Saturday, 16 July 2011

Interview with Johannes Roussel

Johannes Roussel was born in 1963. He has been a project designer, working in the research and development department of companies that manufactured home appliances. Later, he moved to marketing, within this industry, as a product manager. He published his first comic book in 1989, but only started his career as a comic book artist in 2003. His early work, in this field, was set in the British navy at the end of the 18th century. He describes it as being of the same genre as the movie ‘Master and Commander’, and the novels the movie is adapted from. His latest comics are about car racing in the 1960s.

  1. Tell us about your latest album.
My last album is always my next album. I used to issue a new album every two years but my last album is from 2006. I am working on a new project, and as I composed I found out there were some tracks with a strong vintage flavour. So I decided to split the project in two albums, with the vintage one that will be called ‘Time’. I hope to polish all the tracks and release this vintage project before the end of this year. I recently uploaded a track from this new project, entitled 'Steps', on Soundclick.

  1. Why did you choose to create ambient electronic music, and what do you hope to give to your listeners?
I didn’t choose to create ambient electronic music, it just came naturally; I was always attracted to electronic music. This began in the seventies when I first listened to Pink Floyd, Klaus Schulze, Kraftwerk, Tomita, Terry Riley and others.

  1. Of the music you’ve created, do you have a favourite? If so, why this particular work?
Art is somehow very frustrating. I am not very satisfied with what I have created so far, and I think creation is a race to an unreachable perfection.  When I work on a piece, I spend a lot of time polishing, mixing and perfecting; but eventually, I must give up and let the baby go as it is.

  1. How is creating electronic music different from creating acoustic forms?
I have no experience in creating acoustic music. I once played in a band where I had the only electronic instrument, but I was not involved in composing the music we played. I think electronic music, as it is now made with the help of the computer, gives you an incredible flexibility and the ability to make mistakes and experiment. Composing and producing electronic music was always a dream. The equipment was very expensive. Instruments were high priced and not very versatile, and you also had to buy the recording equipment and the effects. Now you can have all the equipment you need, included on your computer, almost for free. I started to compose when Soundblaster provided Midi compatible soundcards with integrated virtual synths. They started to promote their own sample format called ‘soundfonts’. I started to play with those soundfonts and created a lot of my own. I still have them on my webpage available for download. But this technology had some flaws. Midi was not a very versatile technology, soundfonts had their problems too, and computer performance was very often an issue. For me, it really started when SynapseAudio released their first version of Orion. I downloaded the demo version, and after a few hours I had composed my first track; and it was far better than everything I had composed before. The software is so intuitive that I felt it had been programmed just for me. For the first time, you had a virtual all-equipped studio. Recording, mixing, effects and synths, all included in a cheap package.

  1. What have you done to promote and market your music, and what advice would you give to other artists?
I began composing my music at a time when the Internet was just beginning to provide music in the new mp3 format. I began promoting my music on A few months later, I was the most listened to French artist, and in the top 10, in electronic music. I had 1.2 million plays and downloads on, before the website closed in 2003. Now I have reached 170000 plays on Soundclick, where I have my music hosted. It was easier to promote your music ten years ago. There were very few community sites, and enthusiasts hosted them. Now there are so many sites available, for you to listen to free music that your chances of being listened to are close to zero. If you want to promote your music today, I would suggest that you play your music live, and create a dedicated channel on YouTube.

  1. What aspirations, or reservations, do you have regarding your music being used in film and television?
I was asked a few times to have my music used for free in small productions. I always accepted, that’s not a problem for me.

  1. Tell us a little about any good electronic music you’ve heard recently.
I can suggest some artists I discovered recently:
Thomas Dvorak and the awesome soundtrack he composed for the game, ‘Machinarium’.
Ulrich Schnauss composes very dreamy music. He has a very distinctive style.
Muadhib is a French musician I discovered recently. I also discovered that he lives in the same region as I do.
Cameron Lasswell. Not only electronic but also jazzy.
Monkeybacon. Half electronic and half acoustic, with vintage textures.
I have two electronic stations on Soundclick where you can listen to music I have selected:

  1. What do you do when you’re not creating electronic music?
I am a comic book artist; when I don’t compose, I draw.

  1. Where can we find you, and your work?
You can listen to my tracks on Soundclick. And you can purchase my albums on my webpage:

1 comment:

  1. Johannes recently released his fifth album entitled "Time", which he describes as a journey through the electronic music of the seventies; including flavours of Pink Floyd, Brian Eno, Klaus Schulze, Vangelis, Alain Goraguer, Derek Wadsworth and Gershon Kingsley. You can listen the album for free on his website: