Picture by  Léonard Méchineau

Under the influence with: Eszaid

I remember this one cold October day in Zurich. Back then, I used to live in this spacious four room apartment in the middle of the city, which had a very modest interior, a guest-bed and a lo-fi stereo unit. My two French guests from Paris, Louis Vial and Cyrus Goberville from Collapsing Market, didn’t need more to feel safe…Later at the club, the front cover of Louis’ Drummachine split off and his phone disappeared under mysterious circumstances. The shattering bass and the cold machine sounds of Eszaid’s live set are still running through me today. A year later, his debut album "Eurosouvenir“ came out. So far, this is Collapsing Market’s sixth release. As today’s highlight, Louis talks to me about what inspired him during production.

- Hey Louis! Tell me something about the process that led to Eurosouvenir. What has happened since we saw each other the last time?

Hey Marc! I was already working on the tracks for Eurosouvenir when you invited us to Zurich. I even played «Alicante», slightly different than the album version at that time. I remember being in a period when I was trying to make tribal / industrial tracks around 140 bpm with very few elements to let each rhythmic pattern breathe and have its own impact on the ear. I often get into one or two month long obsessive periods like that, where I try to make a precise kind of track. For Eurosouvenir, we had to pick the ones that, even though they were made during different periods of time, still had a sense of coherence between them. I think that’s how you can build your own sound identity, by being able to separate what’s closer to a simple stylistic exercise - and i’m actually very bad at that - from what really comes out of your own will and creativeness. Since our little trip in Switzerland, I also worked on two sound pieces for a limited edition CD released with «Début de Siècle», a wonderful book by my friends Kamilya Kuspanova and Anton Bialas. 

-Why the name Eurosouvenir?

The name itself comes from the zero euros banknotes that you can buy in many tourists hotspots across Europe. It is an obvious nod to the label’s universe, and it also refers to very personal obsessions about the idea of an ancient Dionysian continent whose beauty and creative strength are only visible through its ruins today. 
I visited Pompeii earlier this year with my girlfriend, a place big enough to walk alone amongst the old villas and temples and to feel a very particular atmosphere. I guess that’s when I realised how powerful the ruins could be. My fascination for an ancient pagan Europe also comes from the first published Nietzsche book, «The Birth of Tragedy», which is mainly a theory about Greek tragedy as the highest form of art, but also a critique of a world run by rationalism and scientism instead of myths.
 So, you may have already understood it, Eurosouvenir is kind of a pessimistic title, coming with a pessimistic music.

Tell me the story about your Live Gig in Zurich. What exactly happened during the soundcheck?

To be honest I still don’t really know what happened. I have this old Soviet drum machine (UDS Marsh) which is my favorite one. You can hear its crackling and out of tune percussions in 99% of my work. As it’s an old and fickle machine, it decided to stop working during soundcheck. Maybe it’s because of the cold, that’s the most plausible explanation. But just before the gig, it worked again.
And to be totally honest, this drum machine is not exactly mine, but it’s been lent to me for an indefinite period by a friend of mine who used to play in a band called Kill For Total Peace. Unfortunately, I truly fell in love with this cold piece of metal and electricity.

-What type of music are you surrounding yourself with at the moment? Or in other words, what music inspired you to do „Eurosouvenir“?

These days, I am rediscovering the records of the French experimental and traditional music label La Novia. I’m particularly into Jericho and Guilhem Lacroux. Apart from that, I almost only listen to dub and reggae at the moment, especially Earthquake Studios and all what came out from the King Tubby’s studio. Likea lot of electronic music producers I guess, I have a true fascination for the dub production techniques, using echoes and reverb, the bass sounds … When I was working on Eurosouvenir, I already had this obsession. You can maybe hear it in «Notre Mer».
 I was also inspired by tribal and ritual music, by immersing myself deep into the Ocora’s catalogue. 

-What movies do you enjoy watching?

That’s a good question because I’ve clearly been inspired by some movies when I made the tracks for Eurosouvenir. Almost every title of the LP are taken from «Bassae», a short documentary by Jean-Daniel Pollet that looks like a poetic statement about the ruins of the Greek civilization. My other main cinematic influence for Eurosouvenir was Robert Bresson. I’m obsessed by the place given to the noises and sounds in his movies, giving a surreal dimension to a rigorous aesthetic and an enigmatic way to lead the narration. I can even say that our first idea with Cyrus and Ethan (who runs / Collapsing Market with me) was to design the artwork of the album and to choose a title that referred to «L’argent», one of our favorite movies by Bresson. 

-You told me a lot about some Parisian exhibitions. When you were in Zurich you went to see „Riddles“ from Marguerite Humeau. What exhibitions did you go to in the last couple weeks? Or which one made you feel something?

I don’t really like museums and I’m kind of lazy, or even suspicious, when it comes to art, or I should say, when it comes to contemporary art. Fortunately, I have some close friends like Cyrus and Ethan or my girlfriend who make me discover some great stuff. For example, when we were in London with Cyrus, I discovered the amazing paintings of Justin John Greene. I also recently returned to one of my favorite places in Paris, the Ossip Zadkine’s museum, actually his former house and workshop. A truly inspiring place.

Interview: Marc Jauss
Translation: Kezia Salome Degen
Editing: Caspar Shaller


five inspiring tracks selected by louis vial: