Interview with Vincent Coudert (Vinc2)

vinckeyb3-smallVincent comes from France. He lives there and compose his music which is a mix of electronic and ambient. He’s recorded and released three albums on his own. The last one was completely sold out. Among others he takes his inspirations from Icelandic artists. He’s a huge fan of Sigur Rós and thanks to this band I’ve discovered Vinc2 music. This is another artist, introduced as a part of the “Icelandic insprations” series.

Bartek: Your presence on muzykaislandzka.pl, which is focused on Icelandic music may be a surprise to many people. So I’ll just say that you are a young musician coming from France. Could you introduce yourself to us?

Vincent Coudert (Vinc2): Sure. I am Vincent Coudert, I am 27 soon (it’s not so young, even if some people told me I have the luck to have a younger appareance), I live in the french alps near Annecy, between Lyon and Geneva. I am a multi-instrumentalist, I play acoustic and electric guitar, bass, piano, keyboards, harmonica, glockenspiel, and I like to create my own beats or sounds too. I have some skills as sound engineer. I am totally self-educated ! It is important for me to learn by myself, far from big thoeries. I like to have the control of my music, for me each little detail is very important. I am very demanding with myself. Music is a real passion for me and I dream to live thanks to it one day. Unfortunately, it’s impossible for the moment and I have another job in the IT domain.

Bartek: So let’s start from your music. As I’ve already mentioned you’re young, but you have a few your own music releases (3 albums and one EP). When did you stared composing? And how your music has been evolving thorugh the years?

Vinc2: I started to compose music there are almost 12 years ago. Vinc2 is the name of my instrumental project but it’s very interesting for me to explore a new universe in each of my records, following my influences of the moment. In despite of the fact of all my albums are really differents, it’s important for me the keep a global coherence in the Vinc2’s discography. If one day the musical direction is too different than my existing records, I will create a side-project called by another name.

„Exoplanète”, my first record on theme of astronomy, was composed in 2005 (at the age of 17) but only released in 2008. I was strongly depressed in this period, and I think that to be able to accomplish this project saved my life. Exoplanète contains at the same time all my anxiety and my disenchantment but also my hopes and my longing for somewhere else. It’s altogether a part of who I am or rather of who I used to be, like each record.

My second release was a mini-album called „Dreams And Hopes” (2010). This one was born around compositions dating from 2007-2008. From a material of 12 pieces, I selected 7 and have thoroughly reworked to form a real cohesive unit in the sound and atmosphere. My general state was not really better than during the composition of Exoplanète, but this record is full of lightness and really less anxiety then Exoplanète. Spontaneity and innocence were privileged during the recording (I have often kept the first takes). To listen to strolling through a park, between winter and spring …

My third and last release „By The Third Sea” was born in special conditions. Some vagaries of life have slowed the progress of the project … More than ever, I put my whole soul in it. These vagaries forced me to consider this album as if it was the last … The pieces were all made 4 years ago. You will ask me: why such a long time to release this record ? Well, I tweaked it again and again … And I especially gradually acquired the real professional equipment, which finally allowed me to shape my ideas. Acquire the equipment was one thing, to exploit all opportunities was another. So I took my time to explore what allowed me to make my new „playthings”. With this, I could rework tirelessly each composition to reach my personal vision of the „perfection”.

The theme of the sea appeared to me only in 2011. I found the general atmosphere could remind a sea crossing alone. In addition, the video for „Fantasia” was already using this theme (it’s hadn’t been premeditated).

What is the „third sea”? Everyone is free to make his own opinion … I do not wish to influence the listener by revealing the images I had in mind when developing this project. But I must admit that the album cover gives a very accurate representation of the universe that I wanted to recreate. „By The Third Sea” was originally to be minimalist but finally instruments have gradually accumulated … In the end, the album has a very dense production and looks like a sea of sounds, it feels like a slow boat rocked by the waves in the middle of a starry ocean, sometimes calm, sometimes unbridled … The near absence of rythm was intended to strengthen the feeling of floating.

In 2014, I publish an EP in free download (including a cover of Jonsi And Alex’s track „Indian Summer”) to thank the people who supports me since the beginning.

Bartek: You know that, but I have to explain it to our readers. I’ve discovered your music through the Sigur Rós messageboard. And that’s why I have to ask you about your inspirations, also (but not only) these Icelandic.

Vinc2: I discovered Sigur Ros in 2003 with „( )” and with the record „Kid A” of Radiohead, they really give me the will to play music. For „Exoplanète”, Sigur Ros was already a strong influence but not only. It sounds quite experimental with influences of Boards Of Canada, Mùm, Radiohead (era „Kid A”). „Dreams And Hopes” sounds more ‚pop/electronica’ and has been marked by the dreamlike, shimmering and chiming universe of Mercury Rev (album „The Secret Migration” in particular) and by bands like Air, SayCet or The Album Leaf. Influences for „By The Third Sea” were Jonsi And Alex, Sigur Ros, Eluvium, Hammock, Max Richter, Mono … This is a real ambient album, less electronic and more organic than my older records, very cinematographic, with some notes of drone music and post-rock.

Bartek: I often ask Icelandic artists if they take an inspiration from the nature. The place where you live is quite different from the Iceland, but it’s also beautiful. Is this a source of inspiration for you?

Vinc2: Yes, I am lucky to live in a such beautiful place. There are many common points with Iceland, but the main difference is the density of the population, very high in the french alps. But yes, all manifestation of the nature, even in its simpliest form, can be an inspiration’s source for me. I like to capture nature sounds with my portable recorder. I have the chance to work in the countryside, I often see squirrels or fox when I go to work … Unfortunately, some people in my region aren’t as respectful of the nature as Icelandic and Scandinavian people.

Bartek: You’ve recorded and published your version of Svefn-G-Englar, which our readers can hear (linked to the article). Why did you choose this track?

Vinc2: This cover was very old and I published it only for the pleasure because I know it is very perfectible. I was very surprised by the number of positive reviews ! „Svefn-G-Englar” is the proof that a very slow track can be extremly powerful. I immediately loved it, when I knew the band. I know that my voice is nothing compared to Jonsi’s voice but it was very emotional for me to sing it.

Bartek: Talking about Sigur Rós, the group that we’re both a huge fans I have to ask you about your favourite SR album and song. Could you choose one?

Vinc2: For me Agaetis Byrjun, ( ), Takk and Valtari are all masterpieces. I do like Von, Ny Batteri EP, Ba ba Ti ki Di do, Saeglopur EP and Hvarf too. ( ) is maybe my favourite because it has a sentimental value for me : I discovered them with this record. I had finally found what I had always sought in music. This is more than a simple album for me. ( ) speaks directly to my soul and to my heart. This is a timeless work.

I think Kveikur is a so-so album and I totally dislike „med south í eyrum vid spilum endalaust” : I could not find the usual depth of Sigur Ros (I curse the producer Flood!), I found that the compositions and production were really below the expertise of the group … It is as if angels had become simple humans. For me, only Ara Batur reached the level of previous albums.

I saw them 4 times in lives. The best SR gig for me was in Lyon 2005 (Le Transbordeur) for the Takk tour, simply the most beautiful day in my life. The band was really less famous than now, and this moment was a treasure. Here was my review, for people who understands french: http://etoiledesneiges.canalblog.com/archives/2006/10/01/1099219.html

Bartek: And ofcourse there is another great Icelandic accent on your latest release. I’m talking about the Indian Summer / Into Oblivion EP. Your version of Indian Summer (originally by Jónsi and Alex) is really amazing. Completely different from the original, with Jaana Palonen on vocal.

Vinc2: Thank you so much for your compliments ! When I cover a song, I hate to make a copy-paste of the original. I like to keep only the basic structure of the song and create something different. But I try to keep the soul of the original track anyway. Jaana Palonen (artist’s name : Valveuni) is really great as musician, singer, composer and as a person. This is someone too rare nowadays. Just kind, talented and so modest.

Bartek: Can you describe your music in any way? What kind of sounds do you compose, what genre?

Vinc2: I am just trying to give the reflect of my soul on a precise instant. Music is first of all a therapy for me. When I started to compose, the sounds were very electronic. Since that, each record is more organic than the previous. This rule will be applicable to the next record, which will be more intimistic and minimaslist than “By The Third Sea”. But it is not exclused that I come back to electronic sounds one day, but used in a different way than on “Exoplanète”. Today, I have so much more skills in instruments playing, sound treatement than when I started music. Moreover, I have a so much better hardware than at the time.

Bartek: Tell me, is it hard to be an independent musician in France? Recording and releasing such a unique music on your own?

Vinc2: Oh yes, you have no idea how hard it is. Because of my work, I have only a few times to make music. But today only make music is not enough for an independent musician. We have to transform ourself to a manager, a marketing specialist. It is a permanent battle. On a side, I am very lucky to be able to share my music with the whole world. And it is wonderful to record all my music at home, without the studio’s pressure. But in the other hand, we have to spend a gigantic time to send CD to labels, documentary producers, radios, promote the stuff on Fb, Soundcloud, Lastfm … With often a disappointing result, for my part. I am nostalgic of the time when Facebook, Instagram or Twitter didn’t exist as promotion tool for musician. Nowadays, the only marketing strategy which works is that musicians are taking pictures of themselves all day long, saying that they love their fans. Then, thousands of fans are replying by commenting exactly the same thing and everyone’s happy. In our era, many persons has the feeling to be a very important person and to have a very important opinion. We live a very narcissic era and humility is a value that is lost. I am not a big fan of this era …

Bartek: I know that your fantastic album „By The Third Sea” (2013) has been completely sold out. Do you have any plans to reissue that record? Or maybe you have plans for the new album?

Vinc2: Thank you for your kind words about this record. I make music for myself, but it is a great pleasure for me to read that other people can feel emotions by listening to my music. Only music can create this connection between human beings, it is amazing…

To answer you, I have plans for both. Concerning “By The Third Sea”, I am currently working on a reissue of the original record, remastered (it’s already almost done), in CD digipack or/and vinyle format. I also wish a companion album with outtakes of this records. I am working on a new record too. I currently search a label which would accept to release these projects, but it is very hard.

Vinc2 na bandcamp – https://vinc2.bandcamp.com/music
Vinc2 na facebooku – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Vinc2/138811131954
Oficjalna strona artysty – http://www.vinc2.net/