Well, I still don’t know why but I’ve always found the drums to be a very cool instrument, even if I didn’t listened to much rock music when I was younger. So it was the first instrument I got at the age of eleven, but I haven’t got any talent with it: it took me a month to notice I could use the bass drum instead of the floor tom to play a simple rhythm! Anyway I’ve spent hours on it, trying to play nearly all the music I had, from the most simple to the most complex. Then, during my last year in high school, I discovered some really strange music that first made me laugh a lot, before realizing it was really awesome : Sunn O))), Fushitsusha, Merzbow and Neil Young’s soundtrack of the movie Dead Man. These musicians inspired me to try out the electric guitar and make sounds I couldn’t do with the drums, like drones or feedback noises. After some hard practicing, I recorded my very first album, Travel Thoughts, with my friend David Loup. Our duet was called Haze Caress, and it was definitely a different experience of music to me because I’ve always been some kind of solitary worker, but it was really fun to make though! Later, we decided to disband because we couldn’t find the magic another time, and I continued my project on my own.
Are you familiar with other forms of art?
To be honest, I really don’t know much about movies, paintings and books, but it doesn’t mean I’m not sensitive to it when I see one. In fact, I try not to draw a frontier between “what is art” and “what is not art”. For example, not so long ago I was with a friend late at night, and we were completely mesmerized by a candle consuming little by little, seeing the little drops of colored wax falling down. I assure you drugs aren’t necessary to that! If you can feel how tragic it is to see that, I think you can properly experience any form of art without being given any explanations, like they do in museums.
What are your principal influences?
My biggest influence is clearly the Japanese underground scene, with people like Tatsuya Yoshida, Keiji Haino, Merzbow, Otomo Yoshihide, Kawabata Makoto and so on. I really feel connected with them, because there’s a deep sense of pure aesthetics and sacrifice in all of their performances. I mean, they seem to play every gig like if it was the last, giving all of their energy to the audience. Even if one can find the surface very harsh, the core of it is clearly positive, because it’s not telling any ideology to the listeners. It’s only pure energy and the audience can take it the way they want to. Maybe it’s a very simple way to consider it, but I’ve always thought of engaged art as impolite, and that’s something I see very rarely in Japanese music, because revolution is not a so big part of their culture as in France, for example. That said, I’m also interested in politics, but if you want to learn about it, it could be better to read an essay or newspapers.
Your music seems to be made for live performance! What is a typical Cyril M. concert?
Yes, you’re right! That’s because I want to take the audience with me, in some sort of journey through what they want. That’s the magic in music, I think: the same sound can resonate a hundred different ways between all the people in the audience. Even if I sing some lyrics, I don’t care if people really understand their meaning or not because the language of music doesn’t work the same way as spoken languages such as French, English or whatever. In daily life, you have to make sure the person you’re talking to understand what you mean as exactly as possible, whereas in music where every listener can feel what he want to. To put it clear, there is no message at all in my music. I mean, sometimes words can limit your sensitivity by telling you how to react toward specific sounds. But that doesn’t mean I don’t care for my lyrics: in fact I spend hours writing them, in order to feel comfortable with singing them. Finally, the sounds I make are the most important thing, and I guess it’s the same for all musicians, right?
To answer your second question, the common point of all my concerts is they all have got some part of improvisation. For me, it’s really like cooking! I’ve got a whole set of ingredients and I have to mix them to make a different plate every time. Of course, the taste is always some kind of similar, because I don’t know how to cook modal jazz for example, but there are still small variations in my recipes. This way of playing is the only one that makes me feel honest towards my audience. Moreover, if I was to play always the same exact songs, I don’t think they would want to see me a lot of times.
You have put your first 2 solo albums for free on Sirona, why this choice?
I’ve chosen to release them this way, because actually the recording process didn’t cost me a lot of money since I didn’t have any CD to press. Also, it was done in a very DIY way: track by track directly into my computer without any soundcard. Moreover, I still consider myself as a beginner so I didn’t want to ask people to pay for these albums. Now, I realize there are a lot of mistakes I could avoid if I had to record them again, but you have to make mistakes in order not to reproduce them, right? That doesn’t mean I didn’t give my best at the moment of the recording though. Besides, I’ve got a really unexpected attention by putting my albums on Sirona Records instead of self-releasing them, because there is a vast community of people who invest much of their time and energy in free music, and that’s awesome! To compare, my duet with David Loup was downloaded a hundred times, whereas my two solo albums were downloaded nearly eight thousand times for each! I don’t really care this much about statistics on SoundCloud, Lastfm and so on, but sometimes they’re really encouraging for me.
Do you currently work on some new material? If yes, what could we expect?
I’m not currently working on something such as a new solo album, but I sure would like to record another when I have enough new songs and sounds. The last thing I tried was to include rhythms in my music, but it’s very hard for me to do at this point. Another project I’ve got is to find a drummer and a bassist to form a trio, but I wait to find the right musicians for this.
Also, I’ll probably have to make a difficult choice between a digital and a physical release. Despite my profound respect for the free music community, it’s very hard for me to find gigs without a CD to send to the venues… But that doesn’t mean I won’t release anything on Sirona in the future, because I really owe the community. I just can’t tell what will be free and what will not now.
I saw on your website that you will soon play some live with Agathe Max as a drummer. How did this story started and what are your expectations about this?
Oh, that’s a funny story! To begin, I’ve recently been admitted to the most experimental public music school in France, the ENM of Villeurbanne. I say it’s experimental because there’s a department called “contemporary and amplified music” where we can play free improvisation in the same structure where classical, ancient and jazz music are also taught! So, when I went to one of the free improv workshop, entered into the room and saw a woman who had a Big Muff and various other effect pedals plugged into her violin. It was completely crazy! She was making really awesome sounds with that setup, and gradually we realized we belong to the same musical environment. After that she kindly invited me to play at the release party of her second full-length album, Dangerous Days, and told me she was looking for a live drummer, so I jumped at the chance and took the drumsticks back. We’ve started working together since two weeks ago, and I really expect it to be great in live!
If you could work on some sound with 3 (famous or not) artists, who would it be and for which reasons?
I’d like to play with Oren Ambarchi and Tatsuya Yoshida, who are very versatile and unpredictable artists, and that’s what I like in music, to be surprised. When I play with someone I’m forced to find new plays of playing because it’s not as comfortable as in solo. I think that would be a really mad experience with these two. Also, I’d like to play with Melody Prochet (of Melody’s Echo Chamber) too, because I loved her first album, deeply psychedelic but still accessible to non-fans, almost pop. That’s something I still don’t know how to make, and why it would be great to work with her.
What are your dreams for the future of Cyril M.?
Like I said, it would be awesome to work with other musicians, in different contexts and live venues. Also, I hope I will find a way to pay my bills and my rent without having to work or to rely on someone else. Music isn’t work because it feels very natural to practice for me, unlike all the previous jobs I’ve done until now. But I’ve said enough, thank you for your interest and for reading!