Home Interviews Boldabuk [Interview]

Boldabuk [Interview]

29 min read

credits: Thibault Maestracci

Hi Bolda, thanks for joining us. What is your current mood and what was the last piece of music you listened to?

Hello PA, thanks for having me !
My current mood is detroit techno, the good old 90/00's techno, and the birds outside, as I'm currently producing a lot, I'm staying in the frame, otherwise I tend to get inspired too much by all the things I listen, and I'm scared to change the track I'm working on, or even the entire project, to something totally unrelated, like drum & bass or Synthwave.

Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your production work and otherwise, please.

Well, everyday are the same, as I'm dedicating every single days of the past 2 years making music (plus the 20 years before that), so it goes like this:
Wake up (not early at all, I'm a night owl), switch all my equipment in the studio on, then get a coffee, and I start by listening with a new set of ears to what's been done the night before. I also drop some morning ideas down for future tracks.
The "checking mail and social stuffs" are while I do my 1000 listens of the same track, I kind of forget its running in the background, and feel the track differently, so I can find new ways to modify it to make it work better to my taste. then I make something to eat, watch some stuffs online, and after that its about 6 to 8hrs work almost straight ...
Grab something to eat, go for some biking or walk, and I start another run of 4 to 6 hours, I don't sleep much ^^ Of course, I randomly drop a day off from time to time when I feel too tired to listen to music for 15hr a day!

Tell us about growing up in France, how did you discover electronic music there and who were some local DJs and producers you looked up to early on?

I discovered electronic while listening to Max from Fun Radio (Good radio shows back then in mid 90's) and discovered guys like Laurent Garnier, Daren Price, ken Ishi , the FAKT from Carlcox, trance music ... I was hooked. I was only 12/13 yo, and I started to make (and learned alone) electronic music. I was around 15yo, and all I had was a pentium 60 and Fastracker 2. But I will say that Listening to Tapes of Laurent Garnier and his EPs like wakeup, cursed me for ever. I was also massively into funky filtered french house.

If you were a tour guide for nightlife in France, what would be the clubs you’d take the people to see and what local DJs do they need to hear?

I unfortunately wont be the best person to reply to this question as I left France early 2000 for London, and spent most of my weekends in freeparties, I wasn't into clubs much, always felt scammed and having a roof would suffocate me, I was more a soundsystem outdoor guy at this time. Cheap beers and BBQs was way better! (to my taste of course), I spent 17 yrs abroad, a lot of things changed when I came back, and not in a good way unfortunately.

Where do we find you if you are not DJing or socializing at clubs? And doing what?

You will find me home, working on music.
It's quite paradoxal but I don't go out in clubs or festival, I make music for them tho, I'm on the other side of the glass. While working as music producer, I find it dangerous to go near supa loud soundsystems, while your ears needs to be resting. I prefer to chill home or with friends in non "social" environment, with quite loungy music in the background.

Who are some up and coming artists from France to look out for?

I'm not connected to the current scene, I'm sure that tons of artists are worth the shot. But I will say that I've heard of Space 92 and he seems to be having a great ascension on the road of fame, the guy is just everywhere, and he seems to be a cool dude, I also seen a guy called DJ FLY live, and it was quite a show, other than that, I'm a very retro guy regarding the current scene, I miss early 2000's to be honest.

Your Spotify bio says ‘Enter the Ultimate Forest Klub’ which many might think is unconventional, tell us a bit about that and how it relates to your productions?

Haha you make me realize that I need a bio !
Well the UFK (Ultimate Forest Klub) is an idea I had for a kind of resitance group against the current wave of "nonsenseness". The crazyness outside for everyone is emotionaly difficult to handle, its a kind of safe place, where you can connect to things that do matter, the nature and all its living inhabitants (plus immaginary creatures) Boldabuk is the only one yet of course, as its an imaginary club, from an invented universe, but maybe some people will dig the idea and join the vibe (but its not the original point of UFK) it's just a alternative way of thinking.

It's not your first musical project, you also have "Drol." where you produce quieter melodic minimal & trip hop music, and you released many tracks on different labels in the past. What advice would you have for artists who are just trying to find their way in learning production techniques? What or who helped you make progress early on?

My advice is, if deep down inside you are sure its what you want to do, stick to it, and never stop learning , trying, producing things. Start with loops, and make 1 working loop a day. Don't try to make songs or an album, just find your sound with a simple loop. DAWs can be a pain to learn at first, I would suggest to get a groovebox like mc303 or 505, or a digitakt or MPC if you have the cash for it, and stick to the machine, learn that creativity comes from restrictions. Spend every free hours of your time working on your passion. listen again and again your work, find mistakes, rework, remix your tracks, share with people... and most importantly, Make what you love, and not what other wants (or think they want), it's your soul, not others, don't get socialy pressured by the "outside" music trends, it's not as good as what you will make from your heart.

Let our readers inside your studio, what is your current setup, and what tools are featured heavily in the writing of your ‘First Encounter’ EP from last year.

For the EP I used a model D (minimoog clone), live samples from drums and outdoor recordings, reason and ableton.
Right now my studio is setup to only use digitakt, Microfreak, rc202, Sm7b, some percussive instruments, shakers, and Sp404mk2, a Zoom H1 for field recording (most of my sounds come from nature sounds and noises I reshape) and ableton. As this will be my live setup, I wanted to work with instruments only and revisit my way of how I produce tracks. To me it feels more organic, and I want to feel that its not pure electronic sounds, but something more destructed and grainy, with all the soul that it can holds. Also to create a more coherent liveset when comparing to the tracks.

Especially in the digital age, the writing and production process tends towards the infinite, I think. What marks the end of the process for you? How do you know when a track is done?

You are right, people can get lost when learning endless environment like ableton. I wil say its good practice to get ideas from other people's tracks, listen to how they built thir tracks, intro, drop, full power, outro, all that. There is plenty of ways to decide weather or not a track is complete, its entirely up to you, but as advice I will say to not overwelm yourself, try to keep it simple, remember that "less is more" and make your life easier. Every genre has its track length, check whats the current time length for the style you dig. Dancefloor tracks are shorter that dub versions, they are made to go straight to the point. Try to stay with a minimum of instruments, and make them work together with a nice mix, remove everything that can't be heard or is useless to the mix, and you will see that it's much simpler. And also end your track almost like you started it.

How much of an effect do other genres of music outside of the electronic realm have on your own productions?

As I said earlier, "Outside" as an hypersensitive person, has a massive impact on me. I must protect myself from outside vibe, as its too weird for me right now, at all levels. As for Drol. (other alias) Boldabuk still follows the idea of creating a musical bubble to protect from outside weirdness. Since mid 90's, I actually make the music I need. the music I want to listen, the one that soothe me.

What is the task you enjoy the most when producing and what would you prefer someone else to do?

The first hours, the creative part, when you look for and find the right spot of what you want, thats the most fulfilling for me. the rest are repetitive tasks and are quite standard. But I still enjoy them!

There is a recent live set on your Youtube which is a nice blend of lively energetic techno, please tell us about your live setup and your approach to performing?

Thanks ! Well, what I did in that video is technicaly not a liveset, I would called it some kind of sequenced 8 tracks loops where you can jump from the parts you want of the tracks, like 8 stems. I learned that from Gaiser. Most of the artist playing live with only controllers like APC40 are doing this way. But I'm currently working on a pure live set using only digitakt, microfreak, a looper, and SP404 for one shots/pads, a wavedrum for live percussions and a mixer. No computer on stage, Its too stressful! But it takes time to built up, so right now im just doing on ableton and some controllers, or just on a djset.

Can you tell me a bit about how your work as a DJ or live act has influenced your view of music, your way of listening to tracks, and also, your work as a producer in terms of making tracks specifically for a dancefloor?

Dance floor tracks are build for making people dance, so its a trial and error thing. You need to put yourself as a listener and dance on it! hahaha. If you find your self bugged at some point of the track, if there is no tension and its not fluid for djs that will play your track, then there is something to be worked on, shaped better. Also, its good to mix your tracks as a dj with other tracks and see how they react. Watching youtube's djsets is also a good idea (or going out in clubs and festivals of course) to see how the crowd is responding. what makes them dance. a good rythmic for sure, but what is the main element that will trigger them. If you have the chance to play your music with friends or at a party, it's the best to check what part or element of your track works and whats not. Note what to change, and get back in the studio, then test it again :) Its a trial and error.

If you could set up an event with a line-up of five artists of your choice, who would you book, and what set times would you ascribe to the artists?

I would book Scanx, Ben Sims, Anetha, Paula temple and Manu le Malin, and put them in that order. for 10 hours! hahaha.

What’s a book you’ve read or film you watched that has left an impact on you, and why?

Wow tons ! but mainly Idiocracy, Encounter with a third kind, Signs, H2G2, Monty python's Holly Grail, Interstellar, Destination Unknown, and Stargate (The movie). I'm a sci-fi dude, and every movies not picturing the world we live in, but actually offering an escape to space, or alternative world with story and vfx good enough to make me believe it is my thing. Idiocracy for its visionary look of our current society and Holy grail as its the humour I dig the most ^^

Current five favourite tracks?

all time current favourite I will say,

Kaly live dub - Smoke Up
Jamiroquai - Emergency on planet eart
Amon Tobin - Horsefish
Zero T - Roxy Music
A tribe called quest - Electric relaxation

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

Life it self, being a passionate and creative person keeps me always busy with tons of ideas and stuffs to think, emotions within unusual things, and nature.

What does the reminder of 2023 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

Well personally, 2023 is the year for a massive step up in my personal life and thinking, in the outside world 2023 is worst than 2022 and it will keep getting worse ( in my opinion ), mainly due to social networks ( which I'm not a fan off to be honest, never been able to catch the train, and I feel like its a good thing ). But a lot of people like me are using this massive chaos to some deep intense introspection, and getting some XP wisdom wise to understand that what counts the most is to only do what you love, no matter what. To take care of the loved ones and respect the planet we live on.

Find boldabuk on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/boldabuk

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