In conversation with Stellar OM Source
The French synthstress will be in India for a three-city tour this month. Here she talks about her creative process, club culture and her future plans.
You’ve been to India before but for a different purpose, what was your experience like?
I arrived in Mumbai and travelled to Nashik by train and I stayed six weeks in a traditional ashram to get certified as a hatha yoga instructor. Once a week, we went to the city to use the Internet, drink coffee or have some pizza! But after a few weeks I felt I could do without it. We also went to the neighboring village to practice seva. After the training I went with a few friends by train to Goa where we rented a villa by the sea. It was August. There were very few tourists and there were some epic storms! The vegetation was so lush and beautiful. After that first trip I decided to come back and visit the north and south, which I still need to do. I feel fortunate that I already had such a life-changing experience in India.
Do you follow any personal rituals that play a part in your creativity or help you create a positive frame of mind?
Gratitude! About 2 years ago, I published a gratitude diary in French. Basically, while I grind my morning coffee, I think about all kinds of things I feel grateful for. From the roof of my comfortable house to being invited to perform shows in India! I also really enjoy writing a few sentences about how things unfold. I try to find time to do a round of surya namaskar or a short fitness routine. And smile, smile, smile! The morning is golden for me to work on music; I’m the sharpest then. I also enjoy breaking down my day into two hour working clusters. I also have another full time profession as an architect so staying focused and positive is a big goal!
Do you find the electronic music world easily accommodating of artists, as they grow older? Has age ever mattered to you in the context of the club?
It depends more on a state of mind or attitude towards life in general. The only thing that matters in the end is the music and people enjoying. Even if I’m not 25 anymore I still feel right in a club. The energy is so unique. And we need to be our own models. Have you seen this 80 years old Japanese lady DJ who learned mixing when she was 70?
In one of your Instagram video about a year ago, you mentioned that you wished clubs were freer. Could you elaborate a bit on this sentiment?
I often find myself fantasizing about clubs where many things could happen: think of Bianca Jagger on a horse in Studio 54, Italian ‘80s clubs etc. Somehow today the setup is boring, no? Facing and watching a DJ on stage cueing tracks from a laptop? I dream of contemporary dancers storming in, all kinds of surprising performances, DJs in the middle on the same level as the crowd, people dressed up...
How has the experience of having the radio show over the past couple of months on The Word been? Do you have a defined approach towards making your selections?
I love doing those shows! I can finally listen to newly released music. It is a great place of experiments for me. I also need to stay away from a basic dance mix so I usually mix new music, spoken words and some surprises and always try to clash some tracks together as well. I noticed that the first intuitive selection is the best. And that’s an interesting process.
How would you define the evolution of your sound palette from the acclaimed Nite-glo EP in 2015 to your most recent release, were you still using the same equipment?
I had a break for about two years and I was not producing any music. I still use some of the same instruments, as I really like to discover that there are always new territories to be explored. I have been enjoying the past year with more live sampling and deconstructing my own samples. As usual, I continue exploring and never feel limited by certain sounds fitting a particular genre. The new releases on Interzona 13 are two tracks played live at Lux Fragil in 2017.
Could you tell us about any experiences playing music in the last year that particularly stood out, or any venues that are your personal favourites?
Last December, I played in Rio de Janeiro (see pictures on my Instagram). For some reasons, the power converter kept falling out. I had to improvise with a drum machine, 303 set for 45 minutes to a raving crowd and this turned out to be a blast. The vibe was so great and people so genuine and happy with this ‘80s warehouse vibe.
What was your experience of playing with Charanjit Singh like?
He and his wife were such lovely people who also enjoyed to party despite their ages! I also really enjoyed his true musicianship and mastery in all the lines he created. He was a true composer. It was so great to see this young crowd dancing to his music. It was a very special moment of communion. You could also tell that he was delighted.
What’s on your playlist for a trip to India?
How are the next few months looking for you? Where are you off to next?
After the trip to India, there will be a regular string of DJ and live gigs in Europe. I also play about 8 new tracks live and I need to record them this summer. I am also dedicated to my architecture work and commit to design daily. So, I’m trying to find the balance between those two!
Stellar OM Source will perform a live set in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore. She will also hold a workshop on International Synthesizer Day for local synth nerds on May 23 at True School of Music, Mumbai. Find all the details here.