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Interview: Abstraxion On Touring With Darkside, Using Label For Good, New Project Lion's Drums

Abstraxion aka Lion's Drums

Abstraxion aka Lion's Drums

Abstraxion is a French electronic music producer who has collaborated with John Talabot, Kasper Bjork and DC Salas, while managing prominent label Biologic Records. He played alongside Darkside (Nicolas Jaar & Dave Harrington) at Panaroma Bar and created a new project Lion’s Drums, which has a release out now on vinyl.

We had a chat with French DJ producer Abstraxion from Biologic Records and asked him about his new project Lion’s Drums and the forthcoming release as Lion's Drums on Hivern Discs. How did Marseille influence Abstraxion? What is his creative process and what are his favorite tools to compose his mesmerizing, groovy music?

Lion's Drums new release is available on vinyl now and will become available digitally in July. 

Hello, how is it going in South of France?

Hello! It’s a sunny day in Marseille, I’m working in my studio and finishing my next EP. I’ll probably go to the beach later though!

Today, you have a new project called Lion’s Drums (HIVERN DISCS) with Fantastic Man. How did the collaboration start? Are you guys in sync and share a common music taste, or do you have different horizons which melt well together?

It’s a new project that I’m starting alone. We spent some times jamming on the track Bain de Soleil in my studio last year, after playing a gig together – and I felt connected with his music. At the end I was happy with the result and I finished the EP as I felt it was the beginning of something new -- music different from what I was doing before.

Tell us about the new EP which is going to be released on June 22 on Hivern Discs?

I’m really happy of this new adventure, specially with a label that I deeply respect and love. This is a new exciting start specially as I made it when my son was born last summer. Lion is a tribute to his astrological sign.

“Voodoo techno” is a genre you affectionate a lot (alongside electronica): distorted rhythms, primitive drums, and uplifting chants mark your recent productions and hence the name of your new project I guess. How did your style evolve from time to time? Is Marseille a city that reflects this style of downtempo music?

Lion’s Drums is different from Abstraxion. It was important for me that the result reflects my city of Marseille: rough and luminous. It is also influenced by elements of Mediterranean, African and Northern European cultures.

I won’t say that it’s downtempo music but more intense experiments with drums, trying to create something full of life and powerful.

You released a stunning LP IN 2013, Breaks of Lights. Dreamy, cosmic, and uplifting. Tell us about your time creating in the studio.

During the process of creating this new EP, I was more focused on bringing more distortions and dirtiness on the recordings to create this rough sound. Playing around TR-808 & LinnDrums with pedals effects and creating psyche sounds with JD-800 and Juno 60 still with effects on top.

The Origami EP produced with Kasper Bjorke in 2014 seems to have been a catalyst in your career. How did working with Kasper Bjorke open new doors to you in terms of creativity?

I’m always happy to share some time in the studio with my friend Kasper. We released two EP’s together and we connected easily together. The first EP was made in Copenhagen and the second one in Marseille. The result is interesting, and creating with him brings different ideas that wouldn’t be possible alone.

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What memories do you have from touring live with DARKSIDE (Nicolas Jaar & David Harrington) and Berghain / Panorama Bar in 2016?

Touring with Darkside was a good way to learn about playing live on bigger events, just after the release of my first album in 2013 on HAKT & Other People. After that I focused more on playing DJ sets and released a second album on my label Biologic records. Thanks to that release, I was happy to play twice at Panorama Bar at what could be some of my best memories surrounded by friends and love.

Some of your productions remind me of Nicolas Jaar but sparkled with an atmospheric darkness which I love. How did the music of Nicolas Jaar influence you? Are there any other major influences that shaped you as a producer?

To be honest I didn’t listen much to Nicolas’ music before I released my album on his label. I really liked his project Darkside with Dave but I was more influenced by artists like Dan Snaith (Caribou), James Murphy or John Talabot when I released my first LP.

Tell us about Biologic Records, the record label you co-manage with DC Salas, which celebrated 10 years in 2016. How did the record label start and what's your mission today with the artists who are on the label?

I feel that I’m lucky to be able to release music from amazing artists on my label after more than 10 years, and specially as I exchange everyday with my Belgian brother Diego and we share the same taste in music and how we want Biologic to be.

We are focused on the artists that we released recently: Nathan Surreal, Panorama Channel, Herzel, Eduardo de la Calle. We will release a compilation next month, all funds will be donated to SOS Meditérannée – a boat rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean Sea and based in Marseille.

Tell us about your collaboration with John Talabot? Was he a kind of mentor to you?

Definitely! I’m happy to exchange with him and he inspired this new project and made it possible. Lion’s Drums is strongly connected to Hivern Discs and John Talabot.

Two of my favorite tracks of yours (ever) are “Around Me” Fairmont remix and "Moon" on HAKT recordings. Is there any story linked to them?

"Moon" was the first single of my first LP, I remember doing that track after seeing for the first time Caribou live (and also Radiohead).

You have a love for analog sounds and drum machines, which is why your songs are so organic, evasive, and explorative. Which analog instruments do you own?

I have a recording studio in Marseille and have more space to own analog equipment, specially as I’m producing since almost 15 years now The first synths that I got were the DX7, Alesis Andromeda and Moog Voyager. Now I would say the ones that I use the most are Arp 2600, TB-303, SH 101 and JD 800.

How do you enjoy DJ technology today? How do you prefer to perform as a DJ?

I use Rekordbox and CDJ2000 Nexus (1 or 2). At the moment it’s how I prefer to travel and play and use Xone 92.

Which tracks can't you stop playing now?

Fantastic Man "Ode To A Dream" or Experimental Products "Glowing in The Dark Again"

If Abstraxion wasn't producing, what would he do?

If not music or managing a label or an organization (Laboratoire des Possibles) doing events in Marseille. Maybe playing tennis.

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