DoubtingThomas: Listening Between The Line
If you’re in any way interested in intelligent, ethereal and sometimes obscure sounding electronic music, then you’ll most definitely want to check out DoubtingThomas; a man who’s beginning to craft out quite a career for himself thanks to his fantastically ornate and skillful sound set. A native of France, the man with Aurelien Riviere on his passport recently arrived on our radar thanks to a discography that’s as curious as it is beguiling. And all things considered, his latest release for Organic, the Avec Parcimonie EP is very much a fitting snapshot into what’s a fine musical mind. Now living in Berlin after a spell in London, he’s also one of the city’s many techno and house loving ex-pats. Here’s what he had to say when we caught up with him for a quick chinwag recently…
You were based in London, then back in France, and now in Berlin. How are you finding the cities compare?
I was only in France for a few months after my move from London, and before that I spent 3 months in the U.S. In France, where I’m from, everything is way slower and it’s a great place to make music as it’s far away from distractions and other poisonous trends.
London was home for a long, long time, and as much as I love the city and its culture I had no time to be musically productive there, meaning Berlin was an obvious choice. Here it’s the perfect balance between a big city and a village. Life is sweet and for once I can afford it too!
What prompted all this moving in the first place? Are you a sort of restless person?
I gave myself a few years to elaborate on my various projects which I couldn’t have done in London. Restless? Yes and no I guess.
I believe you worked at Juno for a while. What was that like? What was involved?
I worked at Juno records for 4 years until last June, it was just great. I was doing some classifications for their websites and other IT stuff.
And I’m curious to know, what’s the difference between DoubtingThomas and Aurelien? Are they two different people? And where does the alias come from?
I guess there is a difference, DoubtingThomas is an extension of myself as I am channeling my emotions and thoughts through sounds. I am a very inquisitive person and I can’t help but find myself questioning things. I also try to get as much information as possible to be on point with who I am and what I know. St Thomas was the only saint that needed proof before he could believe in the man’s tricks, and I have always related to this – even though I am not a big fan of religion itself. I love the fact that St. Thomas is called the saint of science, which as a metaphor is baffling considering how science and religion are so unrelated.
What are some of the most important lessons you have learnt when it comes to production over the years?
Not to fight with the technicality. Having said that, I am still exploring it.
Your music is enriched with many different sounds. Is this something you’re conscious of? How do you approach your days in the studio?
It all happens pretty naturally and I try not to think about everything on the spot. I am trying my best to add as much musicality as I can to my music while keeping a simple rhythm structure. When it comes to being aware of the result, I am always very critical with myself. I wish I knew I was someone else sometimes so I could listen to my stuff in a different way, since I know the process behind the music I always end up listening between the lines.
Are you a hardware or software man? Can you see the benefits and drawbacks in both?
I am both. In fact I use a lot of home recordings and instruments that I play. Pretty much anything that makes a sound is good to go. I really love to make something out of nothing; that’s probably one of the most interesting parts of the production process for me.
Do you make music and then send to labels? Or how do you approach that? Any plans to do your own down the line a bit?
These days I kind of let it happen, I hardly send music to labels as I find it difficult to place myself in the wild spectrum of all the many labels. I like to keep it natural instead of trying to push it too hard. I am however planning on launching my own label this year.
What are your long term goals? Do you set them?
All set. Do what I love, be creative and be happy.
Aside from the Avec Parcimoane EP, what else should we look forward to from you?
This year I will release an LP with Lessizmo:r my beloved agency and one of my main record labels. There’ll also be another full length album on vinyl “Act natural” before the summer, and a couple of EPs on and a few remixes and various features on sweet record labels.