To Live and Breathe Music – An Interview with CLOSED MOUTH

Interview   Closed Mouth

For the ones used to hang out on Soundcloud, it must have been hard don’t come across the overflowing creative vein, uploaded almost on daily basis, from French musician Yannick Rault through his several monikers Triple Sun, Bluebeard’s Castle, So What?, Sander & Melody, Twenty Years

Under his latest alias Closed Mouth, our man has just released today « [ one ] », the title of the debut album via  Cold Transmission Music Label, a deep, distinctive and intriguing sonic immersion into his coldwave, post-punk, gothic rock influences.

I had a nice conversation with Yannick about his new album, his incredible working rate and more… 

1 What did you listen to your youth? Where did your influences come from?

I started listening to music at a very young age. I have two older brothers, so I followed their musical evolution. My first LP was The Police‘s “Regatta de Blanc”, bought from my big brother’s friend, I had around 8 years old. I’ve always loved The Police, especially Stewart Copeland‘s unique drumming technique influenced me a lot. At around 14/15 years old I discovered New Wave, first The Cure and consequently Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, Joy Division as many youngsters from my generation.

It was at the beginning of the 90s that I started to get interested in something else, Britpop, Shoegaze, with the excellent “Loveless” by My Bloody Valentine which I  still consider a masterpiece, as much for the sheer artistry of its songwriting as for the creativity and richness of its sound. I also listened to a lot of Jazz, Soundtrack Music (with a keen preference for 70’s Blaxploitation), all the electronic sound born around innovative labels like Ninja Tune, Warp Records, Industrial, Concrete music, and I’ve grown quite fond of contemporary music too. Ultimately I like to range between various and different genres and styles, I don’t just settle for few, the world of music is too wide and exciting to be narrow-minded.

2  We’ve started to be familiar with your music under your several monikers ‘Musique à usage personnel’, ‘So What?’…‘Triple Sun’ lately…

Well, sometimes I get lost myself too. As I said above, I like a lot of stuff, consequently, I like to experiment in various areas. One of the most interesting parts of the web is that we have the opportunity to collaborate with people from very different countries and backgrounds. The idea is really to try to explore and experiment sounds with these projects without necessarily being official, often just for the pleasure to make music. I also have a project (Twenty Years) with my dear friend – Camille Guillaud – who by the way, has made the pictures for the forthcoming Bluebeard’s Castle and she’s also involved in the “[one]” cover art. Our collaboration requires a lot of work because it will not be just musical but also visual, we’re both from the graphic arts. The fact that we’re almost neighbors consequently opens the door to a new working approach. Musically, we are just beginning to define where we want to go, but we’re going to take our time because we both have our individual activities.

3 How does your compositional process work?

I don’t really know…. The process is pretty much the same: I turn on my machines and I start, according to the mood of the day. I prefer don’t know where I’m going in 90% of cases. Sometimes I have an idea in mind while I’m on my job, so I take notes and, once in the studio, I try to stick to it. Sometimes it doesn’t work, I realize during the recording that I don’t have the right feel, the desired pleasure playing it, so I leave it aside and I switch to something very different.

4 Can you explain to us your creative approach?

It’s really a question of desires and moods. For this reason, I’m increasingly giving different names to my projects, I’m trying to classify my work by style. On the other hand, I noticed that when I know in advance which style I want to accomplish, I always use the same process. For example, when I’m creating a coldwave track, I have a tendency to start a temporary rhythm and use directly my bass. Instead of my noise/shoegaze projectSander & Melody, I take my guitar and test combinations with my effects. ‘Sander & Melody’ is a sort of recreational enjoyment, it’s noisy, sometimes dissonant, it amuses me a lot. What’s exciting about the composition is that I rarely know what will happen to the end, when it starts to take shape, I do not know how it will end.

5 How would you describe the music on this LP? What are the differences between your other projects and their main influences?

It’s a kind of return to my musical roots. I love to immerse myself in the world of coldwave, post-punk, gothic rock. The sound is very minimalistic, made of relatively simple structures with few technical connotations, it’s quite urgent and spontaneous. The big news is that I “sing” …  I didn’t ever think it would happen one day. Although the first tests were quite painful, I realize that it’s the right time for it, even if you can’t affirm that I have a beautiful voice. I really thought I’d have been slaughtered when I posted the first songs on Soundcloud, but, against all odds, the feedback was quite positive, giving me some self-confidence, enough to allow myself to continue.

But it’s just a first step, I believe I’m still in a comfort zone, I think the next album will be certainly different, even if I do really want to keep the cold aspect. There are a couple of hints to certain ‘seminal’ song from the past, I like to pay tribute to the bands that inspired me to compose music.

6 Let’s still talk about the LP… Is it an ephemeral project or something that you want to develop later?

The point of departure and also the stumbling block was the ‘act of violence’ of trying to sing. Due to my limitations in it, I tried to compensate for this limit trying to find a way to instill something unique of my own personality. I don’t know yet what… But yes, it’s a project that I really want to develop, so there will be a sequel.

7 Lyric-wise, is there a thread connecting the songs? Why the English language? You are considering the idea of not singing only in English?

It’s completely abstract. These are really bits of ideas, often generated by sensations, emotions. I don’t t try to tell a story or pass a message, it’s a bit like a stream of consciousness. It is for this reason that the voice is often overshadowed and backward, used more as an instrument. I use English because I’ve never been much into French-speaking music. It’s more sound than words essentially. Again, I made a small tribute to Coil with the song “Man is an animal”.

8 Let’s talk about your relationship with Cold Transmission Music.

Well, it’s a total mystery. I don’t remember how we got in touch. What I can say is that Andreas has always been interested in my music and when we started the project The Bluebeard’s Castles with Bela, he invited us to publish it for his label. He truly seems someone always looking for emerging bands and deeply passionate about music. It’s refreshing to have that feeling of freedom while being supported by someone who knows how a label works.

9 What about your collaboration with Bela on The Bluebeard’s Castle, soon again on Cold Transmission Music…

Again, I do not know how or when the project was born. I will end up believing that my age is tricking me… haha…Originally, it was more like a collaborative test, that instead has developed over time, and today we’re going to release a CD. The magic of the internet!

10  You are very prolific. How do you explain this hyperactivity? What do you do when you’re not composing or listening to music?

It’s a vital need. I’m lucky to be an independent graphic designer, so I manage my time as I like. If my desire to make music is stronger, I work either very early in the morning or late at night, over the weekends I use to take part of the afternoon to make music. You have to get a rhythm going, but it suits me perfectly. So when I’m not working, I’m doing music and visual creation. I’m aware of being really lucky to be able to combine my two main passions.

11  Can you talk about the French music scene?

I can’t be honest … I’m not particularly aware of what’s going on in France.

12 What are your favorite bands/artists?

Right now, I’m listening to old bands like My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, often The Cure‘s ‘trilogy’, the various projects of Katie Jane Garside, Brian Eno and of course Coil and Throbbing Gristle … but about the “contemporary” groups I do like the KVB, The Radio Dept., ACTORS, Ochre, Jessica 93, Yasume, Deru, Animal Collective, etc…

13 Thanks so much for being our welcome guest…would you like to add anything?

Thank you very much for your support, for Cold Transmission‘s trust and help, and for all those who encouraged and support all my projects.

Keep up with Closed Mouth: