Filed under: Interview
Technasia’s return to Japan this month will see South East Asia’s seminal techno flag flyers promoting their new album release ‘PopSoda’. Coming off the back of Australia’s Two Tribes events the duo will be playing their eagerly awaited Womb date on the 17th of March. Five years since their last album Amil Khan and Charles Siegling having fingers in many musical pies, have eschewed the ‘rush to produce’ mindset prevalent through industry to concentrate on putting out a quality product irrespective of time and the pressures it involves. Taking from who they are as people, their upbringings and cultures – Amil is from Hong Kong, Charles is from France – and fusing it together Technasia appreciate the reach their music can engender, and see techno as primarily a “global movement”. We caught the guys taking time out across the globe in Perth during their Australian gigs and got the chance to put a few questions to them. Read on.
Interview by Kei Tajima (HigherFrequency) _ Introduction by Mark Oxley (HigherFrequency)
HigherFrequency (HRFQ) : You are about to release your highly anticipated 2nd album “Popsoda”. It’s been 5 years since the release of your first album, why did it take so long ?
Charles : I took a lot of time during those 5 years to develop my DJ career which I now do fulltime with the success that everybody now. During that time, a few other side projects came to birth like the “Fuse Presents Technasia” mix CD and the “Recreations” remix album. We produced a few remix and singles, including the chart topper “Final Quadrant”. We also did a memorable live tour in 2003 with over 60 dates in 5 months throughout most valuable clubs and festivals worldwide… Epic! My attention was also a lot focused on promoting my label Sino and managing many artists associated to it (John Thomas, Renato Cohen, Joris Voorn…). But I would say that the main reason for not releasing a second album during those 5 years is that we work on a different time scale than many electronic music artists. People are so eager today to have always have new stuffs and again new stuffs every week that they tend to forget that artists also need time to progress, understand their talent and the way to express it. Music is not only a thing to consume. It is art and therefore must be treated as so, with due respect and patience. Amil and I always strongly believed in our talent and skills. That means that if we would have released our second album 4 years ago, today or in 10 years, there should be the same music quality associated to it.
Amil : I believe all great things should stand the test of time. This is why I like to take things steadfastly and surely. I believe it has been worth the wait, so my usual answer of being busy with this that and the other will be redundant when you hopefully listen to the album and enjoy it.
HRFQ : The album title “Popsoda” has a strong ‘Pop’ image and is also an alias you sometimes release under, what is the background behind this title? Can you tell us a bit about the concept of the album ?
Charles : The name “Popsoda” is actually derived from “Sodapop”. It’s a project we started 6 years and was originally supposed to be released in Japan only. It contains the name “Pop”, in reference to the more vocals and melodies featured. However, it’s still electronic music. People who have been following us in Japan for a long time could probably remember the first ever Popsoda single “Luv Luv Robot” back in 1999. At that time, we worked on a few demos but never found the time to take this project to an album. At the end of 2003, as we started to work on the new Technasia album, we thought it could be interesting to make the Popsoda project a step higher and combine it together with the Technasia sound, darker and more energetic. That’s how we came to it.
Amil : Pop as in music yes it sounds like we are talking Britany Spears, but when you Pop a soda or Pop a question it can be a refreshing, and even a reinvigorating feeling because one would be expecting a burst of this, that and the other of which you never would have thought would happen if you did’nt pop it initially. The concept and thematic style is simple, the album has to stand the test of time and has to be a fresh take to the long standing techno genre. The typical Technasia sound design consists of an importance to the flow of the album that has to be energetic and the necessity of the story board from which the listener can dream and dance to.
HRFQ : You appear to come from two very different backgrounds with Amil coming from Hong Kong and Charles being from France. So, what do you both bring to the partnership as far as influences go and what do you find interesting about the differences in your styles ?
Charles : Since the beginning of our collaboration, we complement each others role a lot. I believe that without this collaboration, Technasia could not have grown that far. Amil has a very good sense of running business and projects, and acquiring the best for the artists and the label. He also also cares a lot about the overall image we give to the public and try to conduct things in accordance to this. On my side, I will try to put as much as originality and artistic sense as possible in all the projects we start. It’s the same as when we play live together, we both have a different role on stage. Amil likes to interact the public a lot whereas I focus on giving a lot of relief to the music. On stage, in the studio or at the label office, complementarity is the key to our collaboration. I don’t think it’s because I’m from France and him from Hong Kong, but more about the way we were raised and the way our working relationship has evolved in the past few years with our experience in the music business.
Amil : When one fuses because it is a expressive need felt at heart, the process of achievement is a challenge on its own, and the hope of achievement is one we all strive for at Technorient and Technasia. Without the three Cs : Collaboration of people, communication through voice or text, and conglomeration of thoughts and ideas, we would not be here today doing this interview. What I truly respect about this partnership is the level we work on, a level that is rich in culture as it can be also considered a cultural exchange as well as synthesis of of backgrounds.
HRFQ : When you formed Technasia it was your intention to put South East Asia on the map as far as dance music goes. Is this something that you feel you have achieved or do you think that the majority of public attention still focuses on other regions ?
Amil : First and foremost, I am not here to lead a bandwagon of artists and labels to the rest of the world from Asia. People tend to take it for granted that Technasia is this thing that would bridge Asia and Europe for everybody to follow like a school trip. We are not magicians just humans….Within our own powers we have put an music entity (record label , artist unit) based out of a place not usually known as a music capital and got the world to view us from the exterior this is what we have done as far as making South East Asia on the map. Now from Serbia to Brazil to Austria we are known for our Technasian sound, this to me is putting an entity that we are on the global map, and this we have surely achieved. The days of thinking regional is a redundant thought it the world today, the advent of the internet, and drastic progress in global communications further breaks all the barriers down.
HRFQ : Is nationality an important factor in electronic music ?
Charles : Yes and no. Yes, because artists from specific countries have their own proper sound, their own influence and their own way of making music or dealing their business. And since, there’s no need of english vocals to succeed in Electronic Music, you can be from Israel, France or Brazil, we all have the same chances. It brings a lot of diversity to the music. But no, because Electronic Dance Music is a global sound made by the planet for the planet. There’s no borders or nationalities. It was, is and always be a very world movement because it does not go thru the usual network of anglo-saxons medias in the world and therefore, does not have to be formated in the same way commercial pop or rock music is. You don’t need to know how to speak English to know how to dance on a Techno set in a club.
Amil : Nationality does not mean shit, but its the roots / epicenter from which we exist today that counts at the end. “For we are all children of the earth” track no.7 from our album.
HRFQ : Where are the two of you based at the moment ?
Charles : I’m based in Paris. But I travel a lot. I spend around 4 to 5 months away from my home. Paris is a nice city. I enjoyed it very much. But I don’t think I could stay there all the time. There are too many social problems in our country that it makes the whole society have a very depressing feeling. It is not a very good time to live in France or Paris for the moment… I think the old demons of the colonization time are knocking back at our door now. Anyway, because of my work, I have the ability to leave from Paris very regularly so I’m pretty lucky. I usually like to spend January and February time in Hong Kong or Brazil to avoid the cold winter of France. Music scene wise, it’s not very active in Paris either. A few small clubs (Rex, Triptyque, Batofar…), a few artists (John Thomas, Cabanne, Ark, Blackstrobe…) and that’s about it. For a 12 millions people, that’s a pretty small scene… In a way, it could also be a good thing because I can work in Paris in a pretty “fashionable-less” environment. I would hate to live in Berlin for example, which is totally hype right now, especially if you’re a DJ that plays the stupid electro-clash sound and have a nice new fashionable haircut.
Amil : Hong Kong is where I am together with all the chaos, hustle and bustle that is all a part of my surrounding….. Its great it keeps you on the edge, but at times I just need to escape it all, having an interview with you from Perth Australia during our album tour is one way of being unbased……..
HRFQ : Are there any upcoming releases on your label, Technorient, which we can look forward to ?
Charles : Yes ! A lot ! There’s a new Joris Voorn on the sub-label Green which is gonna be massive ! Joris is probably my most favourite artist right now. He’s got such a powerful yet deep and groovy sound. On Sino, we have very good tunes from Deetron, Petrae Foy and Steve Rachmad coming in the next few months. John Thomas is also working on several projects, Static Drum (together with Olivier Micheli from Southern France), Ethique (which I’m doing the next release) and The Steppin’ Show, which is our joint label.
Amil : Along with what has been mentioned above expect Minimaxima to bring out quality techno projects into the future with music by artists from different parts of the world. What Technorient has become today is a global institution that unites believers of the electronic impulses that forces you to move your body. Technorient is all about the explosion of an aural creative blend that unites us all to enjoy an exclusive musical excursion.
HRFQ : You’ve got a lot of fans in Japan, do you have a message for them ?
Charles : Don’t believe the hype, trust your skills and buy Japanese music instruments: they are the best !
Amil : To all our Fans in Japan, Thank you for the wait. The new Technasia has arrived and it is for you…… ! Enjoy.
End of the interview
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