WHO ARE YOU… Superpoze
Only a few weeks are left before his album “Opening” is released. In the run up to 6 April, Clique met up with Superpoze just next to his studio in Paris.
Who are you?
I’m Gabriel, I’m 22 and I’m a composer-producer. I make method electro music, because I use a computer, machines and virtual tools. But this electro music is influenced by the tempo and rhythms of hip hop, especially for my first EPs. I don’t actually make electro music for clubs, even if you can dance to it. I think that’s the best definition.
You say you don’t think about playing your music in clubs. So what do you think about when you’re composing?
I think about the melodies and the harmonies. I think about the aesthetic pleasure – about the thing that inspires images and touches you when you hear a series of chords, certain melodies or tempos.
When I know I really like one of my tracks, there’s something I call the “boomerang effect”
When you make music, when you create something, it belongs to you. And after a while, your music gives you the feeling of being an audience. You listen to it like someone in the crowd. When that happens I think “HA!” (he waves his hands).
Hey we should make a little gif out of that. I think of it, it leaves, and it comes back again. Let me do my hair for my gif! (laughs)
I know it’s funny, but it means I know when I’ve finished a track. If you can give it to yourself, it means you can give it to other people.
What did you do before?
I used to live in Caen, in Normandy. I learned how to make music when I was really small, at the Conservatoire music school. I did seven years of percussion there, and played drums in a few rock bands. I actually had a band with Théo (Fakear, Ed. Note). I also wrote a little bit of rap.
Back then I only listened to French rap. I was a big fan of Fabe from Scred Connexion.
Before that, I mostly listened to punk. When I got to sixth-form I discovered rap with my mates. They were switched-on rap fans, the type who think “knowledge is a weapon”. The rapper studying philosophy, you know the type? (laughs). Anyway, I started recording just instrumental tracks, and I call the project “Superpoze” a bit later.
What does Superpoze actually mean?
It comes back to hip hop, which was so important to me at one point, but it’s less present in my album. It’s the culture of indifference, of a name that hits you. I read it in a book and thought it was really graphic. It had a good sound. Today I’d like to compose using my real name, but it might just be a phase.
Maybe it sounds a bit more like “adult music”?
That’s right. Maybe it sounds like “adult music”, like a composer. I like that idea.
The first of your tracks I heard was “The Iceland Sound” three years ago. Is there a story behind it?
I created that track really quickly, in just a few hours, for a friend who was going to Iceland. It was the soundtrack to his trip, I gave it to him before he left. It was a sort of present, his “Iceland sound”.
All the first tracks I made were meant for specific people. Not all of them know that actually.
After that I moved onto other thing, but that’s what it was about at the start.
And after that?
I put my first tracks online and I released a first real EP. I played gigs as well. The venue in Caen, le Cargö, really helped me. Things worked through word of mouth as well. I released two EPs and a track with remixes for Kitsuné.
Now it’s time for the album, “Opening”. I started composing it at the start of last year, and it’ll be released on 6 April 2015 under my label Combien Mille Records. At the same time I’ve toured in America and Asia.
You’re still at the start of your career. How have you found fans in Asia in so little time?
It was actually a tour to check out the place, to see. I played in Japan, China and Vietnam. Of course there are always little bloggers and connoisseurs, but they can never make up a whole audience. What was amazing was that I ended up in places where people didn’t necessarily know what I did, but they were big fans of the same style of music. We spoke the same language.
What do you mean?
We’ll do another gif (laughs). No, I’ll stop choreographing the interview!
Tell us a bit about the upcoming album
I gave myself a time limit. I didn’t want to spend five years on this album. There was a time when I had nothing left to put into it, and everything I added didn’t fit. “You don’t finish an album, you abandon it.” I think Frank Zappa said that. I can listen to this album as a fan, so I’m happy to abandon it like that.
But is it really unfinished?
No. But an “unfinished” or “finished” album doesn’t actually exist. It’s finished on the disk. The fact it’s been recorded defines it as finished. But afterwards I’m going to play it live, and so it’ll be constantly unfinished, because I’ll be able to play it differently live all the time.
How do you create a live set?
In lots of different ways. I’m currently working on a new one actually. It’s funny, because a producer works in the opposite way. Imagine you have a band. You play in your basement, or in your studio, until the moment when your track is really good. You get all stressed out about recording it, about putting it on a disk, about it sounding just how you want. When you make music on your own, you record yourself with your machines, and then you get stressed out about how you’re going to play it live. It’s not very logic if you think about what music is. Traditionally, music is about playing.
Have you thought about playing with musicians?
I’ll probably do it one day. I’m currently playing alongside musicians in another project, but I want to go it alone for Superpoze.
What do you think it’ll be like after the album?
I’ve already got a few things planned, like some collaborative albums (impossible to find out more, Ed. Note.). For everything else, we’ll have to see. The thing that pushes me is that I’m a huge music fan. It’s obvious, but I’m saying it anyway. I really love a few artists. I love Four Tet, Mogwai and Jon Hopkins, for example. And I think Bonobo is incredible.
Do you collect music?
Let’s just say I buy quite a bit. A few CDs, but more records than anything else. It’s nice to be able to close your laptop and listen to a disk, really listen to it without doing anything else.
For records, I have to turn it back after two tracks, I have to commit to listening to it.
That’s why I’m fond of physical media. Some records are also really beautiful, it’s as simple as that. I love the incredible artwork, like the stuff on Wonder Where We Land by SBTRKT, or the album cover by John Talabot, which looks like a fingerprint.
All of those people have coherent discographies. They’ve done some amazing things.
Actually, that’s what I want. To be able to release 3, 4 or 5 albums that I can put next to my other records.
I’d like a beautiful discography, actually. It’s as simple as that. I like the idea that people could collect my albums.
While we wait for the album in early April, Superpoze will be playing on 7 March at the Cargö in Caen, accompanied by Gilles Peterson, Rone, Superpitcher, Fakear and Kuage for the RedBull Music Academy. (For musicians interested in the RBMA, registration is open until 4 March).
Photographs © Nathanne Le Corre