Hi Bruno! Great to chat to you today! We loved “Swan Lake” at HDNSM, myself especially as you may know , and quant’ wait to find out more about Pluie/Noir…
What is the main concept/idea of Pluie/Noir ?
Hello! Thank you for the invitation.
Pluie/Noir is about interaction, about this huge audio-visual system producing different effects from the sum of all the artists involved in it. It started out as a collective focused on audio-visual interpretations, focused on the artists themselves and what art means to them. It’s about artists expressing themselves with no strings attached and sharing their soul or peculiar tastes, and letting other artists share that vision in different mediums.
The imprint will stand for the same standards. I don’t want to release music exclusively for the dancefloors.. actually I try to get away from it sometimes. The best dancefloor you can get is your mind, and if you picture your own imaginary space, that’s when you feel free and creative, and the output will last longer too.
What is the story behind the creation of the artist collective and record label?
Pluie/Noir started out when I was still in college. I was studying design at the time, and my life was split between working late hours over design essays and learning music production / mixing on my own. I started creating a bridge between both activities, dreaming about a group of people working together in synergy, doing music for graphics and graphics for music. I always did my design works with music, inspired by it, moved. When I finished my studies I needed to start my own portfolio and decided to do a series of personal triptychs visually interpreting Musique Concrète classics in minimalistic lines. I was meeting an insane amount of wonderfully talented people at the time and decided to start a collective, with prospects of a future record label and design/booking agency. I was broke back then (and still am), my parents were getting a divorce and we were sinking in financial problems so I needed to save money for a project like this, slowly. The podcasts with visual interpretations were my strategy for building a hunger and interest behind the brand, until I could gather enough money to invest on the actual record label.
How do you approach selecting artists for PNR?
It was, and it has been, a quite natural process. Since the beginning, mostly all the people I met came to me (or I came to them) with a main connection to music, via Soundcloud or Facebook. Mutual interests move similar people to the same connecting roads, and this project was never about money so it’s all about the love you feel for the arts, and the love you can get back to the artists and to people. That’s how I met my A&R D.I.E.M (Diogo Lacerda) and Marc Milner, co-managing
and helping me big time on this project as A&R and Bookings respectively. This modern age has it’s pros and cons, but the communication facilities we get are definitely a pro. I’m also happy I met Pheek in the beginning of this project, not only he was always super supportive and friendly, he also believed in me as an artist and a dreamer. Slowly I gained strength to try out and reach the artists I admired, like Petre Inspirescu, in the most friendly and respectful way. I try to stay humble, keep my feet on the ground and learn slowly with my mistakes, show the people my plans, my dreams, and show them what I can do for them or their work, for the music world. I don’t promise anything more than my attempt of creating something really special each time.
How would you describe Pluie/Noir sound and image to someone who has never experienced it before?
Everyone pictures something when listening to music, that’s why clubs are in the dark, not only because people feel more loose, it’s because they can imagine whatever they want, close their eyes. Music is light and color not just in audio frequencies, it’s also an open world free for personal and peculiar interpretations. That’s how I can describe Pluie/Noir, our own attempt of mixing artistic expression with artistic, graphically stated, visual imagination.
You are based in Portugal – how would you describe underground music scene there now?
I feel a bit relentless and quite restless about it. Joining a severe economical crisis with a boom of digital approach to music makes it easy for djs and producers to appear, the market gets too thick and most of the times moved by greed and lobbies. Club owners are not willing to make risks and small clubs keep trying until they eventually give up. But the club scene has so much potential, we have wonderful places and some enthusiastic crowds (albeit small when it comes to underground electronic music).
I guess we’re some of the biggest victims of this economical bust, and people feel sad and with their morale floor-level low.
The night-scene is pretty much unpredictable I feel.
PNR is a vinyl only label –would you ever consider digital releases or will you always stick to this timeless format? What do you see in the future for vinyl industry?
For as long as I can, I’ll stick to the physical format. I’m a very “physical” person. I collect dvds, blu-rays, cds, vinyl, video games, books. I like to have them on the shelves, on the drawers. I like the smell of my comics, the touch of my vinyls. When I’m talking about an artist to a friend and I say “I have his album xyz”, I like to feel I actually have it, something I can touch. The digital format is more of a resource for me, a way to get something fast and easy rather than a way to collect and keep.
So yes, physical format will do for now, in a multitude of ways (vinyl, cd, cassette).
PNR releases are characterized by exceptionally beautiful artwork to go alongside the music.: how in your opinion the two compliment each other?
As the curator and creative director I try to make sure the graphic artist is the best suited for the music in question. I also have a great concern relating the artists own opinions. In Petre’s release I asked him if he had a preference regarding the artwork, and showed him all the artists I had working with me at the time. Traian Chereches was a good choice for him not only because they were acquainted, but also because both audio and visual pieces we’re highly organic so he related to that. In Vlad Caia’s release I felt I wanted to be the contribution to the graphical piece and did the two paintings people know now from the regular and special editions. They are my two visions of the same release, the lightness and the darkness of it.
I think the artwork is extremely important, specially because I recall always feeling attracted to peculiar artworks when doing my “diggings” on music stores. And usually when I listen to an unknown album I picked due to it’s artwork, it usually is pretty damn good, and it makes perfect sense in the end. If it sounds good and it looks good, the whole package is a sum of both. Aint that awesome?
You talk about an artist being innovative and open minded – what exactly do you mean by that definition?
I push all the artists working with me to create something they feel as their own. Sometimes even forget the dancefloor or the graphical trends, do something risky and unexpected. I’ve had bad experiences with record labels in the past, with them wanting me to do a specific kind of music for a specific kind of dancefloor, and I hated that attitude, I felt restricted and not a true artist at all. We’re not supposed to be machines working on someone’s standards, we’re all different so our music should be like this.
The people in this project today are the people I feel in my guts that will succeed in the audio-visual world, that will do something great. Being innovative is not about doing something new anymore.. “oldish” is the new “new”. As long as you try to do something different and unusual, for me you are trying to be innovative.
We really love PNR 002 here at HDNSM – what do you like most about this release?
Everything. Both tracks were love at first listen. I was actually really proud of Vlad Caia when he showed me these tracks, I felt secure of it and put all my efforts in the artistic features of the package, the design and the artwork. It deserved all my attention and I’m happy people felt engrossed by it. He’s definitely one of my favorite artists of this fresh and young generation.
What are your future plans for the label and your own artistic plans as Cleymoore?
People keep asking me about my first vinyl releases and I always gave the same answer. I’m not in a hurry, I value the physical format a lot, but I also think that these days we should not press everything we want just because we can actually do it. I want to be sure the music I release on vinyl is decent enough for a format that is so dear to me. I want to make sure it sounds right, make sure it will not be a track that you hear in 5 years and feel it’s dated. So I decided to keep working, quietly, showing snippets every once in a while to keep people engaged with my work and feel hopeful. I’ve also been super concentrated on Pluie/noir and making it the project I always dreamed of. So about now? 2013 is the year I’m expecting to release 3 vinyl releases, I feel ready and secure of the music I want to release, I’m just on the finishing touches and will do the mixdowns at a proper recording studio in Lisbon. And I’m also planning 2 sister-labels for pluie/noir.. A vinyl-only sub-label focused on collaborations between artists from the collective, and other focused on experimental music to be released in cassette tape and eventually 7″-10″ vinyl. In the meantime I’m planning at least 2 art galleries with performances, one in Paris, other in London.
When can we expect 003 and have you chosen who is it going to be by yet?
PNR003 is almost done, and it should will be signed by one of my dearest japanese producers and djs of all time for over a decade. The only detail I can confirm at the moment is that the artwork was gracefully done by Bonjour Bonsoir and I’m really happy about the whole package once again.
Special Editions will keep happening, and after some slight problems with delays over the factories and some major problems with national shipping posts, I’m doing some business re-structuring at the moment: getting deals with professional shipping services, packaging factories and graphical companies, all this to keep the special editions as special as possible for next times. Good times ahead, I hope and wish!
Thank you! We are very much looking forward to PNR003!
Interview by Maria