Interesting (to me) fact – ever since I started writing this blog probably over 90% of the music I listen to is independent, cherished by a few but not ever seen on TV or heard on the radio or written about in magazines. The funny part is – I don’t miss the “Big Music” at all. Sure, sometimes I wish I could join the discussion about the latest release by Those Guys or have some kind of opinion about This Lady‘s new music video. But I don’t miss the quality of it, because my total immersion in the world of independent music opened up exactly that – an entire new world of music. That is just as good, just as exciting, but a helluva lot more free (in every definition of this word) than its spoiled commercial relative. In this world there are projects like Screenatorium, which you would find on many, many trip-hop fans’ favorite lists, somewhere in-between Portishead and Bonobo, and yet Screenatorium is as independent as they come. Please welcome Djeh – the man behind the music.
tipkin – At first I wanted to introduce Screenatorium, but when I looked further into the project, I found out that I should really introduce Djeh, because in addition to Screenatorium you work on several acts, all of them more or less related to electronica/trip-hop: No Color, Asleep We Live, Asa Zen’Seï (which I’m not familiar with yet), … Am I forgetting something? How are all these projects different and how do you find time to work on all of them?
Djeh – Let’s start with the most important music project for me: Screenatorium.
I started to make music on my own with this project. Before that, I was playing bass guitar in a few nameless pop-rock bands in Lyon. And when I discovered trip-hop, I was rellay hopin’ to make some records with MC and female vocals. So I left my band and started to work alone, searching for some people who’d agreed to work with me a little. Since then I’ve met so many people who taught me things about their way to make music and tried to understand what I was trying to do. You may know Degiheugi, he’s like my sound daddy (laughs). Anyway, actually Screenatorium is not really a band, it’s more like a collective project where musicians come and go. I’m still searching for my dream team, which I think I’ve found for the third upcoming album Flyentists. Future will tell…
No Color is some abstract hip-hop duo I made with a very talented French beatmaker Mobster. Man this guy is amazing, but he’s working slower than I am, so that’s why we’ve only released one EP at the time. We’re actually working and talking about making some LP, but I really can’t say when this will be ready. There’s no purpose in No Color, we only like each other’s work and try to leave some fingerprints together. I’m really enjoying working on this. And go listen to Mobster‘s work, he’s some dope beatmaker, like I’ve rarely heard.
Asleep We Live is a pop project I wanted to do when I moved from Lyon to Montpellier, ’cause I though Screenatorium was gonna be on hold, with Nawelle Saïdi (singer) in Paris. I started to search for another voice, and I’ve met Astrid Van Peeterssen. We did Showmance EP in 3 months, ’cause I was really expecting some quick work. I wanted to do some catchy love songs, which I don’t believe is possible with Screenatorium. I’m actually thinking about some Asleep We Live LP, but I think if we make it, there will only be one, cause I really started this with a side project idea. Actually, Astrid is working with us on Screenatorium and Asa Zen’ Seï too.
Finally Asa Zen’Seï was my former dub band when I was a teenager. We were three at the time: Mote (saxophone player on Screenatorium‘s album Audimat), Bice and me. When I moved to Lyon they made some 5 track EP without me, and then nothing for 6 years. I’ve finally found Bice again, and we talked a lot about music and stuff, so we decided to make music again together. Mote is no longer playing with us due to different way of living. People change heh?
I think AZS is like Screenatorium, more of a musical project than a real band in fact. We’re actually mixing our (second) first EP, with Astrid singing and some talented piano player. Release in 2011… let’s pray! (laughs)