Offering up a medley of choked out drums, heart soaked vocals, grumbling bass lines, and crisp hats, Raär’s music proves to be some of the most intimate and thought provoking in the modern day techno scene. On the 11th of December, his new LP will be released on its own label, Vaerel Records. He brings three friends along with him : an ambient collaboration with Trudge recorded in 2017 on the first part, newcomer Tauceti take charge the 2nd part with a sombre texture based track and finally Sonhan for the last part with a psychedelic and cinematic trip. Creativity is flowing in the LP and was made without any limits in mind. The digital release is accompanied by a very limited edition of gold foiled tarot cards made by hand available on Vaerel Records bandcamp.
Your latest productions were more club oriented. Now, you are going back to ambient and explore the experimental sphere outside the club music with your new LP. Why did you choose this direction?
The LP is different from my previous releases, I wanted to capture a moment in time and this moment was my boredom of recent techno and club music in general. I needed to explore and just do something fresh for myself a sort of reset.
Previously the EP on Vaerel Records were more techno, I always try to create something unique and timeless but these release weren’t as experimental as this new LP in term of rhythms and sounds.
How would you describe « your » sound and what are your main influences?
It’s important to have your own sound, I’m trying to create rawness in my productions I really don’t like polished stuff. To achieve this I use a lot of randomness in my tracks you can especially hear this in my track “Will I Ever Sleep Again” their is this random melody which add a lot of life to the track it’s not a written midi pattern with always the same velocity. I also like to add grittiness to my drums and the whole track in general, using hardware helps a lot for this I don’t have much to do to be honest. Their is also always some kind of textures or noise in the background some people would say less is more but I like to have dense tracks. I’m inspired by all sort of music it will depend of the moment of what will resonate with me, lately it have been IDM and ambient also a lot of audiovisual stuff like the last video from No_4mat – Heaven is real and Object Blue & TVSI – Thought Experiment.
It’s important to have your own sound, I’m trying to create rawness in my productions I really don’t like polished stuff.
This LP include an ambient collaboration with Trudge recorded in 2017 and two others tracks from Tauceti and Sonhan. How did you start these collaborations?
The collab with Trudge was recorded in 2017 in the studio of SAE Institue in Paris it’s a live recording on hardware, we started evolving in the Lo-fi house sphere at this moment and became friends via facebook group.
I met Tauceti last February at a gig even if we share a different vision of the creation we have some common points it was a natural choice for the LP it’s her first released track and I think she have all the talent needed to be a great producer time will show us.
Sonhan and me were in the same class at SAE Brussels, I love how his sound kept evolving it looks like he always want to create something new and unique so it was a nice add to the project.
After several releases on different labels around the world including Arts and Blocaus, “Ceremony / Rituals / Sacrifices” will be released on Vaerel Records, your own label. Can you talk us about it? How did you come up with idea to manage your own label?
Vaerel Records was born from a school project in 2017 and I now have 6 releases on it. It was mostly for myself, I wanted to be free to release whatever I want same with the artworks. I do everything from production to vinyls mastering, for the artworks I’m glad to have my friend Trudge helping me, he’s a graphic designer and helps me a lot with the technical aspects.
How would you describe the involvement of mystic imagery in your label identity? Is there a link with tarot cards?
Mystic and esoteric imagery always attracted me, from my tattoos from the artist KYLAM to the artworks of my label. I’ve discovered in 2017 an old book from 19th century about a French set of tarot cards inspired by Egyptian mythology the set was originally never printed and only published in some books. This particular set was the main inspiration and I’ now using more medieval inspired artworks, I’ve developed a fascination for these kind of engraving I wish I could have an original in my possession.
You said “Clubs are no more; my creativity is free. Free to explore new musical territories again. Discover, try, without limits or pressure”. Did you take advantage of the lockdown to work on your music and develop your creativity?
Before covid I was in weird mood about my gigs and the clubs, playing on line ups that I wasn’t enjoying and I sometimes had to play music that I don’t particularly liked if I didn’t wanted to empty the dance floor, it created a pressure on my sets and also on my creativity so it was the right time to develop something new. Lockdown was the perfect moment to create something different, as I said before I was bored by the club oriented techno stuff. I needed to hear something else and I think some people too, creating music made for an other type of listening. The LP is divided in 3 parts which each have a different mood, from really chill contemplative music in the first part, going darker in the second and in the last one it’s again a new universe with more intriguing music, sort of concept album but it also works well as three separate EPs.
Lockdown was the perfect moment to create something different, as I said before I was bored by the club oriented techno stuff. I needed to hear something else and I think some people too, creating music made for an other type of listening.
And what about your creative process? Would you say that most of your tracks are conceptualized prior to writing and recording, or are a lot of these a result of spontaneous jamming and random ideas?
My creative process is completely random, I’m doing music firstly for myself, as a really introvert person that’s my main way with djing to express my feelings. All my tracks are recorded from live jam, I record everything multitrack and I do maixing and arrangement in Ableton. Sometimes I start from the drums other times from the synths it depends of my mood and inspirations. I always try to finish the tracks I start even if it’s not so good and will stay in an old hard drive, it’s important for me to continue till the end even just for the pleasure of creating something out of my mind.
My goal is to be free in the studio and the DJ booth, I’m interested in making people discover new sounds and It makes me happy when it resonate with them. From time to time I also really like to use the “Oblique Strategies” cards from Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt it can really give a boost to your creativity !
Which pieces of gear or software did you use for this album? Are there any pieces of gear or software that you couldn’t do without?
I wanted to sell my Moog DFAM during the lockdown to have a bit of money cause I wasn’t using it that much, but finally it’s on every tracks of the album ! I will also be forever grateful for my friend who give me his Sleepdrone 5 it was my first synth and it’s on every single tracks I released since 2017, it’s a drone machine so not a typical synth you have to really think and be creative to use it in an interesting way.
Do you feel that you have expectations for yourself in terms of how you would like your sound to develop or do you just let it unfold?
I had expectations but I think it doesn’t suits me well, I’ve decided that I prefer to let my sound develop and unfold naturally. I don’t want to have any limits. It’s a risk to take, I don’t care If in the future I won’t be labeled as a techno artist anymore, I just want to be creative and offers my feelings to the people who are listening to my music.
Techno as a musical subculture has undoubtedly grown in popularity in the past 10 years or so. What do you think is next for the genre? Where do you think it will go?
For sure it’s amazing that techno is touching a lot of people from different horizon but techno definitely became mainstream these last 3 years, we’re in a weird moment right now, it has became the new EDM and a lot of people are not seeing the difference between underground and the mainstream scene cause it’s marketed as “underground”.
With more big room and warehouse events, it was amazing at the beginning but I think it had reached it limits and a new movement based more on the music than the appearance which is being biased via social medias need to appears.
With more big room and warehouse events, it was amazing at the beginning for example in Paris but I think it had reached it limits and a new movement based more on the music than the appearance which is being biased via social medias need to appears. I really hope it will evolve in a good way, there is no real distinction at the moment and it need to be created by the promoters and the artists. Their is also in my opinion a lack of creativity lately even if following the wave have been the norm not a lot of producers have been doing it in a fresh way and I hear a lot of copycats in my promo inbox trying to achieve a certain sound that works well at the moment, but I’ll keep saying it it’s important to be yourself and have your own sound, try to bring something new and do it for the right reason.
What are your next projects and what can we expect from you in the future?
I created a secret alias during the lockdown and I’ll be releasing it on my favorite label at the beginning of 2021. I’ll also continue to release on my label I’ve some more technos tracks ready for a new vinyl but I sadly don’t have the money to do it at the moment without gigs.
On the 11th of December, Ceremony / rituals / sacrifices LP will be released on Vaerel Records. The digital release is accompanied by a very limited edition of gold foiled tarot cards made by hand available on Vaerel Records bandcamp [CLICK HERE].