jeudi 20 avril 2017

Interview with Sequentia Legenda by Philippe Vallin

Interview with Sequentia Legenda by Philippe Vallin

(Clair et Obscur, )

Interview de Sequentia Legenda par Philippe Vallin

Sequentia Legenda : an ever-expanding musical world…

Philippe Vallin: "Coming from a far distant blue planet somewhere in the depths of our galaxy, Laurent Schieber (aka Sequentia Legenda) came to visit us Terrians two years ago only, with his excellent first album entitled Blue Dream. After landing on our little biosphere, this lover of synthesizers and 'Berlin School'-like spacey electronic music kept on making us travel in our inner cosmos, thanks to his well crafted work, strongly influenced by the master Klaus Schulze, whose footsteps he proudly treads in. We have met and interviewed this dedicated composer, whose aesthetics is halfway between tradition and modernity, within a musical genre that is far from having bade its farewell…"

C&O :
Hi Laurent. You seem to play synthesizers and other sequencers for some time now. Where does this passion for « Berlin School » electronic music come from, and how to explain that Sequentia Legenda and his outstanding first album Blue Dream went to be issued in 2015 only ?

Sequentia Legenda : "It all started while listening to Klaus Schulze's album Mirage, when I was in my fifteens. I instantly fell in love with this music. This is how my love of Berlin School started. Since then, I kept on playing synthesizers. My music theory education and keyboard classes started in the back shop of a music store of my city. Soon my teacher realized how much I was interested in synthetic sounds, and music theory gave way to synthesizers' discovery. I was given the opportunity to handle the potentiometers of a mythical instrument: the famous Minimoog!

Years passed, and with them I purchased many electronic instruments. I started with analogical synthesizers such as Korg PS3200, ARP Odyssey, Crumar Multiman S, Oberheim Two VoiceKorg MS20 and its sequencer SQ10, Polymoog, Roland SVC-350 vocoder. When MIDI appeared, I got rid of all the analogical stuff to step in the digital era with my first MAO software running on an Atari 1024 STF, together with new machines such as DSS1 Korg, TG77 YamahaD110 Roland, Microwave Waldorf, K1M Kawai, and JD800 Roland.

Sequentia Legenda and analog synthesizers
Sequentia Legenda (Laurent Schieber) and analog synths. The Korg PS3200, Oberheim Two Voices, Crumar MultimanS, ARP Odyssey, Korg MS20 + SQ10 and more.
For a short period of time, I used to play keyboards for a local rock band. However, I prefered to play alone, training in the basement of my parents' house. The commercial music of the 80's hadn't any appeal on me. Spacey music was for me the musical path I wanted to follow. Therefore, I took the plunge only very recently. It became obvious that I had to unveil my work. I wanted to share with the world my musical vision and, through these compositions, also part of me. My first album Blue Dream was finalized end of 2014, after working for 16 months on it. I am a rigorous person, and this is one of the reasons why my first album was so long to see the light of day."

C&O : Your music is often compared to Klaus Schulze's, and not in a derogatory way actually. When listening to  Blue DreamVibrations, « Au Revoir » and Amira, it's true that the spirit of the german master seems to « float » above, a bit like a major influence that would never leave you. What would you answer? And how would you describe your own music to someone who never heard of you?

Sequentia Legenda : "I am often compared to Klaus Schulze, which doesn't bother me. In fact, Klaus Schulze was a pioneer with a new musical approach. I enjoy his work. He is undoubtedly one of those who embodies the best Berliner Schule. For me, he was a true revelation. I often listened to his works from Irrlicht in 1971 to En=trance in 1988.
If I had to introduce someone to my music, I would say it is atmospheric and spacey electronic music. An invitation to dream, a musical environment allowing for meditation. Through my compositions, I try to share my emotions, my sensitivity, in other words a part of me."

C&O : What other artists inspired you the most as a musician, but also as a music lover?

Sequentia Legenda : "In electronic realm, my influences lean towards Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, Vangelis or Jean-Michel Jarre. I am sincerely saddened by the passing of Edgar Froese. On a more general note, I am interested in classical music and more specifically symphonies : Wagner, Beethoven, Brahms, Berlioz or Smetana. As a music lover, I like U2, Pink Floyd, Tears For fears, Talk Talk, Depeche Mode or Marillion."

C&O : Can you tell us more about Extended, the new album you are working on. What can we expect with the coming magnum opus (magnum by the size at least!)?

Sequentia Legenda : "Extended will be a double album with five or six tracks. Some of the pieces will be long versions taken from Blue Dream and Amira. The single « Au Revoir » will also be included in its long version in this record. The pieces were rearranged, remixed and remasterised, longer versions will allow listeners to submerge themselves even more in the music. « Solitudes Lunaires » will be one of the two new tracks.


There will be also a first for me: a collaboration with german drummer Tommy Betzler on tracks « The Approach » and « Somewhere ». Tommy is not new to this musical genre as he backed Klaus Schulze on stage during his tours, and I am proud and happy to have him on board this project. For me, Extended is a thrillling experience on any level : both musical and human. The official release of this album is planned for September 2016."

EXTENDED Sequentia Legenda and Tommy Betzler
EXTENDED Sequentia Legenda and Tommy Betzler
C&O : What inspires you when you record, and why do you create cosmic music?

Sequentia Legenda : "My musical inspiration can come from anything, it can be an image, a sound, an environment, an emotion. I also like to draw inspiration from novels, legends, pictures. I enjoy mysticism, mystery, nostalgia, imaginary world. Cosmic music is a passion. It's a real delight for me to compose and nothing else crosses my mind when I am in a composition session. I like to share my emotions through my music, make the listener dream and help him relax and escape a world in turmoil where everything has to go fast and follow standard criteria."

C&O : Do you compose during the day or by night?

Sequentia Legenda : "There is no rule actually, I just need to find a balance between my job, my family and my passion. As a family man, I spend some time with my kids. As a husband, I share some time with my wife, who was very comprehensive. I can compose when my wife works overnight, or in the morning when kids are at school.

The most difficult is to end a composition session. Time passes by so fast when I focusi on my music. My rigour makes my creation activity even longer. I even had to take some days off to finalize a piece. I already woke up in the middle of the night when musical ideas rushed in my head. It should be done in moderation though. Composition is a very particular step, very time-consuming and it's often difficult, both for the artist, and his relatives. It's all a matter of dosage. I am thankful to my family for their patience."

C&O : Which to day is the composition you are the most proud of, and why?

Sequentia Legenda : "It's hard to say. But I'd pick « Solitudes lunaires ». Although I went to compose this piece faster than usual, the result is quite compelling and, from a technical standpoint, I managed to bypass the use of a beatbox by turning oscillators of Minimoog in self-oscillation mode. I made this choice probably because it was my last creation. Otherwise, I really like « Somewhere ». Anyway, each track has its own history, its own flavour. I like what I do and I give the best of me.

C&O : Do you plan any gig soon? For example, can we expect to see you on stage, alone or with other musicians, to promote the forthcoming double album Extended?

Sequentia Legenda : "I was indeed proposed to perform live on stage. I will think about the opportunities. I would like to combine sounds and images for any possible show. I really want to do it and slowly I am coming to see how it could work. Maybe I could play with Tommy on stage. Who knows ? We'll see.

C&O : Your music is now released through the french label and organization PWM (Patch Work Music). Have more lovers of this quite secret musical genre learned to know you?

Sequentia Legenda : "My music can be bought through my bandcamp page, and also, as you mentioned, through PWM's webpage. I would like to thank all the team at Patch Work Music, they are welcoming, willing to help and promote the work of artists featured in their back catalogue. My albums are now available in Spain, Germany, Poland and The Netherlands
I am really happy about that. The audience is quite diverse and I was even surprised by a father who told me his 10-year old son was very enthusiastic and wished to get an autograph. 
Cosmic music is far from bidding its farewell ! 

C&O : C&O : What memories do you keep from SynthFest 2016, that you attended in Nantes this year?

Sequentia Legenda : "SynthFest is a great festival, organized by a handful of electronic music lovers. It's the gathering of instruments, collectors, fans and musicians. 
I met there some great people, like Jean-Luc Briancon (Kurz Mindfield) which music I really love, Pierre Salkazanov (Zanov), quite a nice guy, Bertrand Loreau, another fan of Klaus Schulze and a specialist of Polymoog, and last but not least, Olivier Briand, who was everywhere at the same time during this festival. 

Sequentia Legenda (Laurent Schieber) and the Fairlight CMI
Sequentia Legenda (Laurent Schieber) and the Fairlight CMI

It was also a time when I played the Minimoog for the first time in ages, and I also derived a lot of pleasure playing the Fairlight, another legendary instrument.

C&O : A few technical questions now for those who are knowledgeable: what is the musical equipment you use the most? How do you switch from analogic to digital ? And do you have a preferred keyboard that you couldn't live without for all your future pieces?

Sequentia Legenda : "Arturia's Collection V is a tool I often use and Minimoog V is undoubtfully one of my favourite VSTs. After using a wealth of hardware synthesizers, my current compositions are made with VSTs. I might however return to hardware in the future, if only for stage performances.

C&O : What do you think of today's electronic progressive scene (from France or elsewhere), and from a general standpoint, of other trends in electronic music?

Sequentia Legenda : "I have very few spare time to get to know what's new in electronic music. I follow from a distant mile the other trends in electronic music. I am not very keen on the new trends. Techno music and the related stuff don't inspire me for example. I keep following a more traditional approach and I pay special attention to sonic dosage. I find that tracks nowadays are in general very or too much compressed."

C&O : Are you up-to-date with your preferred musical genres? What are your last favourites? And if you are not up-to-date what do you listen to those days?

Sequentia Legenda : "Besides Jean-Luc Briancon's last and interesting albums, and the duo of Brückner & Betzler, I unfortunately don't have much time to listen and get an opinion on what other musicians create. I still listen to the great classic pieces by Klaus Schulze or Tangerine Dream, and also classical music or jazz on radio while driving. And I nearly forgot Yves Blanc's briliant show of Saturdays « La Planète Bleue »."

C&O : Since you like beautiful support in times of (sad) digitalization of music, can we expect one day the release of Sequentia Legenda album in real CD format, or in vinyl?

Sequentia Legenda : "I was indeed asked about vinyls, but there were very few of these requests. My music is mostly purchased in digital format. Selling CD(r)s allows the buyer to own the physicial support. I performed myself the written and graphical design of the Digipack (Blue Dream) and the Digifile (Amira). I want each project to be valued on both aesthetics and information levels. I am a person who keeps his feet firmly on the ground, I started prudently with CD(r), because the budget is quite different from a real CD pressing. If sales are good, then yes I will be able to turn to pressing formula."

C&O : Many thanks for taking the time to answer all those questions, and good luck to Extended, that we look forward to discovering ! Do you have perhaps a last word for readers of Clair & Obscur ?

Sequentia Legenda : "It was a shared pleasure and I thank Clair & Obscur for paying attention to my work. I believe in Berlin School, I am sure this musical trend has still a lot to say. And if this interview makes listeners curious about my music, I will be very happy. Thank you Philippe for your support all along my musical career.

Interview by Philippe Vallin (June 2016)  

Philippe Vallin nous a quitté le jeudi 27 octobre 2016 à l’âge de 46 ans.
Mes pensées vont vers lui et vers ses proches.

Philippe Vallin
Philippe Vallin
Repose en paix.

▶  Sequentia Legenda Reviews and Interviews

▶  Sequentia Legenda Youtube Playslist Reviews/Interviews/PodCasting 

▶  Sequentia Legenda Discography

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