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    Thursday, November 16, 2006

    The depths and the seashore: interview with Benoît Pioulard, pt. 2

    Photo by Tom Meluch

    Part two of my conversation with Benoît Pioulard:
    (Part one is here.)

    NL: What other movies are you watching right now?

    BP: I’m sure you probably could’ve guessed I really enjoyed The Science of Sleep, the Michel Gondry film. I thought Thank You For Smoking was pretty amazingly funny. Little Miss Sunshine was pretty great. I went and saw that by myself, I’ll admit, mostly because most of my friends have moved out of town and I’m just a straggler here finishing my last semester.

    NL: Are you going to stay around Michigan?

    BP: Nah, I’m totally ready to go. I’m planning to move out to Portland probably in the spring. I went out there this summer and totally fell in love with it, so that’s the plan.

    NL: What about Portland do you like?

    BP: I call it a gut feeling, I guess. It’s one of the very few, actually the only city that I wasn’t a native in, where I felt at home going there for the first time. It’s just really nice to be in the midst of a downtown area and everywhere around you you look, you see a treeline. It’s nice and cool and cozy and it feels like a secret that somebody was keeping from me.

    NL: That’s awesome. Yeah, I could see you really enjoying Portland. What have been some of your favorite albums of 2006?

    BP: To be honest, I really haven’t been paying very much attention, I’m kind of ashamed to admit. I’ve been self-centered, having to finish up my own business. I have heard the other Kranky releases. I really like the new Tim Hecker a whole bunch. I’ve always been a fan of his stuff so that was extra surreal to have my record coming out on the same label on the same day as his. It was just really cool. So that one’s really good and Boduf Songs, which came out this week on Kranky. Other than that… Songs of Green Pheasant, which a friend introduced me to, I think that’s pretty good.

    "It’s nice and cool and cozy and
    it feels like a secret that somebody
    was keeping from me."

    NL: Let me expand on that and ask what some of your favorite albums in general are.

    BP: Well, I mentioned The Disintegration Loops already. Music Has The Right To Children by Boards of Canada. If I had a number one album, it’d be that one, probably tied with the album Harmony Korine made under the name SSAB Songs. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who knows that record that I haven’t shown it to. Freescha came out with a new record last month. That one’s really good. And anything on Type is bound to be good.

    NL: Are you planning on touring? How does your music translate into a live setting?

    BP: It kinda doesn’t yet unfortunately. That’s what I’ve been working on. It’s been suggested that I should tour. I’m doing a couple of shows in a month or so, but those are on a one-off basis. So far, my live sets are mostly noisy, likely tapes and guitar and some laptop stuff. Actually, the last show I played a few weeks ago, I sang for the first time and that worked out well. So I’m hoping to go more in that direction because I’m sure that if anybody’s expecting to hear anything, it’ll be more in the song direction.

    NL: Do you think you’re going to continue making music that’s similarly quiet and inward-turning and self-recorded?

    BP: It’s definitely how I work best so I don’t see any huge changes in terms of process happening. I’ve been teaching myself to play cello though so a lot of things will probably involve that more intensely in the future.

    NL: So right now, you play guitar and drums… What else?

    BP: Whatever you hear on the record. As far as instruments that I have in my apartment, guitar and drums and my dulcimer and not a full drum set-up, but just a four tom and a snare drum that I use on occasion and a cymbal and my bell set and my drum pad and not too much else. A bass guitar, two acoustics.

    "you can work forever
    to get the perfect image"

    NL: Are there any plans to do any more of the hand-crafted albums you were doing?

    BP: Yeah, that’s something I really enjoy. It’s kind of a compulsion anyway to be doing something with my hands, crafting or whatever else. I’m working on a book of photos and text right now. I don’t know what I’m going to do it with it necessarily, whether it’s shopping it to publishers or just making a run of it myself. But that’s my latest little project. And I’ll definitely be doing more CDs. I’m not sure, I haven’t recorded anything in a couple months. I’ve got a 7” coming out on Type in February. And after that, I don’t know what’s next. Maybe something self-released.

    NL: Is the book you’re working on going to be under the Benoît name or your name or something else?

    BP: Who knows? I don’t know what to do with these names. Probably just my own but we’ll see.

    NL: And what does the book entail?

    BP: It’s little bits of phraseology taken from my notebooks, like unused song titles basically. It just has titles of sections of photos. They’re all Polaroid shots I’ve been compiling for the last couple years and probably will continue to do so.

    NL: Why do you take Polaroids rather than digital?

    BP: Having the physical thing right there in your hand afterward is kind of an element of instant gratification and the fact that it’s totally unchangeable and what you get is what you get. It’s totally unique to Polaroids. There’s too much you can do with digital. You can work forever to get the perfect image, but with Polaroids, you have to be intimate with your camera and know how to frame shit to get it right.

    NL: Right. Okay, last question is… what else is there to know about you? What else is interesting about you that we don’t know?

    BP: Oh man, I don’t know. I don’t really get to talk about myself that often. This is, like, my second phone interview and it’s still kind of weird to me. I’m a press agent at Ghostly so I’m used to arranging these kinds of things, but when it’s on my shoulders to talk about myself, I don’t know. I keep to myself and drink a lot of tea and play word puzzles. (Laughs.) And I listen to quiet, innocuous music all the time.

    NL: What kind of word puzzles do you do?

    BP: There’s this game that I enjoy called Text Twist.

    NL: Oh, I know Text Twist well.

    BP: So I do that and I do the crossword in the newspaper every day and the Jumble on Sundays.

    NL: (Laughs.) Yeah, I’d say we have some similar interests there. Cool. Well, I guess there you have it. Benoît Pioulard: music-maker by night, puzzle-solver by day.

    * MP3: "Triggering Back" - Benoît Pioulard from Précis [Buy it]
    * Artist Website: Benoît Pioulard

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