Electro-Symphonic Producer Rone: ‘With my music, I want to shock people’

Erwan Castex, alias Rone, has become in ten years a point of reference for electronic music with a melodic and symphonic tendency. Concerts, soundtracks, collaborations with orchestras… The recent Cesar winner retraces his multifaceted career before his visit to the Montpellier Rockstore on Monday 21 November.

This Monday, November 21, is the last date of your Room with a View tour at Rockstore Montpellier

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In fact, this is the last date of my solo tour. The Rockstore is a room I’ve played several times, it’s quite legendary, I have great memories! Initially, when I was offered to play with this show, I told myself that it would be impossible, it’s too small for my stage design. But we have found a solution, it is flexible, we will adapt it to the room.

Why is it essential?

It is a “magic lantern” effect stage set that was created by a plastic artist, I wanted it to be very beautiful and environmentally friendly, as flexible as possible. When you fold it, it fits in a 1m3 suitcase and you can put it in the boot of a Kangoo… I remember old sets where you needed a semi-trailer, like the one with Michel Gondry.

Like many musicians, I wonder how we can reduce our carbon footprint. There, he had this brilliant idea of ​​working with headlight lenses that distort the images that are projected through them. Suddenly, it’s immersive live, the audience receives projected images and is bathed in light.

The tour with the National Ballet of Marseille also continues. What does dance bring you?

Yes, I work in parallel with the eighteen dancers of the national ballet de Marseille for the show Room with a view. With the (LA)Horde collective it is a show that will have a long life all over the world, we will go to Belgium for a month and then to the United States.

I’ve wanted to work with dancers for a while: it allows you to tell, to tell without saying a word, through gestures. There was writing work, among others on the topics of collapse and the climate emergency. I usually make music that makes you dance, maybe dream, I wanted substance, give meaning.

And then it continues in December with an orchestra for the L(oo)ping project. Marriages between electronics and symphony are not always happy…

I play two concerts in Lyon with a symphony orchestra of 80 musicians. The idea is to create thinking about how to blend electronic and acoustic to create new and strange music. I’m looking for new forms.

When this project was proposed to me, I said to myself that it was a bit of a headache, there have been several attempts of this type and we know which traps we must not fall into. Notably that the electronic musician throws out a big techno “boom, boom” kick and that the orchestra plays over it. There, I write melodies that will be played by the musicians of the orchestra and vice versa, we have set up a system in which I collect the sound of the musicians live and form it live in the machines.

With a granular synthesizer I make variations on the textures to create special sounds. Something is happening!

Didn’t you want to extend your latest collaborative album, Rone with friends, released in 2021, on stage?

No. It was an unplanned project that was carried out during the confinement, linked to this very strange period in which we were all isolated and which, moreover, today seems very far away. The album was produced under difficult conditions: Yaëlle Naïm recorded her voice in her bathroom, Dominique A her in her kitchen, sent me her tracks … which then allowed me to meet people !

Anticipatory novelist Alain Damasio is also taking part, it’s a bit the leitmotif of your career, how does it inspire you?

He advances in literature, I in music. He was like an older brother in the beginning, 15 years ago. I use his voice in the Nouveau Monde piece from Room with a View, I seem to carry his message with my music. Alain often says that music and art in general allow messages to be transmitted in a more incisive way than the speech of a politician, because he touches emotions, affection, more deeply. He also continues to think that there are collaborations to be made between disciplines because it affects different places.

Also make the parallel with your music.

What touches me most is that Alain has a very harsh criticism of society, but there is always something positive and radiant in his literature and in him. In my music it’s the same, I’ve always tried to cheer myself up, to breathe energy when we leave my shows, I want to encourage people, give them some gnaque, I want to fight.

Do you know these studies that show that whales and dolphins are attracted to your music?

Yup ! it’s amazing, it’s crazy… At first I thought it was a joke, it’s been noticed by sailors, and it’s been studied scientifically, it would be stories of frequency, sound of waves affecting them. It’s completely unintentional of me, but it’s poetic to have a bond with these animals. Furthermore, I now live in Brittany, near Saint-Malo, I have met many sailors, including one who is involved in protecting biodiversity, there are 400 bottlenose dolphins that we will go to see, I don’t dare make music, I humbly go … But maybe one day we will give them a concert.

You told us a few years ago that you needed to be on the road to create. What to say?

I no longer need to move! I have a studio at home, as soon as there’s a blockage and I get angry, I just have to go down to see the sea and I come back more inspired. The effervescence of Parisian life has parasitized me, there, I have a kind of solitude that I no longer need to seek.

What effect did the Cesar obtained for the soundtrack of the film “La Nuit Come” have in 2021?

Clearly, it opened the doors of cinema for me. Then there was Jacques Audiard’s proposal for “Les Olympiades” (candidate for the Cesar 2022 ed) and today I receive many screenplay proposals, it’s also difficult to manage. I like it but I like doing concerts, maybe I’ll accept one film a year. There I’m working on a project, a new soundtrack, it’s a series of ten one-hour episodes for Canal + directed by Xavier Giannoli. It’s an ambitious project, “Tikkoun” about the biggest scam of the century by the dudes who hijacked the carbon tax.

Rone in concert at the Montpellier Rockstore, Monday 21 November (sold out).

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