, as a graphic designer, working for the others. It's harder to find the visuals when it's just between me and I.

We are almost finished. What was the last record you have listened to and the last concert you've seen? 

Matthieu – The last concert was in Paris and I went to see Lebanon Hanover, She Past Away and Selofan. It was a really cool night because I haven't seen either of the three. My favorite show that night was She Past Away, they were so cool! And the record, well, these days I have a crush on this Russian band called Galatée, it's so cool, you absolutely have to listen to that. They are Russian, they don't speak French at all, but for some reason, they are writing all their lyrics in French, so it has a sort of strange poetry in particular for French speakers. They are not really known in France but since I heard them I'm listening over and over. Their last EP is called Sans Titre.
Émilie – They are really great, I love Russian bands like Motorama! They're incredible.

To finish, is there anything else you want to share with the readers of this interview? 

Matthieu – We are really glad to be here and it will be an unforgettable memory because it was our first show and we will never forget that. It happened in Portugal, so thank you Portugal, thank you Carlos and Célia, thanks to you, and yeah that's it.

Thank You!

Interview by: Sónia Felizardo e Rui Gameiro
Photos by: Virgílio Santos

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