Chain D.L.K.: You and Francois started as DJs and then started your own musicalproject. What made you take this decision? What differences do you feel there are between DJ-ing and making your own stuff?
Iszoloscope: I’ve always had this need to get involved with what I like and DJing fitted that perfectly. I absolutely loved the idea of exposing people to music I found fascinating but that wasn’t easily accessible. Francois and I were having a kick out of it. Then, we got together one day and started playing around with sound to see what we could do. The experience was really good we both had a great time doing it, I got my hands on a synth and we started composing on a regular basis right after. The difference between DJing and making my own material, in my opinion, is quite simple. One is the act of presenting and the other is the act of creating. Both are complex and demanding disciplines but very rewarding in their own way.
Chain D.L.K.: Twenty years ago the DJ was just the guy who played the records, now the DJ is a producer, a sound engineer, etc. . How were you a DJ?
Iszoloscope: Playing records. In my opinion, I don’t think that a DJ should be all that. If they are good for them, but in that case, the DJ thing becomes simply part of a nick name.
Chain D.L.K.: Why did Francois decided to leave? Did your work method change by doing everything on your own?
Iszoloscope: Well, it changed gradually, by the time François left I was pretty much doing everything by myself. I think that the sound of Iszoloscope wasn’t enough and too much at the same time. My technique and sound also changed considerably over time. Anyway, by that time he already moved to something else. It was clear that he wasn’t appealed by the focus of the “industrial” scene as much anymore. I’m still waiting anxiously for him to come up with his own material and actually hearing it. He has a lot of potential and ideas, I’m sure whatever he will do will be quite original.
Chain D.L.K.: Iszoloscope is a particular name, can you explain its meaning?
Iszoloscope: We spent nearly a year without a “real” name. When we came up with Iszoloscope, we were reading about John C. Lilly’s work (Lilly is the man behind the isolation tank and there is a link on the iszoloscope webpage to his if you would like to learn more about it). He did a lot of research around LSD experimentation and sense deprivation. His early work is very interesting! In a discussion, Frank and I theorised that he would’ve need a device to monitor isolation, hence, in our words, an “isoloscope”. We finally picked “iszoloscope” since spelled that way, it sounded the same in both French and English.
Chain D.L.K.: On your website you wrote: “The concept behind iszoloscope is an artisticportrait of the effects of isolation on judgment, mental health, interpersonal values and anger on a human being. An acoustic interpretation, in a very personal way, of its consequences on one’s mind. As the inabilityto express and understand thoughts & feelings that results in irrationalthinking and overwhelming anger that climaxes in unpredictable cycles”. So, do you base your work on how listeners could be affected bythe kind of sounds you use?
Iszoloscope: No, I work with sound until it triggers some kind of emotional response with me. I found that I respond far more frequently to the feeling of solitude and isolation then to any other kind of stimuli in music. That’s how I engineer my sound, it’s my main guideline really. That’s why I say it’s “an acoustic interpretation, in a very personal way”. It’s a theme I am very comfortable exploring too and that I find fascinating.
Chain D.L.K.: Do you think that noisy sounds could have more effect than others or doyou use them only because of your taste?
Iszoloscope: I do think they have more effect then others but at the same time, it can be an acquired taste. It carries intensity much better I think. The sounds are all over the place, you get to hear things that usually never come out unless distorted. To me, it’s like another dimension in sound. It really adds something unique!
Chain D.L.K.: To what does the title “This Monstrosity is part of My Fibric” refer?
Iszoloscope: Fibric? haha?that is a gross spelling mistake that I totally missed before I signed my contract! Of course, it was supposed to be “Fabric”. Although, with all the jokes that run about it now, I wouldn’t change it. It’s my title now! No one but me can claim the FIBRIC!!!When people ask about it, I should say that it stands for something super industrial like “Kill Mother Fucking Depeche Mode”. Hahahaha!
Chain D.L.K.: On the album there are several tracks without a title. Are they just sort of a prelude that prepares the listener to the following track or something else?
Iszoloscope: I think of them more like interludes. I wanted them to bridge tracks to keep a specific mood.
Chain D.L.K.: What do you feel are the main differences among your previous albums?
Iszoloscope: Not an album I have done sounds even similar to another so far. This is the first one that I make where the emphasis is mainly rhythmic, it feels more like what I play when I’m performing live.
Chain D.L.K.: The second CD of “AU SEUIL DU NEANT” contains different mixes of thetracks of the first CD. Usually when someone has to remix one of your tracks, what do you provide them with? What is your preferred way of working when you’vegot to do a mix of someone’s else track?
Iszoloscope: I provided people exclusively loops for these remixes. It makes no diffrence what people give me when they want me to remix them. I see it like a challenge.
Chain D.L.K.: Do you only use the other band’s sounds and manipulate them, or do you liketo add your own samples?
Iszoloscope: I like to try to take a different approach every time.
Chain D.L.K.: Your sound is based on dark ambient sounds as well as on noise anddistorted rhythms. Which of them are harded to create?
Iszoloscope: The challenge is not to make them, it’s to make them work together. Creating sounds, being distorted beats or ambient soundscapes, takes a lot of time and meticulous work but do come naturally after a while. I spend most of the time producing trying to make them match with one and another.
Chain D.L.K.: In the fall you’ll release a collaboration with Ah Cama Sotz. How did you come about this?
Iszoloscope: ACS came up with the idea, he made some source samples (like synth pads, various instrumental recordings, sound effects, field recordings, etc) and sent all of that on a CD, I added synth sounds, manipulated all the samples, did a lot of granular re-synthesis, built the tracks, I sent him the tracks, he added some synth sounds and samples to it, we adjusted everything et voila! I can’t stress how happy I am with the final result! It sounds absolutely great!
Chain D.L.K.: What can we expect from Iszoloscope in the future?
Iszoloscope: I’m working on super powers right now like shooting lasers out of my eye balls and blowing stuff up to make my live shows that much more interesting. Unfortunately, until this day, the super power thing has failed miserably. But since Yann almost rhymes with Superman, I’m sure I’ll be able one day! In fact, Chuck Norris and his “rocket bike” in the Delta Force movie sure inspired me for super powers. Even though he didn’t really have any, he did make a whole lot of shit and bad guys blow up! Now, if only he had a break-dancing part?Oh and aside from the super power thing, I have a couple more collaborations on the back-burner that can’t wait to be finished.
[interviewed by Maurizio Pustianaz]