histoire et actualité
des arts sonores
et audiovisuels

S'inscrire à la newsletter

« I definitely started from the music side and a sound perspective but I realized pretty quickly that many projects I looked at were kind of stuck at an experimentation level with a working setup but not looking very nice, without a true visual component that was important for me. In a performance, the visual aspect will be very important for me. »

Interview made by Juliette Bibasse during LEV festival 2018.

Can you introduce yourself in a few words?
My name is Moritz and my work evolves around the topic of music and mechanics, music and robots as well as art and engineering.
My background is both as a musician, I am a classical clarinetists and piano player. I learned when I was really young, playing in orchestras and classical music. And I also got into learning hardware hacking and studied electrical engineering.
I worked as an engineer for a while but then it felt like the two worlds of arts and engineering were hard to get together and I realized my heart belonged more to the art world.
I did not study art but I had a lot of artistic practice when playing in music bands, taking part in small installations, as a fifteen years old, experimenting with vinyl players, loops, hacking stuff,…
These two worlds were then more separated, I was working in a research institute in Germany for a while. I quit this job ten years ago when my art oriented projects became more a serious thing in my life.
Are you more a visual or sound person? Is sounds first or visuals?
I definitely started from the music side and a sound perspective but I realized pretty quickly that many projects I looked at were kind of stuck at an experimentation level with a working setup but not looking very nice, without a true visual component that was important for me. In a performance, the visual aspect will be very important for me.
As I am working with actual materials, the physicality of it plays a big role. You look at the object and it’s visual appearance. 
Five years ago I started to work with a design company The Constitute, I developed my tripods with them. I never studied design so working with them opened a new world for me, of how you make an object look.
It became half of my work because I think it is a very important part of the translation of an artwork to the audience.
The visual aspect got very important to me through time and was made possible thanks to this collaboration.
The designing process itself I learned from designers: don’t stick to your first idea, prototype, make moldboard, sketches, iterations, … Before that, I had an idea, I would do it and that was it, pretty straight forward but possibly not the best. I believe every artist aims toward a certain perfection so it makes sense to test different ways.
These designers I work with, it’s their usual workflow to try different things and to trash a lot along the way.
So tell us about this evolution
When I was playing in bands, the visual side was almost non existant, only musicians on stage.
With my own projects, my first big installation, the MR-808, was definitely very visual but it came to me by chance. I was experimenting a lot with music robots at that time but it looked only like a bunch of experiments on a table. So I had to find a way to wrap this into something, to find an organizing pattern.
As a big fan of electro music, I was playing around with an TR-808 at a friend’s and it looked nice and I decided to combine my experiments laying on a table into this form so it would fit into a photo in the end.
How do you create your music, how do you compose?
My composition technique is very normal, I start with an idea or a sound I like when I am experimenting. In the end I compose like electronic music. Every set is not so different, I would love to have more improvisation but even if my system is robust, it is also very complex. As I play a lot, let’s say I improvise 20% and the rest is more preset.
More organic or mechanic?
These two notions are not opposed for me but almost the same thing.
I’d rather ask if my work is more digital than organic and I would definitely go with organic.
Do you feel that your machines have some kind of personality with good days bad days and how do you go with this?
This is for sure a thing. These robotics systems that I developed are definitely tight, musically they are very precise but at the same time, you have a lot of small glitches and errors that will add up to create a subtle vibe of rhythms, errors, deranging patterns. In the end this is very audible and part of the thing.
In my new record that is almost finished with Mouse of Mars, after spending two years working on it, I realized what my system is capable of doing in terms of precision but also differences, fluent and changing sounds and how impossible it would be to get the similar sounds from digital synthetisers. 
There is a trend of art + robots, do you think is it a communication thing when artists talk about « collaboration » with the robot? What relationship do you have with your robots?
I would not go so far, maybe if I would be more into machine learning, AI will definitely be something very important in music in a few years and totally change the way we compose it.
The machines I built are physically controlled, they do not have any kind of intelligence. If I would built a software controlling them, then it would be much more like a counter part but my machines just do what I am telling them.
What are your inspirations?
From the music robot scene there are some kind of godfathers, like Pierre Bastien, well known french artist, I really like his work, how he structures sounds and how he works with mechanics, he has been a big influence.
I like this young artists from the UK, called Felix Thorn, he builds super organic music robots with a lot of wood pieces, his installations are much more advanced and detailed than mine. I recently played at Stereolux and he was in the next room with a band PLAID, from the 90’
Apart from this, or course my work with Mouse Of Mars, over the past five years and I could not even count how much I learn from them, not so much in terms of media art but a lot from their work processes and the way they approach sound. 
Their new album is great and I am not saying this because I am part of it ;)
Would you like to say something specific about your new project?
The latest installation that I was showing here at L.E.V festival is Tripods one which I have been developing for a year and a half. I am also working on my upcoming album, kind of the first record made with robots and electronic music. Aphex Twin did something similar four years ago but very different and with a lot of edits whereas I am aiming as something very « pure » with only the robots playing.
I have been focusing on this for two years and it will come out at the end of this summer with a video.
Because of this album, I got a little bit out of this loop of creating a new project every year and a half or so.
But for the album release performance I developed a robotic system placed in the audience room. So you will have drumming elements in the audience creating a kind of 3D sound together with fragmented screens and video projection. It’s a first for me to work on several screens and also put sound elements within the audience, working with robots that do not have amplified sound.
Is it important for you to have a studio space to create?
It’s more a workshop than a studio, more for crafting stuff, 3D printing (I used to have a 3D printing company), wood work, …
I used to have a large sound studio but now I just use a small room and it’s good enough for recording and the workshop is definitely more important. I have two assistants working with me on new robots or projects for other people like Robert Lippok or Mouse of Mars, … We also work for fine art people like Rosa Barba who is working with films, a little bit of commissioned works.

Publié par Juliette Bibasse

Autres interviews

Chargement des interviews...