Melmac is a young Parisian duo, which consists of two brothers Luc Reverter (Casiotron, Mpc 2000, Minidisc) and Nicolas Reverter (Guitar, Tapes, Clavier, Minidisc).

First formed in 1998, Melmac was born out of the ashes of another group, Strangfield, and has been described by critics as both a post-rock group and an electronica act.

The band released it first self-produced six track EP, 'On efface tout et on recommence' on a local French label, Messpress, in 1999. It followed this with two further EPs in 2001. '00 :20 :37' , the first of these, came out on the Parisian label Peversion Mecanique, The entirely improvised 'P1 vs P2', which is limited to just 50 copies, was meanwhile released on the mini French label hinah.

As well as the three EPs, the group has also released tracks on compilations on the POPnews, See-Through and Q-Tape labels.

The Reverter brothers formed their own Ronda label earlier this year, and put out its debut release, an entirely improvised, limited-to-100 copies Melmac mini-album 'Game_02' in November.

They plan to release a full-length Melmac album on Ronda early next year, and also hope to use it as a platform for releasing CDs by Nicolas's solo project Anaconda, Luc's as-yet-unnamed solo act , and also recordings by other similarly experimental groups.

In Melmac's first interview outside France, Luc Reverter spoke to Pennyblackmusic both about 'Game_02' and Ronda.


PB : You both originally played in a band called Strangfield before forming Melmac. Who were they ? Did they release anything ?

LR : Strangefield was a trio playing music mainly influenced by the Touch and Go label (Girls vs Boys, Jesus Lizard), Shellac and Sonic Youth.

The group's line-up was Nicolas on drums, myself on guitar/vocals, and Matthieu on bass. When he left the band, another friend, Sebastien, replaced him.

The band auto-released 3 demos tapes in the pure DIY tradition! When Sebastien left the band, we decided to create Melmac.

PB : Melmac is the name of a range of pottery, and also of the planet which ALF, the character from the 80's childrens' television series, came from. What was it you took your name from ? Was it from either of these or was it from something else ?

LR : Our name came from the 80's character. We used to watch the television programme a lot when we were children. Melmac was the planet where Alf lived. The planet was destroyed by a nuclear explosion.So behind the fun, there's terrible destruction. Despite his sadness, Alf never lost his sense of humour.

For all these reasons, we can say that our music takes a lot from the emotions of our childhood.

PB : Melmac has been described as both a post-rock group and an electronica act.How would you define the band ?

LR : The description is not false. We are very influenced by post-rock and electronica. On the other hand though,we try to make our own world and we hope that people listening to our music will find a link between their own personal emotions and the atmospheres we build. Someone spoke about "introspective electronica". I liked that description a lot. Instrospection is an important part of Melmac.

PB : You said very early on in Melmac's career about yourselves that you "don't want to force our views on the listener" and that you would rather that "the listener listen in complete freedom, so that they can experience the world of Melmac in their own way". Would you hold by that with regard to 'Game_O2'?

LR :Yes definitely, 'Game_02' was a big challenge for us. We used sounds that were less abstract than before.

We tried to use them as a tool to get closer to the audience. We hope that it will help people find their own interpretation of our music.We would like to make our music a "game" for everyone...

The composition process is a "Game" for us: "Hey, listen to this
sound, how can we make it sound in our world?" or "What feelings come to you when you listen to this melody? How do transcribe those feelings ?"

And we hope it will be a "Game" for the listener, who will be able to make our music and his own experiences/feelings interact. We offer a problem, and everybody has his or her own answer.

PB : You have released EPs and tracks successfully on a variety of other labels including Perversion Mecanique, hinah, POPnews and Messpress. Why have you now decided to set up your own label, Ronda, to release your recordings? Do you hope to eventually release recordings by other acts?

LR : Ronda was born as a result of the continuity in our work.At one point in Melmac, to go beyond our boundaries, we saw that we needed to make other projects like Anaconda which are not part of the Melmac world, but of its neighborhood.

We found it logical to create our own label where people can find things that are close to our views on artistic creation.To roll back the limits of our work, we are building connections with artists that are close to us, and whose work we hope to release. We are talking things over with some of them, and we'll see what will happen! We want to be an active node of the French network you were mentioning.

PB : 'Game_O2' was entirely improvised and was recorded at a concert played in May of this year. Your hinah release 'P1 Vs P2' was also improvised. Your other releases were largely composed using more traditional methods. Which method of composing do you prefer?

LR : Both have their pros and cons.Improvisation for us is like surfing from one idea to another, with the intention of interacting with the crowd and the place in which where we are playing in.

The "traditional" composition process is more about developing a few ideas and pushing them as far as possible.

The method we choose mainly depends on our mood. Our vision of creation is really about feeling, mood, emotions.

PB : 'Game_02' uses a whole range of sound effects and samples. Where did you take those from?

LR : Some came from our collection of CDs, some from the television, some from recording sessions with our family, some from recording sessions during holidays...

Any source of sound is important to us.The only prerequisite is that the sound should create an emotion on us.

The aim is to avoid repeating the same formula. We always try to find new sounds and new ways of discovering new sounds.

My last obsession is about the way we consume music.The context in which someone finds a sound affects the way someone will listen to it. For example, in one store CDs are classified by label. In some others by alphabetical order or by genre. When you look at a CD and its 'neighbours'and the store surrounding them, you'll find different connections between CDs from one place to another. It creates a different interaction between you and the sound depending on the place where you found that sound.

PB : 'Game-O2' appears in four different, hand made sleeves, yet only has a total run of 100 copies. Why have you decided to release it with so many different covers?

LR : We just couldn't choose between the four differents sleeves... We, therefore, decided to let the buyer decide. It sounds good to us because it's like a first interaction between Melmac and the listener... and we hope it will continue during the listening!

PB : The group also recorded an on-line track for the hinah site with Transmissionary Six, and reworked one of their songs, 'Purely Medicinal'. How did you first become involved with Paul Austin and Terrri Moeller?

LR : Paul is a good friend of Eloise Steclebout and Laurent Orseau from hinah.They introduced us when Paul came to France a year ago.We had a drink, spoke for hours on music and the hinah staff proposed the idea of making a song together. Things are simple when the feeling is there.

PB : You have got an album coming out in 2003. Do you know what it is going to be called yet? What direction will it take? How many copies are going to be made?

LR : We haven't got a title yet.For the number of copies, we'd like to have a total run of 500 copies, but it depends on our search for distributors. We are a small structure you know...

What is sure is that we have more than 60 minutes of music and we are working on the final mix. The record is more "human" than the '00:20:37' EP made for Perversion Mecanique.We have put more of our soul into this recording. We wanted to rediscover the innocence and freedom of childhood.We tried, therefore, to swing between differents moods in this record: innocence, happiness, sadness, reflection.... always in an introspective way.

PB : Both of you also have solo records coming out, Nicolas with his act Anaconda, and you with a yet-untitled project.In what kind of direction will both these projects go? In what way will they differ from Melmac?

LR : Anaconda is really experimental. There is only Nicolas with a microphone and a delay. The result is really hypnotic.My project will sound somewhere between abstract rap, dub and electronica.

Both differ from Melmac because Nicolas' and my interaction in the composing process won't exist. There are links with Melmac, however, but we'll let the listener find them!

PB : Do you have any other plans for the future ?

LR : Our plans for 2003 are: in March, the Melmac Album and then in June, my project. In September, there will be a Melmac improvisational album and then later Nicolas' solo project and our friends' albums.

PB : Thank you.


The photographs that ccompany this article were taken by Laurent Orseau and originally appeared on www.hinah.com













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