Exclusive Mix & Interview
September 22nd, 2019
Genre: Electro / Electronica / Breaks
Franck welcome. Introduce yourself to our audience. Anything special you would like them to know?
I am French. Born and raised in the north part of France, living in Japan since 2001. I studied Cinema at the University. I then worked in movie production as a camera assistant, mainly commercial movies.
I've started to play bass, drums and percussion in a band when I was 14 and when I discovered rave parties in the 90's, I started learning and composing Electronic music. My first love was Ambient such as Brian Eno, the Elektrolux label and Electro (old stuff by Anthony Rother, Kraftwerk, Africa Bambata). I then discovered Rephlex and Aphex Twin and got hooked.
If you were to describe your music in a number of sounds, colors, or objects - what would they be?
Metal, plastic, rust, dirt, cold, pink, silver, grey - difficult question.
"All the sounds, lines and sequences are made from hardwares synths, drum machines and manipulated samples from the street or movies. Anything goes."
Tell us about your Live setup. Why do you choose to create sounds with hardware, opposed to mixing tracks?
My live setup is amazingly simple. A small laptop, a controller and an audio interface. I use Ableton Live as I find it extremely convenient and full of great effects. The live material consists of all the sounds, loops, sequences that make a track. All the parts are separated so I can play them in any order that I want and can also rework the sounds and sequences in the way that I want to on the fly. It gives me lots of freedom and for the audience, even if they know the tracks, they will never hear them the same way when played live.
All the sounds, lines and sequences are made from hardwares synths, drum machines and manipulated samples from the street or movies. Anything goes. I used to work only with VST many years ago, but I felt it was lacking texture, grain, etc. - I had to adjust quite a bit because hardware and VST sit very differently in the mix. VSTs are kind of already properly equalized and treated in a way that nothing gets too harsh - at this point I realized the lack of texture. Thats why I slowly moved to the hardware side for the last 10 years or so.
What is your favorite piece of equipment - hardware/software/other?
The main part is Ableton. I record everything into Ableton and then I treat and quantize the takes ( when I feel it needs to be ).
I love all the gear because they are all different and react very specifically from one to another. I don't use everything all the time as it depends on my mood and on the track I'm working on. The Waldorf Blofeld, the JP 08, the Nord Drum, the Roland R8 and the computer are on the digital side of the studio. The TTSH ( Arp 2600 clone ), the Arp odyssey, The Minilogue XD, the Moog mother 32, The Mopho keyboard, the Arturia Microbrute and few other " gadgets " such as the Teenage Engineering Pocket Operators, the Korg Volca series and Monotribe stuff are the analog part of the studio.
I also use a Jaguar bass guitar sometimes and record some percussion from the Kindergarten I work at with a few pedals and effect racks to treat and tweak all of those people.
Take us through your production process. Are there any strategies you use which help in achieving your sound?
The production process is a tricky thing because if I always start the same way, I quickly get bored and think I am becoming lazy - then I clearly cannot improve my crafting process. I can start with a melody, a bass line from my bass guitar, a dialog from a movie or a sample I got from the street.
In this live set there are some sounds I got in a taxi in Taiwan as I recorded the taxi radio station. Sometimes I also force myself to start from a certain scale that I practice on a keyboard. This helps me to move away from my comfort zone. Sometimes I start from a purely technical part that I know I need to work on because I am not familiar enough with. This also helps me to improve the quality of my music. As you see, I don't have a " to go recipe ".
"I love all the gear because they are all different and react very specifically from one to another. I don't use everything all the time as it depends on my mood and on the track I'm working on."
Music aside, what else are you doing to express your creative ideas?
Music aside, I watch a lot of movies. I teach some music classes to 2 to 5 year old children in a Kindergarten. You always need to find some tricks to keep those little monkeys interested as their focussing abilities are very limited. I guess this has to do with my creativity expression. Humor is also a big part of my existence. Being able to laugh at yourself is a great way to let your ego aside.
Biggest accomplishments in life thus far?
That is a tough one. Keeping a day job for more than 1 year without being fired.
Tell us about Japan.
Japan. Well, I came here with my ex-wife whom I met in France. I had no idea where I was heading. I have never been a manga fan nor a video games nerd. That being said, I fell in love with the city - the people, their kindness, their super peaceful way of dealing with each other. Nature is great, food is amazing. Off course it's not the perfect paradise on earth, otherwise everybody would come. But let's not talk about all that. We have a lot to learn from the Japanese culture I think. I have been here for almost 20 years and I still often get surprised by this country.
What does the future hold for Fleck E.S.C.? Any upcoming projects? What would you like to accomplish?
Life goes on. I have a few releases coming, both digital and physical on Bass Agenda, Diffuse Reality and Untitled Records. I am also working on several different live sets at the moment. I have now something like 6 or 8 hours of live sets. Some for the dance floor, some more Electronica/Down-Tempo and some Ambient live set as well.
Franck, in a few sentences. Tell us about this mix you made for us. Where did you get your inspiration? Is there anything special you want the audience to know?
I called this live set " Recycle live set ". It's a 125-128 BPM live set where I use a lot of old sounds and sequences with some of new stuff I've been working on lately. A big mixture of old and new I'd say - hoping people will enjoy it! My aim is to reach for the brain and the body. A big thank you to Smelly Feet Records for having me here. See you in New York maybe one day - To be continued.