Parisian Shlømo, aka Shaun Baron-Carvais, is not only a world-famous producer and a DJ, but also a small-scale producer with several secret or less secret aliases.
Inspired especially from the powerful movie music, the Concrete-resident has been active in the techno scene around five years. During these years he has released a bunch of tracks and remixes, and his debut album is coming later this year.
Monument met the artist in Stockholm before his set at Monument x Techno Inferno rave and found out, what his coming album and musical thoughts are all about.
You are a busy artist, performing both DJ-sets and lives. How it all started with you?
I started producing electronica around 13 years ago, and I have been DJ’ing only around 8 years. I learned DJ’ing because I had to: I was requested to perform at one club, so I asked my friends to teach me.
I was really into hiphop when I was a teenager, but one day my best friend at the time showed me a CD by Aphex Twin. It was like a shock, a game changer in my life. I said OK, this is what I want to listen for the rest of my life. So, the love for producing came from Aphex Twin’s tracks released with Warp label.
You are an extremely versatile producer, with releases and remixes all the way from ambient to big floor techno. How do you manage to produce in such a variety?
I’m thirsty for discovery. I don’t want to put any boundaries on my music, especially in my own productions. I’m playing a lot of live sets, as well as at the clubs, so I need to produce tracks that are dedicated for the big floor. If I was bored by what I’m doing, I would quit immediately.
I receive almost 30 promos each day, and I try to listen all of them. Once I hear talented artists, it inspires me to work harder. Repro, for example, is a young guy. His music sounds like old techno, in a good way, and I really like it.
I love every kind of music, and music is my drug. I’m listening a lot of French hiphop, and no one actually knows that I’m also producing instrumental hiphop. It’s not released, it’s just for myself – I have a lot of aliases on my laptop.
You took a huge step last year at Berlin Atonal, where you played an ambient live set as Shaun Baron-Carvais. How was it?
I have done this kind of music for a long time, but I have never performed it in front of people. Berlin Atonal was a really important step for me – this is where I come from. It was the first time since long time I was really nervous, it was like before my first gig. I planned the entire show only two days earlier, as I had a lot of gigs and releases to finish by the time. At the end I was really happy and proud of myself. The show became exactly, what I wanted to express.
In my opinion, this kind of music, just like movie soundtracks, is the most powerful music. Ambient is hard to perform in front of people who are not dancing, but just listening. You really have to choose the right things to keep the people with you. When making a live act like this, the transitions are harder than when making a techno live, when the transitions are made with drums.
You like movie soundtracks. Please, tell us more.
I have always been really into movie music, and taking inspiration from it is a common thing in my productions. Regardless if I’m making ambient, electronica or techno, I always try to include sounds or textures from the movie music in my tracks. It’s more emotional.
In my opinion, a lot of French techno is melancholic techno, movie soundtrack techno. I know a lot of French artists, such as Antigone, Kas:st, François X and PVNV, and all of them are also very into movie music.
The last movie soundtrack that blew my mind was from Denis Villeneuve‘s movie Arrival. It is by composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, who passed just recently. He was one of my favourite artists.
Besides discovering Aphex Twin and playing the live shows at Atonal, could you share some special music moments from your life? As an artist, or listener, you decide.
This maybe sounds like a cliché, but one moment is definitely my first show two years ago in Berghain. I played a 1,5 hour live set, all my friends came to see it, and it felt like something special happened. After the show I decided to quit my job.
From Concrete, I remember the first time I saw a live show by Polar Inertia. I was in a shock, thinking that this is just next level. Another one is when I played my first live at Concrete, it was one of the best moments I have had.
And of course I remember the first Taapion label night at Concrete, it felt like an achievement.
Speaking of Taapion, this year your label is turning five years. How is it going with Taapion?
We had a really good year in 2017, with four or five releases. This year, we are going to release three of four EP’s and my first album. Besides that, we are planning to organise something for the 5th anniversary.
This year is the year of your first LP. When, and what is the concept?
An album is coming, and it is going to be released around September or October with Taapion. Another label had offered me a chance to release an album, but I declined it, because I wanted to do precisely whatever I wanted.
The album is not going to be all techno, there will be only two techno tracks. The rest is IDM, ambient and electronica.
On March 30rd you released a four-track EP Shlømo Remixed with Darko Esser’s Wolfskuil Records. What’s the story behind this EP?
It started when Johannes Heil contacted me on Facebook, told me he is really into my track Mum and that he wants to remix it. I said it would be an honour, and Darko suggested us to make a remix package. Besides Johannes’ remix, there are remixes by Tripeo and Oscar Mulero.
I will also release new tracks under Dynamic Reflection and Arts, for the Arts release I have made a proper big floor track. I have the luck of having several labels I can release different kinds of music with.
And finally, what do you do when you are not touring?
I have a really strict planning, I wake up around eight, do some sports, read emails and start producing. Social networking is very important, too.
Sometimes after a lot of touring I go back home and try to take some distance from the music. But to be honest, I am addicted to music.