© Henri Coutant

Kas:st – Emotions and music without improvisation

If would we have even tried to find more spontaneous and majestic techno story, from Parisian duo Manuel Sene and Karol Herse, known under the Kas:st pseudonym, we simply couldn’t.

When you strive, reaching for some sublime goals of your own, using the tools that exclusively consist of love, passion, and creativity, outcome is usually cinematically surreal, in the most positive sense.

This of course, wasn’t mine suggestion for you to stop dreaming, on the contrary, this interview is more of a stepping stone, for those who haven’t call it quits on reverie, yearning for their own intangible pursuits. Manu was a professional football player for three years, playing for Fc Istres and Nimes Olimpique, before the life brought him to Paris. Back then, he wasn’t aware that his future colleague was waiting for him right there on the spot.

Most of you would have guess that the meeting point was some of Parisian avant-garde underground clubs, but you would have been wrong. Almost forgotten music platform Myspace was the godfather of “Kas:st”, back then “Ka One” and “St-Sene”, which were their previous house project alias’s. When their music collaboration found it’s way to techno, bulletproof sound armor had new suit. With lot of epaulettes, i will add. Not long after they established their own record label – Flyance Record, where they have started to line up some serious hits in two chapters of one edition called “Dysphoria I Euphoria”. If there are any of current techno powerhouses who haven’t “borrowed” some of their tracks for their own sets, it is probably because they haven’t had a chance to hear it yet. Or, just maybe, it could be some serious sonic misconception. The feedbacks are immense. If the question is who will take the techno throne in the future, who will fill the gap and take the reign, I would go with this two.

Two of you and music, mixing genres, music influences which brought you to electronic pilgrimage?

People who only listen to techno, actually don’t get the techno in its entirety. For us, real techno is subtle amalgam of different genres and influences. We acquire those influences, and they became our expression. These days, techno is rather trend, but for us, it was, and will be – only and solemnly passion. We had have listened to various music forms, from house, drum & base, French hip hop, such as 113, Kerry James, Karlito, among many others. Its not about particular genre, its about the amount of something emotional and hypnotic in it. We would like to add ambient music as well, since it is an important flavor, to aforementioned electronic construction of our own.

Where does the inspiration comes currently, from new music, or you go back to memory lane? Your colleagues, Mind Against for example spend a lot of time lurking and wandering on Bandcamp, especially Freddie.

We have a great amount of respect for Mind Against, as you mentioned them. Having in mind the total amount of new producers, new music, we go with that. Just in France, Paris to be more precise, we could name numerous artists, which articulate with each other, gaining inspiration, exchanging ideas, perspectives, and music respectively. Let us name a few – PVNV, AWB, Geinst, Shlomo. This year will be especially prolific, we are focused on our production. Thanks to these double EPs (Chapter One and Chapter Two), we are currently working with other labels and have many EP’s to be released soon this year. All this will allow us to continue to develop our own style. During the day we create, by the end of the night we endlessly listen to what we had done.

My feeling is that the new Paris techno occurs from friendship, love and passion. Do all of you stick together in the real life as well. In case I got this right, what are your thoughts on the matter?

We are happy with all these relationships. At the beginning we started to work together, because we were close aesthetically speaking, but with time we have developed real friendships with some of all these artists in Paris. So now, we continue to make projects together and it’s really cool and artistically coherent and rewarding.

Manu, about the fan base, where is it stronger, in football or in clubbing?

Manu: About the girls, I don’t really care actually, when I looked at the people in club, I just see the crowd as a whole. Actually we already have red flags being raised high by the people we love, since we our so busy. I have a girlfriend, and a lot of friends, and we really try to harmonize all of our obligations with our personal life. Tough question.

Karol: True but to be honest I did these studies because there were a lot of girls (haha). Joke.

Love as inspiration for your melodies and sonic outcomes?

It depends of our mood. If we feel emotions, we choose that path in music too. There are no improvisations with music or emotions in our scrapbook.

Dream location to perform, and what would be for you, as producers, be the achievement climax?

Heyday…Movie soundtrack could be the one, with an orchestra.

Manu: Maybe Carnegie Hall, or the middle on nowhere, an intimate ambient for the chosen few.

Karol: I might have no thoughts or visualizations on specific place, but I know where I wouldn’t like to play – all of those places where people couldn’t understand our music truly.

Staying true to yourself, but also, getting acknowledged more widely, an oxymoron or legitimate aim?

Road to auditorium should never be the aim, rather consequence, aftermath.

Some established artists, such as Tale of Us had played our tracks, and from our perspective it’s just the part of our music evolution, recognition, it’s not not an obsession. Few years ago we listened to their sets, now we can be proud, to here and there, catch some of our imprints on them as well. Amount of something clandestine, obscure, hypnotic is omnipresent in our sound, it happened to match on some level with the artist with of some grand stature, they’ve recognized it, cherished it, and we are glad they did.

Paris from your perspective: tip for thoughtless walk, where to go clubbing, place to eat…? How important Paris is, as an inspiration for your creativity? Also where do you find much needed peace in Paris, sanctuary from turbulent loud nights and crowded places?

Manu & Karol: As French people, we are going to answer about the food first J. There are so many great places in Paris to name just one, we have the chance of having international influences and cultures. It’s quite the same for walking. At the moment, we like to walk along the Canal St Martin, it’s a cool spot to chill. For clubbing, we love to go to Concrete, there is a special vibe there, and we also have a good relationship with all the crew. However, when we want to find some peace, we go to a secret place we discovered one year ago, a rooftop that only the two of us have access to. It overlooks the whole city, so we combine tranquility and a great view, pretty cool. Paris is a real source of creativity, many feelings meet, you can find a great mix of people, cultures, it’s at the same time stressful, but also lively, there is definitely something magical and paradoxically quite sad, melancholic here, it’s hard to describe, you have to live here to feel it.

Name me at least 3 tracks/songs that made the greatest impact on you as an artists, doesn’t have to be only from electronic music field.

Manu: Seal – Violet, Beethoven – Symphony n°7, Notorious Big – Sky’s

The Limit.

Karol:  Hans Zimmer – Interstellar (Main Theme), Larry Heard – You’re someone special, Nas – World Is Yours.

Serbia, Belgrade, you probably heard a lot about our vibrant electronic playground. Hope we will hear you guys sometimes soon.

Yeah, heard so many great things about the scene over there, looking forward to play soon.

An interview could sound too official, vague, and artificial. And when the most of the conversation is embroidered with laugh and familiarity it has to be called a talk.

In a written form is somewhat hard to describe, but our goal was to share with you at least some aspects of liveliness of it. If we did, we achieved what we initially wanted. Manu and Karol. Stand up guys. It goes for their music too.

If we talk about ambient “Enter”, pure techno “Noumene”, or magical “Emotional Progress”. If and when we talk about everything. One of the best techno performers today, and the reason why all of the crowd haven’t notice them yet, for us who did, it makes them even more better.