Interview: CALAX-004 "The Dead Mauriacs"
The Dead Mauriacs (Olivier Prieur)

Calax Records (C): Could you please tell us about your most recent activities?

The Dead Mauriacs | Olivier Prieur (O):  I'm currently working on a new video for a live concert that will take place in the north west of France in April. I'm creating new visuals and sounds, building on something I did in Paris in December. I'm trying to make it longer and bigger for a larger audience. I'm also collaborating with two labels, one from Poland called Sublime Retreat and a small one in Japan called Zappak. I think they recently released three CDs, two by Japanese artists I'm not familiar with and one by Andrew Pekler. His work is in a similar vein to mine, with a focus on exotica and electronic music.

現在、4月にフランス西部で行われるライブのための新しいビデオを制作しています。12月にパリで行ったライブをベースに、新しいビジュアルとサウンドを制作しています。より多くの観客のために、より長く、より大きなものにしようと思っています。また、ポーランドのSublime Retreatというレーベルと、日本のZappak という小さなレーベルのための。最近3枚のCDをリリースしたと思いますが、2枚は私がよく知らない日本のアーティスト、1枚はAndrew Peklerのものです。彼の作品は、エキゾチカとエレクトロニック・ミュージックに重点を置いていて、私と似たような系統のものです。彼はCDやDVDでも作品をリリースしています。

過去のThe Dead Mauriacsにより映像作品の抜粋。

Excerpts from past video works by The Dead Mauriacs.

C: How did you get to know each other with labels?

O: I didn't know about the label initially. I stumbled upon it online and was intrigued by the music. So, I contacted the label owner to discuss a potential project.


C: We actually featured your paintings in the artwork for the LP and in the artwork for the book. How do those ideas come up like these images?

O: I used to draw and paint every day. Sometimes, I don't think about what I'm doing, I just draw, and when I find something I like, I continue in that direction for a while. Then, when I'm satisfied, I move on to another medium. Lately, I've been using charcoal a lot, and for the last 15 days, I've been drawing with black ink or a black pen almost every day. I'm also interested in the early 21st century avant-garde movement, such as Dada. It's a daily practice for me.


C: When did you start to draw?

O: When I was a kid, I used to draw comics and cartoons. As I grew older, I began painting, but I stopped working on large canvases to focus on small paper formats. It's easier to store and file completed drawings, and you can create series with a small size. It's also easy to start something new and create a series of 5-6 drawings. I enjoy slowly evolving each piece daily by adding or removing elements from one drawing to the next.

C: When did you get inspiration for drawings?

O: With this series, I started with the intention of exploring something new. Two years ago, I was using tempera and watercolors for my paintings, but I decided to switch to charcoal. I experimented with different types of charcoal every day and gradually, I began creating structures and architectures with strange forms inside them. I continued to develop these structures and architectures, which eventually evolved into a black and white world filled with unique forms. However, there is no specific idea behind the drawings. The ideas come slowly as I draw, and it's not an intellectual process. While you can develop a concept later, drawing is simply about putting in the work. It's also a form of escapism for me.

C: How did your musical interest begin? Were you impressed by your parents?

O: When I was a teenager my parents were listening to classical music and jazz, let’s say easy jazz, people such as Oscar Peterson. At school, with friends I discovered cold wave and new wave and then more experimental and avant-garde music. I became interested in industrial music, Throbbing Gristle, Coil and Nurse With Wound… I also started to explore different types of world music such as Middle Eastern music. Later on I began to create my own music ; music has always been a big part of my life.

10代の頃、両親はクラシック音楽とジャズ、例えばOscar Petersonのようなイージージャズを聴いていました。学校では、友人たちと一緒にコールドウェーブやニューウェーブ、そしてより実験的でアバンギャルドな音楽に出会いました。スロッビング・グリッスル、コイル、ナース・ウィズ・ウーンドといったインダストリアル・ミュージックに興味を持ち、中東音楽などさまざまなタイプのワールドミュージックも探求するようになりました。その後、自分の音楽を作るようになりました。音楽は私の人生で常に大きな部分を占めています。

C: Could you tell your favorite record shop in France?

O: It seems like record shops have become less common in my hometown and it's difficult to find records easily. When I was young, there were many record shops in my town ( Vertigo, Closer, etc.) but now there is only one big shop that sells books, stereo equipment, and some records, but it's not a real record shop. As for buying music, I mostly purchase online, either directly from labels or through a subscription service like the English label Touch. However, I find it unfortunate that it's hard to find records in my hometown now.

私の住んでいる町ではレコードショップが少なくなったようで、レコードを簡単に見つけることが難しくなりました。私が若い頃は(Vertigo、 Closerなど)私の住む町にもたくさんのレコードショップがありましたが、今は本やステレオ機器、レコードも売っている大きなお店が1軒あるだけで、本格的なレコードショップではありません。音楽の購入に関しては、レーベルから直接購入するか、イギリスの「Touch」のようなレーベルにあるサブスクリプションサービスを利用して、ほとんどオンラインで購入しています。しかし、今、私の地元でレコードを見つけるのが難しいのは残念です。

C: I was a little bit surprised.

O: I see. It's unfortunate that record shops have been disappearing over time in France. It seems like the trend is similar in many other countries as well. However, it's good to know that there is still at least one independent record shop in your hometown, even if it only sells second-hand records now. It's always exciting to find something unique or unexpected in a second-hand shop. And it's great that you can still order new records through the internet. Technology has made it easier to access music, even if it's not quite the same experience as going to a physical record shop.


C: You've stayed in your hometown?

O: ​​​​​​​I travel for holidays for example, but yes I'm working here. I mainly stay in Le Havre in the Northwest of France, 200 kilometers from Paris. My neighbors are English people!

The dawn from the window of my deck/studio and some flowers in the garden.

The swimming pool is the one where I recorded the sound of the dry leaves.


C: And do you do field recordings in your hometown?

O: Sometimes, yes. There were two big strikes a few weeks ago and I went into the streets to record the sounds and noise that people were making. There were a lot of drums and other sounds, such as small rockets that we can use in the area. And lots of other things like that. I always have my record machine with me, so when I hear something that I like, I record it.

There have been demonstrations in France for several weeks. You can hear fireworks going off in the streets and people demonstrating. In my hometown, the dockworkers use drums when demonstrating and also sometimes very loud professional fireworks.
All three photos were taken in Le Havre in the morning when I was walking to join the street demonstration. The photos don't show people, but a few minutes later the area was crowded with demonstrators.
C: What kind of sounds do you usually field recordings?

C: Yeah, I'm actually recording a lot of things. When we travel, go on holidays or visit places, I bring my recording equipment with me. I record everyday sounds - it could be the wind, a noise on the wall, the sound of your shoes on the floor, or in a place where the sound is strange or nice. Sometimes, when walking in nature, I come across a piece of wood, some rocks, or dried flowers that can make sounds, and I record that too. So, wherever I am, I'm always making some noise and recording it. It becomes part of the music or the beginning of a new sound. Sometimes I use a complete field recording file, and sometimes I edit it and cut it down to just a few seconds which are transformed and incorporated into a new sound.

C: What was a memorable LP when you were young?

O: Well, the two first records I bought with my own money were a Philip Glass LP called "Glassworks" and Steve Reich's CD "Different Trains" played by the Kronos Quartet. I listened to them a lot.
そうですね、初めて自分のお金で買ったレコードはフィリップ・グラスの「Glassworks」というLPと、クロノス・カルテットが演奏したスティーブ・ライヒのCD「Different Trains」の2枚でしたね。よく聴きましたよ。

C: How did you feel when you first heard those albums?

O: I cannot remember the exact feeling, but I do remember feeling really happy. It was something different from pop or rock music. It had a clear structure and the music was slowly moving from one phase to another, especially with Steve Reich's music. It was quite new to my ears when I was young, and I enjoyed it.


C: How did you move to Exotica?

O: I think when I was young, I listened to the radio a lot. Every day, in fact. In the 70s, there was a lot of South American music on the radio - bossa nova, and things like that. I didn't really like it, but there were snippets, small things inside the songs that I liked. When I was young, it was because of my father, certainly, we watched a lot of Western movies with cowboys, and especially the Spaghetti Westerns, like "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" with Ennio Morricone music.  In his music, you have these voices which are beautiful. It's something… that's like a story in itself. And at the same time, it's really funny. There's a second degree when you're listening to it. It's always good with the movie, and there's something that seems to say, "I'm doing music for this movie, but at the same time, I'm looking at it from far away". You can find this kind of voice also in the Italian movies from the 60s and 70s. They were always violent  murder, violent crime - and there were big bright colors - red, yellow, green - like in Dario Argento's movies. When I began to make music, I was not consciously looking for exotica, but I remember that I loved to use this kind of sound and to play with them. A few years later, a friend of mine said it was "concrete exotica" or "exotica concrete". We used these words, but at first it was not planned. It was not a project. It came slowly, once again.

若い頃は、ラジオをよく聴いていたように思います。実際、毎日のように。70年代には、ラジオから南米の音楽がたくさん流れていました。ボサノバとかですね。あまり好きではなかったのですが、曲の中に好きな曲の断片や小ネタがあったんです。若い頃は、父の影響もあって、カウボーイが出てくる西部劇をよく見ていました。特にスパゲッティ・ウエスタンの『続・夕陽のガンマン』では、エンニオ・モリコーネの音楽が流れていました。 彼の音楽には、美しい歌声があります。それ自体が物語のようなものなんです。そして同時に、本当に面白いんです。聴いていると、二度おいしいんです。映画との相性もいいし、「この映画のために音楽をやりながら、同時に遠くからこの映画を見ているんだ」と思えるようなものがある。こういう声は、60年代、70年代のイタリア映画にもありますね。ダリオ・アルジェントの映画のように、赤、黄、緑といった鮮やかな色彩で、暴力的な殺人、凶悪犯罪が描かれているのです。音楽を作り始めた頃は、意識してエキゾチカを探していたわけではありませんが、こういった音を使ったり、遊んだりするのが好きだったのを覚えています。数年後、友人が「コンクリート・エキゾティカ」「エキゾティカ・コンクリート」だと言っていました。こういう言葉を使っていたんですが、最初は計画性がなかったんです。プロジェクトでもありませんでした。それは再び、ゆっくりとやってきたのです。

C: Can you push us on how “The Dead Mauriacs” project got started?
”The Dead Mauriacs”のプロジェクトは、どのようにして始まったのでしょうか?

O: At the beginning, it was a joke, doing stuff we did not use to do. Initially, it was a conversation among seven people, and we wanted to do something together. We spent almost a year trying to play together once a week, mainly with three people. For a couple of years, it was just the two of us working and playing together. The first concert we gave was a dual version with my friend Vincent, and then it reduced to just me.


C: Do you have any archives of the first concert?

O: Yes, we have recordings, but they may not necessarily be interesting to listen to. When we started out, we recorded everything. So every week's session was recorded, but the recordings were mainly for us to learn how to make music. So they may not be particularly engaging for others to listen to.


C: What kind of action with the creation is it for you?

O: I'm not exactly sure. First, it's a pleasure to do it. That's the main thing. When you're making music or drawing, you're not thinking of anything else. You're creating something that brings you pleasure. It's a fun thing. And then, with titles, texts, words, drawing, and sound, it starts to take shape and becomes something in itself. In a way, it's like a sculpture. You add elements and it starts to exist, and then people can listen to, see, or read it, and it becomes their own. People imagine what they want. It's not what you say, but what they hear, see, and imagine it to be.


C: How do you see the situations surrounding the world today?

O: Well, if you're asking whether I'm personally optimistic, I have to say that I'm not really optimistic about the world around me. In fact, I tend to be more cynical. In Greek, the word 'cynical' actually means someone who tells the truth, so maybe that's a bit pretentious of me, but I don't like what I see around me

私が個人的に楽観的かというと、私は周りの世界については、あまり楽観的な見方ではないと言わざるを得ません。むしろ、シニカルになりがちです。ギリシャ語で "cynical "という言葉は、真実を語る人という意味なので、ちょっと気取った言い方かもしれませんが、自分の周りにあるものが好きではありません。

C: How would you like to spend your time in the future?

O: I would love to continue playing music and creating art if I had the chance. Although I do have to work every day, it's nice to see that my work is gaining more interest from people. It's a good motivation to keep going and it's also nice to be invited to play or meet new people. I'm not exactly sure what else to say, but I'm grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts.