INVASION PLANÈTE: "Sex, Violence and Death Are In Our DNA"
Interview by Erkki Rautio / pHinnWeb
October 16, 2001 - Think of French electronic music, and you start immediately to think of Air, Daft Punk and filter house... très elegant, slick, fashionable - and instantly disposable. Music for the "in"-discotheques, catwalks, fashion shops, trendy lounges and style slaves. However, in Toulouse, south of France - the site of recent chemical plant explosion suspected as an act of terrorism - live some very nasty people who want to change all that... Enter the French Resistance movement of sound terrorists Invasion Planète, the Foreign Legion of electro. pHinnWeb talked with Alexander, the founder of the label, the Head of Operations and also the man behind sinister Le Syndicat Electronique. He hates our guts, next he hates you too!
DISCLAIMER: some opinions put forth in this interview are not the same as those of pHinnWeb; pardon, Monsieur Alexander ;)
-What is Invasion Planète?
It's the name of my label. (This name has been inspired by the Honishiro Honda's SF movie Invasion planète X.) It's the first Electro/Body Wave and minimal avant-garde electronic label in France (since 1998). Totally independent, professional and serious. "Invasion Planète" is like a French code name for a special operation: the Conspiracy in the world. Our mission comes from the "W-Order"... keeping silent.
Now, there are two new divisions: Citizens Parallèles (after the code name, the civil status!) and N.E.S.S. Obscur (special 7" projects).
-What is Le Syndicat Electronique?
Le "Syndicat Electronique" is my first and solo musical project since 1997. (There is "It & My Computer", too.)
It's my Electro response against all the electronic shit in this fucking uncultivated "DJ Boum! Boum!" world! Le Syndicat Electronique comes from "nowhere", to disturb, to fight and fuck all the fashion victims and others. He doesn't like the house style, he doesn't like the techno style, he doesn't like the breakbeat style... I hope you have no problems with that. Eh, eh... I created my own style: The "Body Wave"/"La vague du corps" (kind of electro/new wave/EBM). For people who are really involved in their actions, in their life!
- And any news?
Le Syndicat Electronique is on the Mass Transit/MTA 04 label from Miami (Beta Bodega, Schematic...); the release is out on November, I think. It will be an LP of electro wave/bleeping electronix. There will also be a Wave track on a special record on a German underground label Genetic Music with Skanfrom, Myngh, Porn.Darsteller (from Invasion Planète, too), Jeans Team... Everything will be good!
In January 2002 in Nantes, France there will be an It & My Computer live performance with Frederik Schikowski.
And furthermore, about the releases on our labels: the arrival on N.E.S.S. Obscur 7" of a Brooklyn electronic punk band called PFFR. Also on the Citizens Parallèles records, a very good new wave band from Manhattan called Soviet. And there will be the next releases of Karl Kubler, Porn.Darsteller and his new project Raison Future.
The next Citizens Parallèles release (PARA 01, November 2001) is It & My Computer featuring the singer Rollinka: big future hits!
- How did you get started in music?
I started music in 1988 with cheap little synths: Yamaha Portasound, Casio and Mini Rhythmbox. Just little loops. It was funny and dark like soundtracks for those fantastic B-movies. Since the beginning I have been into minimal slow beat and cold synth sounds. I created a lot of tapes for friends. In 1992, I started as a student at the art school Beaux-Arts where I was for 5 years; I met Rollinka there. We organized total avant-garde underground private parties with dark people: only electro/new wave and minimal "white" techno... and no drugs! People came just for the music and art! We also made a lot of enemies in this period! I like that!
In 1998, I decided to start "Invasion Planète Records".
- Do you have any role models or other people who have influenced you?
Yes, of course: in the beginning, Kraftwerk were my masters. There was John Carpenter too (yesterday I found the original Assault on Precinct 13 theme as a 7"! Eh, eh, what a great collector!). In 1984, I started to take an interest in the UK new wave stuff and of course Daniel Miller [of The Normal/Mute Records fame] was my supreme master! After that Anne Clark [of The Art of Noise], John Foxx and a lot of fantastic soundtracks makers like Goblin, for example, from Dario Argento's movies, who inspired me.
- And any current acts which would particularly impress you, or feel are on the same wavelength with you?
In current acts: nothing! Except all the artists and acts on my label, of course. Sorry for the other artists but I'm honest and... I never suck! I think a lot of electronic artists are not really involved in their music (what a pity!)
OH! ... yes, now, I remember some good stuff: Soviet's kitsch new wave live (Sinfestival, New York, Summer 2001). It was fun and great!! That's all.
If you want to ask me about the current productions of artists... hmmm... hmmm... I like very much Felix Kubin, Skanfrom, B.I. and Schikowski... and some dark secret extreme bands.
- How about your previous live performances and tours?
Best and worst experiences? And any interesting gig stories?
My previous live performances were very good, because we are choosy with the organizers! Sometimes, we don't prefer to accept a certain booking because we don't feel well with the organizers or we don't like the line-up! It's as simple as that.
At the present - all the main acts on international gigs were perfect:
- Germany (with K6 Krew): the Mistress of K6 is a real friend. The gig was little (300-400 persons), very underground and classy. It was in Augsburg, at Blauer Salon.
- Belgium: very impressive gig at the main train station of Brussels... Industrial stuff!
- USA: The best, of course: SINFESTIVAL, August 2001, with DMX Krew, Carl Finlow, Mooner... The organizers were very nice to me and Rollinka. We played with Le Syndicat Electronique and It & My Computer.
- In France, we organize some "art parties" in galleries with paintings, videos and music performances... the public is really different. A little community.
- And how did you find your March 2001 gig in Finland?
Very good. My favourite alongside the USA. Say hello to the organizers, the Helsinki Turbo team! I like Helsinki architecture: imperial!
- You have published many international artists on your label? How did the contacts with these come about, for example with Finland's own Polytron?
These artists: B.I., Luke Eargoggle, Kitbuilders... they know our creations on Invasion Planète rec. since the start. They are fans and I like very much their work too, so it's normal I decide to publish them. We have the same feelings about music, I think. In three years, Invasion Planète has become a reference point in the electro world, so it's normal we decided to cooperate together.
About Polytron: I like the guy Mikko [Niemelä a.k.a. mini], so I wanted to listen to his music. All the tracks on the demo were not my cup of tea, but I liked very much "Porno Tampere" and another one (I don't remember the title) - very kitsch, like funny cartoon music.
- How are the French and Toulouse scenes at the moment?
French scene...? About electro; nothing, except us. Parisians are very jealous about that! But, now it's too late for them! They have "House, the French Touch"! ... Ah... Ah... Anyway, we shoot the opportunists!!
In Toulouse, our city (the Pink French Airplane Industry City) there is nothing except house and jungle but it's not our culture! The Invasion Planète public come exclusively from cold wave/industrial/electro.
- If you want, you can have some comments on these French artists/labels, who are maybe the best known internationally (I'm looking forward to your bites of sarcasm...)
Heh... behind these guys, there is a lot of money and influential people, I don't like this system.
Same thing, no comment!
I don't know this guy.
I don't know this stuff... Is it a restaurant?
Jean Michel Jarre
When he started the music in the period of 1977-1980, it was good, but now...
Serge Gainsbourg (ha ha, had to ask this one!)
Don't laugh! I LIKE HIM, I am a fan! Really!
- You're also a movie fan? Biggest favourites? And how do you appreciate your own French masters, like Godard, Truffaut, Melville, Bresson, et al., the ones people always mention when talking about French cinema?
Yes, I am a big fan of B-movies (or Z-movies). At home, I've got about six hundred video tapes. (I have also a lot of US comics!)
My favourites are Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Mad Max (the first one), George Romero's Zombie trilogy, John Carpenter's movies, Evil Dead, Deliverance, Exterminator 2, Richard Kern's movies, Romper Stomper and many more. It's difficult to choose. About French cinema, I like very much Gaspard Noe: Seul contre tous and Carne... A very great artist. Rollinka likes very much the master of "La nouvelle vague", Jean-Luc Godard.
- Invasion Planete's imagery of violence and terrorism (making me think of the 80's industrial & electronic body music scenes) might be potentially controversial in these unsure times of the WTC/Pentagon attacks, US anthrax scare and Afghanistan bombings. How do feel using those as an artistic statement, or are they only to be easily misunderstood? And what's your opinion in general on using such taboo subjects as sex and death as the source of artistic expression?
Life is violent, art is life, art is violent... I always think of this equation. It's mine. I hate the censorship system! We do political art. We use art like a contagious propaganda system! We don't give to the public one formatted solution. It must explain that. People are free to accept our stuff or not. Stay or go away! Sex, violence and death are in our DNA.
- Your current/all time Top Ten?
No comment. I decided to stop that. I don't like this system. It's for the "DJ culture". If a guy wants to discover records, he must discover them himself. The curiosity is the best way for the true!
- The future of electro music in your opinion?
Actually, there is a lot of shit in electro. A lot of guys who come from "techno-loops"... It's a problem! There are also big commercial tunes from Germany and the US who copy I-f's famous cult track "Space Invaders Are Smoking Grass". The current easy fashion synthpop is a problem too... Music for suckers!
But there is a real electro wave resistance with real artists. I think these artists are on my label or will be on my label one day (I hope !), and there is a real audience for that, older people (30-35 years, like us) who believe in this kind of electronic music. Anyway, we will never die because we don't follow the hype! And electro has existed since the beginning of electronic music... before hip hop! Never forget that.
- Your future plans?
To make love with my girlfriend, now!
- Your favourite question no one ever asks in interviews?
I don't know because no one ever asks it in my interviews.
FIN DE TRANSMISSION
More wit and wisdom of Alexander (a.k.a. Kommander) at Global Darkness -> Bulletin Board
Afterwords (June 2007):
Invasion Planete has now split. Check this thread @ CBS.
Copyright © (for the text) pHinnWeb 2001.