We caught up with Erwan Castex aka Rone on his recent trip to the UK
By Emma Louise Milton on May 1st 2015
Paris born producer Erwan Castex has been creating under his identity Rone, on the electronic scene now for the past seven years. Heavily influenced by analog soundscapes, his music is steeped with intricacy and technique, freedom and enchanment. Bye Bye Macadam is just a primary example of the nature of his power visuals that complement his music so fittingly and his live sets are as equally explosive.
Rone celebrated the release of his third studio album ‘Creatures’ earlier this year. Not to mention receiving coveted support off none other than Massive Attack’s 3D, and being saluted by the highly acclaimed French magazine Trax in previous years, yet still relatively beneath the radar outside of France, it seems this plethora of praise can only mean this guy has one prolific career ahead of him yet. We sat down for a chat with Erwan when he visited London to do an in-store performance at Rough Trade East.
As a french musician with a background in film, which French artists and film-makers have been most influential to your work?
Wow, it’s difficult to say as there’s so many people that have inspired me… When I was studying film at university, I was really into the Nouvelle Vague movement, in particular the work of Godard and Truffaut. This group of French directors broke the rules of cinema, they had no money but the films they made were still excellently executed. They proved it was possible to make great cinema with no budget, you just have to become more creative. I think their approach to film paved the way for DIY film-making plus their spontaneity and creative freedom is something I try to embody when making music.
When I was growing up I listened to a French pianist called Erik Satie a lot, my mum would play his records and I enjoyed his minimal piano compositions. Although it’s a bit more obvious, Serge Gainsbourg was an inspiration as I got older, as I’m sure he is for a lot of other French musicians. He’s the perfect example of an artist that re-invents himself time and time again whilst retaining a strong identity, it’s fascinating.
Do you miss working with film? Any plans to return to that medium at some point?
I sometimes think about this but at the moment I’m so happy making music and I still have so many things to try and experiment with in music. So for the time being making my own movie is a dream that I could fulfill in the future, but there’s no urgency right now.
I like the idea of a lot of different people working together on a film, all collaborating with creative ideas as most of the time when I make music in my studio I’m on my own. Perhaps that’s why I collaborated with a lot of people on my new album, I managed to re-create the atmosphere of a film set in the studio!
Your recent music videos have been stunning, in particular ‘Quitter La Ville’. How much input do you have with your music videos? Do you create the treatments yourself or is it more a collaborative effort?
For me the important thing is to firstly choose a great director, when I’m confident in their work and vision I give them total creative freedom to express themselves. When Julien Soulier told me the concept of ‘Quitter La Ville’, that he wanted to make a music video in Ireland with young kids escaping from the city on horses, that was enough for me, I was sold! I like to be surprised with the final video and this one definitely did that. But of course it can depend on the project, there’s always non stop back and forth emails and previews during the creative process.
Your latest album ‘Creatures’ shows a more melancholy and ambient side to your production than previous efforts. What led to this progression and is this the kind of material we can expect from you on future albums?
Actually I’m thinking about my new EP at the moment and I want to do some really hard techno! I try not to overthink the process of making music. When I was producing ‘Creatures’ I didn’t think I was going to make more melancholy music than before, I just wanted to have a few different moods throughout the album. I think one of the reasons the album went in this direction is because sometimes when I was working in the studio my young daughter would be there and when you have a baby crawling around your feet you don’t want to disturb them with heavy music! I think she may have influenced the sound of the more laid back tracks.
As a recent father that has an extensive tour schedule, how have you found balancing being a dad with your music career? How has being a dad changed your perspective?
It’s funny because I was a bit scared before my daughter was born, I was thinking it wouldn’t be compatible with my work and touring lifestyle but in reality it works really well! It’s a really nice balance, after I finish a tour I’m really happy to go home to my daughter as she gives me a lot of positive energy. She’s helped me to be more relaxed and I think make better music so I’m very happy, as is my girlfriend Lilli – there’s lot of good energy with this new baby.
Which was your favourite collaboration on the album, tell us why and how it happened?
This is impossible to answer! It’s like asking somebody to pick their favourite child. I think every collaboration on the album has it’s own interesting story and each one is beautiful in their own way. With François Marry (of Frànçois & the Atlas Mountains) he came to one of my shows then we spoke backstage about collaborating. The very next day he sent me the lyrics to ‘Quitter La Ville’, which he said he wrote when he got home as he was inspired by the show. All the collaborations were very natural and organic, which was something I enjoyed when creating this album.
Aside from your label InFiné, which French labels and artists should we pay attention to?
Frànçois & the Atlas Mountains blew me away when I saw them perform live, they’re incredible musicians and their show was excellent. Blind Digital Citizen are really good, they have a very particular sound but I like it, they’re also really funny crazy guys. I recommend a small label from the southwest of France called Moi Moi, they’re a really passionate group of friends that make really cool music.