Today had been tiresome, each second feeling more like an hour. Within the four walls of her diamond white room she sat and waited. For what, she didn't know. All she ever did was wait. Alone in this space with nothing but her thoughts; nothing to focus her attention on except her hopes and her dreams, her successes and her failures. She watched the rain trickle slowly down the window, creating thick trails on the glass. Her eyes begin to swell with tears, running down her face as if in unison with the rain on the window outside. She couldn't pretend to be happy anymore. She would no longer conform.
To inaugurate her new label Microdosing, French producer Julienne Dessagne aka Fantastic Twins, has enlisted some of her close friends to be part of the first volume, which takes the same name as the label. Julienne hails the imprint as 'a collective experiment aimed at helping you fighting back your modern obsession with happiness.' The release features tracks from a talented bunch of producers, including Manfredas, Smagghe & Cross, Autarkic, Naum Gabo and, of course, Julienne herself. Our premiere from Naum Gabo, the project of Optimo's Jonnie Wilkes and mastering engineer James Savage, is where "sound, geometry and colour spell F R E E D O M. Ahead of the release on 24th May, we spoke to Julienne about her label mission...
Who are you and why are you starting a record label?
I am Julienne Dessagne aka Fantastic Twins and I just launched a new label called Microdosing. Why? Well… why not?
As a live performing artist, my world revolves around my own music all the time, in the studio and on stage. So perhaps I felt the need to break away from the solitary nature of my work. Of course, my production work also involves collaborations with other artists now and then, but I wanted to add another collective dimension to my creative spectrum. It was my encounter with Geff Pellet - in charge of the visual design of the label - which triggered my motivation to start. Our upstream exchange of ideas was very prolific and the chosen format of a series of compilations regrouped under one label appeared as a suitable playground to expose our visions and let the experiment take place.
What’s the concept behind the label; name. Artwork etc?
Microdosing is a series of 12”s compilations. I’m selecting music from four to five artists for each volume. As the label‘s manifesto says: “Microdosing is a collective experiment aimed at helping you in fighting back your modern obsession with happiness. You may deserve a nice day but the day does not need a nice you, nothing should be forced, everything is permitted. Microdosing will provide you with sonic healing weapons on regular basis and at irregular dosage. Those doses will favour psychedelic social techniques against self help tyranny, creation over soma, provoking over numbing, our outer-selves over our inner-selves. Microdosing refuses the fatality of the pleasure principle. Life is a struggle, time to embrace it.”
So all artists involved are invited to reflect on that and come up with whatever that inspires. As an artist, when you’re asked to submit music for a compilation, you sometimes fear that your track will be lost in a whole that will ultimately dilute its impact. Having a common theme provides artists with roads to explore, triggers their inspiration and also protects me from ending up with “left-over kind of material” which I’m not interested in releasing. As for the artwork, it plays an equally important role as the music in Microdosing. Geff Pellet’s work is very inspiring to me and he has a huge input into the project. The concept behind it is, in Geff’s own words “based on the reappropriation of common references. It’s like taking little doses of visual references and re-injecting them into a final product. The idea being to help ourselves and dig - without permission - into the giant pool of images that represents our culture - high and mainstream. Out of that, we create a bank of ‘monster references’, where those small references assembled together, within a completely different context than their original one, creates something disconcerting and disturbing for the reader. It pushes us to reflect on the way we consume images, as well as on the question of ownership in the digital world. People don’t wait for authorisation to use images, people use them. And that somehow echoes with the fragile economy of an independent label - why spend fortunes on photo shoots when one can use images that already exist (hence the waves we used for Vol. 1).”
Art and music used to be intrinsically linked, now it’s all about ‘visual identities and social profiles’. Discuss.
Art and music are intrinsically linked and it’s out of that bond that Microdosing was born and will burgeon. Reflecting on our society, observing what surrounds us and depicting it through our creative eyes and ears, challenge established categories or systems, reveal the absurd, make fun of things that are too serious, etc. That is what, in my opinion, art is about. The second part of your sentence refers to a narcissistic drift from what people misuse as music or art. But it is not music nor art. An artist needs to survive, so in that perspective building your social profile is hard to avoid nowadays, but it is just a means, not the purpose. Geff was against the idea of a logo for Microdosing. A logo implies branding and sets an identity as opposed to letting it evolve naturally. And in a similar way, for the musical direction, I’m not interested in putting one artist name forward and “building her/his profile”, hence the collective dimension allowed by the format of compilations. Most artists around me are sick of social media, our salute - spiritually more than financially I admit - lies in creating, exploring, challenging and also sticking together. Let’s not cave in to mediocrity.
How excited are you about doing more Instagram and Facebook posts?
As I said, with Microdosing we see Instagram rather as a creative tool than as the burden it usually is. I’d go further: the obscene world of Instagram is a source of inspiration for Geff and I, material that we process and transform through our twisted minds and ultimately re-inject in that very social media pool. And mind, promoting a collective project is more interesting than promoting oneself as an individual. Of course in the end we will probably only reach a bunch of likeminded freaks but [insert shrug emoji]. Though the fun part is: you will notice that on our Instagram we like to play with those typical and totally absurd Instagram tags and as a result we happen to also attract those absurd followers, bloggers and random business companies. Full circle. #happiness
For someone who only plays live what was the importance of starting a vinyl label?
I play live and to do so I produce my own music. And as a producer, holding a record in my hands with my music on it somehow makes the process complete. Personally, I am not a vinyl purist and I don’t mind digital-only releases at all but I can’t ignore that most producers still prefer to have their music come out on wax. And so out of respect for that, I made the financially suicidal decision to release the compilations on vinyl. The second reason is as explained earlier, artwork being equally as important as the music in the Microdosing project, I wanted to provide Geff with the appropriate tools to express his ideas. Merchandising will be the next step.
Describe the label in three words. Anything else you’d like to discuss?
I'll use a whole sentence, from our already beloved manifesto: “life is a struggle, time to embrace it”. Thank you for reading. Join the collective therapy, support Microdosing. <3