Interview: 5 minutes with Molécule
Roman Delahaye, aka Molécule is a French electronic artist, producer and head of independent Parisian label Mille Feuilles. To date he has worked with prominent labels in the past such as Sounds Around, Aktarus, Underdog Records and Play It Again Sam. He has released numerous remixes, singles, EPs and seven full-length LPs. Influenced by nature, isolation and human existence, Molécule’s music could be best comparable to electronic and experimental techno artists such as the swelling atmospheres of Kevin Gorman, the sawtooth pulsing of German producer Helena Hauff and the investigative experiments conducted by Silent Harbour, thrown into a cohesive blender to form Delahaye’s deeply constructed signature tone.
Molécule’s latest album -22.7°C is an audio sound album and transmedia project with an accompanying book of photographs and letters, a documentary film, and a virtual reality experience, documenting Molécule’s intrepid journey to Greenland, taking with him a home studio featuring keyboards, synthesizers, drum machines, and highly sophisticated microphones with which to capture the sonic atmosphere of his new ecosystem. For thirty-six days he roamed the ice and fjords of an isolated Inuit settlement, searching for sounds and impressions from a radically personal, human adventure. Upon his return, he produced this concept album, -22.7°C without a single note being altered once the expedition was over. With -22.7°C, Molécule delivers the adventurous and immersive soundtrack to a reconnection with nature.
We caught up with Molécule on extravagant expeditions and the recipes for creation:
(Be sure to steam Molécule’s latest album ‘-22.7°C’ in it’s entirety via Spotify below!)
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
Music is the best tool I have to share emotion and intimacy with people –
And it’s also a good way to take the time to appreciate life.
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
Three years ago, I founded a personal creative dogma : to immerse myself in a specific place with extreme conditions and entirely compose my music there using real sounds and my instruments. I didn’t add in anything, or change any notes when I came back. In 2014, I spent 34 days nonstop on a fishing boat in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean to turn the storm into music. I always had this dream in my mind with this question : “What inspiration could be found when you’re in the middle of nowhere, in the heart of a storm. I got served with a violent storm (Force 12) during 2 of these days. My album 60°43′ Nord is the result of that trip. Recently, this last winter I spent 5 weeks in east Greenland, in a small hunter village, totally isolated. I lived there among 80 people and 300 sled dogs, with like 4 hours of sunlight per day. The only idea I had before my departure was the willingness to compose with the silence. I spent my days recording sounds of the ice flow breath, icebergs cracking, sled dogs howling, and the silence. During the nights, in a little house that I transformed into a music studio, I used these sounds to create the music of the album -22.7°C. I put myself in danger, fear and listening to the natural elements are the keys of my appeal for this kind of trip. Perhaps a way to reconnect myself with nature and listen to her carefully.
Does your material feature any collaborations?
Collaborations are a major part of my project. In the past I have worked with French movie director Jan Kounen on a VR experience, and more recently I collaborated with director Morgan Beringer on the production of 3 videos. Audiovisual content is very important in my approach, to share my adventure and tell this mystical story of interconnections between man and the cosmos.
What’s on your current playlist?
My playlists change a lot but I always keep some basic reference, and I’m very attached to the LP format.
So, today I will say :
Yan Wagner – This Never Happened
Pink Floyd – Meddle
Chloé – Endless Revision
Maurizio – M series
21 Savage & Metro Boomin -Savage Mode
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.
Performing the music I composed during my expedition live is the final step of my process. My goal is to take the audience to another level of mindstate. On stage I will be using some of the instruments I had with me in Greenland too, and I will be inspired by all the memories, and all the people I have right in front of me. It can be such an amazing experience.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
My creative process is based on composing from concrete sounds. But they do not always stay concrete; I sculpt them, play with their frequencies, edit them, sometimes reverse, pitch, stretch etc. Then, the notes of my instruments come in. I use a lot of old vintage synths like Buchla Music Easel, Synthi AKS, Sequential Circuits Prophet etc… And lot of guitar FX pedals to create a chain of sound. It’s a bit like a cooking recipe!
Take us through a day in the recording studio.
Because of my process, each day is different. Outlines are made from derushing sounds, recording, editing and using my instruments to continue this flow.
Usually I can get quite a lot of ideas down in a single day. If I’m working on a track and something else comes into my head, I’ll directly switch to record it. It’s a very spontaneous process. I try to surprize myself, and I don’t always need to understand what I’m doing – just let the constraints of each situation to be creative.
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
I was studying Sociology at University La Sorbonne in Paris and I felt the need to fully devote myself to composing music, along with the idea to evolve on the margins of the system. So I decided to then live my life through music.
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
Just seeing everyone smile makes me feel happy!
Any emerging artists on your radar?
Canine – A french singer who will release her debut album in September:
Yan Wagner – Who just released a fabulous new album:
What gets your creative juices flowing?
The unknown, fear, death and the cosmos.
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
My studio is made of a Macbook Pro with an RME soundcard and 2 Genelec monitors.
Basically I work with 2 pieces of software to record and edit sounds: Cubase and Ableton Live.
Drum machines: Analog Drum Elektron, DSI Tempest
Analog Synths: Buchla Music Easel, SYNTHI AKS, Prophet 06, Roland SH 101, Analog Four, DSI MOPHO x4 and many others…
Guitars: A Fender Jazzmaster and Gibson Les Paul
A Fender Jazz Bass
Many guitar pedals: Analog Heat – ELEKTRON, Particle – RED PANDA, Rainbow Machine – EARTHQUAKER DEVICES, Reverb Cathedral – ELECTRO HARMONIX, Delay Memory Man – ELECTRO HARMONIX, Big Sky – STRYMON, H 9 Harmonizer – EVENTIDE, Super Ego – ELECTRO HARMONIX, Bicycle Delay – CATALINBREAD, Delay DD-3 – BOSS, Ravish Sitar – ELECTRO HARMONIX, Voice Box – ELECTRO HARMONIX
Also many microphones: Amber VR Mic – Sennheiser
Homemade Kit Binaural: 2 x Capsule cardio MKE 1 – Sennheiser
Mic Stereo SPM 8000 – Sennheiser, U87 Neumann
Any side projects you’re working on?
At this time I’ll have to keep them secret!
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
Releasing a new album is always very particular. But I expect to share this project across each continent and embrace all the joy that goes along with meeting new people on the road, before heading off to the moon for my next project 😉
Order Molécule’s latest album -22.7°C HERE
For more information follow Molécule on Facebook