I have to confess it was not easy for me to settle and explain RITUAL. It is so intrinsically linked to my personal life and my evolution, that it was very easy for me to find a good excuse not to start. But with POLAAR, our approach is to put projects we work on in a context. Things happen for a reason, and there is a lot around RITUAL!
The idea of working on a A/V show started growing in my mind a long time ago. After numerous years of DJing, I wanted a new challenge and that meant playing my own songs live.
I often got criticized because my tunes sound too different from others. I actually think it’s a compliment and I take pride in that. I listen to a lot of indie music and I try to apply such song structures or sound treatments on my own tracks. Sure, they are harder to mix in a dj set, but they sound unique.
Producers in electronic music often complain not be considered as artists. Maybe one of the reasons is precisely this: electronic music became an avalanche of standardized tunes, in the shapes and in the meaning. It has lost its power of revendication and its’ strength.
Working on a live show seemed like a good alternative to both push the artistic process while remaining accessible to clubs & festivals.
In 2009, I experienced the worst experience a human being can live: the disease and death of someone you truly love. I had lost my dad when I was a teenager, and this time, it was my mum’s turn. She passed away after almost a year of lung cancer. It can seem a bit banal but you only understand what it is when you live it.
At the time I was finishing my debut album RAW. All this totally fucked my mind up. I can’t find words to explain how this has totally destroyed me. I finished releasing my album, totally empty, on my knees. On the musical side, I felt really frustrated working with a label, even though, today, I have the feeling I learned a lot on the music industry and on myself.
But at the time, these two big human experiences sucked all my energy, like a vampire. It took me years to recover and to start loving what I do again. This has of course totally changed my life and my vision of what I wanted my life to be.
You start thinking about the decisions you made, the things you love you never find time to make happen. You think about the origins of who you are, the things that made you what you are today.
I realized how much I always have been a huge fan of conceptual albums or concerts. Artists such as Pink Floyd, Bjork or a label like Mo’Wax are my blood. They are my original source of inspiration, both musically & visually. I realized I never gave myself the chance to go in the same directions than the artists I love.
At the same time, I started listening to a lot of traditional music from Maghreb, sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia. I came across a bunch of books that have greatly inspired me and who spoke in particular of the relationship between man, his actions and his spirituality. Marcel Griaule‘s “Conversations with Ogotemmeli” was a important discovery for example. Talking about the Dogon tribes in Mali, this book shows how faith has fueled Dogon society with a very complex system of thoughts. I’ve always been attracted to religious art, regardless of the religion elsewhere.
Arts that move me the most are usually those related to spirituality. I love visiting churches. The sensation you experience when you enter a Church is strong. Sometimes positive and full of hope, sometimes dark and it smells death & history. It’s impossible to me to stay neutral.
I’m not a religious person though. I consider myself to be rather agnostic as I refuse to settle. I do not believe in people who believe in nothing, believing in nothing is believing in something. I think there is spirituality all around us.
Music history, like every arts, is intrinsically linked to the history of spirituality. So i started reading lots of books about Music history, Transe, and I finally started to make music again.
I remember I was very stressed to explain to the WSK the direction I wanted to go in my live show. I thought they’d think I was crazy, but they instantly said: LET’S GO!
One thing was very clear though: the idea was not to talk about religion but about spirituality. Religion is a too personal subject. We have no lesson to give and I didn’t want to impose any ideas to the crowd.
What we wanted was to elaborate a universal language, using grooves and images, to recreate sensations you could experience when you’re sensitive to spirituality. Ritual approaches this visceral attachment between music and spirituality but still tries to create a visual and audible language that are very symbolic, timeless and innovative.
RITUAL is quite massive and hypnotizing, but it speaks to people’s mind. It uses codes from traditional musics, like poly-rythm or dissonance, but aim to recreate another feel of it, which sounds close to science fiction.
So after a year of discussions, of sharing visuals and graphics as sources of inspiration, we finally started working on the live show in September 2013, at les Abattoirs. A whole week of work, tests and experimentations. After that, we had the help of Projet Bizarre, a structure in Lyon which helps artistic projects like ours to exist. The whole creation process grew for 6 month, with the writing of one hour of animated visuals & original music.
The first gig happened on the 16th of January and it was just the beginning of a very positive artistic and human experience with the crowd, and WSK.