This time around i interviewed SAWAGii, an artist who has been mentioned and featured on the blog a few times with his Metalectro tracks. SAWAGii is a Bordeaux, France, based producer that recently released a rework of Make The Girl Dance “Wall Of Death”, a rmx contest winner rework of Kavinsky’s “Nightcall” and arranged Radiopolitan’s “Tout a un sens” single which was released last year on iTunes amongst others.
1. Hi David! Happy 2011! You’ve been rocking the Metalectro blog for a while now, how are you lately? Are you working on something and how is this going?
Hi Zak, Happy New Year 2U !
I’m doing good , I’ve got a lot of stuff going on in 2011, good news! I’m currently working on “metal” reworks of big international hits. Which ones? It’s a secret ;o) (Lady Gaga, Black Eyed Peas, Rihanna) My goal is to give these songs a good ol’ kick in the ass! I’m also working on the 4 track EP “Planets” and a live duo project named FREEKS with a drummer friend of mine.
2. As you know you grabbed our attention with your “And What?!” track. Was this the first Metalectro track you ever did? How did you come up with the idea?
I used to play guitar in a metal band for many years before I realized that I wanted to use technology and take advantage of the opportunity to produce my own stuff all by myself. So I started working randomly on some tracks (not very convincing at first). In the last few years though, bands like Justice, with the mix of big powerful beats and their “metal” attitude became very successful. I have to admit this gave me some clues and lead me to find my own path. The “And What” track by the way was made for a windsurfing DVD, “Planet Blow”.
3. What would you say is your biggest achievement/highlight so far? Tell us about it!
My biggest “life achievement” (so far!) is my metal band VIRIDIANA‘s first album (2001). I’m also very proud of my work (composing, playing, producing, mixing, mastering) on RADIOPOLITAN’s 5 track EP (2007), my rework for CASSIUS’s “Rock N°1” which was elected “best rework” by the band and vinyl-released on EMI in 2008 and my victory in the KAVINSKY contest, using my heavy metal magic skills! I also discovered that most people that are in the electro business are huge metal geeks, the guys from Record Makers even told me they played Mötley Crüe records in their office !!!
4. What are your influences/music background? Have you ever played in a metal band?
I was a heavy metal fan since I was 11. As a teenager I became fond of Funk, Jazz, and Classical music. After a first experience as axeman between 1989 and 1993 in thrash-metal band TORMENTIA, I joined VIRIDIANA (1998-2003), a new-metal team that became far more successful. We even shared the stage with Machine Head and became friends with bands such as Gojira, Loudblast and Scarve. By that time I had already started enjoying the electro sounds of the New Beat and Acid House scene as well though.
5. Are you more of a metal or an electro person?
I dunno, maybe more of a metal person because of my fond memories playing heavy riffs on stage. To be honest, I’ m not that much interested in the electro scene as a whole. The French Touch (Daft Punk etc…) is an exception because these guys rock hard and used to be rockers for sure ;o) I also dig mashing up various influences (pop 80’s, electro, rock and roll) in the same song like some recent bands like Ladyhawke or Friendly Fires…
6. Do you prefer working only with computers/sequencers or do you get your hands dirty playing and recording instruments? Do you use samples and what’s your opinion on sampling and copyright?
Every time I have the opportunity to play a live instrument on a track, I do it!
I’m not very fond of such tricks as loops and quantization, they sound too “cold” to my ears. Even when I’m working on an electro beat, I try to “humanize” it by not editing it perfectly. I mainly use my KORG R3, a PodXT Live, Cubase with various Plugins and Stis. As you can see, I use very few samples, apart from the acapellas of course. I see myself more as a composer than a DJ.
7. So, what is music for you and what do you think about the way the music industry is changing? What do you think about popular/chart music?
Releasing a record is quite complicated these days. The best selling hits all seem to be built on the same format and there is no place left for creativity. The good point is that more and more musicians have access to home studios and are able to produce creative remixes of well known songs. The industry enjoys using these remixes to make more cash. Unfortunately, there is not a dime left for guys like me… The only thing that matters to me is to have a good time playing music and being creative.
8. Are you signed with any record label? Any future plans? (live shows, release, remix etc)
I’m actually unsigned, but who knows, right? As i’ve just said, I try to have as much fun as possible, and If some tracks reach a broader audience with a good buzz, that’s cool with me! No releases so far for my works this year, but I promise I will make more remixes, stop smoking and start running five kilometers every day. How about that ?
9. What are you listening to lately? Any tracks/artists you recommend?
Blogs like yours allow me to hear many good mixtapes made by “not that famous but very talented” unsigned artists.
Hypetrack, Seek Sick Sound and Hypem are my 3 most visited blog so far. And as a long-time Meshuggah fan, I also enjoy banging my head to the sound of PERIPHERY and ANIMALS AS LEADERS. Regarding Electro tracks, I like Teenage Bad Girl, Toxic Avenger, Danger, DAtA, Sebastian, yuksek, DIOYY, 2080…
10. What do you think about the Metalectro blog and the music featured on it?
Your blog is quite new, but the flux of info is regulary updated. And thanks to you, I’m able to discover many mixtapes. Anyway, don’t worry my friend, I pasted your link on my google bar, my soundcloud, my twitter account, my facebook, my youtube… Even my room wall! You’re fuckin’ EVERYWHERE in my life right now ! ;o)
(Zak: I really hope your wife/girlfriend/other half is not reading this!)
11. Something you’d like to mention and we forgot to ask?
I’m very bad at speaking foreign languages, so my drummer friend translated this interview for me. I hope he didn’t ruin my very funny jokes (I have a shitty humour anyways… o_O)
Anyway, thank you very much and “Longue vie à Metalectro” !!! (Long live metalectro)
Zak: Thank you too David!