Witxes is the project of French musician Maxime Vavasseur. Three years ago, we introduced his music with 2013’s album A Fabric of Beliefs. Last year he featured Saffronkeira’s album for two tracks. The project focuses on the balance between improvisation and sound research, trough electronic and acoustic sources. He’s touring right now and there will be four dates in Italy:
03.05 Milano : Plunge @ La Sacrestia (with Andrew Tuttle – Room40)
04.05 Faenza : Clan Destino
05.05 Roma : Machine #25 @ Städlin
06.05 Prato : Spazio Materia
We made a short interview with the French Artist. Read below.
It’s been three years since “A Fabric of Beliefs”. Are you working on something new? What is your focus right now related to your music?
Well, since A Fabric of Beliefs, a lot of things happened, touring, writing, not writing, doubting, planning, recording a new 20-min piece (Pisces Analogue) for a split with Dale Cooper Quartet & the Dictaphones, working on a commission for a site-specific composition, etc. A third long length recording is definitely my main focus now. It’s been long and hard, I have never recorded so much music and at the same time I have never been questioning myself as much as I am these days, like what am I offering in these days saturated with music, medias, etc. I guess for the first time I expect some specific things to come out of my work, so it’s more pressure and it takes longer, but it will be rewarding. I hope it will be released in the beginning of 2017, with maybe something shorter released before the end of this year.
Last year you featured two tracks of Saffronkeira’s album. What about this collaboration?
Well, Eugenio from Saffronkeira and I did a tour together in 2013 and we became good friends. He invited me over to his studio in Sardinia in the spring of 2014 after a performance I did there. He played me some sounds, loops, foundations of his works and I just layed some guitar tracks, in a very casual way, in between going to the beach or driving around Sassari province. It wasn’t like we were planning anything at the time. Then at the beginning of 2015, I recorded some more things on my side, manipulated instruments and synths, some material for him to rework. In the end, he did all the work, I would see it more as a contribution than a collaboration. But I’d love to collaborate with him, he’s coming to my show in Roma, I’ll have to talk him into doing this !
You are touring right now. What about your live approach compared to the studio sessions, considering the importance of the improvisation part in your music?
I would say live approach and studio approach are two separate worlds for me. The music I create can only take form in a studio as I use it as an instrument. It’s true there is a part of improvisation, but in the end, this chaos is organized in studio. For the live, I think the music is a bit more straight forward, less polished, noisier and more physical. I use a mix of recorded elements that are impossible to be reproduced live, and I also generate a lot by playing the synthesizer and the guitar and feed them into devices and the computer. Live performances are always a big question for me. Like, how am I supposed to present a studio music that I’ve spent months working on ? And I guess my performances are tentative answers to this question. For this italian tour, it will be even more of a challenge, because I’ll be playing a lot of work in progress, improvise around them, I’ll be fighting my way through, so it will definitely be interesting and more diverse than my A Fabric of Beliefs performances.
A photo you took a few months ago is part of the Dedekind Cut’s ep artwork. What is your relationship with visual arts?
Yes, I was honored that Dedekind Cut used this picture for his American Zen release on Dominick Fernow’s Hospital Productions, internet can bring good things too I guess ! Visuals as part of your art are an important part of how you can enhance your work, how you can give it depth. It’s also really tricky, because in my case, as much as I have kind of a narrative approach with my albums, I try to find the right balance between suggestion and the listener’s appropriation. I don’t want to force people into a single direction, I’m just offering some leads about where my thoughts were when creating, and where does the music come from. But I also like that within this wide frame, people find their own way. Visuals, as much as titles, are definitely means to get to this. You just need to balance it well. But for live music, I’m not really into it… There are too many concerts with useless distracting visuals. I’m not saying I won’t ever use them, but if I do, I want it to be a real extension of the music, like something that’s needed. And, yes, I would say visual arts are an important part of inspiration for my work, and « images » in general wether it be art, pictures I take, memories, pics found on google search… I have folders of images I document, and I go back to them regularly.
What are the best releases that you have appreciated this year?
The 2016 records I’ve really liked so far in 2016 would be the latest works by France Jobin (Singulum), Oranssi Pazuzu (Värähtelijä), Alexandre Navarro (Routes), Tobias Hellkvist (Vesterhavet), Dälek (Asphalt for Eden), The Body (No One Deserves Happiness), Aluk Todolo (Voix), Tim Hecker (Love Streams), Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas (Mariner), and Blackstar by David Bowie. I must say his death was the only time I was touched by the death of someone I didn’t know personally. I’ve always associated him to some sort of distant uncle. Actually, as I’m answering you on this fast train to the south of France, I’m listening to Station to Station.