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15 Questions to Genevieve Pasquier

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Hi! How are you? Where are you?
Hello to you, too! I am well, thanks for asking! And can you believe it: I’m sitting behind my computer in my house in Bavaria on this planet in this universe somewhere in the void.

 

What’s on your schedule right now?
Not that much, really, answering some interview questions, enjoying my leisure and maybe work on some new songs. Oh, and for those who are interested: Ant-Zen decided to re-publish my Vinyl-releases as a sort of Best-Of. I am currently remastering some pieces, adding newly sung vocals.

 

What or who was your biggest influence as an artist? Do you see yourself as part of a certain tradition or as part of a movement?
I’d like to mention my parents as the biggest influence. It was thanks to them that I got to know Kraftwerk, Jean Michelle Jarre, Pink Floyd and other similar bands at a young age. Didn’t that just pave the way for how my life was going to be! One could say that they were slightly different. The more or less social environment certainly played a role as well. My fantasy, for a big part, which already got me into trouble in school. And finally, my husband, who showed me a new world in musical terms.

I don’t think I conform or belong to any traditions, at the same time I don’t think that I’m part of some kind of new movement. What I do could just as well have been done 10, 20, 50 or even 100 years ago, if it had been possible at the time. Actually, I don’t consider myself as part of any group at all, simply because I never had the right access to those scenes or bonds. I’d like to keep things that way.

 

What’s your view on the music scene at present? Is there a crisis?

A crisis? Looking at it from a global perspective, I’d say no. If related to certain scenes, maybe. And if there is, then they’re the ones to blame. Musicians and listeners alike were slowly but surely deterred by too many and too mediocre releases over the last few years – it simply wasn’t any fun any more. It got too easy to quickly burn some stuff on your home computer and then sell it as your new album. You can blame those musicians, who shit out a CD each month, thereby making it a terrifyingly hard task finding the really good stuff among the thousands of releases. There just isn’t any functional filter any more, seperating the wheat from the chaff.

But let’s get slightly more serious again – everyone who wants to make music, should do so. It’s just the way of the world, everything changes. Maybe for the good. Maybe for the bad.

 

What does the term „new“ mean to you in connection with music?

There’s no such thing as new music! It basically always stays the same. Only time and arrangements change. Everything’s been done before and if you listen carefully, you’ll quickly find the parallels. There were abstract compositions in Classical Music, then you had the futurists of the 20s, etc... And everybody gets influenced by this, everybody!

 

How do you see the relationship between sound and composition?
Either of the two can’t exist without the other. It will only remain a sound or a tone, as long as it remains singular. Two noises or tones already constitute a minimal composition. And then it’s up to yourself, what to do with them or how complex to arrange them. Or would anyone like to disagree here?


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How strictly do you separate improvising and composing?
Composing, in itself, is a way of improvising. You start with a tone and then go from there. What I try to do is to use different arrangements, sequences and harmonies in order to create a mood, which reflects my own at the time. Sometimes, I will start with a certain theme and prepare a pool of sounds and lyrics, mirroring it in the best possible way. Making music, to me, is an expression, a sort of feeling, which I translate into sound. Really composing in a concerted way would imply a certain coolness of heart:  aa b aa b aa d b aaaa bb aaaa bb a b d aa b aa b aa bbbbbbbbb dd b a bb dd .... My god, it’d be so boring!

 

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?
A good live-performance should visually present the music the best way possible. If I visit a concert, I want to be drawn in by what’s happening on stage. And a good concert should always be honest.

For my music, a background video should work as an accompaniment and a support, but it should not act as the sole carrier of the music. I mostly focus on my voice during concerts, on little gestures and facial expressions, which go along with the music. I am not a person of grand gestures. Simply because we’re pretty active live, pieces can sound quite different, which brings us back to the question of improvising. It’s the overall-picture that matters.

 

A lot of people feel that some of the radical experiments of modern compositions can no longer be qualified as “music”. Would you draw a border – and if so, where?
The way I see it, everything which has to do with sounds and noises is music in some way or the other. You can call it sound art or experimental music. There will always be at least one listener, who’ll consider it music – and if only the composer himself. Music knows no boundaries, only the human mind does, or its threshold of tolerance.

 

Are “serious” and “popular” really two different types of music or just empty words without a meaning?
It’s all just empty words. Serious music, popular, succesful… I mean, these are just questions of image and marketing. The clothes you wear, the video clip you shoot and the label you’re on can be helpful in this regard. On a social level, the border between the genres runs from the academics onwards. Popular music stays in the charts. And what about good music? Who knows?

 

Do you feel an artist has a certain duty towards anyone but himself? Or to put it differently: Should art have a political/social or any other aspect apart from a personal sensation?
Art und music are free forms of expression. Everything should be allowed – as long as it doesn’t get abused as propaganda.  

 

True or false: People need to be educated about  music, before they can really appreciate it.
The fundamental things in education happen between the age of two and six. Looking at it from this perspective, one would have to influence the subconscious for that. I doubt whether that’s the right way.

I am, however, in favour of allowing everyone capable of making up his or her own mind to inform him- or herself about the current musical styles. The internet has made this thoroughly possible, but education in schools should consist of more than just Mozart and Beethoven as well. It’s rarely that one finds out about contemporary music and mostly it ends with Jazz or Pop. Musical education is always 50 years behind. What a pitty!.

 

Imagine a situation in which there’d be no such thing as copyright and everybody were free to use musical material as a basis for their own compositions – would that be an improvement to the current situation?.
It won’t make too much of a difference, whether copyright gets lifted or not. It’s either that we’re marking time or there are more and more bad cover versions. Using certain basics is a nice thing, in a way, but it also seduces one to just take something old and leand it a new face. On the other hand, it doesn’t really matter for the underground. Noone cares if anyone should steal some notes from Herbert Grönemeyer (Germany’s biggest pop/rock star) or not.

 

You are given the position of artistic director of a festival. What would be on your program?
If possible, I’d prefer a mix. Doris Day accompanied by the „Einstürzende Neubauten“, SPK in the original line-up of 1981, using contemporary instruments. Jean Michel Jarre performing „Equinoxe“, Frank Sinatra should be around as well. Ahh... you could start dreaming....

 

Many artists dream of a “magnum opus”. Do you have a vision of what yours would sound like?
It’d be nice using the old recording equipment, like old amplifiers and microphones. My dream of an epic would be a perfect symbiosis between chansons of the 20s, combined with the impulsive rock n roll of the 50s and the plethora of destructive frequencies of already existent instruments, as well as some new entrants. Presented in a breathtaking dress on a big open air stage. Simply the condensed beautiful, intense vocals with the enormously charged rhythms and the simply congenial rock guitars and their full force of destruction. It would be a dream being able to work with this and to explore the full range of instruments and styles, to be able to experiment and to tap everything out to full potential, thereby creating something new and getting lost in a new world.

Lovely sounds, which destroy themselves just like myself.


Discography:
solo:
Virgin Thoughts (Ritalin Aktif/UMB)
Soap Bubble Factory (Ant Zen)

with Thorofon:
Kommando 1 (1993) WDND
Kommando 2 (1994) WDND
Yttris Oxides (1995) WDND
Maximum Punishment Solutions (1997) Stateart
We kicked the Audience (2001) UMB
This Summer Suicide (2003) L.White
New Heroes (2005) UMB

Homepage:
Genevieve Pasquier
Genevieve Pasquier at MySpace

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