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Interview with Julia van der Piller

img  Tobias Fischer

How did you go from producing brutal breakcore tracks to your dreamy, laid-back pieces as Charmant Juliette?
I once talked to EugeneKha, owner of the chill-out label 45RPM and he asked me why all my tracks are so aggressive. I thought, why not try to make a release for his imprint? The basic format of 45RPM-Records is simply EPs of two to four tracks, so my experiment did not require a long phase of preparation. It was really a new experience and a completely new sound for me.

How did that feel for yourself?

My first thought was - damn, van der Piller, you started making pop music! The first release of "Ma Premiere Sortie" ("My First Walk") was supposed to be the first and last experiment in the direction of this lounge style. But, what the hell is going on?! To quote my blog on MySpace: "An absolutely unknown project captures leadership on 45RPM-Records! More than 8.000 downloads in the first few days!" It was very unexpected. In the end, the total number of downloads exceeded 10,000 - and this without any kind of advertising. So it was only logical to continue the project, which led to the release of "Sentiments D'ete" ("Summer Feelings"), which also raked in 7,500 downloads. As you can imagine, there will soon be the next release of Charmant Juliette, as well as the remix EP of the title track of the first release. So it's like two sides of my music - the dark side as Julia van der Piller and a bright one as Charmant Juliette.

Is there a local scene for this kind of music in Russia?

Unfortunately, non-commercial music is not widespread in Russia. It is played exclusively in the local underground clubs of major cities for a narrow circle of listeners. Music channels and radio are endlessly regurgitating pop-rock-rap. It's the same situation with the sale of CDs. No one is buying albums by obscure artists, and instead simply downloading it from the Internet for free from pirated torrents. All music shops are littered with discs by pop monsters and club hits with bland lyrics and without any kind of ambition. So, a community of independent artists from small towns is forced to communicate through the Internet. All releases are issued on a small independent netlabels, created and supported by enthusiasts at their own expense. It also encourages collaborations: I have projects with other artists, we are currently preparing a split EP with 3MUSIC from Ukraine. Not so long ago I had joint projects Paranoid Definition with Derex (breakbeat) and Undercore X with Cocaine Bear (experimental, noise).

What were the reasons for the darker side of your personality, which you mentioned - say on Reasons to Hate?
I think it's fair to say that "Reasons to hate" is the most classic of all my releases, it's almost techno. I was interested in working with Japanese label Bump Foot. The EP this was my first release and my mood when creating these tracks can be read in the release notes: "This release is my vision of the dark side of loneliness. It deals with a mind, which slides through a downward spiral of depression and shatters into little pieces of thoughts about just anything at the bottom". It was a time of fatigue, when everything and everyone was tired and did not want to communicate. Many people face similar crises, I just tried to reflect on it and put things into sound.

How did you go from being a listener to putting things into sound?
Actually, I had no particular desire to spread my experiments for public consumption. However, I liked the release of the "Noise Compilation" on the Intox Noize label - at the time the label was still completely non-profit - and ultimately decided to released my first EP, "Sound Perversions". It was really just a collection of experimental tracks, with sounds recorded live and then processed in an audio editor – a lot of fun to do. Like most independent musicians, I was – and still am - primarily working with a computer. Sometimes I'll use the sounds of live instruments as well as field recordings. So you won't find me toying around with any currently fashionable and expensive synthesizer. I actually would like to work with hardware synths, but only a really high-quality instrument - which is a big problem in from a financial point of view.
Subsequently, "Sound Perversions" was reissued on Love Torture Records and Amduscias Records. The next release "No More Excesses In Asylum" was an experiment in the direction of a more hardcore sound. Well, to put it differently, "Cold Fire" is more like music in the usual sense of the word.

What sparked your move away from techno into different fields of electronica?

In my opinion, techno in its classical sense, is a more simple style than breakcore. I've always wanted to work with hard sounds and broken beats, which let you experiment without any kind of preordained scope and limitations. And then, for me personally, there is another reason as well. If you have a bad mood, then you do not go out to kill the first person you meet. Instead, you can channel your aggression into video games or try to present it as music. I simply love the work of projects such as Venetian Snares and Drumcorps. It's not as monotonous as drum'n'bass and not as heavy as speedcore. In a way,it delineates something of a middle ground between rhythm and a set of sharp sounds on inflated playback speed - which is harder to fathom and more challenging as a listener.

On „End of the Year“, you're even tried your hand at a more sound-art-oriented approach, without the typical beats.
It was one of the few attempts to make a track for a pre-set theme, for a "New Year's Compilation 2010" on the label Intox Noize to be precise. I asked myself what the new year signifies for most of us. Mostly, it's nothing but a convulsive running by shops in search of gifts, products for the holiday table, a lot of slamming doors. I tried to convey this restlessness and repetition of action, fussy haste. All somewhere in a hurry, and time running out.

Do you intend to work on a solo full-length album in the future?

Good question. The fact is that my tracks are rarely similar to each other and I was often difficult to decide on a common style. Therefore, at this moment I only have a series of three mini-albums, released on Industrial Noise Records. Each mini-album contains five of my early tracks, they seem to sum up the line of this phase of my experimentation. Of course, I think about the release of full-length album, I think it will be techno and similar-sounding styles. Hey, labels, I am looking forward to your suggestions!

By Tobias Fischer

Julia van der Piller Discography:

As Julia van der Piller:
Sound Perversions (In Noize) 2009   
Cold Fire (Intox Noize) 2009   
No More Excesses In Asylum (Intox Noize) 2009   
Awakening In Empty Room (Remixes) (Intox Noize) 2010   
Slow Runner To Frozen Hills (Pharmacom Records) 2010   
Soul Eater/ w. Hinamizawa Syndrome (Random Manifestation)    2010   
Don't Belive Me EP (Pharmacom)     2010   
Under Destructive Noise/ w. Undercore X (Drill) 2010   
Reasons To Hate (Bump Foot) 2010   
Back To Basics (Intox Noize) 2010   
Virtual Dust/ w. Darksider (Intox Noize) 2010
Perverted Games. Phase III (Industrial Noise) 2010   
Perverted Games. Phase II (Industrial Noise)    2010   
Perverted Games. Phase I (Industrial Noise Records) 2010
No Matter (Intox Noize) 2011

Julia van der Piller / Charmante Juliette

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