Interview with La Manufacture de Bruit

We recently talked with David Vallée of the French netlabel La Manufacture de Bruit to discover a little more on their modus operandi.

Who are the people behind La Manufacture de Bruit? What do they do for a living?
La Manufacture de Bruit was originally created by two persons, Stéphane F. from the French label “Cauldron Music” and myself, David Vallée, from another French label “La Cadera”. We have been working together since 1998, for several projects and collaborations. Cauldron was more oriented towards medieval, folk and neo classical music, La Cadera at the beginning was producing neo-classical and ambient industrial music. Cauldron Music has stopped its activities in the mid-2000’s, La Cadera in 2002, and a few years later, we decided to create a netlabel to release our most important productions for free. La Manufacture de Bruit was firstly created for this, for our old productions not to be forgotten. But quickly we decided to produce other projects as well. At the end of 2012, I decided to continue the netlabel alone.

La Manufacture de Bruit does not generate income, all our productions are free and the label only costs us money! Lucky for us, we have jobs to make a living!

You seem to be very focused on dark ambient / neo classical / ethereal kind of sounds. Is this correct? Why the focus on this genre?
Yes, this is correct. As I wrote it before, our previous labels were already oriented towards these styles of music, even if we like other kind of sounds. Our first music projects were already in these styles (Fin de Siècle for my colleague and Semper Eadem for me), it was natural to follow this way, but not only because of this. We also had the idea not to create a simple netlabel, but instead something covering different arts, like photography, writing, music, videos and films, and we thought theses styles of music are very close to different kind of arts.

We also found back then that dark ambient, neoclassical or ambient industrial were not well-represented on other netlabels out there, and this kind of music is relatively unknown, especially neoclassical music, even if you can hear it in a huge number of films.

When did you feel the need to create a netlabel?
The idea came in 2008, at the 10th birthday of “Cauldron Music” and “La Cadera” first encounter. We decided to put all our best productions in the netlabel, and to go on with a new production “Post Mortem Photographs”, the first work Stéphane and I composed together. Our aim was not to sell music, but to offer it for free. So a netlabel was the best way to do this.

Why a netlabel and not a regular label?
We had already directed labels, and we had to stop our activities. You know, a label and a netlabel don’t work the same. A label needs to produce and sell enough releases to live, not a netlabel. After our experiences, and our new way to see music, a netlabel was the best manner to proceed: to share and promote interesting artists, in the spirit of our music being freely available for everyone who could be interested in it.

Can you name some of the labels that influence you?
I cannot speak for Stephane, who left “La Manufacture de Bruit”, but for me the label that most influenced me is 4AD (for their works in the 80’s), merging music, graphic art, videos, and creating collaboration between the musicians they produced, as we try to do with our “Les Bruits de la Manufacture” collection. Except for this specific case, I can say it is music, arts and artists I like who influenced me, more than labels.

Can you describe the steps that you typically take preparing a new release? Do you work closely with your artists? How do you handle promotion once the release is available?
I prefer having the artists come to us and present their works, more than looking for them. They propose their music or other arts (like video, photos) and I find out what they are doing. If I like their work, I try to understand who they are, their feelings, their thoughts, their vision about art and music. La Manufacture de Bruit is not a commercial label, I won’t produce discs like other label, except perhaps CD-r or why not tapes, so the band must have the same convictions as the label. We prefer doing music for free. If the artists are interested in working with La Manufacture de Bruit, they propose me an album, LP or EP, and we speak about the music, the order or the tracks. I do not direct the bands, we try to find the best way to produce their music, but most of the time, I don’t say anything, they are free to propose their art as they want. In fact, artists who are working with La Manufacture de Bruit know what they want, and come to our label with a well finished work.

Where we, the artists and myself that is, work together much more is graphic design. They explain what they want to express with their art, I try to be closer to their idea. Sometimes, artists propose their own photos, or graphic ideas, and I work with them to have the best compromise between their concepts and our graphic identity.

For promotion, we do some, mostly by Internet, sometimes by flyers we diffuse where we can. But bands are free to also do so.

Any release you are particularly proud of releasing?
I’m proud of releasing every production you can find at La Manufacture de Bruit, but the ones I’m particularly proud are “Fin de Siècle” and “Puppets Love Dreams”. “Puppets Love Dreams” for their wonderful compositional technique, their lyricism and emotion, “Fin de Siècle” because the album “Présences” is the first of this famous French project, this albums tells the beginning of the great Fin de Siècle’s story.

I would have been very proud of releasing an album from the French band Absinthe (Provisoire), but after problems of music rights, it was impossible to release it for free. It was a wonderful 3 hours album, between rock and industrial music, very original and interesting. But we couldn’t release it.

On your homepage you also have a section dedicated to videos from your releases. Do you feel the video is an important part of your releases? Do you feel it helps reach a wider audience, or is it just an extension of your work as a label?
Since the beginning, La Manufacture de Bruit was not solely focused on music, but on every kind of artistic expression, even if music makes up the main part of the label activities. Sure, I think video is very important for music, particularly in visual music like Fin de Siècle, Cattle Mutilation or Semper Eadem. For example, Semper Eadem was founded to compose music and sound ambiances for a short film. So, yes, for La Manufacture de Bruit, videos are intimate links to music. We did not do that to reach a wider audience, but to widen the music itself, to give visual life to the music, to create a complete musical and graphic identity.

We would like to extend our activities to all kind of graphic or moving arts, like photography, theatre, miscellaneous exhibitions. But there is no precise project. One day, perhaps.

Thanks for your time. Any last words?
Our aim is to diffuse music, to create collaborations between artists, so, if some of you want to collaborate, don’t hesitate to send me music, photos or videos. I do not produce CDs, perhaps CD-R if it is possible to sell a disc, but we mainly work for art, for music and for free.

Thank you for the interest in La Manufacture de Bruit.

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