Name: Julien Delfaud aka I Hear Disorder
Occupation: Producer, engineer
Current release: For years, Julien Delfaud has worked in the background - as an in-demand engineer and assistant and a studio partner for some of the biggest releases of the French disco explosion. Now, with I Hear Disorder's 1 Out of 4 EP, he is stepping out of the shadow. The release is out via own Aviron label on December 10th 2021.
Gear recommendations: I love samplers, MPC1000, Ensoniq ASR10. I also love the Roland TR909.
If you enjoyed this interview with Julien Delfaud aka I Hear Disorder and would like to stay up to date with his work, visit his official homepage. For I Hear Disorder, he also has an Instagram account and a Soundcloud profile.
What do you start with?
I always start with a sample I've dug and the MOC1000 and play around.
How difficult is that first note?
Well, I don't think it's difficult, I have lots of fun starting a new track. I'm playing around until I find a good idea then start the production process - which is much more of a headache.
Once you've started, how does the work gradually emerge?
I'm a record producer, that's my everyday job. When I have some time off, I can start making music for myself, so it has to be fun.
To me house music is one good idea that you make last for 7 minutes. I need to find a good idea and then start the production process. I can start a structure, add some reverb, FX etc ....
Especially in the digital age, the writing and production process tends towards the infinite. What marks the end of the process? How do you finish a work?
If it's your music, why not never finish it ...
But perfection doesn't exist. So you need to find a way to consider that it's done, that it's good ! Have a listen with your friend, or with some people who aren't close to you but whose advice you trust. When you're playing a song with someone in the room, you'll hear it completely differently. Maybe you will be proud or you'll discover it's all wrong ...
What was your first studio like?
An Ensoniq ASR 10, Atari 1040 + Cubase and a DAT Recorder
How and for what reasons has your set-up evolved over the years and what are currently some of the most important pieces of gear for you?
It hasn't evolved a lot. I'm now working with an MPC1000, a Korg Volca Bass, guitar pedals, an ASR10 Ensoniq and the main change is a digital audio workstation. The MPC is the one.
The digital studio promises endless possibilities at every step of the process. What is it that you actually need from these potentials and how do go about you selecting it? How do you keep control over the wealth of options at the production stage?
Less options is more creativity. So I try not to make music with the computer. The less options you have, the more you have to be creative to make it interesting.
A studio can be as minimal as a laptop with headphones and as expansive as a multi-room recording facility. Which studio situation do you personally prefer – and why?
I love both worlds. A studio is just a tool to expand creativity. I like when the clock is ticking and I like when there's no clock.
From traditional keyboards to microtonal ones, from re-configured instruments (like drums or guitars) to customised devices, what are your preferred controllers and interfaces? What role does the tactile element play in your production process?
I need the tactile element. As i said I only have hardware to be creative, I try to avoid the computer and controllers to be creative.
How would you describe the relationship between technology and creativity for your work? Using a recent piece as an example, how do you work with your production tools to achieve specific artistic results?
For house music, technology is linked to creativity. If you want to change your sound / music, change your equipment.
Within a digital working environment, it is possible to compile huge archives of ideas for later use. Tell me a bit about your strategies of building such an archive and how you put these ideas and sketches to use.
As mentioned, to me, house music is one good idea that you make last for 7 minutes. So play with your toys, find a good idea and print it to your DAW. Come back later and see if you can make a good track with it.
Despite the aforementioned near endless possibilities, many productions seem to follow conventional paths. How do you retain an element of surprise for your own work – are there technologies which are particularly useful in this regard?
I think endless possibilities are wrong for creativity. The element of surprise is THE good idea.
Production tools can already suggest compositional ideas on their own. How much of your music is based on concepts and ideas you had before entering the studio, how much of it is triggered by equipment, software and apps?
Avoid compositional suggestions! Unless you want to do preset music.
How important is it for you that you personally create or participate in the creation of every element of a piece – from sound synthesis via rhythm programming to mixing?
Every sound, part, choice you're making is part of the creativity. Mixing is reconsidering everything to choose how it should sound.
Have there been technologies which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you make music?
The DAW has profoundly changed the way of making music. You can now produce an entire record in a simple laptop.
To some, the advent of AI and 'intelligent' composing tools offers potential for machines to contribute to the creative process. Do you feel as though technology can develop a form of creativity itself? Is there possibly a sense of co-authorship between yourself and your tools?
I think that the people working on AI are very creative! (laughs) I've no idea if technology can be creative. Creativity is emotion so ... Can a machine have emotions?
I like knowing somebody is behind the music I'm listening to. Technology is a tool to help creativity.
Do you personally see a potential for deeper forms of Artificial Intelligence in your music?
Why not - if it's helping me to be more creative.
What tools/instruments do you feel could have a deeper impact on creativity but need to still be invented or developed?
I think there's enough tools, instruments to have fun. I still have to discover already existing tools, instruments, etc ...
After finishing a piece or album and releasing something into the world, there can be a sense of emptiness. Can you relate to this – and how do you return to the state of creativity after experiencing it?
I think you have to never stop making music, that's our job / passion. So you're always moving forward. So there shouldn't be emptiness ...
If you're exhausted, go to the museum, read, go to the cinema, check some different artforms so you can feel emotions without being involved and get inspiration from other artists. Go back to work when you're fully inspired. I'm lucky enough to have a creative job. I love creativity and emotions.