Aurélien's music online - NEW TRACKS FOR 2018

Interview by the fans - February 2018  

: First, what made you compose new songs ? It was your passion or you wanted to dedicate these songs to someone dear ?

Aurélien: In 2017, I released a couple of songs, the most recent being "Espoir", out in July. After that, the summer break is often a creative gap ! Then, I had to work on remixing the album "Utopia". Finally, the end of year came, and I absolutely wanted to create new music.
Meanwhile, I saw somewhere on the web that someone was giving himself a recording challenge. I told myself that it was a perfect way to make up for the time lost !

What style are the new songs ? Are they similar to the previous ones, or are you developing your style further ?
The new songs are in the same vein as the previous ones. But they are more spontaneous and somewhat shorter. It's because during the challenge I had to record instinctively and quickly. They will present all the elements I love to hear in my music : a blend of rock and metal sounds, with electronic elements including drum beats, various sounds. Epic tracks with atmosphere and melancholy.

How do you get the first ideas for a song ? Do you just take a walk outside and then suddenly the rhythm of a song comes to your mind ?
Not really ! In fact, my ideas come while playing. I need the instrument in my hands to get started. I can start with very little : an acoustic guitar arpeggio, a preprogrammed drum pattern which I play guitar riffs on, trying to find melodies.
For these new songs, I started from demos recorded from time to time but I also started from scratch during the challenge, for a couple of tracks.

Do these new songs have a particular meaning for you ? Do they evoke key moments ?
The songs have been written at the end of the year, with the experiences of preceding months, in this special time of inspiration for me.
Music wise, during this period, I want to write music with an epic tendency, inspired by the hills of the Ardennes or the Vosges, by Germany and Belgium, I'm heavily inspired by these places, which I had the opportunity to visit again in 2017.
Text wise, I wanted to write on what I had experienced that year, on ideas that came to me : questions surrounding me, tormenting me, general questions about existence, everyday life, meaning of life. There is a track on which I tell the story of a character, too sure of himself, suddenly exposed to some major doubts. That kind of situation inspires me. You can read the lyrics on the project page (only in French at the moment, sorry...).

About the lyrics, do you write them before or after having the instrumental part done ?
For these new songs, I went to the library to write down some lyrics, having already begun to record the instruments. Simply, I record my instruments, I write some lyrics if I don't have any in stock (that was the case !), and I try to sing those lyrics along with the music. It's like finding guitar melodies, but with words. Quite quickly, I feel which lyrics will fit to which music. It's more a matter of diction rather than associating topics and music.
But it's not a static process, it could be done differently !
I really struggled with the 8th track. The music was long and I had to find lyrics quickly (during recording sessions in fact, since I didn't have enough lyrics written). In addition, I wanted to tell a story, it was quite binding.

Is this mini album based on a particular theme ?
I don't know if we can speak of a particular theme, since with me everything comes with its opposite ! Still, let’s say it deals with fear and hope. The lyrics of these new tracks are about our states of mind, in a nostalgic approach. It is about living the present moment,
escaping time, fear of future, nostalgia of past times, change... But hope is always there, at the end of the tunnel, and finally, behind the words, we find a thurst for life, which is very positive.

Can you tell more about how you choose your themes ?
When it came time to write the lyrics, I went through the notes I take from time to time, when there is a topic that may be interesting to work with my music. So I made a recap of what I’ve had in mind over the year, then I added the current themes in my mind. It gave topics like hope, innocence, change, attachment, dark side within us, etc...

What do you do, if in the middle of the creative process you get stuck ?
The above story is a perfect example of getting stuck. I didn't have enough lyrics for the verses and choruses of the 8th song. So I had to write them quickly otherwise I would have lost too much time for the challenge. It wasn't very natural. But all you have to do is to try again and work harder, and tell yourself that the result will worth it. For the lyrics, I use synonym and rime dictionnaries, it really helps !
For instrumental parts, when I struggle with a guitar solo, I try again the next day !

How do you manage working solo, how do you deal with your doubts, fears and moments of laziness ?
I find working solo is very convenient. When I have an idea or a project, all I have to do is do it. And, I am quite independent person.
The most difficult aspect is to keep motivated for the long term. Independent music is not easy. If, tomorrow, an international-known band has a single out and releases a video on Youtube, they can have 100 000+ views in a few hours, without having to promote heavily. While you, as an independent musician, you will spend hours to record your music and get a satisfying result, but sadly very few plays or feedbacks. This is a very frustrating and mentally exhausting process.
All that can lead to a loss of courage, and you may want to procrastinate. I'm familiar with this issue.
But we have to keep in mind that we're not alone and that the vast majority of the independent scene is in the same boat, and don't forget all the people behind their screens, taking time to listen to us, to read and comment. That's precious and this is why we make music !
And finally, just yesterday, putting my headphones on, playing the tracks I'm working on, I told myself it was a great chance !

What gear to you use in your production and what is your favorite piece of gear ?
I'm on the mixing stage now, so the guitar and the kaossilator synth are put to rest !
After editing the tracks (sorting, corrections) with Ardour (free mulitrack software), I start to mix the them, adding effets, and it starts to become fun ! Sound treatment uses common gear : equalizers (Rane), reverb/delay (Lexicon), compressors (Behringer)... Sometimes I add a bit of tube distorsion with a preamp by ART, or some analog delay (Behringer). I also use some stereo effects by BBE or SPL. All that rack-mounted and connected to a patchbay, a tool that allows you to connect quickly to the different effects.
But what I find the most fun is working the instruments, in particular the vocals, with the Korg Kaoss pad. You can create effects live just with a pad, it's really cool !

Will there be a chance to see you perform your songs live ?
Let's be honest, I am not much into playing live. Doing the pubs and playing my songs that nobody knows, just to see what happens, that's not really an ideal situation. I'm more of a studio musician, I prefer to focus on creation, inspiration, atmospheres. I would rather perform live streaming sessions or webradio, it fits me better and that's what musicians do now !
But who knows, I may have the opportunity to share a stage with some music students for some tracks, it makes more sense to me !

What format will you release your new songs in ? Will there be an album or else ?
Like my previous projects, it will release on Bandcamp platform. It allows to have a page with all songs and an associated merchandising store, under study.
The project will also be available on all digital stores like Deezer, Spotify,...
Releasing a physical album on CD is not on the agenda, I would prefer investing in merchandising. And releasing a vinyl is way too expensive.

Finally, as a fan, how can we support your projects ?
This is a good question ! There are simple means to do that : you can just talk to friends that you know have an interest in that kind of music and approach. You can also share the Youtube videos or the available songs and make people discover them on the social networks. Since "Utopia remixed & remastered" is out, I'm also working on some merchandising (post cards, usb flashdrives,...) that will allow to support my music financially, it's gonna be interesting !

Thanks to all participants, it's been a pleasure answering your questions ! :)

  - 8 tracks currently in production
  - Due for release March 2018
  - Web : project page

contact : afterrprojects(@) (remove brackets)