Prequell, a musical revelation
A hybrid of electronic music and classical orchestration Prequell is hot news on the 2015 French music scene with his own powerfully organic style. An encounter…
The five tracks by French musician Prequell on his first EP released in September are like five comets speeding through the galaxy, each one at its own pace, warlike, peaceful, furious or serene. Each one a dose of pure emotion – fear, anxiety, desire, joy – embodied by a galactically soaring blend of electro music and classical orchestration of drums, strings, electric guitars and vintage synths. It’s a wild ambition. But Prequell doesn’t disappoint. His instrumental music with its seductive organic sounds is worthy of becoming the soundtrack to the entire universe. Every piece provokes its own set of images, its own story, like those of a post-apocalyptic world blending science fiction and poetry.
Numéro: For a first opus, your EP is both very ambitious and controlled. What took you there?
Prequell: I’ve actually been working in Paris for the last fifteen years under my own name, Thomas Roussel. I have a very classical background. At the conservatoire I was like a bulimic: I took every lesson for orchestration, conducting, the violin, the piano, the organ. Then I’ve been collaborating with people such as Jeff Mills since 2004 on various film sound-tracks and even for the opera “Cellar Door” by the contemporary artist Loris Gréaud, for his exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo in 2007. But then about 18 months ago I felt the need to do something more personal. I didn’t want to be at the service of anyone else (directors or artists) anymore but wanted to defend an artistic ambition that was my own. So I gave myself the means to record with some 60 musicians.
Why choose a name like Prequell?
For me it was like going back to my roots, to my own identity after all these collaborations I’d been part of. I had no intention of copying the artists who’d inspired me when I was young (Massive Attack, Craig Armstrong, John Barry or Björk), but rather to revive with my music the emotions they’d awakened in me back then. I referred to the memory of the feelings I’d had rather than the music itself. For the track “Part 1” for example which concludes the EP, I wanted to rediscover the emotions that Barber’s Adagio brought out in me or the skin-tingling sensitivity of Craig Armstrong’s compositions for the film “Romeo + Juliet”.
I hope that for some people my music will be like a particle accelerator of emotions
Your music is very visual and cinematic. It conjures up countless science fiction or fantastical images.
While I was composing I surrounded myself with very visual contemporary works of art. In particular, works by Daniel Arsham who I met during a collaboration with Dior Homme. His burnt photography equipment and other objects blend a science fiction post-apocalyptic design and a dreamlike poetry… all while being very pop. I couldn’t describe my music better than that. The cover of the EP, done by Violaine & Jérémy, is inspired by the final scene of “The Planet of the Apes”…
Is one of the tracks (Part 4) really built around a sample provided by NASA? It’s effectively a sound loop made available by NASA that corresponds with the frequencies emitted by the planets in the solar system. As a starting point for that track I used the “sound” emitted by Earth which strangely enough is the only one to be naturally harmonious. Space, just like technology, is an inexhaustible source of inspiration. I’m completely passionate about the particle accelerator installed in Switzerland for example. I hope that for some people my music will be like a particle accelerator of emotions…
“Debut EP” by Prequell (Sequell/Idol/Warner Chappell Music France) is available now.
By Thibaut Wychowanok