Magazine Sixty Interviews Shcaa

Magazine Sixty Interviews Shcaa on his latest brilliant release, Neptune alongside thoughts on innovative music production and cultural process in this thought-provoking conversation.

Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Shcaa. The music you create sounds like a
combination of mystery and intrigue, forward-thinking impulses, touches of
melody, and a deeper exploration of emotion. How would you describe what
you seek to communicate to people?

I usually try my best to stay in tune with myself, and what I see. In that regard, external expectations are interferences more than anything else… It is not an easy thing to do and I will not pretend that there is never an influence going on or a drive to please so and so, but overall I try not to think of what I am «communicating».

That being said, it is true that I often allow a certain level of complexity into my
music, it is something that comes very naturally. I am not sure where it comes
from, my dreams are usually very dense and kaleidoscopic, maybe there is a link.
Recently I have tried to give more « air » or space to individual ideas, which could
also mean a simpler narration. It is good for my music and also good for my being, it is almost a meditative process. I still believe though that the emotions expressed should always nuanced, even complex sometimes, as this is how life is.

Can you talk us through how you produce a piece of music and tell us about the studio you use? Do ideas come from certain sources, perhaps from something someone might have said, or from media outside of music like radio or even being in an open space?

My processes have evolved a lot through the years, so has my studio. It was a
slow and continuous journey that seems to have gently stabilised. It started with a computer and a guitar somehow I am circling back to this now.

The past ten years, I have given more space to synthesis in my work, with a
modular system at the centre. So a lot of the pieces I produced were built on a
« synthesis foundation », whether it was a drone, a sequence, or a pulse etc..
harmony would usually come later, almost exclusively through guitar.

Recently though, I have been longing for greater harmonic complexity and
acoustically richer soundscapes. In that context, the modular system had to be put aside to let deeper ideas emerge. At the moment I compose music with the guitar and the songs stay in my mind for months sometimes before being recorded. It is a very different feeling, they become part of me in a way and I really like that. Field recordings have also taken back an important place in my sonic language, they inspire me harmonically.

At the moment my studio is composed of a beautiful desk, there is a desktop
synth on it and wooden racks on each end. Inside are great preamps & converters, some summing and mastering units. My speaker sits on top of them. To my left there is a guitar and a pedalboard, to my right there is another guitar or a bass, some Chinese flutes as well as a collection of percussions and books. Behind me, there are a few more synths on shelves that I rarely take out anymore as well as more guitars and pedals.

I strongly believe in improvisation, the less conscious the better. This is how I reach my most genuine expressions. Sometimes movies and books can help me open doors, reach out to certain emotions.

You can hear the radical echo of jazz, even blues guitar on For The Wind, and freeform electronics in your music. Do you think dance music has become too safe, or that it relies too much upon the past? Or is it in a healthy, creative space to move forward?

I am not a good dance music analyst since I am rather disconnected from it all… In a general manner, however, I would say that it is important to create your own
space, find your comfort, the people that inspire you. We live in a multifaceted
world and have access to many scenes and cultures. So it is a matter of discovery and choice I think. I personally find great work burgeoning everywhere when I travel and online as well, I try not to pay attention to the rest.

You are not afraid to use hints of melody or voice in your compositions either – something that people associate less with non-mainstream music. How would you describe the power of the human voice? What can it provide that musical machines cannot?

Voices and melodies are so entrenched in our beings, in our memory. They will
remain long after machines disappear… The voice provides much more direct
contact with our mind and subconscious than any other tool. I guess to me the
voice represents words and meanings first. Then comes the melodic aspect of it
that is useful for a composer/guitarist.

Outside of music. Who or what inspires you? (In terms of artists, painters,
writers, movie directors etc?

I admire beauty, intelligence, and complexity everywhere I can find it. When I read a lot I feel good, I like to read non-fiction these days. I have recently discovered Bi Gan’s movies and they deeply move me. I love all the greats sincerely, Fellini, Kurosawa, Ozu, Tarkovsky etc… I just can’t wait to see Megalopolis.

Growing up how did you get introduced to the different types of music that have shaped the music you in turn make today? (Was I through family members, or radio, of bars/ clubs etc?)

Video games and MTV were probably the most constant sources of new music in my childhood. Later in my teen years the internet and friends played a big role. Today I listen to the radio a lot and I like to read older music magazines also, and various music-related books.

Tell us about your label, Placidum? What is your experience of running a label in 2024? What do you like about doing so, and what do you not like so much about it?

Placidum is a very personal project, it could be described as another facet of my
creative identity more than a label. I just needed a platform to express myself
freely, free of expectations and time constraints. The intellectual journey that led
me to become fully independent has also shaped the visual and conceptual
identity of Placidum. I wanted softness, « onirisme », nuances. I wanted the project to be close to nature and deeper human emotions.

It does require more work to do everything by yourself and it can be slower, but it is so rewarding. I intend to release my first vinyl in a year or so, which will open up a lot of new questions and skill sets.

Where did the title for Her Conscious Drift To Neptune’s Frozen Reliefs come
from? I’m intrigued by such a poetic selection of words.

I am not so sure… It is about a woman figure, no one I know, probably an older
figure, but not motherly. Everything becomes blue in her life, she’s losing herself. It is as if she floats very rapidly through space to extreme coldness, but she savors the melancholy I guess. It is just an image in my mind, a dream.

What do you think of Brian Eno? Or is there another key figure you would
choose as an influence?

He is an « incontournable » as we say in French. He surely has influenced me as
well as countless other artists. I used to listen much more to his music, I would
especially like falling asleep to his long pieces. In the later years, I have been quite moved by his cover of « I Am Set Free ». He is also a theoretician and even though I clearly do not subscribe to all of his opinions I find him very charismatic. He is a public figure at this point. He led me to Harold Budd who holds a dearer place in my artistic heart. In the same circles, I am also very much drawn and inspired by the work of Jon Hassell.

Spontaneously I would also mention Paul Motian and Ryuichi Sakamato as pillars
of my creative world.

What is your favourite physical instrument (I’m imagining you play guitar?)
What is your favourite electronic instrument?

Yes guitar for sure, it is an intimate instrument, a very natural volume. I love
beautiful wood and because of this, I am naturally drawn to guitars when they are around me. It is an extremely complete instrument for composition. It is very
important to me to be able to create the vibration yourself as opposed to keyboard based instruments that are somehow slightly less direct.

My favourite electronic instrument would be the computer for sure, if only as a
DSP device. Otherwise, probably my effect board is an incredible instrument in itself.

Do you think we live in a too-complex world filled with social media and 24-
hour news cycle distracting attention span? How do you see club culture and its relevance to society in ten years?

Yes, I do. I am not sure about club music specifically but people are sadly losing
touch with true and simple things, they are losing touch with themselves.

Download/Stream Shcaa Neptune on Bandcamp

Shcaa on Instagram
Shcaa on Facebook
Placidum on Bandcamp

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