01. Milliken Chamber - Cruel Excess
02. Cienfuegos - Encantada
03. I need a Freak (Hotaru Edit)
04. Pique-nique De La Tombe (Olta Karawane Edit)
05. ALTC - It's a One Way Ticket
06. Davide Pestillo - Blue shadow
07. Dino Sabatini - Lewa
08. Imed Alibi & Khalil Epi - Analog Bedoui
09. DJ Black Low & Mr Perfect ft. DJ La Bengwa - Alone in a Dark
10. Elecktroids - Time Tunnel
11. Warrington/Runcorn New Town Development Plan - Gateway To The Future
12. Poperttelli - Yelloww (Unreleased)
13. Weith - Elan Noir
14. Space Drum Meditation ft. Messias Messiah - Roots
15. Mani Festo - Disengage
16. Erik Luebs - Total Control
17. Gosub - Tra-Fuse III
18. Virginia - Lies
19. Black Channels - Ghosts
The final podcast of 2022 comes from the producer, selector and up-and-coming film scorer Poperttelli AKA Jonathan Cambefort. The Frenchman has been active in the scene for more than 7 years, co-running the cassette-focused label Maturre in Berlin as well as releasing full EPs on Brokntoys, Lost Dogs Entertainment, and dozen of singles and remixes on other platforms. With a keen ear for melody, Poperttelli’s versatile vision can seamlessly bring together anything from grubby electro or industrial EBM to hypnotic or even funky drifts. Poperttelli’ DT podcast #198 is full of well-executed changes of style and tone as well as evocative soundscapes, shaping up a great listening experience in the midst of the current winter gloominess. We've also spoken with the artist about his upbringing, post-pandemic thoughts and music ventures.
Hi Jonathan, it's a pleasure to welcome you to DT Podcast. Where are you currently based, and what's happening in your life these days?
Hi guys, thank you for having me on board :) I'm currently based between Paris & my childhood place in the French Alps.
Let's talk about your upbringing. Can you recall your first memories involving music? And, if yes, do you think it had any impact on your further relationship with music?
My father has always been a huge music collector, so, through his tastes, I should have somehow dived into music, but I don't exactly remember all the details to be honest. One funny thing: I remember him telling me that techno music is bad, repetitive, and probably for dumb people (laughs. Since I later showed him some electro & techno classics, and after I got into the production of techno tracks (that he still really likes) during 2013-2015, he changed his mind about this music and apprehended its history.
We enjoy different music-consuming experiences throughout our lifetime. If you had to go through the chronology of it, what defined your taste in the early years before you took the wheel of making music yourself?
During my time in high school, I've exchanged hundreds of reggae and hip-hop albums with Robin & Zilba, my two main partners in crime, as well as with other friends. I've been a huge fan of Israel Vibration, for example. I don't know why, but that was, for some years, almost like a passion or a religion for me. (RIP Skelly)
I've been playing the violin for 7 or 8 years (till the beginning of high school), but I never enjoyed it (I was rather bad at it). It's super tricky to play well, and it is not as fun as it would be with guitar, where you can play wherever etc. I'm sure you know what I mean.
Just after I finally stopped playing the violin, I got an FL5 crack from a friend and started straight making beats. Every track sounded horrible, of course, but I felt great doing it. Fastly, I discovered RZA & Dj Shadow and their techniques of production. 15 years later, I'm somehow still imitating them. (laughs)
It would be nice to get into some detail about your creative process. What does your session in the studio look like?
It sounds surreal to some people and friends, but I've been using FL5 since I got it.
As mentioned above, I became a "sampling producer", yet I don't use long & recognizable loops at all. I try to match very short extracts (sometimes a lot of them) that will build something new. I'm adding some own-created drums and other things, but this is the basis.
Since high school, I often tried to have a recorder with me, and I've been recording sounds from life ever since. For instance, my album "Tourist Go Home '', published on Lost Dogs Entertainment (2019), contains a ton of samples taken during a trip I did with a friend in Eastern European countries in 2016. Initially, in Crakow, we got a cheap recorder that looked handy. As primitives, we had neither smartphones nor digital cameras. Our only materials were two disposable cameras & this recorder. We came home with about 40 pictures, and our 1,5 month trip resulted in various sounds recorded: voices from the Ukrainians we met along the road, some night-time atmospheres while waiting for a train in Bulgaria, long walks through nowhere in Bosnia, or just us talking deep or sh*t conversations.
Afterwards, all of these recordings have been used as source material to cut & use for this album. And for us, it's totally crazy (and hilarious) to listen back, because it's chronological. As a raw material, it's like a long audiobook.
Understanding the delicacies of music production for an outsider might be difficult. But, what I'm curious about is how imagination and feelings are transformed into sound. Do you have visual associations when producing music?
I guess not. I have a kind of montage/cut routine, how to raise the tracks etc., but, I think, I don't see anything special while composing. However, many people told me that my music made them see some images and pictures.
Downtempo or high-tempo?
Everything is relative (laughs)
It's been more than two years since you launched the last EP on brokntoys. Around that time the COVID-19 pandemic was ravaging the world, and many people found themselves in different routines and lifestyles due to quarantine. How did it affect you personally? And how has it affected your music ventures?
It didn't change much of my routine, to be honest. I can compose anywhere if there's some electricity.
As we are now in the aftermath of the strict quarantine measures, what are the main takeaways for you?
I will not exactly answer your original question, but this comes to my mind when we speak about life on earth and interconnections between species.
I think that we, as humans living in this microscopic dot lost in the universe, are absolutely fragile. Our leaders (often corrupted politicians, mainstream journalists or major boss companies, all these kinds of nice people) are easily playing with us, even in "democratic" countries. The power of money, the "power of power", the infinite growth, the colonisations, the wars, and all the aspects of the wild liberalism we are living with, are slowly killing us, animals, and nature. We are all stuck in some sick-societal structures, and, sadly, we are all more or less participating in this great collapse. Easy to say? Probably. The mass is not guilty anyway. We are accepting something bigger, and we survive inside.
Our planet is, of course, full of beautiful souls & things to catch love & resistance, but if some E.T. would look at the whole earth-mess from far beyond, they would def think: what the fantastic damn hell is going on there?
Or, maybe it's just way worse on their planet.¯\_(?)_/¯
You've also released a dozen mixes. After hearing some of them, it might be fair to say that you are not bound by BPMs or strict moods, the genres are gently flirting with each other. However, a more emotional side of yours seems to be more transparent than in your production output. Do you have a different mental working approach to mixes in comparison to single tracks or EPs?
I understood something around 2015/16. I've been going out quite a lot at that time and, at some point, got bored of linear sets, whatever the genre played. Very bored.
I met some people who succeeded in playing what they really love, even if, in the end, the mix was a non-mix. Whatever. Music speaks.
I like to imagine that I composed one or another track from an artist I'm touched by (because I deeply enjoy the vibe, or there is a little jealousy somewhere, haha). Thus, the podcast experience is perfect for creating such a thing and allows us to fix our favourites together. We all love tracks from any genre, so why not try to mix them? Also, because it's the same brain who likes this or that track from totally different genres, maybe there are some sibling connections through them. (laughs)
Talking about my own production, as I've mentioned before, I have a technical routine, but at the beginning of the process, I have no idea where it will end and what the atmosphere will be around it. I just try to make it, and once in a while, something interesting pops up. Then, I re-listen to the exports quite a lot. I don't want to get bored of what will probably be released somewhere later. I want to be 100% sure. Sometimes it takes months or even years.
A pseudo-philosophical question - what comes first: storytelling or track selection?
Track selection, slowly.
Let's say, it's gloomy wintertime. You're cooking yourself a lovely breakfast before you start having a laid-back day. What is a song to start such a day with?
Probably some (unfinished) tracks, sent the night before by my bros (Vonverhille, Bravo Tounky, or Ecxo) to get some feedback (laughs). On a serious note, it would probably be a full episode of "No Weapon is Absolute" (from Cosmo Vitelli & DJ Sundae, on NTS radio) with some crazy folk songs in it. Or some badass Guccimane or Hamza tracks. It would depend on what kind of gloomy mood it is.
Several months ago, you announced that you had a chance to compose and sing the music for the EKAITZ SORTZAILEA film. Could you elaborate on the project: how you became part of it, and how much of a challenge was to write the score (and, also, sing!) for a film?
In early 2021, a friend in Paris told me that his little bro, Alex, was shooting his first short/medium-length film, sort of a Basque tale, and thought that my music could match well in some way. We would finally meet, and I showed him some music stuff I've done in the past, and he demonstrated some videos he made, like documentaries about basque fishermen. We learned to know & appreciate each other while starting to work together. He showed me some tracks from other films and references he got inspired by, and I started composing some ambient stuff.
Later he sent me the poem he wrote in French, which got translated into Basque. Over the last week of August 2021, I stayed five full days alone in the dark to sing and cut it. The track was born. Alex and a bunch of friends were touched by it, what a relief that was!
The film was finally projected in the Basque country one year later on August 2022, on a Basque pelota wall. All the crew and a bunch of friends have reunited to watch it and celebrate.
That was a great experience from A to Z that went beyond my comfort zone. #parizetmagique
In the depths of the internet, one can also find an animated movie Chess (2014), with music credits belonging to you. Was it your first movie you've done a composition, or are there more projects you've been involved in?
Yes, it was the first music piece I made for a video. That was the final school project of Etienne, my old friend from Lyon. It was cool, he did crazy drawing work for this one. And, no, I never did such a thing again, until the said Basque tale project came up last year.
In another register, I recently started to make some pieces for a friend, Jaya, who started a piece/performance/show inspired by Tuareg Tales and focused on the Imzadi, a one-string fiddle only played by Tuareg women. I don't know exactly where this project is going, but Jaya already made a kind of work-in-progress show in the summer, using my music to perform and sing. It was definitely delightful. I'm very excited about how this piece will evolve!
For sure, I would love to make more film scores or show scores in the future. It's a goal.
You're stuck in some village near a forest in your homeland without an internet connection for a month. But you have a boombox and three cassettes. What tapes would you bring with you to listen to?
Hmmm, it's a super hard question. Maybe I'd ask all my dearest relatives to send me their three best songs ever, and I'd record [without listening to the tracks before!] three huge compilations. I'd have a lot of surprises afterwards while discovering the tapes... ^^
What's on the horizon for Poperttelli next? Any plans you would like to share with the readers?
Concerning our label Maturre (that we run together with my guy Vonverhille), we are going to release three exciting projects which are about to go out of the oven. Stay tuned!
Personally, I'm cooking some albums, one of them is set to be released on Maturre too.
To conclude, I'd love to continue creating sounds for films or spectacles. Certainly, it is the gap I'd like to jump into.
Thank you for, Jonathan!
Thank you again for all the questions, it was a real pleasure to answer them!
Sending love to my friends & family.