ELE KING INTERVIEW IN JAPANESE + KEEPING ON MAKING MY OWN CLOTHES My first full-length interview in Japanese is available on ele-king! I had the pleasure of doing this interview while playing in Tokyo last month, thanks a lot to Ele King and the amazing Oshi Kunii of PLANCHA who release my records in Japan! http://www.ele-king.net/interviews/006650/ On the interview’s photos (by Yasuhiro Ohara), I’m wearing a jacket which is one of my favorite makes ever (for those of you who didn’t catch last year’s post series entitled Make your own clothes!, well, I make my own clothes ;-): I am now most filling in the gaps in my wardrobe (I haven’t bought any clothes in almost 3 years, with very rare exceptions, which means that when my older shop-bought clothes fall apart, I try to find the time to make those clothes myself). I really needed a mid-season jacket that wouldn’t get dirty too quickly (I love spending time outdoors) and was travelling-compatible (ie does not take a lot of room and does not crease like crazy when you have to rumple it up in 2 seconds onboard a packed plane). I also wanted to cut down on my fabric scraps, because when you sew, you invariably end up with lots of these. I had failed some winter trousers by using wool coating that was too thick, so I turned these into shorts, and ended up with the bottom parts and a few other scraps; there was also a black tailored jacket which I had acquired as a misguided youth in my early 20s, and which my mother kept in a wardrobe as the coating was of really good quality: I deconstructed the jacket, and since it contained tons of seams and cuts, I realized I would just be able to use the fabric scraps, and not the actual jacket parts (by this I mean I could not salvage entire sleeves or fronts). The way to go was color blocking and hacking a basic short jacket pattern (the Ivanne S Magnesium) into a teddy/bomber-style jacket, therefore allowing ever further use of scraps on the collar, cuffs and waistband. I spent almost 3 days just doing the color blocking (made more complicated by the fact that both fabrics had a nap) and top-stitching to keep the parts flat, but I ended up with almost zero scrap, and I now have a super comfy one-of-a-kind jacket (complete with matching shorts!) that has cost me (apart from my time) about 25 euros for the organic bamboo silk I used for the lining (available at the amazing fabric store Ray Stitch), elastic and zipper. Even though it was a lot of work, I’m so glad I took the time to do it, and increased my skill levels in the process! I wish you all a peaceful end of year, and will be back with fresh news next year, which hopefully will be better than this one. Love
THE STORY OF A SNAIL: IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT MY FIRST THREE ALBUMS AND EP. At midnight tonight, I will have fully recovered all rights to my first three albums and EP. My licencing contract with The Leaf Label, who originally released them in the 2000s and reissued them recently, was supposed to last until 2023, so recovering those rights hasn’t happened by chance. I would have liked to dazzle you with talks of "legal battle", conjuring up visions of myself as the noble musician clad in some kind of knight-like white armour. Instead let me tell you what this has really been like: a snail going up a hill. For several years. Every blade of grass surprisingly tall. Every stone a massive boulder that has to be patiently slogged around. But this little snail is finally at the top of the hill, and although it’s too exhausted and too cautious to rejoice right now, for fear this might be premature, it’s damn proud of its will to climb and of the climb itself, and is determined to enjoy the view. IN PRACTICAL TERMS… Let me get off my metaphorical snail ;-) One of the complicated things when regaining rights to albums that still exist as physical items is how to deal with the remaining stock (the unsold LPs and CDs, right now spread across many countries in distributor’s warehouses and shops). One option is to destroy the stock, which I did not contemplate. So the records will soon find their way to of a new partner who will be able to ensure their distribution and sale, although exactly when that will happen is beyond my control right now. Hopefully this is a matter of weeks, not months. In the meantime I have also had to remove those physical items from my Bandcamp page, since Leaf were shipping these on my behalf. I will of course let you know as soon as they are available again. As always – I’m repeating myself, and will keep doing it – thanks for your support.
IMAGES SAY SO LITTLE ABOUT LIFE AS WE REALLY LIVE IT. This image depicts my afternoon as it really happened: I really went to the beach, really studied Moog Music Inc.Grandmother’s manual, the sun really shone that way, and it really did look this lovely. I felt like taking a picture and sharing it with you, because I’ve shared so very little this year, and yet I realized I could not post this idyllic image without at least mentioning the unpictured counterpart to it: progress on making new music has been agonizingly slow this year due to circumstances beyond my control, and about which I will probably tell you more at some point, but which I feel unsure about sharing publicly now. Amidst the frustration I am feeling regarding my current inability to work on my music as much as I would want to, all I can do is try and make the best of my circumstances, and reading through a manual for the first time in such a beautiful place today was probably the best thing I could do. Like a good few people these days, I have grown uncertain about what consists in legitimately communicating with my audience and what feels and looks like some kind of semi-permanent promotion and display of the self (even the self as musician) complete with personal information which should probably remain just that: personal. However my life as a musician is of course impacted by my life as a flesh-and-blood person, hence a blur which I find not easy to navigate… You can be sure though that the first way in which I will always want to communicate with you is through music, and I have at least cause for celebration in the fact that I have so many ideas and ambitions for my seventh album. As always thanks for reading, and for listening to the music.
LIVE AT MUTEK JAPAN, MIRAIKAN, TOKYO TOMORROW 21:30-22:30 MUTEK Japan! Oh what a glorious day it's been here on my first post-jetlag rediscovery of Tokyo after more than 10 years of absence! It was national bank holiday Culture Day and the balmy weather, good mood all around and vocal feathered creatures made for amazing bird-and-people-watching! I do hope a lot of you can come to the show tomorrow as Japan is a long way from where I live and so it remains a special event for me!!! 😃 PS: below is just a wonderful restaurant, WE ARE THE FARM, hidden away but simultaneously right in the heart of Shibuya - I always wonder how Japanese cities can get away with such wild contrasts in appearance and sheer difference of size in the buildings😃...
LIVE AT MUTEK Japan IN TOKYO ON NOVEMBER 4TH 2018!!! I haven't played in Japan since 2008, so it's an understatement to say I'm excited to go back to a country that had such an influence on me when I first toured there in 2006 (the Japanese minimal/traditional aesthetics is all over my third album Les Ondes Silencieuses from 2007)! The show will take place at Miraikan (more info here https://mutek.jp/artists/2018/09/13/colleen-fr/), and it's the 4th time I'm playing Mutek (twice in Montreal and once in Barcelona), so a big thank you to their curating team for supporting my music! :-)
A FLAME VARIATIONS (LIVE IN THE MOOG SOUNDLAB)! The session I recorded back at the Moog Sound Lab in Asheville, NC in November 2017 while on the A flame my love, a frequency tour is now available for listening on Moog Music Inc.'s Soundcloud! Moog have sadly decided to stop the production of the Moogerfoogers, but I'm honored that they chose the session I recorded as the goodbye to these amazing units! https://www.moogmusic.com/news/farewell-moogerfooger The music you'll hear was recorded in a single afternoon, "Winter dawn" using the MF104M Analog Delay and MF105M MIDIMuRF just like on the album, while the four other recordings use the chord sequences from different songs on the album as starting points, revisiting them through a daisychain of MF101 Lowpass Filter, MF102 Ring Modulator, MF103 12-stage phaser and MF104M, with the last song also using the CP251 Control Processor. I absolutely loved exploring even deeper soundscapes through those pedals, and these versions give you a glimpse of what the next album will sound like in part (in part because there will be new intruments!). As always thanks for listening, and of course a huge thank you to the people at Moog, and a very special thank you too to Iker Spozio for the amazing artwork! :-)
WORK STARTS ON LP7! The very early stages of working on a new album are some of my favorite moments in the album-making process: I usually know where I want to be headed, but there is a world of difference between audio daydreaming and tangible sonic reality. So it’s a thrill to install new pieces of gear and get the first feel of how simultaneously challenging and fun the exploration of sound is going to be: everything still needs to be understood in depth, tested in all possible combinations, until slowly, those sonic glimpses start to gel into actual music. This is only part of the setup I intend to use, and there’s already so much to explore in there: whenever I see those 5 Moogerfoogers together, the French expression “brochette de Moogerfoogers” (“Moogerfooger skewer”) comes to my mind! Moog Music Inc. and Critter & Guitari
NUITS SONORES 10 MAI ET ARTICLE DANS NOISEY/VICE! Allez, une fois n'est pas coutume, un post en Français, pour vous rappeler que je joue à Lyon au Le Transbordeur à 20h30 ce jeudi 10 mai dans le cadre du très électronique Nuits sonores- le genre de festival que je n'aurais très certainement pas fait avant de sortir un album entièrement électronique (je vous laisse imaginer les difficultés d'amplification de la viole de gambe dans ce genre de contexte... mon setup actuel présente quelques difficultés techniques, mais au moins pas de problème de volume et pas de soundcheck stressant!) https://www.nuits-sonores.com/artistes/colleen/ J'en profite également pour vous signaler l'existence de ce long entretien paru il y a quelques semaines chez Noisey, effectué quelques jours après mon retour des Etats-Unis et quelques heures avant mon passage au BB Mix à Paris, d'où un certain laisser-aller dans mon Francais ;-) Le titre de l'article contient une erreur temporelle que sur le coup je n'ai même pas remarquée, puisque cela va faire 15 ans le mois prochain que mon premier album est sorti, donc on est bien au delà des 10 ans! Et oui, le titre est un peu exagéré, car je ne pense pas être "totalement snobée" en France, mais un peu quand même ;-) Je dirais plutôt que la France et moi, c'est un éternel rendez-vous manqué, un chien qui se mord la queue, une catch-22 situation... Mais je pense que personne n'a absolument toute la presse et toute l'attention du monde en sa faveur, et que j'ai déjà bien de la chance avec ce que j'ai :-)Sur ce, à bientôt à Lyon :-) https://noisey.vice.com/fr/article/xw5qx4/totalement-snobee-en-france-colleen-trace-depuis-dix-ans-une-voie-royale-a-linternational
ONE WARM SPARK WITH CLOSE UP MOOGERFOOGER ACTION + STOCKHOLM AND LYON! When I wrote earlier this year that as part of my plan to have a slow 2018 I would step back from being active on Facebook and my website, I didn’t know how true this would be! That and stepping back from accepting shows for a while have been two great and very necessary decisions and I finally feel more or less rested! Which is good news since I do have two shows in the next two weeks: Stockholm on Wednesday 3rd May at Fasching, and Lyon at Le Transbordeur/ Nuits sonores festival on 10th May! I took the opportunity of rehearsing this afternoon to shoot something I’ve been meaning to show you for a while: a close up of the Moog Music Inc. MF104M delay and MIDIMuRF action on “One warm spark”. Almost everyone understands what a delay does, but the MuRF is kind of hard to explain as it’s so versatile and unusual, so if you can forgive the low sound quality and absence of stereo (this was shot with my phone with the sound of the PA in my studio – in a physical setting or a stereo recording the sounds bounce between Left and Right, which makes it waaaay cooler since the MuRF filters are assigned to Left and Right channels), you will still see and hear clearly how manipulating the different parameters drastically affects what’s going on: when the video starts, the chord on the Critter & Guitari Pocket Piano is in hold mode, I’ve just switched on the delay and I’m augmenting feedback while toggling the Short/ Long switch until the loop feeds back on itself in a stable way. I then remove the LFO from the MuRF and start moving the envelope (first control on the left) and the filters up and down in rhythm with the music. This interplay goes on while the Mix control (at the top) is engaged fully (100%), until I move that control back to 50% rapidly and in rhythm 8 times. After that, I switch back to the short setting on the delay, reduce feedback, reengage the LFO on the MuRF, and go back to playing the song’s beginning chord progression while going to another envelope that’s similar to the beginning but more “fluid” sounding. The song ends with going back to the long setting on the delay, keeping only the 4 lowest filters on the MuRF, then engaging 2 more of them for the ending chords. I hope this video is useful as an illustration of what I’ve been talking in some interviews, which is how so-called effects can be used to create melodies and rhythm and not just be there for cosmetic enhancement! See Less
MUTEK BARCELONA TONIGHT! Back in Barcelona for the second time of my life only, last time was 12 years ago! And this keyboard-playing angel from a 14th century retablo in the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya where I am right now seems to fit the bill (the keys are even similar to the Critter & Guitari ones!)😃 Doors open at 20:30 and the show is at 21:00 at the Institut Francais! Merci MUTEK Barcelona et Institut français Barcelona!
NUITS SONORES LYON 10TH MAY + FULL WEBSITE UPDATE + STUDIO PHOTOS BY ISABEL DUBLANG :-) Incroyable mais vrai, I have a rare date in France, 10th May in Lyon as part of the Nuits sonores festival, at Le Transbordeur! As I mentioned in December, I’m slowing down on the live front as my body and brain are not able to keep up with the intensity that travelling and planning for shows entail (it’s not the playing that’s the problem, I love it – it’s the stuff that I have to do to make that 1 hour of live music-making happen), so if one of my next shows is not too far from where you live, don’t miss it, as I definitely won’t play A flame my love, a frequency again in the same places: Den Haag / Rewire 2 March, Barcelona / MUTEK Barcelona 7 March, Stockholm/ Fasching3 May. https://www.nuits-sonores.com/artistes/colleen/ Also, at long last I’ve managed to gather the energy to do a full website update to include all the stuff that happened around the album release and the immediate tour that followed it: my website is meant to function as a kind of “resources” space, and it’s becoming a bit of a labyrinth, understandably so since I’m documenting 15 years of music-making as Colleen, and each album has been pretty different! So I wrote a blogpost to kind of guide you through all the stuff that's been added and which you may have missed! https://colleenplays.org/2018/02/13/nuits-sonores-lyon-10-may-and-full-website-update/ I'm leaving you with some photos taken by Isabel Dublang during our work session for the Resident Advisor article in September 2017, in which you can see my gear and a few close-up snippets of how I work! As always thanks for listening and reading! :-)
CTM Festival BERLIN TOMORROW! So happy to play Berlin, it's been 11 years almost to the day since the last time I played, on 30th January 2007 for CTM too! And to put me in a good mood, the Alps displayed their beauty for almost an hour on the plane from Bilbao to Munich, I'm particularly in love with that small cloud on the right :-)
SUMMER NIGHT (BAT ANTHEM)! Someone (thank you Canon Pence!) recently pointed out to me the existence of a video of me performing at Lisbon's Galeria Zé dos Bois the last song of my encores on the A flame my love, a frequency tour: it's a "happy" version of "Summer night (Bat song)", which I've titled "Summer night (Bat anthem)". For those of you who weren't at the shows and didn't hear my explanation for why I made this version, well, basically "Summer night (Bat song" was inspired by a profoundly peaceful experience at my parents' home in the summer of 2016, a seemingly unimportant moment of seeing a bat nearly flying into my bedroom, but on a night when I felt truly at peace with everything, the bat encapsulating the fragile and sometimes weird beauty and genius of all living things. Somehow the song that ended up on the album is one of the most melancholy sounding moments of the record, and when I was rehearsing for the shows I kind of stumbled upon a new sound combination that felt just right for an alternative version of the song. My singing is nowhere near perfect on this particular video and it's a tricky song to get right live (especially when I try to do the dubby echo on the word "night" at the end - it's really hard to not have it feedback wildly in a live setting!), but I thought I'd share it with you as this song in this version definitely makes me very happy :-) I'm thinking I should record it anyway and put it on Bandcamp, what do you think???
ELECTRONICS SETUP VIDEO + CREATIVE INDEPENDENT INTERVIEW! Happy new year everyone! I have a video and an interview to share with you to start this year, both creation-focused, which I think is the right way to start the year! The Thrill Jockey Records folks took advantage of my presence in Chicago on November 3rd for my show at the Museum of Contemporary Art to ask me to present the gear that was used to make "A flame my love, a frequency" in studio, and which I also use live: I don't even know how I managed to explain all of this, given that this was after the show and at the end of my infamous first-week-of-touring-where-i-burn-transformers-then-buy-the-wrong-transformers-and-still-don't-have-my-own-transformers-by-the-4th-show, I had slept 2 hours and spent the whole day trying to locate transformers until I finally did find them... Let's say I was tired but relieved ;-) Anyway, I'm glad we filmed this, as this is something I wanted to do anyway! If you have any technical questions please don't hesitate to ask! Thanks a lot to Julia Dratel for doing the filming! And Moog Music Inc., Critter & Guitari and Soundcraft Mixers for the amazing gear! And the following is one of my favourite interviews ever, from a great website, The Creative Independent: https://thecreativeindependent.com/people/cecile-schott-on-being-self-sufficient-and-the-benefits-of-bird-watching/ An entire interview centered on what it means to be creative over the years, how you can try to preserve that flame, and if you don't have time to read the whole thing, I recommend reading just my reply to the last question "Is there something that you wish somebody had told you when you were first starting out?" So here's to a peaceful and slowly creative 2018 :-)
BEST OF 2017 LISTS, LISBON PHOTOS AND MANIFESTO XXI INTERVIEW IN FRENCH! As I’m slowly recovering from my pharyngitis, I’m reflecting on a year full of learning and artistic and human experiences. I do think I reached the limits of my physical and psychological capacities, so my aim for 2018 will be to prioritize rest and a sense of slowness over productivity, online presence and live shows. Which leads me to end of the year lists. A flame my love, a frequency has without a doubt led me to work the hardest I’ve ever worked in my entire life, so even though I do think any “best of the year” list has to be taken for what it is – a reflection of the magazine/webzine’s tastes, and not some kind of “objective truth” –, in a world inundated with thousands of new albums every year, I am grateful that the album has made it to several best of 2017 lists, reaching number 2 on FACT Magazine, and is included in the lists of The Vinyl Factory, The Quietus, the Vinyl District, Textura, Tiny Mix Tapes, and a couple more. http://www.factmag.com/2017/12/20/best-albums-2017/ This photo of me is from a series that the super talented Portuguese photographer Vera Marmelo took during the soundcheck and show at Lisbon’s Galeria Ze Dos Bois earlier this month. I don’t know why my hand is in that position (trying to see the audience? realising I dialled something wrong in the dozens of settings I have to change for each song??? ), but I just really like that photo, its softness encapsulates the sense of trust and well-being that I feel whenever I play in that very special venue :-))) You can see the whole series here http://v-miopia.blogspot.com.es/2017/12/colleen-na-zdb.html?m=1 Last but not least, pour les Francophones, un long entretien fait avant mon concert au festival BBMix pour Manifesto XXI, où l’on évoque Delia Derbyshire, le passage de prof d’anglais à musicienne à temps plein, Facebook, ma récente session chez Moog, et plein d’autres choses liées au dernier album et à mon approche musicale en général ! Merci Alice ! :-) https://manifesto-21.com/rencontre-colleen-dela-frequences/
BAD NEWS AND GOOD NEWS: ALIEN DISKO CANCELLATION AND MORE EUROPEAN DATES IN THE SPRING INCLUDING CTM, REWIRE AND MUTEK I am so sorry to have to cancel my participation in Alien Disko Festival tomorrow in Munich: I was really looking forward to playing this beautifully-curated festival, but I felt on the verge of falling ill all week, and now it’s happened: I have pharyngitis, and having had it last year just before a concert, I know that travelling with this and attempting to play and sing is a *really* bad idea, as the symptoms get worse with travelling and working. I know that for sure I would end up with a fever and generally worsened symptoms that would probably prevent me from performing anyway. It is only the second time in 14 years of live playing and more than 220 shows that I cancel a show for health reasons, so if I’m doing it it’s because it’s really necessary. I do apologize to those of you who were hoping to see me there… Ironically, I do have some very good news to announce on the live European front: I have some really exciting dates lined up for this spring, here goes 1 February 2018, Berlin, Germany – CTM Festival, HAU 1 Theatre http://www.ctm-festival.de/festival-2018/programme/ http://www.ctm-festival.de/festival-2018/tickets/ 2 March 2018, Den Haag, Holland – (P)Rewire with Laurel Halo, Korzo Theatre Rewire https://www.rewirefestival.nl/event/prewire-x-korzo-laurel-halo-and-colleen - tickets on sale this Saturday 10.00 CEST 7 March 2018, Barcelona, Spain – MUTEK Barcelona, Institut Français https://www.facebook.com/Mutekes/ http://entradas.lavanguardia.com/evento/mutek9/ 3 May 2018, Stockholm, Sweden – Fasching – full announcement and tickets available next week http://www.fasching.se/ I hope to see you there, and in the meantime, I'm going to have a nice long rest so I can be in the best of shapes to play again!
STRANDED IN LONDON, THANK YOU LISBON AND LONDON, AND FRENCH RADIO VIDEO! Here I am stranded for three extra days in London because my flight was cancelled in Stansted on Sunday because of the bad weather and well, how do you fit thousands of passengers on the next day's flights???... The answer is you don't... Thankfully my heart is still full of the warmth you my incredible London audience gave me on Saturday night, thanks so much and I really mean it 😃😃😃 In Lisbon I also had a sh.t.y airline situation (overbooking with a famous Portuguese airline that got sorted out only because a sick passenger could not travel...) and an amazing audience, so thank you so much everyone, as well as ZDB and Baba Yaga's Hut! I'm repeating myself but beyond the pleasure of playing live, you are the real reason why I just don't stop travelling altogether, since the stress and exhaustion are real when these airport situations start piling up (and they do). Fingers crossed for Munich's Alien Disko on Saturday! I'll leave you with this video of the session I did for France Inter a couple of weeks ago, did not know this video existed, I love the lights and mood, hope you will too! https://youtu.be/giwiTfWEWmw
ZDB LISBON tonight!!! One of my favourite people Sergio Hydalgo in one of my favourite venues Galeria Ze Dos Bois and this picture is just too hilarious not to share! Obrigada to the amazing crew working there, special mention to Marcos for the lovely details and Cristiano for being such a brilliant sound engineer!
A quick post to remind you that the December "mini-leg" of my tour has arrived, starting with Lisbon ZDB tomorrow 7 December, London St John on Bethnal Green on 9 December, and Munich Alien Disko Festival on 16 December (be careful, the Facebook event lists 15 December but that's because that's the start of the festival)! As usual all details are in the events section! :-))) There will be a few more European shows in the spring, but don't miss these ones if they are near you and you want to catch me playing the new album live!
RESIDENT ADVISOR MACHINE LOVE! I'm so excited and honoured to share one of the most in-depth interviews I've ever done on my working process for Resident Advisor's Machine Love series! Mark Smith visited my studio in San Sebastián back in September and we spent the afternoon talking about my entire discography, how I record, how I approach live playing, and so much more stuff that's dear to me! I really hope that you will like reading this article and interview as much as I enjoyed replying to Mark's questions, and the articles also features the best photos ever taken of my studio (and me in the studio - something that never happens since usually I'm the one taking photos ;-) ) by the super talented Isabel Dublang - the picture below is my absolute favorite, it really captures what the studio looks like on a sunny day, and what I try to transmit with my music: light :-) :-) :-) https://www.residentadvisor.net/features/3091
FRANCE INTER CE SOIR ET BBMIX DEMAIN 25 NOVEMBRE! 😃 Allez une fois n'est pas coutume, un post en francais, sans les accents a cause de mon clavier! J'ai joue une courte session au legendaire Studio 105 de la Maison de la Radio hier soir pour l'emission Foule Sentimentale, me suis rendue compte au dernier moment que c'etait ouvert au public mais reservable a l'avance et les places etaient affichees comme epuisees... Vous pouvez ecouter la session ce soir 23h sur France Inter! https://www.franceinter.fr/emissions/foule-sentimentale-le-live Merci pour la photo Marion de Differ-Ant! 😃 Et je joue au Festival BBmix demain samedi 25 novembre, tres excitee de faire partie de cette edition impressionante (Sonic Boom, James Holden ❤️❤️❤️!!!)
MOOG HAPPINESS AND LAST SHOW OF THE TOUR IN DC ON SUNDAY! See that slight glint of madness in my eyes as I posed in the Moog Sound Lab??? That starts happening naturally when you're let loose in that incredible space! I seriously had one of the best times of my life and want to thank everyone at Moog Music Inc. for their kindness, especially Jason Daniello and the filming crew (thanks Spencer Kelly for the photo!), and I cannot wait to share this with you. It was also amazing to visit the factory and see where, how and by whom these machines are made - truly a company to support in that sense too! Thanks so much too to the amazing audience who came to the Mothlight, and I hope to see those of you who live in the Washington DC area on Sunday 19th at Songbyrd Music House & Record Cafe for the last show of the tour and probably my last US show for a while. Thank you to all the promoters and venues, Ground Control Touring and Thrill Jockey Records, and thank you to the musicians who have opened and/or hosted me and become friends, and to every single one of you who made it to the shows: playing live is obviously about human contact, not just live "performance", and your listening and kindness is what will make me come back 😃