Podcast 001 : Richard Frances (Hylé Tapes)
– When did Hylé Tapes start and why did you choose to launch your label?
I created Hylé Tapes in January 2015 with the first release « Echo de Gradient » by JUJU. It’s a free electronic project I take part to with Adrien Kanter (Trésors, Le Réveil des Tropiques, Eddie 135, …).
I decided to create my own label because I wanted to give a boost to some artists who wanted to release their music physically without waiting for years as it can be the case on certain labels releasing vinyls.
– Indeed, the releases are only available on tapes. Beyond the fast production process, why did you choose this support?
They are also available on digital. I made this choice because tapes are something we’ll cherish and keep, not like impersonal mp3s. Tapes also allow me to create interesting visuals and to consider the object as an artisanal creation: all my tapes are stamped and numbered by hand.
– The musical style of your artists is quite broad. How would you define it?
For me, the main thread is electronic and more precisely experimental electronic music, which differs from the « mainstream » or « pop » electronic music. This being said, you will find on the label really various projects like Pointe du Lac and its french Kosmische Musik, the experimental post-dub of Jay Glass Dubs, the experiments of the Mexican girls Leslie García & Paloma López (Logar Decay) or the techno of Marine Drouan with her Kritzkom project.
– The label also has a very particular visual identity. What’s the guiding thread?
I don’t really have one. I personally made half of them, and the others have been made by the musicians. I am sensitive to nature elements, plants, minerals,… I don’t really think about it when I create a visual. I listen to the record and I take some photos, I do some digital or paper collages, as some drawing sometimes. It may be totally abstract or figurative. It makes me happy when you say there is an identity because it’s quite a messy visual collections.
– Among other things, you’re also a musician. How did get into electronic music?
At home, we didn’t really listen to electronic music when I was a kid. However, my parents had really eclectic tastes and I’ve been fed with free jazz, psych rock, world musics, etc. I was born in 1981 and, during my youth I listened to electronic music, sometimes unwillingly, and I started to tinker with tapes (tape recorder, 4 tracks). It’s only later that I started playing with synths, sequencers, and drum machines because my first instrument were drums. It must be more than 10 years now that I’ve really started playing with synths and other electronic instruments. Even if I had my hands on drum machines or grooveboxes like the MC303 in 2000. The first tracks I uploaded on Internet were under the name Acid Fountain. It was a game, an exercise in order to seize House & Techno which I was forced to listen to when I was in a teenager in Spain. I was playing with Owlle on stage and in the studio and this was the time I started to make more electronic music. Since then, I never stopped.
– You prepared a one hour mixtape for us in this podcast. Can you tell us how you chose the tracks?
It’s an arbitrary combination, the goal was to show the broad range of sounds you can find on the label. I thought a one hour mixtape would be enough to encourage people to discover other artists of the label. I hope it’s the case!