A wise Japanese man once said that curiosity is the key to creativity. It’s curiosity that takes you by the hand down a path into the unknown and places you in situations that can spark off new trails of thought or connect previous ideas in a different fashion. We are blessed with a fragile optimism which works in conjunction with curiosity to open doors to the uncertain future. At the same time, curiosity is regarded as a double-edged sword; and it’s often held responsible for killing the cat.
For an artist who goes by the name of Fulbert, it’s been curiosity that has helped him along the way in the electronic music world. It took him to parts of Eastern Asia and introduced him to new people and experiences that influenced his sound. He is able to pinpoint moments that inspired him in the studio; right down to the exact moment of crossing a bridge at night in Seoul – which gave enough juice to create a 4 track release on. Fulbert’s back in France for the time being, so we took the opportunity to chat with him. He shared with us an exclusive preview of one of his forthcoming tracks and some of his analog photography that he took while away.
All good thanks! My last EP has just been released this month and I’m now enjoying a short holiday.
Yes, I spent a year in South Korea and then a year in Japan. Currently I’m in Paris, however I’m not sure I’ll stay there very long. I would like to move again as I miss my life abroad, so I can’t tell you where I’ll be in the next few months…
To be honest neither Japan nor South Korea particularly attracted me. I definitely wanted to go abroad and I had already been a couple of times to the US and Canada – so Asia was the part of the world which was really new and different for me, that’s all. So when I had the chance to go to Seoul, I went without really knowing what to expect. I just landed and loved it!
I learnt a lot of things from my time there, about this part of the world and about myself. In South Korea, the thing which impressed me the most is the dynamism of the whole society, it just never stops. People work 10 to 12 hours a day or more and then stay up to dance all night long. Then the next day they go back to work, without being even a bit late!
South Korea is probably the country which inspired me the most. There are things Korean people do and tell, and then there are things they don’t do and things they don’t tell. There is a kind of malaise behind the whole society. It’s hard to explain but this malaise is in a way really inspiring.
Japan is a place that also has its contradictions. It’s a nice country with nice people, but it has a bunch of problems to face and earthquakes are just the tip of the iceberg. However Japanese people believe in fate more than anyone, and they are always very calm and rational whatever happens. One of the best things is how much they’re into dancing; whether it’s hard Techno or Soul rarities that are played – they are really into it!
When I was in South Korea the scene was pretty poor. I’m not saying nothing was happening – there were a few cool House & Techno gigs and people were trying to organize nice events and to bring some good DJs to the city. Some people I met were really into what they do and wanted to create something bigger in Seoul. And I’m pretty sure they will manage to do it sooner or later.
South Korea is a country that has been evolving a lot during the last 50 years, but people are used to doing what everyone else does. There is a strong community link which is governed by mass media and people have trouble affirming themselves as independent thinkers. This makes it hard for artists to find an audience unless they go mainstream. The social pressure is very strong, but these days I guess things are changing. There are more and more Korean people who like acting independently – who reject the whole music market there, and even the whole society. I think it’s a good thing, and we could soon see some promising DJs blooming in this swarming and amazing city.
The Japanese scene is extremely different to the South Korean one. In Japan, House & Techno parties have been going on since the 90s, and they have a lot of very good DJs and producers from the old generation and the new. Fumiya Tanaka, Satoshi Tomiie, Soichi Terada, Dj Nobu, Takeshi Fukushima, Miruga, Sai, Iori, Rondenion and Kez Ym are just a few I have in mind right now… You can even add Alex from Tokyo, Terre Thaemlitz (Dj Sprinkles) & Pal Joey to the list, as they are part of the local scene even though they are not originally from Japan.
As you have probably heard, Japan has some very nice venues as well! Unfortunately some of the venues have closed recently due to the “No Dancing” law that has been reaching more and more cities in Japan since it was started in Osaka a few years ago. It’s a shame but I’m sure Japanese people will have solutions to overpass the law and can keep the good parties alive. They are really creative with everything.
Hmm… There is this very small restaurant in Jonggak Station, Seoul. You have to enter some narrow street maze behind the main street buildings to eventually find the place. It’s open 24/7 and the food is cheap and delicious – you can get really good Galbijjim (a curry stew with ribs & vegetables). The owner has always been nice to me and my friends too, probably because we were the only foreigners to go there.
I think I’m more inspired by the people I meet and places I go to, rather than other artists who I don’t actually know personally. Time spent with friends, especially when abroad is my thing. There are some places and people in the world I should really be thankful to, because I make greater tracks thanks to them.
When I really want to produce music, I’m barely in the studio. Most of the time I’m outside walking, or in the subway, or even at a party and suddenly I have an idea come to mind. Then I will make some notes on my phone about this idea so that I can remember to work on it in the studio. Sometimes there is a melody, but other times the notes are too evasive to record anything so I just remember that special moment I was inspired by and I make music out of it. For me music is a question of mood and you can’t produce a good track if you’re not in the appropriate mood. The notes I write help me to get into the appropriate mood.
Yes… making music feels good, having it released on 12” by some cool labels feels even better, but the best feeling comes when you see the your own record which is on your own label in a shop for the first time. Having this with just one record was almost enough for me. But, you always want more and you have always new goals… so now I want to see where I can go with Rawthenticity. I will keep on releasing some of my own tracks on this label as well as some tracks I like from other producers. There are no style boundaries – even though it will most probably stay focused on dance music, but it might go deeper or more Techno sometimes. The label will build its own identity through its releases and I might start a sub-label or something like that later, who knows…
My Hannam Bridge EP has just been released, and I’ve just finished the track ‘The Invitation’ – which I have given you an exclusive preview of. This will be part of a forthcoming mixed EP on Rawthenticity coming out next month.
I’m currently working on a remix for Faces Records and I’m working on some tracks for Rawthenticity and other labels. I will also produce some tracks with Kastil and Adryiano at Kastil’s studio in Spain next week which I’m really looking forward to. You don’t make dope tracks every time you produce with other people – but you do learn a lot of things. Hopefully this time we’ll learn a lot AND produce some strong tracks.
There are a lot… but let’s say a new one I discovered a couple of months ago - Môme from France. I’ve only heard a couple of EPs from him, but what I’ve heard is really promising!
He released an EP on Housewax, and on the flip side there’s this track called Dream For Real which is outstanding – the chords, the bass and the drums are just the way I like them!
That’s a tough question… I can’t tell it really depends on what the DJ before is playing. I like starting my set slightly differently from him/her. Then it also depends on the crowd, the venue, the time I play at, the drinks I have had before…
For instance, last time this special combination of factors made me start my DJ set with Braxton Holmes remixed by Ron Trent, what a track!
Ah this one is a special track actually… It’s quite slow, 9 minutes long and not something you play in every club. It’s a slightly Detroit inspired moody track with deep chords, and it has a vocal which everybody will recognise. I credit her on the record with Ernestine R, with Ernestine actually being her middle name. I chose this because Fulbert is actually my middle name. That’s all for the anecdote. Anyway, I started to produce the track when I was in Japan and I had it almost ready one year ago, but I spent a lot of time on the finishing touches.
Artwork by Adrian Limani
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