Resonating – A Q&A with Abstraxion

Abstraxion, the artistic moniker of French producer Harold Boué, has been a reserved purveyor of serious club music since 2005. His label Biologic Records, which he runs alongside Diego Cortez Salas (DC Salas) out of London, has developed alongside the producer as a formidable force for serious club constructions and minimalist yet forceful dance floor tracks. Abstraxion’s sound has always been one that would breach trends to find something unique between kick and snare where melody and harmony would live symbiotically alongside rhythm and functionality. It all came to a beautiful head during Abstraxion’s brilliant 2013 debut LP, Break of Lights, which we also learn marked a new chapter for the artist and his label.

Boué has continued to release music under the moniker with his sound developing further into the realm of the modular synthesiser and includes a Kasper Bjørke collaboration, which got everybody talking last year. This year also marks the ten-year anniversary of Biologic, and one of the first releases to make it out on the label’s decadal year is a two-track EP from the man himself, which includes a host of remixes from some of the hottest names in dance music at the moment. Resonance and Drosophila are melodic and uncompromising dance floor cuts that build from a shy humility, like a introvert, tentatively making the first passes at creative expression. To get the most of the title track, Resonance Boué gave Matrixxman, Fort Romeau and Massimilano Pagliara free rein over his productions, and all three producers delivered something idiosyncratically theirs, opening up brand new dimensions from the original tracks.

After consuming every morsel of music from the release, there was only one thing left to do. We thought it appropriate to get in touch with Boué via email and ask him some questions about the release, Biologic, and remixing his tracks. We learn a little more of Biologic’s latest development and some of the things that inspired Boué for this release, which also includes a conversation with Nicholas Jaar.

Resonance is your first solo release on your label since “Mickey Rourke”. Why did you find time ripe to make a return to Biologic?

After few years releasing on other labels – that are still important to me – Diego (DC Salas), who runs the label with me, and I felt that the timing was right to release new music. In 2016 I will also release my second album and a single before the summer / followed by an album of remixes… so there are many good surprises to come.

It also marks Biologic’s ten-year anniversary. How’s the label evolved in your opinion and what does this ten-year anniversary signify for you and the label?

It felt like the best timing for a new start. We thought there were a few things we weren’t 100% happy about and wanted rectify these, be more precise and come back with new design, artwork, and new exciting artists and releases every month to celebrate this anniversary. This month it will be a DC Salas EP with Cliff Lothar and Inkswel remixes and after that, Elijah Simmons and Echonomist…

Do you see that evolution concurrent with the evolution in your own music?

Of course there’s a connection between the label’s evolution and the evolution in my own music. When I started more than 10 years ago computers were slower, and I now work on Ableton, which I feel is more intuitive than Cubase, the programme that I was using before. I would say that the evolution of my own music is more influenced by what I’ve learned in music since I started, it could be from recording studio techniques to what I’ve read and watched…

The Abstraxion sound has been quite broad over the years, going from that French disco-infused house sound to the more minimalist tech modular sound I’ve heard on the last few releases. What’s tied it altogether for you over these different periods?

It’s hard for me to always produce the same kind of music. As I love listening to many different things, and could go in directions from indie, electronica to techno & house sounds. I feel that it’s probably more interesting to look at what I’ve released since my album “Break Of Lights”, as it was a big step and really what I wanted to achieve. Artists like Dan Snaith or Jeremy Greenspan are good influences, since they can go in different directions with the production. The release of my second album at the end of this year will be a continuation of this.

One of the EPs that stood out for me after Break of Lights, was your origami EP with Kasper Bjørk. It was just you two improvising in the studio, I believe. What did you take away from the experience?

Yes it was a few days of really intense work. Kasper is a producer that I can trust, and it was the first time that we worked together. I brought my modular in Copenhagen to work in the Red Bull studio and started to improvise. At the end we were really happy with the music we produced and the reactions after the release, so we’ve decided to work again together and have recorded a new EP a few weeks ago in my studio in Marseille.

I look forward to hearing that. How did the two tracks on this latest release come together and was there any particular theme behind them?

Resonance was made few months before Drosophila. I started to exchange with Nicolas Jaar that helped a bit with advice. This EP is a bit different as I started to DJ more and felt it was the sound I really wanted to play and listen. I recently discovered new house and techno tracks and producers that I felt were inspiring.

This release is as much about the remixes as it is about the original tracks. What influenced your decisions on your selection of remix artists?

Remixes are really important on this EP, as they all reflect perfectly what I liked recently – Fort Romeau & Massi on House and Disco and Matrixxman on the Techno. I loved their previous releases and listening to the sets they are doing is always a good experience

What did you hope each artist would bring to the original tracks, and how did the end result live up to your expectations?

I’m very happy with all of the remixes and wouldn’t release a remix if I weren’t happy with it. They are all really good producers that I respect so I didn’t have to worry much.

I have a personal favourite (although they’re all good) in the Massimiliano Pagliara mix. Do you have a favourite, or is there one remix you really like playing out these days? 

Massi is a good friend and his remix is amazing but it’s hard for me to pick a favourite. To be honest I’ve tested all the tracks and remixes in my sets since I received them… and it’s been a surprise to see they sound so good and people enjoying every single one.

Are you ever much influenced by other peoples’ interpretations of your music?

Yes very often. Matrixxman’s version is pretty different from the original and I enjoyed talking to him about the production, which instruments he used to process etc… So at the end, to understand all the details, gives me more options and probably could influence my way of working.

What exactly did you take away from this release, and where do you see it taking you into the future? 

Being more precise in the definition of the music that I want to produce.

A single from my new album will be released in June and the album in October. We’re also already working on a revisited version of my new album and it’s gonna be a good challenge to release remixes that are as good as these ones.