It has only been a few months since Dream Catalogue veteran CVLTVRE released his comeback album NEW through Dream Catalogue. Looking back in our archives during a late spring clean-up, we found an unreleased interview we conducted with the Paris-based artist around the time we were gearing up for the album drop, and figured now would be as good a time as any to publish it.
We caught up with him to get the latest updates on where he’s at with things now, what he thinks of his latest album, and what his prospects are for the future.
How is Paris in general lately?
CVLTVRE: Not bad! It’s been a harsh winter. Less due to weather conditions and more to do with protests and heavy strikes on the metro and trains across the country. It seems like things are gradually turning back around again as of late. Hopefully 2020 will treat us all well!
NOTE: This interview was conducted before the Coronavirus Outbreak – as such, some answers may not have aged well.
This is your first album as CVLTVRE since Surreal, what have you been up to in the time that has passed?
CVLTVRE: Mostly working various jobs on and off over the last couple years and trying to find more freelance work in music and graphic design. The main focus has really been putting together my label and collective Vorota and getting our projects ready for release this year.
What is the influence and intention of NEW? Is there an artistic significance to the concept and sound?
CVLTVRE: I originally started ‘NEW’ with the approach of getting back to composition and trying to re-create similar nostalgic feelings that I would have originally felt from things I sampled in the past. I would make a couple of tracks every other week or so when I had the time over the last year and half. This album is kind of a selection of probably about 35 different jams I made in that time. The whole thing is really kind of a love letter to a love letter that started almost a decade ago if that makes sense.
” I originally started ‘NEW’ with an approach of getting back to composition and trying to re-create similar nostalgic feelings that I would have originally felt from things I sampled in the past.”
You are known for having a multitude of side projects, Nouveau Life, Incorporeal Visions Deluxe and much more. Is this something you are continuing in any capacity?
CVLTVRE: Yes and no. I think as long as I have different ideas for projects that I feel don’t fit with any of my existing ones, I’ll probably keep putting out stuff under different pseudonyms, but probably not as frequently as I’ve done in the past.
Can you tell us more about your new Vorota label and the Arthur J. Reptilian project?
CVLTVRE: Vorota is a music label and visual collective me and a group of some of my closest friends have been working on for the last year and half. We’re focusing mainly on people in our group that compose and performs D.I.Y/Lo-fi pop music and trying to build large visual concepts around each artist.
Arthur J. Reptilian is my current project that’s really become my main focus. I started writing music as Arthur J. about 3 and a half years ago but didn’t really start pushing this project until early last year after me and my friend Boy Scoot Hopkins decided to start co-producing each others projects along with my friend and housemate Morris Veils. My place has essentially turned into a home studio with the three of us working together on the weekly… Plus our two other artists Lova22 and Julia Maura come through every so often so it can get pretty busy over here!
Where do you see the future of music and art going over the next decade?
CVLTVRE: It’s hard to say. With the multitude of artists and influencers online it could really go anywhere. I’ve noticed that people seem to be getting a touch of nostalgia for the early 2010’s which is pretty funny to see. I’ve even caught myself going there for a hot minute. I’d like to say the future of music and art is going to be wherever me and the rest of Vorota is going. We’re working hard to achieve exactly what we want for each project. At the end of the day the goal is just for each one of us to get ourselves out there visually and sonically. Any recognition beyond that would be so humbling for all of us. On a side note, I’ve noticed a lot of talk regarding A.I becoming a more prominent feature of art and music. Whether people see that as a good thing or not, I definitely see it as a pretty interesting aid for creation. I’ll admit even I’ve used an A.I for one of my songs on the upcoming Arthur J. Reptilian album.
You say a love letter to a love letter – who or what is this love letter to?
CVLTVRE: I’d like to keep that out there to interpretation. There’s definitely something personal in there for me, but I like to see how others interpret my music. Though I’m not always able to get back to people, I’m always happy to read what people get out of it. I wouldn’t want to soil that freedom. What I like with CVLTVRE is just feeding vague tag lines for each release to get peoples brains going.
” At the end of the day the goal is just for each one of us to get ourselves out there visually and sonically. Any recognition beyond that would be so humbling for all of us.”
Is the Vorota collective mostly based in Paris? If so, what are your thoughts on local vs. net scenes going into the 2020s?
CVLTVRE: Vorota is mainly based in Paris, though Morris is going to be based in Taiwan and between the States and Paris later this year. I think there are pro’s and cons to both. I think it’s important to be a part of both scenes these days. You can reach such an insane amount of people online but if you remain as just an online entity without any personal interaction you can easily sink to the bottom of the net. It’s scary putting yourself out there in a physical environment because you essentially have an immediate response to your music and performance, but I believe it’s still the best way to reach people on a personal level. The Paris music scene in general is pretty great. People seem to be quite open to most things and we’re definitely not short on venues. There’s almost always something to see, where it be at a venue, club, bar, squat, radio theatres, concert halls and even Kebab shops! I find it hard to feel part of any particular music scene here though. I guess what me and the rest of us at Vorota are trying to do is build our own little scene. In some ways I feel like we’ve already done that. We’ve just gotta play more shows.
Can you tell us more about the process with the AI?
CVLTVRE: I was basically just playing around with different AI harmonisers. So I wasn’t relying entirely on what it can blindly throw at me. I would feed in different melody ideas I had into different AI’s I’d found online and see what they could find to harmonise with. It was kind of a long process to get anything satisfactory but the one result I got out of god knows how many melodic phrases became a great inspiration for one of the songs on my next album. I doubt I’ll be turning back to it anytime soon, but I believe that as some of these AI’s become more advanced and intricate, it would be inevitable that they start to become a more involved tool in music production.