Gaëtan Bizien & Tioma Tchoulanov, a.k.a. UVB 76, are friends and co-workers from France. Gaëtan, 22, is a freelance video-artist and graphic designer. Meanwhile Tioma, 23, studies Sound Design at Université Paris 8. They deliver amazing soundscapes and dark visuals.
Tell us something about the creative process of this hypnotic piece!
“SG-1 is the opening track of our first vinyl EP released on Midi Deux Entertainment. Midi Deux is a French music label founded by friends of ours. Last year, they gave us the opportunity release a 12’’ vinyl. ‘Enter 513 EP’ (released last october) is the achievement of a hard musical and visual work.
Concerning ‘SG-1’, we tried to create a track with a powerful and tense groove carried by aggressive sound distortions. It’s like a relentless highspeed space-travel disrupted by many interferences. This idea was influenced by many movies and videos from the NASA & the CCCP with things such as crashes, accidents, black holes. It’s a dark vision of space, a cold and surgical space, somehow unpredictable…
Regarding the video clip, we essentially took footages from a russian software called Space Engine. It works like a giant interactive space encyclopedia: You travel into space through galaxies and visit planets or stars of your choice. The entire known universe is in there…
We managed to create interesting views and travelling routes which we recorded directly of the video card signal. This we used as the basis for our video. Then we added some graphic elements and visual effects through several video applications. Finally, we created a HUD which provides the idea of a cockpit view. We always create several versions before finally finding the right aesthetics and a satisfying form.”
Why did you decide to combine audio and video? And how does one medium affect the other?
“This combination came naturally from our mutual passion for cinema and video art. In 2013, some friends succeded in organising their first artistic event in Paris: the Brume Festival. It was dedicated to new media art, installations and video performances.
At that time, we were only sound composers but they offered us to do an audio/visual show on that occasion. They knew we had a form of experimental and cinematic approach in our music.
It was the hardest and most chaotic work we ever had to do. We worked all day long (and all night long) on different software for two weeks. The idea was to create a soundtrack for a fictional ‘movie’ and then add images. Our usual process starts with some storyboards and then we create the sound composition. Finally we bring in the video. Eventually, we ended up with our first audiovisual performance and the storyline for ‘Transmission’, which is our current main performance.
Technically speaking, it’s pretty simple: For live shows, we use two applications simultaneously. One dedicated to video and the other to sound. They are synchronized with a Max protocol. With this link launching, modulating or transforming any audio content generates an instantaneous visual response. We don’t transform each media sperately – this setup allows us to play with both audio and video at the same time.”
Looks and sounds of your work is very unique. How do you gather and select material?
“For sounds, we have a quite strong passion for field recording. To go out and search for sounds at night in desolate places became a kind of ritual to us. Those are very unique moments. Out of that recorded material, we try to make rhythmic patterns or self evolving synths. But we also use digital noise: electrical shocks, glitched and corrupted data, VST sounds, distorted synths etc.
We enjoy gathering material from media sources that surround us in our everyday life (movies, radio, TV, city night sounds, subways, construction sites…). We try to modify sounds (and/or images) so much that the audience can’t identify them precisely anymore but can still perceive their evocative power. We work with VHS videos and cameras, 3D software, movies or video art extracts, weird phone videos, sound recorders… Everything can be interesting. No matter where it comes from.”
What can we expect from Transmission? Will you take a different direction or will you be in the same cosmos as now?
“Transmission is an audiovisual show we perform in many artistic events & festivals. It’s a cinematographic experience about communication tools and data management.
Transmission is constantly evolving from one show to another. Each time we perform this piece, we try to think about elements to change, delete or add. But it’s the same guideline since the first version of the performance. We only revise the outdated or less interesting sequences.
Everything we do is evolving in the same large universe. For example, some sounds and pictures can echo to one another. We try to illustrate a grimly anticipated vision of the world. This vision is inspired by contemporary issues and by sci-fi litterature and movies. We are deeply influcenced by THX1138 or Qatsi’s Trilogy…”
You were part of Transient Festival 2015 along with Monolake, Space Dimension Controller, and many more. What was it like to be in the same line up as them?
“It was very flattering. Being surrounded by some of our major influences was really exciting.
But the Transient Festival was also an opportunity to meet some emerging talents and the possibily for exchanges, discussions, meetings…
A great musical and visual marathon with some of the best actors of the parisian and international scene. A gathering of really passionate people. It was a great experience.
We hope to see more of these events in France.”
What can you tell us about Dot Data and Midi Deux and your involvement with these labels?
“Dot Data is our own audiovisual label. It was founded in 2013 with Sebastien Palluel (aka Soul Archive). This structure enables us to show our work as independant artists. We also have a musical podcasts channel on Soundcloud, a DIY – tape only – sublabel called OKVLT and various collaborations with other crews.
We wish to set up a Dot Data event or residency one day. Our goal is to showcase new media art creations and technical innovations. Live shows, generated music, exhibitions and audiovisual experiments are the keywords.
But it takes time and knowledge (and money) to build something like this, so we try to focus on UVB 76 for the moment.
It’s not the same musical area as Midi Deux. Founded by Florian & Théo, two friends from our hometown (Rennes in Britanny, west of France), Midi Deux seeks to showcase club music. With their very own style and a hint of madness you don’t see everyday. We’ve known them for 6 years now and we have a really trustful relationship.
They allowed us to play club events and to create our first vinyl EP. The support they give us is what any emergent artist needs…”
Looking ahead to 2016 what are you up to?
“Many projects in the making… We’ve just been added to the Kongfuzi’s booking roster (featuring artists like Alva Noto, Lakker, Sunn O))), Venetian Snares…). A real honour. This new booking agency allows us to perform in bigger venues than before giving us the opportunity to showcase our abilities at special festivals & events.
So, we have plenty of club gigs planned but also more experimental live shows and some conferences and performances in Paris.
In terms of specific projects, we’re trying to compose a new EP/LP. We are looking for new sounds and a record label interested in our musical approach. We are also working on a new live show and a 360° video art piece: a project in collaboration with the Recombinant Media Lab in San Fransisco, US. It’s a place called Cinechamber featured with 10 screens and a 8.1 channel sound system that surrounds the audience…”