nsdos is the french artist shaping the future of techno music
As we present NSDOS' new video Money Exchange exclusively on i-D, we get to know the innovative artist making music through the movement of insects.
Kirikoo Des (aka NSDOS) is injecting new sounds into techno. Like a modern day thaumaturge, the French artist surrounds himself with machines he has modified, creating a hybrid-sonic universe. From Japanese traditional dance to metal and industrial beats, NSDOS mixes all sorts of references, as well as generating organic sounds from the world around him by placing sensors on trees, insects and even the general public. Today, NSDOS has released his new video Money Exchange, a glitchy, lo-fi tour of the world, exclusively on i-D. We caught up to talk about techno, machines and insects.
You create your own algorithms, fiddle with chips and machines and invent new sounds. Can you tell us a bit about your passion for DIY?
I don't invent anything, I just connect concepts that seem obvious to me. My main tools are my computers and my musical instruments, my body and what surrounds me. I like the idea of increasing my creative capacities, so I try and know my tools as much as possible in order to modify them.
You create quite dark and industrial techno, but your music also has a metal side to it and you sometimes inject some soul rhythms too. What is your formula?
For this last EP, Money Exchange, the idea was to create sound landscapes, which symbolise chaos, and endless rhythms to illustrate action. I also used a tracking video system for some of the tracks. I used sound generators that I synchronised with the movements of two trees that are in front of my terrace. The strength of the wind make the trees move and their movements interact with the sound generators. What interests me here is to introduce nature to my music as much as possible. I try and use the environment and biological elements and improvise with them. I am interested in the link between nature and machines. That's my formula.
Dance seems to be a great part of it too…
Yes, I trained as a dancer. I started music through a dancer's perspective. I became hybrid in my approach of music as dance, which gave me some kind of consciousness, another form of intelligence and opened new spaces of reflection as I confronted it to other disciplines. The body plays a big role in the way I make and play music.
You just released a new video clip for your EP Money Exchange, which has a very Low-fi 90s aesthetic. How did that project start?
Everything was filmed with a smartphone while I was traveling in Asia with my crew Pain O Chokolat (PPP). I sent some files to my friend Julien Gonthier everyday when I was on the trip and I edited the video with him once back home. We shot in Berlin, Paris, Nice Tokyo and Bali. It is like a shamanic and digital travel diary. It represents a generation that can travel around the world, physically or virtually, a generation without boundaries in which people go from one currency to the other in a split second. It represents a life at top speed with all the consumption and temptations it might include.
Is it important to you to invest time into the visual side of things, which accompanies your music?
Yes. Imagine a chef who didn't care about the way his table is laid out. It's good to have several levels to things. When I write I'm conscious of this, I imagine a space in which I would like my music to be played. There are even choreographies which come into my head, I try to push it as far as possible and not limit myself uniquely to the music. 'Clubbing Sequence' is one of my latest performance projects, it's a sort of optimum club which opens a hybrid creative field where the public is physically connected to the space through being tracked by 3D cameras. I use the data, so the public, in real time to create my music. Equally this influences the generative visuals, which we project during the show. It's poetry between man and the machine, in what I call a 'smart club'. I want to situate myself as close as possible to total art.
You work with a lot of machines. What are your latest gadgets?
For a long time, I used USINE of SENSOMUSIC, which was the basis for my setup until I was introduced to TEENAGE ENGINEERING when I developed a method of live performance which really excited me. My latest obsession is the Pocket Operator, and also a patch which I developed on Usine with my Surface Pro which allowed me to make music with the movements of insects amongst other things.
What are your next projects? It seems like you are touring quite a lot…
Yes and I am loving it! It is cool to feel other cities' and other countries' energies. Seeing people giving all to make other people dance also. It's beautiful. I will be playing at Weather Festival in Paris on the 4 June and then will go on a mini tour in China (Shangai and Beijing) and then France, Berlin, Amsterdam. I preach everywhere. I just created my music label called Standalone Complex. I want it to be hybrid, set between art and science. My new EP is the first release. We are also working on Clubbing Sequence, the club of the future.