Name: Pierre-Alexandre Busson aka Yuksek aka Destiino
Occupation: Producer, vocalist, DJ
Current release: Destiino's self-titled debut album is out now on Lumière Noire.
If this Destiino / Yuksek interview piqued your interest, visit his facebook- or soundcloud page.
When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I studied piano at the Conservatory from around 6 years old, up to 16. Then I discovered electronic music at a rave party. The sound and processes interested me. So, I looked for a way to make this sound happen.
For most artists, originality is preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you: How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice?
In fact, when I started around 1999, synths and drums sequences were played by midi on Atari and we were recording on DAT, so there was a bit more of a learning curve than finding the right virtual synth preset. So, I learned slowly, I listened a lot and tried to understand how the sound was constructed.
In terms of style, I always oscillated between more pop, to make club music or more experimental music, up to film scores which can be all that at the same time, with the possibility in the cinema to use my knowledge in "academic" music.
In any case, I would say that I am still in development and I hope that I always will be.
Can you describe and identify in your own words, who is the artist behind Destiino? When making music, do you always try to remain focused on the music which you feel best represents you as an artist? Or, are you happy to explore new sounds and directions which may be a shift away from the original sound which your fans are used to hearing?
I actually used this new alias cause the music was too different from what I usually make. Yuksek is more “sunny”, more pop in a way, most of the tracks are vocals, even if it’s not proper songs, it’s disco and house, whatever but really different from Destiino.
Destiino is a concept album, the music is darker, more melancholic, or aggressive, and even my process is different. It came from long jam sessions on synths, without ambitions or goal, just a long trip recorded live and quickly edited when it’s too long … to be honest, I wasn’t sure to release them one day, but Chloe convinced me, I didn’t have any idea of the value of that music, interesting, good, bad, boring … no idea. But I liked, of course, the process and the result.
What were your main creative challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?
To create what I have in my mind, what I like, and always learn without repeating myself, in creativity or work process.
As creative goals and technical abilities change, so does the need for different tools of expression, be it instruments, software tools or recording equipment. Can you describe this path for you, starting from your first studio/first instrument? What motivated some of the choices you made in terms of instruments/tools/equipment over the years?
This has always been a work in progress too!
I started with just a synth, a drum expander, both sequenced with an Atari ST, recorded on tapes, then I bought more synths, a mixing desk, and a computer with an audio interface. I used most of the new soft things too, plug-ins, some virtual synths etc …
I have a combined process, I like to record “real” synths and instruments through analog preamps, but I mix and finish producing the tracks on the computer. The only analog fx I still use is a Roland RE201.
Have there been technologies or instruments which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you make music?
Discovering synthetic music and synthesizers was a real revolution, especially because I was coming from classical music. I believe I have a fairly conventional way of working; I haven't had much questioning of my way of working recently.
Collaborations can take on many forms. What role do they play in your approach and what are your preferred ways of engaging with other creatives through, for example, file sharing, jamming or just talking about ideas?
Over the years most of my collaborations were mainly vocals. I sent instrumentals to singers and worked over distance. Now over the last 5 years, I have been doing more studio sessions. I think I need this now more than ever, a human relationship and some sort of creative share.
I discovered the intellectual collaborative enrichment by working on movie scores, trying to understand what directors want, in which way I can offer them my best.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please. Do you have a fixed schedule? How do music and other aspects of your life feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?
I like to start working in the morning, I nearly never work at night. I usually prefer to sleep, which is difficult during tour times because I’m jetlagged every weekend, even If I stay in France.
Can you talk about a breakthrough work, event or performance in your career? Why does it feel special to you? When, why and how did you start working on it, what were some of the motivations and ideas behind it?
Like I said, I feel always in the process of creating something. It’s ongoing and I never look back, the most exciting work or project is the next one.
There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?
I’m not the kind of artist who needs to be sad or depressed to create. When I feel like this, I can only look at the ceiling. I need to be relaxed in order to concentrate.
Music and sounds can heal, but they can also hurt. Do you personally have experiences with either or both of these? Where do you personally see the biggest need and potential for music as a tool for healing?
It might sound like an absolute cliché, but I believe music is a great escape, It’s a transcendent, primary art that touches the depths of the soul.
There is a fine line between cultural exchange and appropriation. What are your thoughts on the limits of copying, using cultural signs and symbols and the cultural/social/gender specificity of art?
I feel like part of a global world that has mixed up a lot. I believe in the richness of the meeting of cultures and crossings as long as they are respectful and are not a parody.
Our sense of hearing shares intriguing connections to other senses. From your experience, what are some of the most inspiring overlaps between different senses - and what do they tell us about the way our senses work?
Senses interact with each other; I was recently discussing with a wine producer who offers tastes of the same wine with a radically different sound environment. The taste that the participants express also varies radically. We are a sum of senses.
Art can be a purpose in its own right, but it can also directly feed back into everyday life, take on a social and political role and lead to more engagement. Can you describe your approach to art and being an artist?
I think it has been realized over the past year that distraction is a basic need and is political. I don't have much more ambition than to entertain, and I find that rather noble. Music can bring people together and do good, that's already a lot. And even though the times are different I feel proud to be part of an inherently subversive musical movement.
What can music express about life and death which words alone may not?
What I do know is that some songs or tracks can sound exactly the way you feel, literally trance us or break us, it’s a primal feeling.