Boris Domalain is founder of the fine experimental breakcore imprint Cavage Records and part of producer units like uht/Saoulaterre… and also one of the most active members of a growing scene in Paris which is spending their time in the catacombs under the city, the microcosm of another society… Are you down with the catacombs? By email@example.com.
Who is running Cavage Records and when did you start?
Cavage is run by me and the first release on it was from December 98.
In which projects are you involved?
Not any. I have done other releases on labels i’m not involved in and like to continue this in the future. I have worked a long time with my friend Boogi on some projects, more in the bruitist/noisy thing but we have just dropped a few tracks on vinyl and the most part of this work is still on DAT. The name of the project was “bougie soliterre”.
Why did you want to start your own label? Aren’t their not enough labels around?
Well, Cavage is for me a way to drop really intimate and personal music without having to make any compromise of danceable, mixable parameters, just being able to edit music just because of the feeling it provides. I don’t mean by this that dancefloor is shit. I love dancefloor. Dancefloor took me into music in the beginning and i like to do dancefloor. For that it’s easier to find labels to edit the tracks. Cavage Records is my complement, the place for exorcism, crying, dissociating quietly… pffff!
How would you describe the label sound? Or is there no specific Cavage sound existing?
Well, i dunno. The word i heard the most about it is Experimental but this is a too masturbated word. I don’t like it. I saw it in shops filed under hardcore/breakcore.
Do you have any political motivation to do Cavage Records?
No, really not. I don’t believe in anarchy, not anymore in politic that is the same thing for me. I believe more in music itself and what music can provide in the mind. This is feeling transmission. This is larger more communicative than any political word. The “fuck neo nazi and fuck fuck” on the cav01 labels is just a reaction and the rest is joke.
Is there any other sort of concept or ideology behind Cavage Records?
No… or yes, fuck! Just see above for the ideology and a way to drop imagery about catacombs and undergrounds in the shop. Propaganda to take the kids out of rave parties and get them in the undergrounds of paris playing with bones and candles…
Does that explain the label name? Cavage (french) sounds close to cave (in english). What is the deeper meaning of the label name?
A cavage is an entry for an underground quarry were ancient industry get stone to build buildings in cities. They leave us empty places under the ground everywhere and particulary 300 kilometers just under Paris. A nice place to visit. You have some in Germany, too. Do people get in there over there too?
As far as I know there exists a little scene of nature adventure freaks in Bavaria who try to find stones and minerals in closed but that has nothing do with with the music we talk about.
Well in Paris this is not any nature adventure meaning. Some surely do but it’s more a separation from the city… a place under the real life… something parallel with no laws, no control possible, one of these rare places i know that have this status…
What are you trying to find weekends in the Metro underground?
We are looking for treasures and rats to build the rebellion. Like in the past an army of rats will invade the city and decimate the bourgeois with the plague. In fact the metro is not so fun except for taggers. The most enjoyable undergrounds are the catacombs were exists a microcosm.
Tell us more! What is the special experience in the catacombs of Paris?
Well you take me to the point i like to talk about. This is the little music in my head… still playing… this is a real autonomous zone (i don’t talk about taz phylo). You get in this place were no structure can take you, it’s illegal to go under Paris but this is not the most important transgression that is in this activity. The funny thing is the micro society through what can be called a sort of “anarchy”. They are several people going there over the weekends, some more addicted going down in the week, all kind of movements leave traces in it since they are abandoned, robbers and prisoners work in it to take the stone. After that they hide in it after doing bad things and then the youth of next generations take the place, from punks to graffiti guys and all rockers and fascists make the history of this place… fights, paintings everywhere, big parties and now tekno sometimes use them… Aah, they are also the necro fans that like this ground for the skulls and bones of humans from last century you can find in profusion over there… When you get alone inside there is also a sort of intrasec expansion of senses, noises are growing wild with ear noises: the total darkness you cant find anywhere else, the feelings are so increased by the place…
Do you also party in the catacombs, or what? How are the conditions down under?
My best memories of parties in catacombs were not Tekno ones but those parties without music as first element, you know, just the soundtrack of old LSD parties 20 meters under daddy’s seat watching prime time pop emission… painting bombs at the hand and running the galleries… the teenager “fuck” years… sometimes some free party sound systems use those abandoned undergrounds around Paris to do parties. This is a fucking set and setting, a must see!!!
The conditions in the catacombs are quite good if you don’t mind about water in your shoes (but its clean phreatique water) and the stone traces. Of course there is no light so you must have candles and torches…
For someone who lives outside France it seems that the french hard electronic scene is very young, fresh active with lots of people who are involved or part of this underground electronic scene. For me it looks like a giant network with lots of small labels, producers and distributors… how is your view on that from the (french) inside?
They are some “old” labels. I wasn’t from the beginning in this music but I saw when I arrive some very important label on the scene, like Explore Toi, Gangster Toons Industries (GTI), Notek, Laurent Ho or the TNT which is not a label but an institution anyway… They are here for a long time i think… It’s a fact that they are lots of projects and that’s good. Til’ more we are til’ more music is made, more influences are created, more drugs are taken… Arghhh! I think France isn’t a very good place for hard music. They are only a few parties where they’re playing hard stuff. Most people ask more for traditional Hardtek than the other sounds. But things can go further. It’s this proliferation of several projects that can help in this case. People have to listen to like something and if no party play the other sound, then the people can’t discover it. That’s a vicious circle.
So it is a hard job to distribute your own releases?
It’s not easy in France but the rest of europe seems more open to other musics because it’s low quantities. It stays a funny thing to meet people to make little work with them.
Where do you already released tracks?
On the Perce-Oreille imprint, a nice french tekno label. I released there one record alone and one with Boogï, also two records on Explore Toi and on V/A bmtr, Notek, contributed to the TNT cdsmos and of course religiously on the audio/visual irritant tape & zine releases.
There is this good connection between you and the crew from the audio/visual irritant in London. Your project uht/Saoulaterre joined already a few of their tape releases, on the 2nd Cavage vinyl is a track by the irritant member Beruku Kattse. What’s the story of this connection?
This is friendship of course. It’s like in the movie about internet. I met Andrew (the head of irritant) in the internet and we felt in love. Now each of us cross the sea between France and England to meet up. A nice story! But this guy drinks Cherry Coke so i think i will send him an ‘au revoir’-e_mail. That’s really disturbing me inside. The Beruku Kattse track on the cav02, “La Rocka”, is a breakbeat, hip hop rude boy megablast.
Are there any other labels or producers you really respect for their work?
They are alot of sounds i like. In France i really enjoy the Hangars Liquides stuff. La Peste’s works are close to what i like to do. That’s funny. The Notek label is in the place, BMTR provides a real new sound these days. There is a very deep conspiracy with Lobotom, Xtraqualitate (Epileptic Music). I really like the stuff from british labels like Ambush Records, Praxis Records and Amputate, those tea drinkers breakbeats really move the ass and the cns. The Somatic Responses move my bloody heart and that trash stuff from Germany, the kool.POP records. I don’t stop to play these days the 52 Ohm record (by Society Suckers and In:u:zini) that is totally o.b.e. music!!! And loads of things i think i love too much but i forgot. Somebody sold me weed before i came back home to talk with you!
Yep, the usual drug problem. I heard from that… How is your relationship to drugs?
Well, psychedelics and enthogens are very close to me, even if i don’t use them as much as in a certain period of party abuse. I think drugs are very close to the human condition and evolution, from the beginning of communication and manipulation (trough religion). I don’t mean people must take substances to “open their eyes” or “evolute”. This is a so intimate relationship some people cant afford or don’t need or don’t complete with. For me, I think, I will put interest in this a long time. Psychedelics are so interesting experiments. I love Alexander Shulgin books as some christians love their bible… but drug is a hard women to fuck with and she has pretty names like speed that are very very dangerous… creation killer as heroin is pain killer…i definitely do a break with that… o.b.e. for the masses… get the kids dissociated ;). One thing I really like to try is sensorial privation in those machines, you know, just like in this comic drug movie “Altered States”… it’s very comic but I don’t want to mutate in primate monkey anyway.
Are you part of the french Teknival scene?
I’m no part of it but i’m really enjoying it. I’m not in a sound system or else but i go to Teknivals whenever i can. Teknivals are a great thing. They are lots of things in it that are subject to criticism but that’s what is. Hey, we are in, I really think a Teknival is an underground hardcore event, even when they play Hardtek or Trance or what the fuck else. I mean it has to be seen from the inside. It’s so massive. Organisation through disorganisation, the weight of every people who was in it in front of the officials, it’s a real improvised structure. With a few big big parties in the catacombs,that’s the most impressive underground event i never see…
About the idea of the Teknivals: I don’t think (and hope) that there is not any precise idea. I don’t like too many anarchist propaganda on a Teknival flyer. They let everybody get in it with a conception. That’s what is really free behind the money-free entry.
Can you explain what you mean by terms like “hardcore” and “underground”?
Those words have lots of intimate meanings for me. From a long time before techno who use and abuse of those terms. It’s a hard thing to explain… I wont try… I think it’s basically about subversion, integrity and activity… one through the other, one for the other… you see, I try to explain… fuck!
How do you usually go about creating a track? Do you start with an idea or a sound?
There is not a traditional process. These days I begin with plug-ins to Cubase VST. So let me try the plugs first…
Do you have any main influences?
Well, influences are for me in real time. I mean I have been influenced by old things and also by all what i listen to at the moment… that are the same names I already listed… Ah, in the beginning i used to listen lots of Network23 records. This was perhaps my really first techno influence.
Do you play live, dj or both?
I have only done two live, one with Notek in a club and the second on first Teknival near Paris last summer… that were not very impressive experiences… I don’t dj but i like to try it a little…
Are there any musical disaster stories you would share with the world?
Every time I try to sing little reggae in cars with friends they want to drop me by the window…
Where will it all end?
It’ll never end, my dear. I’m already teaching my son to tweak the analog equipment.