C-drík: inbetween Europe, Asia, Africa, art, politics, veganism and…
The Democratic Republic of the Congo was still called Zaïre when Cedrik Fermont was born. In fact, it was still called Zaïre when C-drík, already relocated to Europe, started his first musical project “Črno Klank”. That was back in 1989, and today the artist’s CV is filled with sound art, electronica, noise, industrial, ambient, electro-acoustic, minimal wave, improv, acid, hip hop, label managing, sound engineering, lectures, travelling the world and DJing. This and much more! An interview is always too short to present a personality of this caliber. C-drík will be visiting the coldest Lithuanian festival “Speigas” where he’ll not only DJ but also read us a lecture. And here’s what I managed to find out beforehand.
I’ve read that you wanted to be an astronomer. What was – or is – so interesting for you in this particular subject? Have you transferred any topics from it into music?
I always had a passion for astronomy when I was a child, and I am still passionate about it... We know so little about it even if we understand some big processes and structures better than ever, plenty of questions are not eluded at all, among them: where will we find life outside of Earth and what kind of life, will we be able to explore more with robots or humans?
I'm fascinated by the variety and beauty of landscapes, colours, shapes we can find on other celestial objects, gases, galaxies, etc. And I just would like to understand more of it, how all this mechanic works and perhaps where it goes.
At the present time, the only connection between my music and astronomy is a project I will do this year with a radio telescope, more details about that will be given sooner or later on my site.
Being quite an expert of scenes in many different countries, have you found any extraordinary resemblances in music from all over the world?
Except the good feelings and international communication and networks music can provide, no.
Which scenes can you mostly relate to as a listener and as a collaborative artist – maybe excluding your 'home' scenes, to make it more interesting?
Honestly, I don't know. I always feel a good and strong connection with some far eastern Asian music but not necessarily related to electronic music: Indonesian gamelan, Japanese gagaku and koto or shamisen-based music (ancient or modern), gong ensembles from Laos and surrounding countries to name a few and their modern forms when they exist. For some reasons I still ignore I feel extremely connected to those "scenes" and on the other hand to various harsh noise scenes as well, especially when played live.
Apart from music, what other things have you learned while travelling the world?
I learned and still learn about food from different parts of the world, ah ah. I'm a huge fan of (vegan) cooking and it's a pleasure to discover new meals, fruits and vegetables.
I learn a lot about other cultures and languages, political and social systems, people's everyday life. This is for me very important, more important than visiting old monuments.
I also learned more about myself, taking time to analyse interactions, behaviours and thoughts I can have as when I travel, I'm often alone and sometimes in a completely new world, that offers me time to think a lot.
Can artistic collaborations transform into true friendship? Or do you keep your artistic and your private lives separate? If there are two lives…
Most of the time, it becomes friendship. I lost contact with very few people I collaborated with or in some very rare cases cut off contact with some others I didn't appreciate in the end but in most cases we keep in touch, we meet when possible, not only for doing music, and some of the people with whom I recorded or performed became very close friends. To me it's important to have this relationship, the first bridge is often music but I don't feel like stopping there.
There are some collaborations that started even after friendship. Axiome is a band Olivier Moreau and I started around 1990 but we know each other since we were two years old.
You have been a member of … two dozen bands, or something. That’s quite an impressive number. Was it a string of different coincidences, or mostly your personal choices to finish or leave projects? When do you usually feel it’s time to leave or start something new?
I think that nowadays, it's not that strange to see musicians, especially in the electronic music field, who are involved in a lot of projects.
It became so easy to communicate, travel, record, exchange files on line...
To me, being part of one project all my life is limiting, especially if you do it with the same persons for ever and ever.
Through collaborations I exchange a lot of ideas and techniques; new ways of composing, new instruments, new ways of performing and other music styles to explore. Of course this is also possible to do it alone but the result cannot be the same. And I also enjoy the relationship that fits together with the collaboration, this is not only about music, it's also about exchanging knowledge, political and philosophical viewpoints, food (again!) and so on and so forth.
Different projects started for different reasons. Some of my oldest like Črno Klank, Axiome, Ambre, Moonsanto, Dead Holywood Stars (...) started with close friends, there were often some members of one band performing in the other band(s), we often lived close to each other if not together.
But a few other projects started because I was somewhere, met the right person(s) and the right time, we felt good together and appreciated each other's music, so we decided to do something together. This is the case of the collaborations done with Aluviana, Elekore, The klank of črno migs, Tasjiil Moujahed or more recently a project with Zen Lu in China.
These are musicians I met while touring, who hosted me or who booked me, we sometimes new each other's music and during my stay, we got the opportunity to discover each other better and to record and perform.
I don't think I ever left a project. Some are on standby, others don't exist anymore due to the fact that some members don't play any music anymore or their lives have changed.
In all projects, we try to evolve, and even if we want to play a music style that is completely different than all what we previously did, we keep the same name. For me a music style isn't systematically to be assimilated to one band. If you listen to Ammo or Axiome for example, and listen to the first productions the last ones and things in between, they sound very different from each other.
What is your relation to mainstream culture – do you ignore it. mock it or take some things from it?
I tend to ignore it most of the time. I mostly dislike it a lot as it is only based on products and images, mainstream culture isn't about art, in general, it is about making money, pleasing but not shaking and brainwashing people, making them keep quiet and follow a certain line imposed by the state or society or both. Mainstream culture tends to crush the individual and at the same time make one believe that they are unique and special, it also sells idiotic dreams that most people will never reach, creating false hopes.
What lead you to studying at Annette Vande Gorne’s? What is the biggest lesson you learned from her?
Following her interesting courses was one of the very few options to study electroacoustic and acousmatic music in Belgium back then. I was already composing electronic music and had a little knowledge about electroacoustic music and wanted to learn more about composition and also history.
The biggest lesson I learned is how big the gap between academical and non academical music can be, not regarding quality but (re)cognition.
But I learned a lot about composers I didn't know back then.
What has been happening in your label ‘Syrphe’ lately?
Except updating the database and posting news, not so much due to the fact that I toured a lot for a year and a half and haven't been often home. Nevertheless, this year, if everything works fine, I will publish two or three releases on the label, hopefully in late spring / early summer. I cannot say more now.
Should an artist reflect his or her political and social views in his or her art, or does that devalue the meaning of art?
I think it shouldn't be mandatory; I'm fine with artists who just want to express emotions or what they see as beauty, experiments, new intellectual concepts and so on. But I'm interested in artists who do include deeper points of views about our world, artists who make or made a statement, like İlhan Mimaroğlu (about war and other political and social matter).
Whether it opposes a mainstream view or follows a trend, art is a reflection of the society. So to me political and social views in art can make it more valuable if they bring interesting analyses and don't promote hatred, racism, etc. It of course depends on the way those views are implemented in art and what they are.
What topics are the most important for you to broadcast to the listeners?
Emotions are maybe the main topic when I perform non-danceable music, so it's not straightforward and it is subjective as well.
Sometimes it can be a message about animal rights or an allusion to capitalism. But in general, the music itself is what is important to me.
For the few times I use lyrics, they are very personal, not systematically understandable or simply abstract and not important.
Is it always the listener/audience that you think about when creating, or is it your own ego?
I do music for my own pleasure first. Hence, I never compose music to please people. I'm happy to share it and happy if some listeners enjoy and support it, of course.
As you may know I compose now and then music for choreography, performance art (...), in such a case, I need to follow some rules and / or structures, it is an agreement and obviously I have to create a piece that the art director will appreciate but even in such a case, I need to enjoy it too at the first place; I would never do any composition that I don't like.
What defines an exclusive record, in your vocabulary? Can it be defined in physical terms, i.e. limit of copies, or is it a phonic category?
Nothing. Nothing is exclusive anymore, unless you publish one physical copy only and no one else than the one who gets it can access it.
What will your lecture in Contemporary Art Centre be about?
I will present an introduction to electronic, sound art, noise, electroacoustic music from Asia and Africa: what happened and what happens in both continents, which kind of music, problems that some composers may face (censorship for example) and I will play a few music extracts too.
D.D. 2004 - 2016
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