Friday, 19 October 2012

Jean-Marc Lederman - Exclusive interview for Elektro Diskow! (Part 2)

Here's part 2 of our exclusive interview with electronic composer and artist Jean-Marc Lederman. In part one he talked about his early musical experiences culminating in his time with the legendary Frank Tovey AKA Fad Gadget.  In this installment JM takes us through phase two of his diverse career following the Fad years.

Part 2

- The next band you put together, was Kid Montana, right?

Yeah. So I already had done an EP by myself with a concept band called Kid Montana. And Daniel [Miller] provided the remix for that EP. So I went to London. I played with Matt Johnson, you know [from the band]The The. I played with Gene Loves Jezebel. I played with several people like that. Then I went back to Brussels because Les Disques Du Crepescules were offering me a deal for Kid Montana. So I decided to stop singing because my voice is terrible and  I decided to team up with this American guy called Dudley Kludt and we decided to do the Kid Montana adventure which was brilliant because we could have access to a great recording studio which was the studio where Marvin Gaye recorded Sexual Healing. State Of The Art technology and my brother was doing the engineering. So we had a few days in the studio and we really experimented. At the time it was the Emulator II [early sampler technology] so the Temperamental album is entirely made with that and the MSQ 700 sequencer. That was already better than the early days with Fad Gadget and I was seeing Daniel [working] in the studio. He had to put on a tape a square [sound] wave of LFO and he would be able to come back to it and trigger his synth from that. So by the time we did the Kid Montana Temperamental album things had evolved because it was the beginning of MIDI. It was also the [Yamaha] DX7 [synthesizer]. The DX7 was a revolution. Nobody seems to remember that but the last days of real early analogue synthesizer were very very very boring. There was the Jupiter 8 – like you have all over the last Human League albums from that era. It was just like brass sounds. So nothing was happening really. In the mid 80s sampling started to be about and I went into it totally. I loved sampling.

-One of the things about Kid Montana which you touched upon earlier [in part 1 of the interview], that I get when I listen to it is that soul and funk influence. I think that quite a lot of music out of Belgium and the Netherlands at that time seems to be about bringing these two things together. The electronics and the black and African influences …

Maybe it’s because in the UK you have a scene that lives by itself.  You don’t need outside influences. Belgium is a country that is in the middle of so many different things. It’s normal that we kind of mix things more, you know. So for me it was obvious to start mixing the African music I love and the electronic music I love. This kind of influence you can even see it with Kraftwerk. They were totally about black American music. Funk and stuff like that. The electronic music scene – if you take it from the late 70s which was kind of the early days and quite trashy and noisy and then romantic and then you get into the mid 80s and you see it gets more into the African melody and kind of vibe. It helped to give it some new blood.

-That whole post-punk era was about melding influences. I think that’s why that music has so much resonance now …

Yeah, I think so, too. People seem to forget that the New Wave movement and the post punk era which went on to the mid 80s was a very rich era because people were starting to be bolder and bolder and bolder. The influence the alternative bands had on the media was huge. Alternative bands were making it. You had people like Matt Johnson [The The] who was making records that were quite alternative but still made the charts. The technology was helping too. So you had three reasons why the mid 80s were so interesting musically. Also the arrival of the DX7 which made a huge difference for electronic music and the sampler. So you had a new rush of blood.

-It’s interesting you mention the DX7 because a lot of people seem to think that’s kind of the end, that it’s a negative influence on sounds and the 80s generally.  Interesting that you see it as a real positive…

Well it was positive because let’s face it the Jupiter 8 was a bore! There was nothing happening there anymore. People weren’t experimenting so from the moment that you start to take an analogue synthesizer and play big chords on it you just kill it. It’s not interesting. Yeah, you can make big waves, you can make this and that but it’s boring. I think the DX7 started the era of digital synthesizer which peaked being really boring with the Roland and Korg products. That’s probably more the case. But the DX7 was a liberation for me and many people because for once you had different sounds and you had a different synthesis. Because before that it was all about additive or substantive synthesis. Not about new algorhythms.

-So, with Kid Montana you did 2 albums?

I did a few EPs and one album and it was re-released 2 years ago on an English label. A label called LTM.  It’s a double CD which I think is really interesting if you’re into the early 80s because you can hear what I was doing. The early days when what I was doing was really home-made music to the end when it was 48 tracks going really crazy with the Emulator and stuff like that. Kid Montana was camp and pop so I needed something more extreme so I started the Weathermen...

For Part 3 click here!

Jean-Marc has put together an exclusive Spotify playlist for us that chronicles over 40 years of music including classics, influences and some key tracks from his diverse and unique back catalogue. Listen here ...

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