Cedric Dassulle aka Talamasca gives us this marvellous interview. Enjoy!
A Portrait of Talamasca: Paint your soul!What influenced you to get into your field?
Cedric: I am a kind of mixture between classical music, because I’ve played the piano when i was kid, from 6 or 7 until 13 or 14 … heavy metal and punk, because that was the music I was listening when I was teenager, and I cannot deny the fact that Jean-Michel Jarre, or Vangelis Papathanassiou, are artists who have influenced me the most in my taste of electronic music …Now of course, I have been super influenced by the fist “psy” bands I was listening: Man with no name, Juno reactor, Total eclipse, Transwave, Astral projection and few others…
As an artist, what role do you think you play in society?
Wow, this is a unusual question, and a very interesting one….so first of all, I think it depends on the society you are living in … I am lucky enough to be born in a country where I can live as an artist, in a country with freedom of speech, and freedom of thoughts, so it’s much easier for me to be “an artist” here than in few other countries where listening to electronic music can direct you to jail! …and I don’t believe I overreact here…If Mao Tze Dong killed all the artists of China during the Communist revolution there, it is because the artists are dangerous for the regime…you can write books, make music, or paint images, you can always hide some under-meaning messages in your art. Beside this, I think that artist minds are working differently than other people…we use more of our right hemisphere of the brain … the “abstract” one, so in the end, we think differently. Where a scientist mind would questions: WHY? The artist mind would think: HOW?… but it is hard for me to speak “as an artist”, because this is who I am…I could reverse you the question and ask you : as a non-artist, what is your role in society ? …and then most of the people here would discover that they are artist too …they just don’t make a living out of it ….so what is an artist? Someone lucky enough to make a living from his passion….of course, a little bit of talent can help 😉
Creating on a regular basis can be a bloody tough job, so what motivates you to press yourself into the workstation every single day?
ahahah! first of all, I don’t have the choice ! This is my job for the last 20 years, and this is my greatest passion in life…I doubt I can change this … few years ago I was worried a bit for my “future”, what will i become “after” ……nowadays, I ‘m not afraid anymore, I know what will happen …I will make and play music until the end of my life. So I do not really need any extra motivation, I love what i ‘m doing, and I m used to it. It became my routine…My studio is in my house, so I wake up, take a coffee and go to the studio to make music… until the next Saturday where I will play it…that’s my life.
Do you get nervous before a performance?
Absolutely not. I am a bit stressed, because I am always afraid of any bullshit that can happen in the party…computer crashes for example…last time I played in Finland, my computer didn’t start and I didn’t have any backup cds…and I have been soooooo lucky that the promoter there (thank you Golan!) was a fan of my music and had all my albums in his laptop, which, added to the few unreleased I had with me on a usb key, allowed me to play there….since then, I ALWAYS have back up 😉 …but I am always worried of this kind of things..not about my performance…not because I trust myself enough to not be scared, but because I do this every week end for the last 20 years…I am not afraid anymore of my reputation, or about being the one in the party who make the people shout the most…It has become so normal for me to play my music that I do not question myself anymore about my performances, I just go, play, and make the people enjoy and smile. No reason to be nervous when you deliver good news to people 😉
What’s the story behind your artist name and project?
Before to be called Talamasca, I was known as Dj Lestat. Lestat is the name of a Vampire in the Anne rice’s novels “interview with a vampire”, from the vampire’s chronicles. I have chosen this name when I was 17, because it sounded French, and because, in that time more particularly, I was living mostly in night time. I had no idea the books were famous overseas. In those books, there is a secret group of “paranormal investigators” named Talamasca. All members of this group have some mind power, telepathy, telekinesis, this kind of things, and as my second hobby in life is “magic” and “illusion”, and as I have been an illusionist and a hypnotist for almost 2 decades, the name was fitting very well. Beside this, Talamasca, in Latin language, means ‘animal mask’…and I like it. 😀
What other genres of music do you listen to? Name your influences.
The more I go in the past in my life, the more I was exclusive to the style I was listening. When i was listening punk and heavy metal, I would have never believed that I could listen to another style of music in my life. then, electronic music caught me, and I was sure that i would from then listen only electronic…then Goa trance arrived in 92, 93…and again, I was sure that THIS time, I would listen this music only and forever……and then I grew up…when I was thinking before that other styles of music, commercial or underground, didn’t deserve my respect if I didn’t like them, I know understand how stupid I was. I now respect all kind of music, and I have understood that first of all, there is good music and bad music in EVERY STYLE. Then, I know now that as a musician, and I speak here about ANY musician who produce tracks, of ANY style, have only one goal: to please the people who will listen his music! Everybody have different tastes, and you cannot please everybody…so…I respect now any musician of any style who dedicated his life to his passion. This being said, I have to admit that I am not listening a lot of music. I wake up, go to my studio and make some…all day….every day…and I don’t work with little volume…so when i stop , and go out of my studio, I prefer to spend time playing with my kids, or even watch TV than listen music…and I have this big problem that every electronic producer knows: I don’t listen music anymore…I analyse it…specially electronic music…When I hear a track, I will listen to what kind of reverberation they used, what kind of effects, the sound of the bass…but not listen to it just to enjoy it. This I can do now with “normal” music, like Pink Floyd last album which is probably the album I listened the most recently…I cannot deny the fact that I am also a big fan of Shpongle, and I have in mind the idea of making an psyambient album in the future…to be listened more than danced …
Has the process of making music transformed you? In what way?
No, it didn’t t transform me……it revealed myself! I didn’t become someone else because I made music…I just became the real me, the one who didn’t know what was his purpose in life before, and who found in music his destiny. I am really not joking when i sometime say that Music saved my life…it really did…from all angles…
Well, I have a very interesting story about this. There is one Pink Floyd track, called “one of these days”, made in 1973, released in 1974. I love this track since I discovered it in my mother records when I was 14 or 15 years old. I used to have a recorded tape with only this track on both sides, and I was listening to it all day long. If you listen to it now, you will realise that: 1 – there are no lyrics, 2 – it is very very similar to trance music… So this track, I found it on cd few years later, and was still loving it. At the age of 19, when my career as a dj became more successful, I went to my mother’s place to let her know that I was doing fine, to not worry, and I played her the Pink Floyd track to explain her that I loved this track so much that “one day”, I will remix it myself. She then explained to me that when she was pregnant of me, she was crazy about this track and she was listening to it all day long…I was shocked! Few years later, when my wife was pregnant with my first kid, I was putting a lot of music all day long, so the baby could listen and get inspired..maybe become a musician…I was putting every genre, from classical music to punk, going through jazz and electronic, with big volume…and my son now is a guitar player, he learned by himself and is super talented…is it connected ? I don’t know…but if i had to bet I would bet on the yes 😉 !
Now, as “influences”, and as explained above, I m not really influenced by new artists. that would be called more “to copy” than to be influenced, and the line between the two is very thin . I am influenced by the classical music I am never listening, and I try to not be influenced by the trance music I am listening every week in parties by my friends when i play somewhere…
What’s your biggest temptation or vice, what can you not resist?
Only my kids or my wife can make me think about something else than marijuana when I don’t have to smoke :p …but don’t repeat, it s a secret …and it is such a good secret that when I travel around the world, and arrive in a city, open my facebook and post ” ok , What to do here ?”, most of the people who know me well know exactly that I am expecting them to send me a private message, phonecall, whatsapp, skype, viber, voxer or any other app message, to invite me and smoke with them 😉 …
Face-off: Let’s get the grits on the table:What quality do you admire the most in others? What quality do you like about yourself the most?
I am not such a patient guy. I have learned with the time how to spend 10 hours in an airport with nothing to do, or how to sit 14 hours in a plane when you are not tired. But I never learned how to behave with stupidity, and how to be patient with stupid people, and trust me, I met a few. Now, about “my” quality…it is hard to say, I’m not sure I am the best guy to speak about myself..I could tell you my defaults: lazy, sarcastic, ego-tripping, curious. But when I think about it, the quality that helped me the most to achieve being where I am today are: lazy, sarcastic, ego-tripping and curious… 😉
Which phase was the hardest/scariest in your life?
My 14 to 18 years old period. I was not a cool kid. I have been fired from many schools, the French “national education” made me wrote a letter saying that “I QUIT” education…I come from a modest family, and I left my mother’s place when I was 15 and half…and…well….I have been through really hard times, and when I said before that music saved my life, it really did. I would be dead or in jail now, instead of travelling the world and being the father of 2 wonderful kids and husband of the best possible wife ever.
Any embarrassing/funny moments? Yes, you’d hate to disclose your secrets but we’d love to hear.
Oh, I don’t have any problem telling embarrassing moments of other artists..ahahah ….are you ready ? ….no…I cannot ethically expose all what I know about all the ones you know….lol ….and it is sometimes more unreal than you think. But I have in mind to write a novel myself, in the near future, it will be a fiction, but I will hide a lot of real facts inside it…different names, different places…but same situation. So without revealing any name, I can still reveal one or two stories, like for example those 2 djs who came back with 2 girls from a party in brazil to have fun in the room … so the girls offered them to go quickly to take some coke down the hotel because they live just near, and came back 5 minutes later with a loooot of coke in the room…for only 30 seconds, because the police suddenly arrived in the room to arrest them for cocaine possession….this is SCARY! And of course they had to pay a loooooooot of money to be out of the situation. or this other story of 2 friends of mine, running in the forest near Monterrey in Mexico, with some mafia guys with machine guns shooting towards them in the night… This is the “underground DJ life” 😉
About funny moments….man, every week I have tons of funny moments. I am a happy guy who like to laugh. When we are between Djs, travelling to the party by bus or van, it is very often a joke competition during the trip …
When have you been most satisfied in your life? Care to share one of your happiest memories?
I am a father!!! Nothing would ever reach this level of achievement in my life. But if we speak about me as “Talamasca” more than “Cedric”, then, I have a few. It’s almost impossible to compare a party of 30000 people in Brazil, with a 500 people party in the desert in Israel, with a 1000 people party on a cruise for 3 days, with an indoor amusement park party in Japan with roller coasters, with a party ON the beach of playa del Carmen in Mexico, or in front of the Teotihuacan pyramids, or with the Mount Fuji behind me when playing or with a party in the middle of the jungle in Amazonia….you see my point? I had good moments everywhere, and I am still waiting for more!
Everyone starts somewhere, what was your first job before you got into music?
Ahahaha….as explained, I was “forced” to quit school at the age of 17, few months before my final exam…and I was already a party freak who knew most of the promoters of rave parties in Paris. I think that 2 months after I stopped school, I was working in a little club in Paris called the “38bis”, as a barman, door security, and very quickly as a dj when nobody was there…which was the case almost every day ..but we were the place to go to after parties, and this is how i met personally most of the actors of the scene in that time. Very quickly, I became resident Dj of the Rex club in Paris, in 1993 every Thursday …so …again, this was my first and only job. I remember a summer job when I was 16…In a big company, in the “mail section” , but for any un-understandable reason, my boss didn’t like the fact that I called her a big cow from the second day and fired me…so…I don t remember much ..ahahah…I always had a little problem with authority…I mean, I can respect someone, but he needs first to own my respect, and if it was teachers, or bosses, or any other form of authority, if they are not nice, or if they are stupid, it is very hard to respect them right ? …
Flash-forward in time. You are now really old. What would you tell your children/loved ones?
Well…according to my plans, I would be the happiest man in the world if my children, once they grow up, would tell me: dad, you were a good father and we are proud to be your kids…then, I would say, “I love you more than you could ever imagine and I am even more proud to be your father.” ….amen :p
Into the time machine again. What do you miss about being a kid?
It depends what age 😉 …ahahah…..I am now 40 years old…so to me, a 25 years old person is a kid too ….so if we speak about what i miss from the “before 14” period, I would say “innocence”. From the 14 to 18: “unconsciousness” and from after: “crazyness”
Excessive chopping dulls the axe. Time-outs are a must. What do you do when you take time off from creating? Got any hobbies? (Books? Movies? TV shows?)
I am a big fan of Derren Brown, a worldwide known mentalist, and I do the same kind of magic, at my little level 😉 …beside this ? …Spend time with my kids and wife, watching tv series and playing civilization 5 is what I do the most when i m not travelling or making music.
talamasca`s Ideology: Beliefs that bake your brainThe genie comes out of the lamp and grants you one wish that will change the world. What would you wish for?
To put all the religions aside, all of them! To keep only the concept of Karma: you act good, good happens. You act bad, bad happens, and may the world live in peace.
How do you connect to the spiritual side of yourself?
I don’t need to “connect”, this side is part of me. but it has nothing to do with a “creator” because of who I would have to follow stupid rules like to go to church and pray every Sunday and to be forgiven for my sins just because I mentioned them to a guy who wears a dress, or to not eat pork or not touch electricity on Saturdays for any legendary reason, or to kill my neighbour because he doesn’t want to believe in “my” imaginary friend! …I am a very rational guy, I believe in science. I am a agnostic, which , at the opposite of an atheist who claims they “know” there is nothing, just say that ” I don’t know” if there is something “above” us…but what I know, is that, IF there was something, anything, any superior dimensions, whoever is there, would not care about “me” more than I care about the little men on my screen when I play the sims or civilization. But I believe in “karma”…I consider myself as a good person, and for that reason I act good, and because I act good, I am happy. This is my spiritual side.
Do you have any belief/beliefs that you cannot do without?
Yes, I believe than to “believe” without any proof is a mistake, but I can’t prove it.
On the Scene:Where do you think psytrance is headed? Future trends?
When I was kid, (again, define kid…ahaha…let s say when I was 20 ..) I believed that trance will be the music of the future generation. I understood now that it will always stay an underground music, because for “normal” people who are not listening to it, it is fast and a bit agressive, or monotonic and boring…I now believe that it will stay underground, and that it will evolve the same way than the goatrance evolved to the “psytrance” …but I am smelling also that pretty soon, there will be a “goa trance revival” ….same spirit, but better production. I regret a bit that time of the “goa trance”..because, I believe ( but this time i have proofs ! 😉 ) that the spirit of this music was happier in the past, there was more feeling, and little by little it turned to a competition about who does the best tricks, who got the biggest sound, and who got the best mixes…but not really about who does the best “music” anymore. But now that everybody reached almost the same level of production due to the equipment, I think that the “feeling of the music”, or let s call it by their name: the melodies, will come back strongly soon.
What do you think of the scene at the present moment? What would you like changed or what would like to see remain at status quo?
I hate this new “dark forrest” “high tek” style. honestly…I cannot understand it…99% of what I listened is crap, made on a laptop with no speakers and with a lame production. You hardly ear the snare or the openhihat…I strongly believe that THIS style (as i don’t want to call it music) destroyed the scene and spitted it. People don’t go to a trance party to listen hardcore.
Piracy, works out negatively for the artist, but it allows listeners’ to access music that would otherwise be hard to source. Art should be shared…
in this light what are your thoughts on piracy vs. a price tag?
Pfff…hard question……If there was no piracy, and if people would buy Cd the same way there were buying few decades ago, I would have now a really good life with a much better bank account and I would feel safe for my family. but I personally watch TV series or movies on streaming, I download sometime mp3 for my kids when I don’t want to spend 15 Euros for a cd they will listen 2 times in their life…..so ….if i play the game, I need to accept the rules.
Pearls: Words of Wisdom for reader and fans:At the end of the ride, everyone’s looking for some form of success (tangible or not), what does success mean to you?
Well, the beautiful answer would be: “you know, money doesn’t matter in your life, fame is superficial, what matters is to make the people who listen your music happy, that is all i need…”….pffffffffff….that would be very hypocritical. I consider myself successful in what I am doing, if i compare where I am to where i was thinking to go when i began my carreer. But let’s be realistic, i am a famous artist in a not famous style…I am lucky enough that I can make enough money to have a decent life for me and my family, but come on…success ? I’ll be successful when Ill be dead maybe…ahahah…..until then, I will be a normal guy who makes music to make some freak people dance at nights in parties at week ends…because I am one of them 😀
We are almost done. Give us a nutshell of the life philosophy/motto/mantra that you clutch close to your heart.
Be yourself, love your ones.
Be yourself, love your ones. 😉
One word to describe yourself, and one word to describe music.
Myself : entertainer, music : entertainment