Toulouse-born techno live act and producer Idem Nevi is set to release his latest album ‘Lost Alchemy’ later this month. We caught up with him to discuss the new album, his Requested Soul label and more.
Your sound taps into the deep and more melancholic side of techno. How did you discover your unique voice through music?
I think this came naturally thanks to the influences and artists that have inspired me since I started producing music. I think I was attracted by the deep and melancholic side of techno straight from the beginning and I would say that Recondite have had a massive impact on my productions, as well as Woo York or more recently Kasst.
Today I’m really trying to find a balance between power and deepness by combining melancholia and heavy beats.
One of your most distinguishable qualities is that you are a live act only. How did you discover this passion?
This comes from the early influences I had with Mr Paul Kalkbrenner I guess. I’ve always loved the fact that he was only playing Live, as well as Recondite, or Woo York actually! I think what motivates me the most is to create a really unique sound to make people feel something they’re not used to: the goal is to grab them from the first track to slowly get them into your own world! When you only play live, every gig is like being naked in front of the crowd, if it doesn’t work, it means that it’s 100% you. On the one hand, when playing live you can not switch moods with someone else’s track and I think I like this challenge in some ways. On the other hand, if people appreciate it, the reward is way more intense and fulfilling.
Your debut studio album ‘Carmélites’ really turned heads in the techno scene, what is the story behind your anticipated upcoming album ‘Lost Alchemy’ and what was your composition process?
To be honest I would say that the story behind is chaos. From covid to moving to Paris to coming back to Toulouse, losing my living out of my music to get a “normal” job to be able to pay my rent, I just had a terrible time through all that shit. However I managed to create some music and It helped me to get my life back on track actually. The more the project was moving forward, the more I was getting my life back. And at the time I sent the tracks to mastering, I fully recovered from all that and now ready for new projects.
The album is being released on your Requested Soul Records imprint, what are the advantages of releasing your music on your own label?
The main advantage of releasing on your own imprint is the liberty you have to release the music you truly like without doing any concession to fit the trends or label artistic direction. For me this results in a more authentic music and experience. Moreover, having your own imprint leads to interacting with graphists, distributors, PRs, Djs …etc and I also like that part of the job.
The label, which you founded in collaboration with Hallsax, is just over two years old now – what progression do you see for it in the years to come?
Kinda hard to answer that one honestly. On the one hand, and because of the covid situation, we haven’t got the chance to see the real impact because all the scenes were almost stopped for more than a year.
On the other hand, even though the launch of the label happened during the first two weeks of French lockdown, we managed to get support from all the artists we wanted through all the releases with amazing feedback. So I would say that in the years to come we’ll release some more music and the goal is to start inviting other artists to release on the label!
In the past you’ve had some of your tracks played by some of the greats like Richie Hawtin, Marco Carola and Paco Osuna. How does it feel to have support from artists of this magnitude?
It’s totally crazy and feels unreal at first. But being supported and played by these kinds of artists just makes you feel great and gives you the motivation to continue doing what you do. I even signed a contract with Richie and Plus8 for the exploitation rights of my track DB+ (from ‘Carmelites’ album) to use in his application, I couldn’t believe it but he played it at all of his shows for a year straight!
In your opinion, what is the biggest misconception in the underground music scene?
That something underground will stay underground forever. There are always several music styles categorized as underground, but it always changes with time… and what we call underground today might be mainstream tomorrow. Best exemple is raw / industrial / rave techno. Some years ago this was the underground part of the scene, but now this is the mainstream part of the scene because this is the music that drives most people today.
I’m not complaining, just analyzing. For example Possession used to be really underground Paris raves but today, they organize massive line ups on massive venues with an entrance price going over some big festivals prices: can we still say that’s underground? I guess no.
What live gigs have you got in the pipeline for this year?
Some great stuff is in the pipeline but can’t tell too much about it yet until everything is confirmed. And also still waiting for some reprogrammation due to covid.
What is your studio set up like?
My studio setup is quite simple as I’m mainly working with Ableton Live and plug-ins. I’ve worked with mainly hardware for some time but I discovered that my workflow is better with an Ableton base with some controllers and keyboards. So actually I’m using an ableton push with an APC40 and a Launch Control XL with some keyboard controlling the plugins I use the most. I have built an ableton session where I tried to create a “studio” where all my controllers are already set up and connected to each synth.
How do you go about creating your sounds?
It really depends on my mood. But I really like to go for a blank page using my template: I like to get lost in my mind without any borders when trying to sketch ideas before going for a structural work. When I have what I call a sketch, which is most of the time a loop that inspires me after the research phase, I go for the arrangement. Then I usually don’t listen to the project for some days before going for some polishing sessions.
‘Lost Alchemy’ LP will be available after the 20th of May HERE.