Filed under: Interviews | Tags: Aes Dana, interview, Leylines, Ultimae Records
We recently caught up with Vincent Villuis, the ethereal downtempo master we have all come to know as Aes Dana. Along with co-running the superb Ultimae Records, Vince has also completed his fourth LP ‘Leylines’ due for release 03.06.09. This is what he had to say….
Can you tell us about the new album Vince?
[ Leylines ] took 2 years to create, but I was not constantly working on the album. I always compose by fragments, a day, a night when inspiration is there. I like to build a song really “fast”, distance myself from it and then take more time to paint the details, the sub-harmonics, to develop the story and to mix what I want exactly. The artwork comes from my encounter with great visual artist Rodolphe Bessey with whom I’d done an exhibition, I asked him to use one of his photograms: these kid hands opened like a gift with complex circles inserted. I liked the strong photography – luminous and dark. I presented more of his works inside the cover and booklet. Our common taste for alchemic aesthetics made the collaboration more than fluid.
What can we expect the style of the release to be and do you feel it has evolved from previous release?
The usual and hardest question…Hum…To be honest, we can feel a bridge between my previous works and where I’m going next. From 4/4 tracks to electronica & “classical” music. In fact down tempo styles are varied and I would rather not be catalogued too fast. Leylines was a good name in my opinion because this is “the various energetic lines joining geomagnetic points”. If we consider musical tendencies like these points, so I like to paint with them, never thinking “this is more trance sound, this is more classical influence…” People will judge by themselves.
Are you happy with the album or do you wish you had done anything differently?
Actually, you could say that this is the second Leylines album because the first story disappeared with my hard drive back-up crash. I tried to rebuild the “original” by memory during one month but the spirit was gone…I decided to start from scratch. The only songs saved from the original were Signs and Bam edit (recorded live at Les Dominicans de Haute-Alsace (luckily). The 8 other songs came after this crash. In the end, I’m really happy with this new chapter and feeling in accordance with all the songs.
Do you have a favourite track Vince?
Sincerely, I don’t have any favorite track. It depends on the mood I’m in while listening. Perhaps Adonai, the drum programmation is one of the most complex I’ve done with all one shot drum elements coming from real voices. I filtered pads and choirs and used them like single glitch sounds, hit hats…The purity feeling and simplicity of Signs touches me. The far away choirs built up were a long long working process to make it sound real.
Are there any other upcoming releases or projects you are involved with at the moment?
I’m currently working on my live sessions for the summer events and recording ideas for the upcoming projects.
Nova is staying over for a week to master his second compilation [ Imaginary Friends ] and give the final touch to the artwork together. The album will be released mid-July.
Do you have a favourite piece of equipment in your studio that was used for the new album?
The Powercore X8 from TC Electronic. This strong DSP unit gives me a lot of powerful effects and VSTs to treat, filter, reverb and expand sounds. It took time to control all the parameters, but I now feel really comfortable with this tool.
What is the main program you used for production and why?
For this album I used Nuendo 3 and Vegas Audio Pro 8. I keep Vegas for the H.U.V.A . Network sessions as this is the easiest DAW available on the market (with Reaper….) and the easiest way to stay compatible with Magnus Birgersson.
I will stop working with Nuendi in a few months because it is too heavy and not at all CPU friendly.
I discovered Sonar 8 Producer and what can I say…that’s the one for me…intuitive, with excellent sampler tools, and complementary effects hosted by my TC Powercore.
Do you have a key studio tip for producers?
“Send your laptop by the window and record its scream when it crashes on the floor, you will get a wonderful breakcore kick impact…” Ok, kidding. Hum…There are a lot of tips…Just some general advice: know your machines/software well. Don’t use presets or samples already digested. Build your own sound painting tablet….Take time to define all your one shots and categorize them. Don’t hesitate to freeze multi layers in same time: create impact, pads with for example several pads. Synchronize acoustic impacts with pure digital stuff and the grain will find a new dimension. Be dirty, experimental but organized at the same time : )
What other artists are currently inspiring you?
I listen to various music genres. I don’t know if it inspires me directly. Perhaps by after effects. But in front of screens, I never think…how could I do a track in the style as so and so. I refuse to analyze music from other artists I like or else the magic would be gone. I only analyze by game most of the easy & predictable mainstream music.
What else grabs you in this life?
I like to cook, drink coffee and whisky, chill, read the economic press, write articles on music equipment; pick up nice stones from the water, watch “Les Guignols” on TV and Tim Burton’s movies, make love in the afternoon, draw with Iris. I like the light in Sweden on a cold sunny day. In another life I would certainly enjoy the same things : )
Why have you dedicated your life to music?
It was essential for me; somehow I don’t think I had a choice. I started composing music around 14. But it was more a hobby back then. I come from a modest family, to build a home studio with professional machines (and especially some years ago), was a long process. I studied History of Art, philosophy and literature and I was more oriented in these kind of “art expressions”. But in fact what I liked the most was music and multimedia…To me that’s a more immersive way to forward a message than say with a book. For a long time I hesitated between creating a poetic books company or a music label. But ambient music was my “way of life” and I was lucky enough to go on a music business training course, so I chose this way.
Setting up a company around “non mainstream music” was a hard decision to take when you live in France. 9 years later, we are still here and I’m happy. I cross my fingers that we will still receive support from our fans during this complex economic period. Despite the intangible future of the music economy, we keep smiling.
Running Ultimae means a lot of work, I do all the artworks and designs, collaborate with Gyl Sansamat on web development, give artistic direction to the team of composers and Djs for future releases,…
We’ve come to be known as professionals in our region which led me to give online distribution and promotion classes to Master 2 students at the University Lyon 2 and become a consultant on a project of digital music platform for the Rhône-Alpes Region.
I kiss you all : )
Purchase the new album here
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