Interview: 5 minutes with Krazy Baldhead
Ed Banger signee, and one of the Ed Rec crew’s most accomplished musicians, French electronic artist Pierre-Antoine Grison, better known as Krazy Baldhead has spent the last 10 years honing his craft and expertise in electronic instruments as well piano, guitar, bass and percussion. Since sending his first demo to Pedro Winter (Ed Banger label boss) in 2004, Krazy Baldhead released an array of EPs, singles and albums; including the most recent sophomore LP The Noise In The Sky.
Krazy Baldhead has just dropped an intoxicating new single, ‘Stand Tall’ alongside a collaborative performance art piece and video by street artists Lek & Sowat. In a closed dark shed, neon lights are triggered by the start of the track and a metal scaffolding appears as a boxing ring. As the track builds up, Lek & Sowat weave a network of endless colored plastic films between the bars. A kaleidoscopic effect is created in post-production with twists, distortions and 360 views resulting in an experimental, acoustic and visually immersive project from Krazy Baldhead.
We caught up with Krazy Baldhead on inspiration, gear collection and innovating the musical experience:
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
Wow, that’s a tough one to start with! I guess I just need to create stuff. Art has always been around me. I started learning music at the age of 7 – I got my first synth at 12 (a Yamaha PSR-80), and spent my first wage on gear (a Roland Groovebox and a Dr Sample), and I’ve always played in bands. That’s even before I decided to make a living out of music.
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
Most of the time, the sound comes first. I like to find inspiration through experimentation.
Does your material feature any collaborations?
Yes, I’ve done quite a few tracks featuring singers or rappers over the years. My latest work, “Stand Tall”, is different though: it’s a collaboration with Lek & Sowat, 2 street artists that work with big structures. It involved VR, video and I created a hardware machine especially for that.
What’s on your current playlist?
Lots of different stuff: the latest Jon Hopkins album, Vulfpeck, Eric Lau, Bon Voyage Organisation, Acid Arab, and always some jazz goldies.
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.
I would say that at the moment the chemistry is DNA based: lately my work has been more focused on studio production, so my fans have mostly been my 2 kids!
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
One of the things I love experimenting with is Delays. I like to tweak them and record the output and then chop the result and integrate that into my tracks.
I have a Moog analog Delay that sounds really good, and the new Echo delay from Ableton is very inspiring as well.
Synths are a good source of inspiration too, and Wavetable in Live 10 is very good on this regard.
Take us through a day in the recording studio.
After powering up all the gear, I’ll check the tracks I’ve bounced the day before to get a fresh ear on them. Then I’ll start working straight away on what has struck me. Most of the time I work on 2 or 3 different tracks at the same time; I try to avoid spending more than 3 or 4 hours on the same track or otherwise I lose the feeling of freshness and start ruining it.
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
There hasn’t been a specific moment, but it always comes back to me: being in the audience while listening to a beautiful concert, being on stage and seeing the crowd smile, listening to an album that I listened to when I was a teenager etc.. my life is full of those moments that remind me how lucky I am!
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
A beer. Or two.
What gets your creative juices flowing?
Meeting other musicians and listening to new stuff. Being frustrated that I can’t manage to make my music sound like I want. Coming back to it again and again and again.
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
It mostly revolves around Ableton and Native Instruments stuff. I have a few hardware as well a Korg Minilogue, a Fender Rhodes that has I’ve had for more than 20 years, a few audio effects etc. but I mostly work in the box, I like to be able to edit stuff!
Any side projects you’re working on?
I have started a company that’s aimed at helping artists set up and improve their live acts. It involves training (I am an Ableton Certified Trainer), consulting, devices design and a bunch of services.
Plus I have a fairly big hardware development project I can’t reveal fully yet.
You can find details about that on my website!
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
Right now I am focused on how to make the live experience better and trying to experiment with instrument design. I feel that’s part of my journey: I began studying music and engineering, then became a full time musician, and I am now at the point where both roads cross: I design stuff to make music with and improve the music experience.
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
I just released a new track on Ed Banger and intend to finish my hardware controller project. It should be revealed at the end of the summer, so stay tuned!
Order ‘Stand Tall’ single by Krazy Baldhead via iTunes
For more information visit Krazy Baldhead’s website