Fifteen Questions Interview with Ben Bertrand

When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences? What what is about music and/or sound that drew you to it?

During my childhood, music was omnipresent at home. I learned to play the violin and the clarinet from an early age and I started going to concerts with my parents when I was very young.  All of this made me curious and made me want to invent music: I have always considered the world of sounds as a space of freedom.

For most artists, originality is first 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? What is the the relationship between copying, learning and your own creativity?
I spent a lot of time working on my instrument (bass clarinet) while studying classical music. During these years, I had the chance to approach a wide range of music (from classical music in orchestra to improvisation through chamber music and music with electronics) and to play the music of many composers (Morton Feldman, Steve Reich, Luc Ferrari, Terry Riley, David Lang, Henri Pousseur, Stockhausen ...). I also had the opportunity to take music analysis courses. These courses allowed me to understand what tools composers use to create music.

Once the conservatory was over, I started wanting to make electronic music only using my bass clarinet. So I started to work with effect pedals and loops - and there I discovered a world. By mixing these sounds and different composition techniques, I found myself making the music that I had always dreamt of making.

What were your main compositional- and production-challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?

In the beginning, I was looking into the possibilities of using effect pedals. The more time advances, the more I am focused on the music itself. I still use effect pedals, but I try to use them as a full-fledged instrument, not as something that I add to my instrument.