As many of you may have noticed, I adored Polymorphic Code, the debut album from French producer/DJ/mentalist, The Algorithm. It’s a tour-de-force of bizarre mashups and genre twisting concepts all wrapped together in an insane electronica/progressive metal package. Frankly, it’s nuts, but at the same time it’s fucking brilliant.
But what of the man behind The Algorithm? What makes Rémi Gallego tick? Well, Basick Records gave me the chance to find out, so if you’ll indulge me, Rémi has answered some of my questions honestly, thoughtfully and in a couple of cases, surprisingly. It’s a fascinating insight into one of the most fascinating musicians around today.
MWD – How did The Algorithm (as it exists today) begin?
Rémi -It originally began as a mathcore project. Just me, my laptop and a guitar. I had no idea it would evolve into electronic music, but the idea progressed naturally tracks after tracks.
MWD – Where does a typical track start? Do you start with a particular sample and work from there or do you get an overall idea of how the track should sound in your head?
Rémi -I like to start everything from the scratch, without any specific idea or direction. I always experiment something different in every tracks, there’s a lot of trial and error involved. Once I’m happy with the first synth/drums/sample/whatever, the workflow inspiration just goes naturally and I just compose music as I would write a story.
MWD – You don’t often hear of electronica/dance tracks lasting upwards of 12 minutes. What lead Panic to become such a beast of a track?
Rémi – I really wanted to try a different approach for the last track by giving another meaning to the term ‘progressive’, and I like that there’s not too much metal elements in it. I see it as a bridge between ‘Polymorphic Code’ and the next releases, just like ‘Boucle Infinie’ was for Critical.Error. The very ending of the track gives you a little glimpse into what’s coming next. Daft Punk’s “Veridis Quo” was a great influence.
MWD – What lead you to be signed to Basick Records?
Rémi - They contacted me a year and a half ago just after Isometry was released, we had some talk about they could do for me, and it kind of happened very quickly. They really push interesting, intelligent music forward and that’s I loved about it.
MWD – I’ve seen videos of you playing live. What do you use for your live sound?
Rémi - I use an Akai APC40, a very customizable midi controller built for Ableton Live. It’s all MIDI-based, there’s a lot of things you can do by remapping it as you want, I discover something new almost every days, it’s really exciting.
MWD – Do you trigger all the samples live or is there any pre-arranged backing sections?
Rémi - Both. Every tracks is separated into several elements (synths, beats, bass…), and sound exactly as they do in the record. I give another dimension to it by adding a bunch of effects on top of it when I’m playing live: Filters, reverbs, delays, bit-reduction, saturation, stutter effects. It’s all about manipulating the audio itself and play fx instead of notes, and it ends up sounding very different live than it sounds on the record. I trigger some random samples at unexpected moments, most of them are really funny.
MWD – What brought Mike Malyan to drum for you live?
Rémi - Before he put his Isometry drum cover online, one year ago, I had no idea that someone could ever play my drum programmings with such dedication, musicality and tightness. He was really thrilled to play live with me and so we decided to make it happen, I can’t be more happy to work with such a great friend/musician.
MWD – Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Rémi - A lot of things. Here is an unexhaustive list: progressive metal, IDM, breakcore, acid techno, video games, physics, mexican food, programming languages, the internet, the simpsons, abstract art, science-fiction, pizzas, metal gear solid, my mum.
MWD – Metal fans can be a very precious bunch of people, what have the reactions been like to your fusion of metal and dance music?
Rémi - The more the project progressed, the more it turns into an electronic music project. This is why the music keeps evolving and this is why it keeps being interesting, i guess. There’s a lot of 4/4 dance tracks with random guitars thrown in, pretending to be “metal and electronic mashup” but most of them sound really bad in my opinion. The progressive side of metal music isn’t well represented in most of the case, this is what I’m trying to focus on, and this is what my fans appreciate.
MWD – I know youíve only just finished your debut album, but where do you see yourself taking The Algorithm next?
Rémi - I don’t want any of my future works to be expected, I just love the concept of randomness too much and want to keep it that way. Over and above the musical works, I’m also looking forward to expand the universe with an actual plot and characters, and improve the interactivity with fans via a totally new social-networking concept. Still top secret at the moment.
MWD – Your music is very unique right now, if you had to describe your sound to anyone, how would you describe it?
Rémi -A mix between progressive metal structures and electronic sounds. I can’t really classify it as metal because there’s not that much heavy guitars in it. Someone coined the term “Mindfuck” one day on Youtube, i kinda like it.
MWD – What was the last album you bought?
Rémi -Every Six Seconds – Another Chance A local band from my hometown (Perpignan) with interesting melodies
and quite a great presence on stage. I think they splitted up though.
MWD – I bump into you in a pub, Iím buying, what do you have?
Rémi -The usual stuffs: Shirts and CDs.
[I think Rémi misunderstood the question there - MWD]
MWD – What is the one thing you cannot live without?
Rémi - The Internet. I grew up living on it, and this is a huge part of what I am. On the other hand, I think in my older days, I will spend a year or two with no access at all on any kinds of high technology somewhere in a rural country, just because I think a bit of constrast in your life can add so much more inspiration to it.
MWD – If you could only listen to one style of music for the rest of your life, would it be metal or dance?
Rémi - It depends what kind of dance, it depends what kind of metal. I think someone should mix the two together, would make the question easier.
MWD – Cats or dogs?
Rémi - I’m not gonna answer the internet cliché because I’m that random. Just kidding, I love cats.
MWD – Finally, what does the next year hold for you?
Rémi - More collaborations with artists. I’m currently working with a singer on a progressive dubstep project, and I’m also already planning to let more musicians express their talent on some of my newer tracks. I’m also looking forward to play at summer festivals and blast some electronic science in an outdoor venue context, hopefully with lots of beers, girls and nerd humour.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions Rémi, all the best for the next year!
Please note, all of Rémi’s responses are as he wrote them, so if they don’t make sense or there are misspellings, that’s all him, not me!
You must be logged in to post a comment.