INTERVIEW WITH MASOMENOS
We spoke to the duo MASOMENOS ( a productive partnership between Joan Costes, a graphic designer and DJ, and Adrien de Maublanc, a producer and sound engineer. They both clearly have a ball with 'Welcome to Masomenos' an audio-visual system they use to produce their spontaneous, lighthearted, psychedelic, no limits universe.) They’ve been pretty busy holed up in the recording studio at hotel costes, working with a collective of bands and live musicians for the past two years recording projects classified as modern classical, electronic jazz, avant garde electronica and as a result they now have eight full length albums and sixteen EP’s dropping pretty regularly over the next few years,. Glacial , is one for example that Ricardo Villalobos has said is “the album of his dreams”.
MidiMinuit is a collaborative project between pianist Julien Quentin, bass player Yonatan Levi and electronic musicians Cesar Merveille & Adrien de Maublanc. Four experts in their respective fields are harmoniously combining their music creating a new entity.
From the very first recording sessions, a set of rules was made, the first one being working from 12pm to 12am, which gave birth to the name ‘MidiMinuit’. The result of this unique and unusual formation is an elegant and minimalistic constellation where space is given to let the music breathe. All the tracks on this first album were improvised, catching the essence and the fragility of the original jams. Three days, twelve hours of music per day, from 12pm to 12am. This was the first time all four musicians came together. In those three days, there were no rehearsals. Every piece was improvised, recorded and it was moved on to the next track. Cesar was working separately with Julien, Yonatan and Adrien on different projects. As he was refining his process with modular synthesis, it became clear that bringing those world-class musicians together had the potential to create something very unique.
"This collaboration is the result of a crossed friendship and musical touring over the years with all of us being based mainly in Berlin and also Paris, and also meeting on the road. My apartment in Berlin has been a regular meeting point for all musicians and artists in town and passing by. The loft space in Kreuzberg with the B-Steinway grand piano and the Studer analog console have patiently been waiting to reunite and that’s what MidiMinuit is about. - Julien Quentin
Greatest inspirations or influences?
We love experimenting with different medias, so we have many sources of inspiration.
Musically motown, the Beatles, Erykah Badu, Pink Floyd, Jon Hassell, Jan Jelinek, to The Pharcyde and Johnny Nash.
Watched a documentary on Travis Scott that was extremely inspiring (the documentary and the artist’s work)
Artists like Kusama, Niki de Saint Phalle, David Hockney, Keith Haring, Picasso and Alexander Calder.
Henrik Vibskov as a multi-platform artist and a very interesting path.
All our work on light surely refers to James Turrell and Carlos Cruz-Diez.
Also following closely the work of Studio Olafur Elisson that always pushes the boundaries of the art of experience, illusion and science inviting us to reflect on our shared adventure of being human on this planet.
How did MidiMinuit happen?
As far as MidiMinuit is concerned, it all happened in Berlin as we (Julien Quentin, Adrien de Maublanc, Cesar Merveille, Yonathan Levi and Moritz Capellmann) decided to experiment a new electro-acoustic sound. We bordered ourselves into this 12 to 12 time frame that inspired the midiminuit name.
How were the collaborations selected?
The collaboration just happened, as life. Meeting musicians, that introduced us to other musicians.
For A_Delta, we met David in a party in Port de l’Arsenal and we has a great talk about his musician life and study. We invited him to the studio and recorded over a few weeks the Port de l’Arsenal album.
Julien, who is part of MidiMinuit, came over with Adrien, (alto player) and Laetitia (violin) who became with Adrien (Masomenos) « Ecriture Automatique ». Later Julien and Adrien came together for a week and as it was a very emotional time for both of them, a« Les Coeurs Brisées » was born.
One of the most interesting things that have happened during these recordings?
Oh, each session has it’s spirit!
The one i’m mentioning above, with Adrien and Julien, was very emotional.
Before the summer Kirk Lightsey, an 80 years old pianist, came for an improvised session as we were finishing the Packashume album with Yoni. It was so incredible to see the passion of a musician still playing with the enthusiasm of a newcomer and the precision and mastery of his background.
The production looks out of this world...i'd love to know more about this.
For MidiMinuit, we have a bunch of modular and synths for Cesar and I (Adrien), a bass for Yoni and a piano for Julien. Morritz Capellmann is def a part of the band!
He is always there with us mastering the sound set up, patching, checking and creating the best environment for the recording and also allowing guest musician to jump in the jam very easily. He is contributing a lot to the sound of Studio HC.
What is the role the Hotel Costes studio plays?
More than 3 years ago, we set up our studio in the the construction of an extension of Hôtel Costes.
What was supposed to be only temporary became slowly a real settle that witnessed the transformation of the hotel. It kind of inspired a new organic and downtempo sound as we dived into modular analog set-up. Over the year, as we got invited to keep the studio there, we named the place STUDIO HC and decided to release the music that produced or mixed there on a label : "Hotel Costes presents…" as we believed it could be an original evolution for the brand that has been famous for it’s chill out vibe.
Thank you Jordan Bruce for arranging this very special interview.