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Music - Musicians - Interview | by Emanuele Calì in Music - Musicians on 11/02/2011 - Comments (0)


Philippe Petit Live@FIME Festival - novembre 2009

 
 
 
Philippe Petit

I like to tell a story, bring my listeners into a voyage, make them discover my musical universe so I believe that "musical travel-agent" is an apt definition. Furthermore I am the only/first person in the world to use the term.

 
 

SA: You say, on your MySpace site, that you prefer rather be introduced as a "musical travel agent" than a composer. Why? And what do you think tabout the concept of “composer” and “musician” today?

PP: To me a composer is one who is able to write a score on a piece of paper, one who has been taught musical composition. Obviously I do compose a lot of music, but most often I meet people who boast "I am a composer" when all they do is to assemble sounds, to me that sounds pretentious and far too institutional, especially when you compare to real genius composers like Ennio Morricone, Gustav Mahler, Bernard Herrmann, etc, etc...
A musician is an individual who practices his instrument or has been musically trained since an early age whereas I was never instructed any music. I can play turntables on stage but I never practice and move on the spur of the moment, following inspiration which is why I do not consider myself a musician per. I LOVE to be onstage, assaulting turntables to take advantage of the vinyl material raking the needle across the record's grooves, rubbing their stylus on paper, cardboard, metal to process unusual noises and textures… Headbutting... Dancing... Enjoying to perform and entertain my audience.
I like to tell a story, bring my listeners into a voyage, make them discover my musical universe so I believe that "musical travel-agent" is an apt definition. Furthermore I am the only/first person in the world to use the term.

SA: How do you start to be involved in music? Who was an influence for you?

PP: I started Djing, animating radio shows and editing zines in the early 80s. In the 90s I contributed articles (under the pseudonym Candy Apple Grey and Filth Simpson ) for such magazines as Ruta 66 (Spain), Merlin’s Music Box (Greece), Maximum R&R (USA), What Wave, Cryptic Tymes (Canada), and French-written Taktik, Rage, Rocksound, Best, 491, Abus Dangereux, and many many more that no one will remember of…
In those days, I had some fun and interviews w/ such bands as Nirvana, Fugazi, L7, Neurosis, Fuzztones, Babes In Toyland, Mudhoney, Pixies, Cynics, Dum Dum Boys, Alice Donut, Brood, Grotus, Fleshtones, Buzzcocks, Nick Cave, Sting Rays, Poison Idea, Jon Spencer, Soft Machine, Lydia Lunch, No Means No, Godflesh, Steve Albini, Gallon Drunk, Melvins, New Bomb Turks, and many other “noisy-rock” luminaries.
In 1991, I started Kinetic Vibes Music, a Garage Punk zine and label releasing music by: Willie Loco Alexander, Pleasure Fuckers, Dead Moon, Bevis Frond, Lust-o-Rama, Ultra 5, Overcoat, Cryptones, Devil Dogs, La Secta, Dirteez, Tommyknockers and some other…
Still available the mythical compilation “Electric Carnival” gathering 23 bands from 10 countries.
In 1993 I founded the experimental label Pandemonium Rdz. Working with the likes of Guapo, Zeni Geva, Ground Zero, Condense, Cows, Headcleaner, Drive Blind, Double Nelson, Alboth!, Melt Banana, God Is My Co-Pilot, Samiam, Burning Heads, Cerberus Shoal, Flying Luttenbachers, Unsane, Bästard, Kepone, Ron Anderson, Ruins, Hint, Andy's Car Crash, Spaceheads…
That is well documented there and many releases are still in print: www.pandemoniumrecords.com
41 records later, I needed to rejuvenate and started a new label: BiP_HOp was physically born in 2000 and will document avant electro for the century to come... A webzine, a radio show, organizing live events, and above all a label documenting the state of electronic art and sound design, unconventional sound adventures, modern ambient, contemporary alliances between acoustica vs. digitalia...
Musics challenging the ears and the mind. www.bip-hop.com

SA: In your work plays an important role the sound research, but you don't forget the feelings can music cause... Would you explain us your way to see your "music"?

PP: I believe that it is important not to forget the importance of musicality, that songs/albums should be listened to repeatedly and thus offer some hooks and details enough to maintain interest for a long time. Again I like to tell a story and thus my music is always in relation with cinema, it should develop some imaginary images...  

SA: What about your  video and images? There is a correlation with your sound research?

PP: The imagery linked to any of my work has been carefully chosen, I trust the designers whom I invite to collaborate and thus their work is complimenting mine

SA: To continue what we said... you give importance to dialougue, with public and with another musicians, as in "Reciprocess". Could you explain this project?

PP: Well, yes [reciprocess : +/vs.] was a record documenting the process of musical reciprocality between me & friends. In the early 2000, BiP_HOp had started a series called "Reciprocess", thus to celebrate 10 years since the inception of the label + my 25 years of activism/DJing I composed a 70+ minute soundtrack, cut it into pieces which were sent to friends to add their spices to. The Wire magazine liked the idea and agreed to give it away with their issue # 301, in March 2009. I had the pleasure to collaborate with such talented people as Lydia Lunch, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Jason Forest, Justin Broadrick, Eugene Robinson from Oxbow, Faust, Kumo, Sybarite, Aidan Baker, Douglas Benford, Ddamage + a few others whose great talent obviously graced my music. To me music should be based on dialogue, exchanging with other musicians is what allows me to improve, it is just like in real life where dialogue enlighten your daily existence.

SA: The greatest quality of Bip_HOp I think is to provide an outlet for exciting artists for whom the traditional market has no place. What do you think about the actual music scene in your country?

PP: I live in France but I do not like chauvinism and thus I am not interested in what is happening in France more than the rest of the World. There are many great bands all over the place and to be honest I wouldn't know where to start if I had to quote any... I listen to a lot of different musics and own thousands of records so it is kind of a nightmare to give priority to only a few...

SA: What do you think about the social scene in general in your country? Any problem there for common people?

PP: There are so many as we have to cope up with the worst President we ever had. Sarkozy and his government are developping a politics which not in favour of common people, they are up there to support liberalism and their rich friends. You know Sarkozy is friend with Berlusconi, and for instance a few years ago he travelled to the USA to shake hands with Bush... Shame on that bastard !

SA: I was particularly fascinated by your last album, Silk-screened. Why did you choose such a name?

PP: Thank you. It's a pun referring to cinema, as many of my works do. Actually this isn't the latest one, it came out in January 2010 and since then 5 more records have seen the light of day.

SA: What are your favorite movies? What contemporary director do you  like?

PP: There are so many, like in music, I like those who manage to share a personal vision, not the ones copying what is already available

SA: I wish you told me the story of this album...

PP: It's another Philippe Petit & Friends as I composed the base and then invited some talented instrumentists to play cello, bass clarinet, trumpet, guitar, piano, etc... I am constantly working on a lot of different collaborations, or solo pieces and as time goes by concept/strategies develop and my vision for specific albums can shape up accordingly.

SA: Could you tell me about the approach to the new one?

PP: Not sure of which you call the new one?!
These days I have been working on collabs with Murcof, Simon Fisher Turner, ASVA, Vultures Qt. and "Cordophony" gathering music whose sound comes from the vibrations of one or several strings. For "Cordophony" 20 friends-musicians helped me to complete my most ambitious project.

SA: Where do you position yourself within the artistic scene today in Europe?

PP: I do not want to position myself in any particular scene because every of my project is different from another, I like that diversity which allows to avoid musical routine. I composed some Dark-Ambient cinematica, some Avant-Jazz, Some Noisy Rockers, some Post-Classical scores, some Contemporary music... I want to surprise my listeners and actually I respect those other artists who try to achieve the same goal.

SA: Now you manage Bip_HOp. Would you talk me about dynamic of labels management ? What about your next projects?

PP: Actually BiP_HOp is at rest because after 25+ years supporting the music of other artists I have decided that from now on I'd give priority to mine. Which is largely due to the fact that when I started operating labels back in the early 90s we were all passionate whereas now, because of piracy and labels not selling much music anymore, my peers keep complaining all the time. I can understand their preoccupations but doing a label was not fun anymore... At least to my standards.

SA: Have you ever thought about a tour in Italy?

PP: Assicuramente perche mi piace tanto di essere in Italia, la musicalita dall languaggio è bellissima... Unfortunately after I released my collaboration with Pietro Riparbelli on Boring Machines, we tried to do a few shows but the venues who were interested could not provide turntables for me to play... A few years ago Promo-Rama booking had tried to set up some shows for my collective Strings Of Consciousness but no luck.
For now Davide at Wabi Sabi Sound is in charge of finding some shows for me so hopefully... Here's his info:
http://www.wabisabisound.it/?page_id=26
The great label Boring Machines is releasing another album of mine, a collaboration with legendary Athenian band Chapter 24 so let's hope it could help to raise some more interest...

SA: There's something you want to do for some time, but you are not  able to do? not only in music...

PP: Well, yes of course my days are too short and I wish I could go see more exhibitions or shows, read more, etc... Though on another hand I really like that feeling of frustration which maintains awoken some desire, some curiosity. It is good to long for pleasure and not be able to grab everything easily...

SA: It would be wonderful to create the scripts of a movie starting  from your music. It is impossible to listen to it without imagining  anything. I have created a movie in my head with your music.

PP: Grazie mille.


© 2001, 2014 SuccoAcido - All Rights Reserved
Reg. Court of Palermo (Italy) n°21, 19.10.2001
All images, photographs and illustrations are copyright of respective authors.
Copyright in Italy and abroad is held by the publisher Edizioni De Dieux or by freelance contributors. Edizioni De Dieux does not necessarily share the views expressed from respective contributors.

Bibliography, links, notes:

pens: Emanuele Calì, Marc De Dieux, Giulia Riili

links:

http://philippepetit.weebly.com

www.myspace.com/philippepetit

www.pandemoniumrecords.com

www.bip-hop.com

www.myspace.com/biphoprec

 
 
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