When French collective Velour’s Matmos (2013) compilation album caught our ear over the summer we dug back into the label’s output and discovered Montpellier-based producer, multi-media artist and boss Pun Collins. Collins’ Tumblr features stunning examples (some featured below) of his photography and visual and graphic art, which provide a wonderful accompaniment to the sounds of his Astrocast.
This mix skips between references to various technologies of transportation (Delorean, space shuttle) and time traveling musical styles (everything from a choral rendition of “Take It Easy On Yourself” to the intro of “In The Jungle” is flipped), to say nothing of shifting vortical acoustic spaces and ephemeral sonic textures. An image comes to mind of a child fiddling the knob of a dusty transistor radio that plays sound in HD 3D.
1. First of all, is Velour a) an artist collective, b) a political movement, c) a way of life, d) a record label, e) a rag tag crew of cool dudes with loose morals, f) a soft fabric, or g) some combination of the above?
Velour could be described as a movement. When we created it, we had no idea where we wanted to go. We just had the same feelings of things. We tried to describe what we were doing, and the best way for us to do it was to let people concentrate on what we create, whatever that may be.
Everything we do serves to build a perception of a new world where pleasure meets technique. Most of the time, the “best” music or movies are a bit disorienting for the public because they are judged the “best” by elitists the only reason is that they know things right? Those “best” things are usually dark, or just not easy to watch or listen. We want to make things with love, with caring, things that are crafted and also pretty attractive to the spectators.
Anyway, to come back to the Velour thing, it’s all about feeling that you’re lucky to do what you do and to enjoy with people what you just did. It’s a mind-creation system. The first tape Matmos (2013) is an attempt to answer this question. The name was inspired by Barbarella (1968) a sci-fi movie in which people are controlled by the Matmos, a liquid form of god which is fed by the nastiness of the inhabitants of his planet. They are obliged by an entity. They have to obey the Matmos.
2. Musically, some of the earliest electronic music experiments were established in your home country of France, but today nearby cities like London and Berlin are labeled the epicenters of innovation and the inheritors of that lineage. What place do you find between these places and their histories?
France has always been an inspiration for us as for all the artists we all know. Indeed, a lot of people came to France to make their art. There had to be something about the country. But we don’t really feel that nowadays. In my opinion, it’s a shame. I love France, but it is negatively seen by French people. It’s like they try to make it worse.
I find a lot of amazing stuff in the landscape, its variety. There’s almost everything here. We’re near everything. And it’s small enough to properly enjoy living here. But whether in music, cinema, or the art scene in general, at the moment it’s miserable. The best French artists just want to leave this country because they are not appreciated here in France.
3. What about being a filmmaker do you take to practice of crafting music? And what’s one lesser known French film we should all see?
When I make music, I always think of a scenario. I always start with an intro. I just love to expose a landscape for a few seconds, and then make the story start however I want.
They’re not linear stories; it’s all about abstraction. It makes the listener travel from nowhere to somewhere. The path of the listener is very important; it causes emotions that only find their true realization in the ending. Textures in my sounds are just like visual textures: they create a form, an ambiance of what you can see or guess. The main problem is to perfectly fit the form with the content.
For the French film, I would say Pierrot le fou (1965). It reminds me of so many things.
4. Roquefort or camembert?
Camembert. I just love its softness when it gets hot.
5. In addition to durational media like music and film you work in statics like photography, graphics and drawing. What connects or disconnects these families of creativity for you?
For me, every artform that I use is a part of something bigger. I create different layers of my art through different media. I can express everything I need to put the spectator in a position of fully understanding my work. I couldn’t wish for anything greater.
6. What’s next, both for you and for Velour?
An extended version of my first release, FIY, will be released by Oligopolist Records on 5th January 2014. It will be a 20-minute version with a lot of remixes from Velour / Oligopolist guys. I’m currently working on a movie made with my phone and I’m also working on the Velour movie with all of them.
Italics – Messianic Age
Michel Polnareff – Computer’s Dream
18 Carrat Affair – 97′
Dr. Strong – Breddie Smoke (Unreleased)
Diva Dompe – Andromeda’s Lullaby
Naps – Squai
Tyler, The Creator – Cult Shit
Ahnnu – Free Zoo
Cvd – Dia-M (Unreleased)
Ocoeur – Feather (Pun Collins Remix) (Unreleased)
Mark Aubert – Easy On Yourself
Poliedro – Telepth
Vein & Pun Collins – Kenkroft In Bed
Durlin Lurt – Crayonz (feat. O’Fiber)
Fatback – Is This The Future?
808 State – Pacific State (Origin)
LBNHRX – I Wish (forthcoming Cleaning Tapes)
Pun Collins – Sun7
Pun Collins – Kindergarden (forthcoming Oligopolist Records)
Sham Baron – 0..8((-051!3 (Unreleased)
Vein – Midnight Bed (Unreleased)
Vangelis – Apocalypse des Animaux (GÈnÈrique)
Bob Crewe And Charles Fox – Barbarella
Elvis Presley – Blue Moon (Pun Collins “Won’t Be Released” Remix)