INTERVIEW WITH BRUME FOR DAMAGEDCORPSE
Formally known as BRUME, Christian Renou remains one of the most innovative musicians since the industrial scene, evolving through his inner accoustic path between electro-accoustic collages to rough noises - we should say today there are two Brume, or two phases in his evolution. This new one reminding us of mystical travel through the dark and abstract ambient music but still mysterious to our senses, we are waiting for more surprises from Brume, one of the most cutting-edge musicians in the alternative scene. I'm glad to feature here this interview I had with him....-
FD - When did you start your music ... What was the event that got you involved in this field and not in another one?
No I won't start like that! It's been 25 years; I'm always asked the same questions. Shit! It looks like a series of the "Invisible Man!" Once again, I repeat: it was either the gun or the synthesiser! There were no special events, it was always like that.
When I was a kid, I was not cool and I was always disturbed, my first love was with music.
At seven or eight years old I created a battery with yogurt pots and other musical tools after having seen a TV series called "Les Charlots".
I got really involved when a friend of mine (a skilled guitarist) gave me some musical instruments, it was a battered old electric organ, somewhere between a Farsifa organ and an analogue effect for guitar, I think. I already had an old tape recorder. Then I started doing sounds. It was in 1979. From then on I wanted to buy a bass guitar and amplifier, and after synthesizers and other sound equipment, etc...
Since my childhood, I was always surrounded by music: my mother played the piano, my sister was doing classical dance and she bombarded me with The Beatles, all my friends played music, I was drugged.
So in 1980, I joined a group of friends who played a sort of fusion between music and progressive jazz ... with my keyboard and my special effects I added a touch of ... "bizarre" to the sound. Then I got tired of all that and I felt that I needed to work alone; solo was more appropriate to my state of mind. So the project of "Brume" started in 1983 with my first recordings in 1985.
FD - Yet to work in solo means to face some solitude, let us know about this state of loneliness, what's it about?
I do not feel things like this. If it is a choice to be and work alone, that's ok for me. Be free to think and make music without compromise, without concession. "BRUME" is an expression of my soul - the same way as it should be for a painter. I feel there is a similar state of mind when creating my music and the act of painting. I feel next to a painter. I think of music through a visual state.
When I create sounds I think of colours and when I mix these sounds together I imagine paint brushes and palette - nobody can do it for me.
Of course, many musicians have collaborated to build some of my pieces. In this case, I said exactly what I expect of them, and then I rework their contribution based on the atmosphere of the track.
Collaborations with other groups are very different. The exchange of ideas being the engine; it is another experience, enriching, a fusion, a new deal...
FD - Why this nickname: "BRUME", what does it mean, is it a coincidence?
The choice of this name is totally premeditated!
Again, it comes from my childhood. I have always been impressed by a landscape in the mist.
I love things which are not really defined, which are clouded and indistinct. This sensitivity has created an "uncertain" aesthetic side, either visual, audio or other (anyway it's the same thing) and has always been present in my home.
In any case, I like things when they are and not imposed because it becomes very quickly a thing to consume and to get away from fast!
First I like to solicit the imagination of the listener, but that doesn't mean any need to work in the dark!
In a recording I try to master the sounds and their management, though I like to leave a free part in all this. In fact, my music is based on a quantum schema ... a system of organised and controlled chaos.
FD - it should mean a "BRUME" textures; all confused and yet organized but invisible in their grasp?
That's right! It is important that the result of a work blurs the "points of welding". When you're dealing with a work tacheron this is!
Any famous musicians, who make guitar demonstrations without any soul, see Eric Clapton and other "guitar heroes" ... it looks more like circus than music! ...By the way, I always hated the circus, even when I was a kid... to make animals dance in front of a crowd of bastards has always seemed to me to be in poor taste! Fortunately there are rare musicians like Robert Fripp (KING CRIMSON), Christian Vander (MAGMA) or Charles Hayward (THIS HEAT) ... etc., who have the genius of combining technical innovations and feelings...
FD - What are your sources of inspiration, criticism, rejection, aspirations?
For discharges, it is better to ask the question, the answers might be heavier than all the volumes of "THE ENCYCLOPAEDIA UNIVERSALIS".... Inspiration doesn't necessarily come from the field of sounds. Everything and anything can create a click, a track to exploit: A clear/obscure sound in your room, the wind in the trees, a dripping sink which leaks "blub...blub...blop", some bastards who throw away an empty soda-can from the window of their car, a discussion between primates, stinking of stupidity and violence, a central waste of controlled shit ...everything is possible!
FD - Your inspiration is here urban. Do you consider your music coming from an urban world?
Yes of course it is, otherwise I would have done music like "Etant-Donnés" (which I like a lot). Initially, I was fascinated by the "biomechanical" of HR GIGER and by the prospects of MC ESCHER - outsiders, the universe rigging and "paranoid" books by Phil K. DICK, visiting power plants, factories, bunkers and so on ...All this gave me a starting point for creating a piece. But later I was more involved with "sociology".
One day I could read a book written by a psychologist, OLIVER SACKS: "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat". The book dealt with the most inconceivable mental illness. Wow, I was so impressed that I had the immediate need to translate my feelings into music and that gave life to the CD album, "Normal" distributed by RELAPSE / RELEASE in the USA.
FD - Can we place your music in a style or a movement?
I could read about your music being like "new music", "experimental inventive music", etc. etc.
No, no and no! Damn it! I reject the butt of all these stupid labels! Be serious, what does it mean to identify, classify, store, systematise? ... It is food for the parasites in the press culture, piss-cold, intellectuals in plastic, driven by the absolute lack of anything natural ....*In short, marketing! ... But let's be realistic: natural does not pay!
Obviously, my music is closer to that of Pierre Henry than of Celine Dion. Anyway, if we must discuss the music, then this question is a false problem ... We are a billion individuals on this planet, in this whore space and cruel time ... Yeah, I say cruel because we humans have this awareness of being. This means to first accept ourselves as a unique individual and possibly after this we can accept the others ...And what about music here? For me, music is the most beautiful thing that "man" has ever created! Today, some labels have reduced it into a single, monolithic; accessible and digestible by 90% of the bastards still alive and who will live again and forever in this world!
I also do music ... and as John Cage said, "If it annoys you to call that Music, no problem, call it as you wish." So let's go to a label: "Hello, my name is C. Renou, aka BRUME or otherwise, it's up to you, and I've been doing music since 1979 ... the music? ... But no, call it rather "sound poetry", it sounds better on paper!
FD - Could you call that "no-music", "no-art"?
Like Arnulf Rainer, "making art to kill art"?
What do you think?
No, not really! I've had enough of these biodegradable "theorists". They are only juggling verbally, yet another disguised form of marketing!
On the other hand, I do like the duo, "THE HATERS" who claim with humour and without being serious, the side of "anti"! I would say even more than "THE HATERS" I am "anti-anti ..."
FD - Since I've known your music, I haven't seen any concerts. How do you spread your music? Have you always played solo?
Here Françoise, you're badly informed. BRUME made a premier performance at its "official" creation in 1985, a way to mark the event.
The event happened in an old building of the RATP, in Neuilly S / Marne. Of course, this concert was a pirate one. The cops arrived at around 23 hours to stop the noise, from accusations of the neighbouring... I don't know, indeed it was very noisy,
A sound recording of that performance was produced on tape, "EXIT / NO USE," and reissued on CD on the label WAYSTYX REC.
2nd performance: UP6., Paris, 1988, as part of a festival of "new music" ... Four group programme:
LA SONORITE JAUNE
Regarding the "indus experimental" performance and the list goes on and the best, it includes me! Getting around seeing guys looking at their mixing console and then playing "warning! Laughs not on us" seems to me totally sterile!
If BRUME must one day make another performance, it will be a whole spectacle!
FD - Great! Can you let us imagine this performance?
No ... Surprise, surprise.
FD - What do you think of actual music scene?
What do you like? What don't you like? Your preferences....
Shit! On releases, I already answered you. Now I replay the old PIERRE HENRY, 1st PERE UBU, SPK, THE RESIDENTS, DOME, 23 SKIDOO, CHROME, Phil Glass, 1 SUICIDE, MAGMA, ART ZOYD, HELDON, even VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR, CAPTAIN BEEFHEART and NEU See 1st FAUST
The actual music scene seems to me very poor, it does not interest me!
FD - Isn't it a resistance?
I do not know, I'll have to submit the question to my therapist.
Let's say it's more an "introvision" than introversion. I am not a big nombrili!
-I draw my ideas from my feelings of the moment and not in my image.
Myself, I don't exist!
I'm only in my music!
FD - Listening to your recent music, I felt another BRUME, perhaps more accessible and sensitive. What do you think?
There is an important parameter between all this: At the end of 2000, I stopped working under the name of BRUME because I was tired of my "electroacoustic acousmatic" income.
I wanted to breakaway from all that! So for seven years, I worked and produced stuff under my own name.
I wanted the fruit of this music to be ultra-precise and more "transparent" than BRUME. The challenge was to use a computer (for the first time) regarding the sound and the composition. Result: Several CD albums and CD collaborations with friendly people were produced. But the accessibility of which you speak was not the result of the project BRUME, but the result of this failure.
The only ultra aggressive album collaboration, using computer technology and the spirit of this period was the album "BRAINSTORMING # 1" created with my friend Eric Wood of BASTARD NOISE and John Weize collaborating. A second album: "BRAINSTORMING # 2" (WOOD / RENOU) will be out in the near future via HOUSEPIG, USA
I realised that little by little, even if my will and my production methods had changed, insidiously my music took back the aesthetic style of BRUME!
Amazing is it not?! I think it is difficult to go against this nature!
So, I decided in this year 2008 to recreate BRUME!
FD - How many BRUMES exist for you?
One! The real and unique! (Joke). Seriously, it's hard to answer this question. As I already mentioned, nothing is permanent in this world and especially in my head!
FD - Are you interested in the video through your music. I can see that a lot of musicians are using this method
The latest recording under the name of C. Renou was a "soundtrack" ordered for an art installation project (71 minutes): "Infinitus" conducted by visual artist, TJ Noriss, last May in Portland, Oregon. A DVD project of the event is in production.
I have always been suspicious about my music dealing with images. It may seem pretentious, but I always considered my music as different, independent.
For me, the support video or image always seems superfluous ...When I agree "to illustrate" sounds with an exhibition of paintings, sculptures, installations or other media ... the roles are necessarily reversed , I submit to topic without changing my music. This kind of exercise is very interesting from the standpoint of the challenge ...
It is always constructive, it generates more ideas, other tracks ..
FD - I think the media images are too stereotypical today, the real visual world is
elsewhere. Everything today is only apparent.
We are also saturated with music, commercial sounds and media. We do not see anything and we also hear nothing,
What do you think?
What is distressing in the audio-visual culture today in 2008, is that people do not even suspect that they still have a choice! The choice to make other sounds and images other than the monolithic and powerful "fastculture".
Of course, progress requires sophisticated and powerful sounds. So easy to be seduced by the sound of sirens and to like the first sound that only makes a large "boom boom ...". Everything is hackneyed! Today we don't listen to music, we are only pleased to hear it.
What is relevant is that this ordinary and formatted music controls every ordinary citizen.
This is obviously a simple, subtle and insidious way to control any citizen. All these small tecnocrat' garbage have understood this for a long time. So with the evolution of technology, with these laboratory studies or studies of the human behaviour ... tighten the stranglehold of enslavement.
A good film to see of IGMAR BERGMAN, "the snake's egg" illustrates well this issue. A must see film!
FD - What is your social landscape?
What do you aspire to, what music, etc. ....
How do you feel today in this phase of your music?
Sincerely, I do not know. The things in life are so on ... these things are done , nothing is stable, everything is in perpetual motion! I'm kind of an unstable man, so anything can happen! I have always been amazed how people are able to do the same thing for over twenty years - taking winning concepts from the early last century. But the worst is that their aficionados are able to accept their fly-blown pseudo-intellectual warmed see their cutting pipes ... poor slaves!
FD - What is your public?
They are everything!
FD - Could you create without any public?
Yes i could but it should be too sad. I can not stay inactive. A few years ago I tried to sculpt when my ears were saturated with music.
The CD, "BRAINSTORMING # 1" has featured one of my sculptures
Having a public gets your music through your four walls and will spray at odds! It is very intense! This creates a constructive dialogue, evolving with people. We can not stay alone in this minority because it implies "self-asphyxiation", it is essential to share, create a loop of exchanging ideas, feelings with people. It makes an intense flow to the survival of your art. If not, it's Death!
FD - Where can we find your CDs?
Thanks to Brume for this interview for the DAMAGEDCORPSE webzine
Thanks to Rob from Birmimgham (UK) for having corrected my poor English:-)