Paru en 2001 sur Force Inc., Ultramarin, réalisé sous
le pseudonyme Jetone, présente le canadien Tim Hecker comme
un des producteurs techno les plus intéressants de la très
médiatisée ville de Montréal. Si on a eu depuis
l'occasion d'apercevoir Jetone sur quelques compilations, chez Tigerbeat6
ou Deluxe, Hecker s'est consacré ces derniers mois à
des travaux plus abstraits et conceptuels sous son propre nom sortis
sur Substractif, division du label canadien Alien8. Hecker fait
le lien entre ses premières expériences musicales
dans des groupes de rock, sa passion pour le metal et son nouvel
album pour Mille Plateaux, Radio Amor, qui lui a été
inspiré par sa rencontre avec un pêcheur de crevettes
How long have
you been producing music ? How were you attracted to production
I've been producing music seriously for roughly 7 years now. It's
been an incremental development really. It all started as a disaffected
suburban garage-rock band gone wrong. Of all of the musical projects
I was in during the early 90's, most collaborative processes went
nowhere. Drinking in the practice space, smoking too much, passing
out with my guitar strapped on. So I began to replace my bandmates
with electronic instruments. Bought a sampler, some recording equipment,
computers. Before you knew it, I was doing everything myself, and
began to make recordings. It wasn't a vanity project (ie it wasn't
because I though I could do everything better myself), but I learned
the ropes of recording, studio techniques, sequencing, and the liquid
world of digital audio.
Do you have
any musical training ?
I have formal training from high school etc, having learned the
trumpet, piano among other instruments. Beyond early high school,
formal musical training ended there.
influenced you most ?
I came into 'electronic music' from a background of a more conventional
Canadian-suburban experience. My parents didn't raise me to discern
the virtues of Parmagiani or Stockhausen. My dad listened to Fleetwood
Mac and Meetloaf. I did experiment in my late teens and developed
an ear for strange sounds, most of which was US and UK indie and
punk rock. I think early Aphex Twin brought me into the realm of
electronic music. From there it was Autechre, Mego, some UK 'shoegazer'
rock, and some heavy metal which kept me most interested.
your first musical project ? How would you define it ?
Jetone is a name I chose early on and had no intention per se.
Is it caricatural to see Jetone as your rhythm-based project, and
your works under your name as more abstract, moody, experimental
? Do you see these two directions as complementary ?
My first Jetone album, was essentially a demo which shouldn't have
been released, but which was released. From there I did an album
for Force Inc which was some form of minimal techno. All other relases
have been under my own name, and yes I believe they are complementary.
If I ever do more rhythm based work I will likely use the name Jetone,
but for this abstract/ambient/noise work I'm currently pursuing
I will keep using my own name.
Do you have
other pseudonyms, or have you been involved in musical collective
I work with more group-based and collaborative efforts lately. It
is far more interesting and rewarding than the many nights home
along in the studio!!! Many more strange and bizarre things come
out of the speakers when you're not alone. I am currently working
with Montreal band Fly Pan Am right now and we're finishing recording
a new album.
Is/was there a special creative dynamic in Montreal and a particular
concentration of talents or is it just the result of a good publicity,
or thanks to Mutek ?
The 'strange brew' which has occured in Montreal, is thanks to all
the factors you mentioned. Montreal has traditionally been a magnet
for artists of all genres across Quebec as well as Canada. Mutek
has helped musicians develop, by being exposed to a broad spectrum
of work, we have a higher standard to measure ourselves against,
than say, someone from rural, small town Canada. That's not to degrade
in any way the becomings of rural artists, but for electronic music
there exists a discourse and history which is helpful for one to
Most of the
artists whose works have been highlighted by the international Press
were producing techno music, whereas, in Québec, there is
a tradition of "électro-acoustique" and experimental
music (Empreintes Digitales, Oral (which is producing both)...),
what is your opinion about this ? Do these two trends did/do coexist
? What is really going on today in Montréal, Québec
& Canada ? Do you feel part of it ?
These two trends coexist in Montreal, sometimes theres overlap,
sometimes not. The electro-acoustic community is sometimes not interested
in what goes on in this electronic/techno community. And vice-versa.
Oral is indeed a good example of a middle path, working with artists
who straddle the lines, bravo indeed! I love what is going on in
Montreal, I can't imagine doing what I'm doing anywhere else (except
Ottawa where I work). Its special and I love the city dearly, as
we say here <<montreal, c'est toi ma ville>>
Deadbeat, Akufen ... , according to you, which artists are less
touristic in the Montreal Musical Touristic Guide ?
Martin Tetrault (the man), 1-speed bike, Christof Migone, Sam Shalabi,
Shalabi Effect (+Sam's 10 other bands), David Kristian, Alexandre
St. Onge, Hrsta, The User, Desormais, Set Fire to Flames... these
are off the top of my head, but there's many.
Why did you
move to Ottawa ? Is there a connection with your musical works and
your job/main or second activity ?
I haven't completely moved to Ottawa. I keep an apartment in Montreal,
where I live on weekends and a place in Ott. for the weekdays (Ottawa
is 90 minute trip from Montreal). I did graduate work in Political
Theory, which lends itself well to working in the bureacracy. So
Im looking for work there, as in Canada student debt levels are
bordering on the insane, and this is the only way out for me. Im
not interested in doing commercial music to pay the bills, I'd rather
keep some things sacred. Having said that, its clear these two pursuits
are completely separated.
under your own name sounds more introspective, romantic and referenced.
It seems that temporal and topographic elements are very important
in "Haunt Me, Haunt Me, Do It Again". How did it influence
the process of creation of this record ?
Temporal and topographic elements weren't directly influencing the
work as it was created, they acted rather, as an afterthought. Haunt
me is a distillation of many pieces I had been working on at that
time, and is a representation of that period for me, rather than
a commentary on any time or space issues. When I put together an
album I try to find a theme, a concept perhaps, maybe this is a
marketing (artistic, comercial?) strategy, i dont know. Haunt me
plundered the cliche of the Candian winter, that album was finished
in the summer. Radio amor, a work just finished for Mille Plateaux,
is a mock portrait of Latino-Carribean shrimp fisherman. It's not
total bullshit, I did indeed spend the winter of 1997 in Central
America, where I met Jimmy the "high wire shrimper" in
the port town of La Ceiba, Honduras. The cover photography was all
taken on that afternoon/evening. Ironically converse to Haunt me
's coldness finished in the summer, Radio Amor is hot heat finished
in the dead of winter??? Wishful thinking perhaps, its -25c right
Amor" be issued under Tim Hecker's name ? How can you describe
this mock portrait musically speaking ? What has been its process
of recording/creating ?
Yes this album will be under my own name. This mock portait really
is a joke which became a conceptual apparatus. Musically very little
in difference from Haunt me, perhaps more between Haunt me for its
melodic focus, and My Love is Rotten to the Core for its wall of
sound. Honestly I haven't listened to it for quite awhile, which
is after having listened to it 100 times a day for 2 months. The
process of recording was to archive many many knock-off recordings
i do before i got sleep, I had been keeping these for over a year.
Then i distilled it to 10 or so strong pieces which i would edit
and compose/finish, assembling the pieces in an album format. So
that the entire time I was thinking of the compositions in terms
of their final resting place on CD/Vinyl. This assured fluidity
dissonance/melody etc. And i worked in this fraud-tropical element
by archiving and processing short wave recordings i did of nautical
SSB stations, latino SW stations.
did you work on "Haunt Me, Haunt Me Do It Again" ? I think
there's guitar ? Do you use field recordings ? As everybody said/wrote,
it does remind of Fennesz, but it's far more abstract, it's all
about nuances. "Evocation" and "colours" seem
to be what it's really about ... What do you think ?
The process of finishing Haunt Me was quite elaborate. I worked
with pieces I had knocked off quickly. The laborious process was
assembling the album much like one assembles a song in a multitrack
recorder. 8 stereo channels fading in and out guaranteeing non-linearity.
Pieces would be processed then reprocessed so the original became
irrelevant. Most of it was originally guitar and field recordings
from me, with a few slices of the counterfeit.
Is Rotten To The Core" is basically a performance for Volt-AA.
What was the concept of this series of performance. Why did you
chose to pay an homage to Van Halen and David Lee Roth ? Can it
be seen as a mock performance in answer to Fennesz 's reinterpretations
of the Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys ? But your scope seems
to be wider... since you also focus on the rock peformance clichés
and star system hypocrisy by reshaping them in "Sammy Loves
Eddy Hates David", though i think i miss a few clues ... can
you help me ?
I have little way of explaining it. It was indeed a piece made for
Mr. Mattson's Volt-AA soiree's, based upon the theme of 'appropriation'.
So that winter i was listening to a lot of Van halen. It started
from there. I was thinking of making 20 min wall of sound based
on E.Van Halen's Eruption, but it grew wider. I was just enjoying
the cock rock attitude at that point, and enjoying the sage wisdom
of David Lee Roth. He's truly the sad clown. You should read his
autobiography, "Crazy From the Heat", he is the yoda of
glam rock! It was in no way an answer or based on anything Fennesz
has done. I find our approaches with the two projects completely
different. From what I know of Fennesz's "plays" EP, it
was more of a nostalgic nod to the past, a wonderful work indeed.
However, I was more interested in the melancholic/tragic aspect
of the band, Eddie's drinking, Sammy Hagar and D.L.Roth both sad
after being kicked out by Eddie, the corporate cock-rock empire
as manifested by Howard Stern.
Do you have
an idea of your performance for the I.D.E.A.L festival in next march
2003 in Nantes ?
What are your next musical projects ?
I am finishing up this Fly Pan Am projects, working on a new solo
album for Alien 8, have a duo with Oren Ambarchi at this year's
Festival de Musique Actuelle a Victoriaville, Quebec, and a few
other secret projects!
will take the collaboration with Fly Pan Am ?
Its hard to say....perhaps prog rock??!! Im not sure are we're mid-stream
right now. All that i know is that we have maybe 10+ hours of material
which needs to be hacked down.
Interview réalisée en février 2003 par e-mail.
Jetone Ultramarin (Force Inc.)
Tim Hecker Haunt Me, Haunt Me Do It Again (Alien 8/Substractif)
Tim Hecker My Love Is Rotten To The Core (Alien 8/Substractif)
Tim Hecker Radio Amor (Mille Plateaux)