[January 19 2015]
It seemed only natural to ask the French composer Koudlam to kick off our TV Takeover for 2015. Africa, Mexico, Spain, France, music, architecture, and art: the multicultural, multidimensional, and multitalented Koudlam combines all these social energies in his electronic, apocalyptic compositions.
His music has been regarded by critics and public alike as “World Music of the Apocalypse.” Koudlam (French slang for ‘a stab of a knife’) appropriates musical codes, embezzling r’n’b, trance, and hardcore techno (his musical roots) to build his own exotic and icy monolith, and once again successfully unites body and mind, dance, and ideas.
The pulsating, symphonic intensity heard in his new album Benidorm Dream, released on Pan European Recordings, energetically conveys the ultra-urbanism of the Spanish Costa Blanca beach town, Benidorm, a pastiche agglomeration with the highest number of skyscrapers per capita in the world, one of which he locked himself into to compose these dramatically charged choruses to the future-present.
Koudlam‘s visuals have always expanded on themes presented in his music. The videos for for his latest album so far have reaffirmed that most of the cliches about Benidorm are true. See the latest video for the single Benidorm Dream here. Hotels and apartment blocks that rival New York’s skyscrapers, endless English bars, cheap restaurants, tacky tourist souvenirs, neon signs and clean beaches. We wanted to know more about Koudlam‘s influences not only through our interview with him in issue 22 (extract below) but through the TV Takeover. Prepare to find out about his love of dwarfs, minimalist dance, Benidorm storms, Japanese composer Seiji Yokoyama, and wasted youth.
Olivier Zahm – What’s the connection between your musical inspiration and architecture?
Koudlam – I’m inspired by the landscapes that surround me, or the landscapes I seek; those can be tall buildings or temples, scenes of nature, or ruins. The landscapes in which we live shape who we are and also shape my music, of course.
Olivier Zahm – Are there any visual artists, filmmakers, musicians that have influenced this album?
Koudlam – Oh, lots — but none I can think of in particular. Éric Serra, Seiji Yokoyama, Gucci Mane, Jane’s Addiction — that’s a random list of names that comes to me right now. And Apocalypse Now. I have that film running on a permanent loop at my house; the film is a kind of unhealthy background for our lives, but my wife and daughter don’t have a choice — they just have to accept that it’s always there. Sometimes I set off a smoke bomb when I’m in the mood. I like working in the middle of clouds of smoke. There’s an abandoned stadium not far from my house, in Benidorm, and we tested the sound of the album there a lot, often surrounded by smoke.
Olivier Zahm – Are there any political influences?
Koudlam – I haven’t looked at any political events since the end of the Soviet Union; however I do know that things are slowly deteriorating. The future is done from a political standpoint. There is no future for man. Except perhaps in religion. You turn on the TV, and you’re immediately transported into the film Idiocracy; there isn’t even a gap. All of this probably influences my music. I try to open little breaks in the music to invent new creatures repopulating the world with impossible things. In this world, which seeks only to sterilize itself, I invent my own oxygen. I imagine that my music is both a maneuver to sublimate my melancholy and an attempt to invent a new utopia.
Read more of the interview in issue 22, available to buy here.