Welcome to the Prognaut.com! Thank you for taking a time out in your busy recording and creating schedule to talk to us about A Musical Guide to Cosmic Wonders.
Prognaut: This is one of the most brilliant electronic music CDs I have heard in a long time. Where does the inspiration for your music come from?
Pascal: My early works in the 90's were instrumental and the debut album "Eye of Orion" as well. Among my friends are some listeners that remember my first attempts and prefer the melodic vintage electronica style of my beginnings. Anyways, after a many albums with contributors, I thought it would be the right time for a "return to the roots", for another personal album, just me and Minouche's arrangements. As an astronomy fan and enthusiastic reader of Sci-Fi books it wasn't so hard to find a concept for the album.
Prognaut: The title and the sound of this album lead me to believe the theme is to take us away from our every day concerns and take us to a better place internally and externally. How would you describe the theme?
Pascal: I tried to create a piece of electronica with an "edge", so it became quite an adventurous mix between ambient soundscapes and rhythmic tunes. Despite the space aspect, it has a very earthbound meta-message. I've tried to explain it a bit in the credits for the album:
"A 1 hour journey through our solar system and beyond, also referring to pioneers of science. Anyway, this guide can never be complete. The biggest wonder of all is very fragile, and we must take care of it."
Prognaut: You have mentioned to me that you are a fan of Klaus Schulze, Alan Parsons and Larry Fast’s Synergy work. Are there some other artists who also inspire you?
Pascal: I was also inspired by new age artists like Jean Michel Jarre, Tangerine Dream and even Cusco. I also love the rock sounds of Mike Oldfield and Dire Straits, and there are many fresh talents today in every genre that I adore very much. I think it's essential, that you try to be a real artist while performing something... singular ;-)
Prognaut: Being in the heart of Europe must help you to locate incredible talent from around the continent to perform and collaborate on your albums. Can you tell us a little about how the process works?
Pascal: My first collaborator was Minouche and then a talented female saxophonist from this region, so I was able to work with them in my studio. I was lucky to get a DSL connection early in this decade, and the fun with online collaborations began. I have listened to thousands of tracks of talented independent artists at the nice free music sites, and got befriended with some of them. I have found female and male singers in this way, also guitarists and other instrumentalists, and I maintain contact with most of them. Whenever I need a contribution, I send him or her an mp3 demo. If they like it, I'm getting the particular performance as non-compressed file in return. I'm always waiting for the return track like a child on Christmas. I just have to arrange the parts from the other site of Earth in my arrangement, make proper mixes and add effects if necessary. It is wonderful, when I meet one of these friends in person. Tetsuroh from Tokyo visited us 2007 and played his trumpets for a new track live :-)
Prognaut: I met you through your participation on Mark Trueack’s (Unitopia), upcoming solo project. Can you tell us about that collaboration and how it started?
Pascal: I've first listened to Unitopia in 2008 and was blown away. It's my favorite band. I discovered their MySpace site early this year, invited them as friends, they added me, and I wrote a comment. Minouche asked me on that evening to invite Mark for a collaboration. I said - maybe one day... but I thought that he was just too busy with Unitopia. But it seems that Mark read my thoughts - he replied, and mentioned, that he could imagine his voice and my production... Magical things can happen at MySpace. I was already honored when I once realized that Alan Parsons added me to his top 8 of friends, but I was just blown away for days after getting a concrete offer for collaboration with my favorite vocalist! I'm looking forward to the progress of the two tracks that I've arranged for Mark's "The Hope" album. Anyway, we're good friends now!
Prognaut: You have a background in computer science and synthesizer music. Which is your favorite instrument and why? (Remember some of us are not as technical – yours truly included)..
Pascal: All Roland synths. I love their warm, timeless sounds - great for most genres. Second favorite now - the Ibanez guitar. I will perform it more in the future. I still prefer to take the parts of really good guitarists. And of course I love the virtual synthesizers; the combination of a computer sequencer with these great sounding tools is the best solution for little studios today.
Prognaut: What is your favorite song on the AMGTCW album?
Pascal: That is definitely "Cradle of Life"! Andrea with her magical voice is the "third musketeer" on the album, and she performed her parts exactly in that powerful way as I wanted them. "Cradle of Life" is about the evolution of life on our Earth and hopefully on other planets - what a wonder!
Prognaut: Please share some highlights from your earlier albums and collaborations.
Pascal: "Listen Listen Listen" (2004) with female vocalist Velma Frye (Florida). Instrumental "Hyperion" (2000) - Jon Lord liked it. Currently "Dying World" with Andrea Stuewe, that one will appear on another album. There are many other tracks that I like for several reasons. Interested listeners can play samples on my website, if they like something, they can contact me and order particular tracks or even physical CDs to a reasonable price. Many tracks are also available at ITunes and Amazon.
Prognaut: Is there an artist(s) you would particularly like to work with in the near future?
Pascal: I could imagine working with many other fine artists... but I've found friends that gladly add their input so well for years! I will surely work again with Bob Forbes (you can find him online as "RedEyeC"). But if I would like to work with more prominent artists... I once met John Miles, and I really would like to try a song with him. Or with David Paton and Chris Rainbow of The Alan Parsons Project. And with Yes legend Jon Anderson, who is my favorite singer besides Mark Trueack.
Prognaut: Do you plan to take this music on tour some day?
Pascal: Never say never... time and costs for management and live equipment are a big issue at the moment. I would love to perform some synths and additional guitars. But for making the perfect show I would need a band, with members from USA, Japan, and Australia and so on. I agree that live gigs are important, to get a better name. But I know from extremely talented friends with experience, that it's just hard to get a really good audience. A tour usually means for independent artists spending more money than earning money. So I currently prefer to take my time for making new music.
Prognaut: What are your plans to help get this great music to fans?
Pascal: I'm very bad with promotion things, but I already had a little success with internet radio years ago, and I think that I will try it again soon. I always ask friends to "spread the word", as I love to do also for artists that deserve it so much. I just would like to recommend every indie musician - take it easy, but be communicative. Keep on working on great music, surprise yourself and the listeners with new ways and develop your skills - have fun, and do the best you can. Maybe there will be the ONE track someday that will be heard! So I think that your own website with regular updates, some videos and a good MySpace profile might be the key. I have tried all these things, and have maintained a constant presence for years now. And I have never changed the project's name. I think that my contributions for Mark Trueack's might give a little boost to Syngularity - but at first it's enough reward to be allowed to work with that fine guy :-)
Prognaut: Are you in search of a record company to help distribute and promote your album?
Pascal: I have tried many times, and experienced several disappointments with fake companies. Some others declined my demos, with nice words but without explanation. Or they want instrumentals and no songs with vocalists or vice versa. Today I think it's cool to try self distribution, to keep the creative freedom. And I can share earnings with contributors. A fixed contract could also make it difficult to go on with my international collaborators.
Prognaut: I know you have just finished this project and it has not yet been released, but I also know that you are always working on what’s next. Have you had a chance yet to think of what is next for Syngularity?
Pascal: The next album will be quite different.... very earthbound! It will be a rock electronica album, with many singers, and with focus on good songs and lyrics. Six of the tracks are ready for mastering, and four others are on their way. Because of several non-musical challenges I'll have to take some time-outs, but I'm looking forward to the progress of all the projects for 2010 - with Syngularity, or another album with my talented friend Corrado Rossi from Italy. Then there are the songs with Mark Trueack and whatever I might do with a little help from inspiration and my friends...
Prognaut.com: Pascal, thank you again for your time and answers to these questions. I look forward to doing some updates in the future!
Interviewed by Prof on August 3rd, 2009