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15 Questions to Maxence Cyrin

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Hi! How are you? Where are you?
I’m at home, it’s 10’O’clock and I’m gonna practice piano after answering your questions.

What’s on your schedule at the moment?
I’m preparing a new live act for a famous classical piano festival in the south of France (“Piano aux Jacobins” in Toulouse) this will the first date, after I’m going to Spain and Tokyo for Sonar Festival.

When did the idea of recording an album like “Modern Rhapsodies” first come up?
I was listening again to all these olds tracks I liked when I was younger and very implicated in the house movement, so one day I tried to play some pieces on the piano and tried to transmit this emotion to an audience, and it worked!!

The album takes us back to an incredibly exciting time. Did you, too, believe rock was about to die?

I never really liked the “rock’n’roll” spirit, for me this “rebel thing” in music is only a pose, so when techno came, it was like a liberation, I was crossing new musical frontiers and  really thought rock was about to die, unfortunately I made a mistake!!!

What was it that excited you personally about techno/house/rave/acid?
At this time I was listening gothic and industrial music but I wanted something fresh for my ears with no idea of pathos so I was very exited by these new sounds, this new aesthetic and became very close to this music.

Do you feel that the scene lost some of its original spirit and naive charme over the course of the years?
I think this is the end of something, but I don’t know what. Music is always changing that’s the deal. After the 80’s comeback and  the rock’n’roll comebak,  perhaps there will be a techno comeback, but let’s wait a little bit…

What was the basis for choosing which tracks to play on the album?
I wanted to do a sort of history of electronic music so I played almost 50 tracks and my producer and me kept the best ones, it was not so easy to choose!!

You are a songwriter and a former house act yourself – why didn’t you decide to include some pieces of your own?
It was not the idea, my pieces are not representative of the electronic scene, it’s too confidential, I’m not Derrick May!!

I had the strong feeling that “Modern Rhapsodies” was meant to both bring out the astounding beauty of some of the originals and at the same time keep their fun-aspect, their raw energy. Correct?

You’re right, for some pieces I tried to show the melodic or harmonic beauty of the song (windowlicker, behind the wheel, LFO) and for some other I tried to keep the original spirit, the original energy of house music (Jaguar, anasthasia)

Your playing reveals a great deal of intimacy towars your instrument and an exact knowledge of the sonoric qualities of your instrument. How deep is your relationship with the piano (especially if you compare it to singing, which you do as well)?

I’m not really a singer and not even a pianist but I play piano since my young age, it has always be with me. I like it because is a so universal insrument, you can play almost what you want, I have the proof!! It’s also the most melo-dramatical instrument, it’s so simple to to transmit emotions and feelings with it.

One of my favourite tracks on the CD is your rendition of “Sueno Latino”/”E2-E4” by Manuel Göttsching. What does this piece mean to you?
The original is one of my favourite piece ever! I met Manuel Göttsching in January, it was great to talk with him. The Derrick May’s version is based for 98% on the original by Manuel, but this is Derrick may’s remix I heard the first, this piece is a real dream for every house music lover.

Have any of the covered artists approached you to let you know whether they enjoyed your version?
I met Mad Mike from Underground Resistance and he was very amazed by my cover of “Jaguar”!

You have also taken the album live. How were reactions? Was anybody dancing?
Well, at the beginning, before I made the album, I played in clubs and people were dancing, they were very surprised and very enthousiastic. Now I prefer to play in theatres, cause I can also play slow tunes, that I couldn’t in clubs.

It would actually seem an interesting idea of allowing the original techno acts to “remix” your interpretation of their work. Has this thought ever come up?
We thought about if with my label but forgot the idea because the concept of this album was to pay homage to electronic music in an acoustic way so we don’t want to go back to an electronic thing.

Any chance of a “Modern Rhapsodies Part II”?

I don’t think so, I prefer to play some new covers when I play live. This project was very exiting to do but now I’d like to produce my own music. I’d like to release a pop album with great orchestrations and vocals.


Modern Rhapsodies (2006) F Communications

Maxence Cyrin

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