The handle to your website, phobosdrone.org, is interesting. Although across 'Tectonics' there isn't an abundance of drone, it's still a method you employ here, insomuch as sustaining notes/sonics, etc. So, in your work as P.H.O.B.O.S., how would you estimate the powers of DRONE ?
The 'drone' term in the website address has not so much to do with 'drone music'. In fact I had that name idea after someone told me to "let the P.H.O.B.O.S. drone". More appropriately, I feel drone as a tension that may hide behind every kind of music, without being exclusively 'drone music'. For P.H.O.B.O.S., some low sounds must stay continuous and sustained, may they be subtle or obvious, crushing or boiling. Instead of soothing, they must make me feel uneasy and questioning without reason. These are the powers of drone. Definitely not a focus, but the means to reach the discomfort. Drones lead you to the unknown, and the unknown leads you to absurd fear, which is one of the psychoanalytic definitions of the 'phobos'.
Maybe it's just me, but simultaneously 'Tectonics' is both WIDE OPEN and SUFFOCATING, extremely VISUAL yet entirely BLANK for the listener to paint his own landscapes...uh, did you strive to create such extreme, stratifying contrasts with your industrial-doom(ed) march/plod ?
These variations and contrasts in oppression paradoxically arise out of my musical open-mindedness. Outside extreme metal or harsh industrial, my m.o. is to dilute dark and menacing moods of other genres, often underestimated or obscure. For instance, there are more lowness and danger in some kantus (forgotten Inca battle hymns) than in any piece of whinin' and mournin' funeral doom... I consider my creations more like sound assemblage than academic writing. Thus, the most difficult task is to find for every layer a suitable raw material to be shaped and inserted efficiently into the pile. Like for the colors of an impressionist painting, results upon each receiver will vary according to the balance of frequencies.
The album title is also extremely appropriate, as it literally sounds the way tectonics would look - do you similarly find a filmic/cinematic element to 'Tectonics' and your music as a whole ?
Not really. So far I've felt my music purely as sounds, without conscious interaction with moving images to be simultaneously created as footages. Sensation must be suggested, not obviously revealed through a video clip. Of course I keep visions that go with my music, but they come from personal premonition, much less from filmic culture. I was born on a pretty small island, which is actually an active volcano, and I've always felt here the insignificance of the living things compared to the destructive and purifying powers below. For having witnessed several times both the beauty and the terror these powers arouse, the 'Tectonics' concept and drones naturally come from this experience and are omnipresent in my mind.
Technology now can be a mighty tool in recording/creating music: However, why do so many people go the easy way out and use it to 'doctor' rawness or mistakes ? Like P.H.O.B.O.S., why don't more people take chances and REALLY GO FOR IT ?
Nowadays, music in its most widespread forms is a great circus, particularly metal, which has become the daddy's safe rockabilly we used to laugh at. Some bands are dubbed 'industrial' while they just add mediocre synth parts to their basic rock or metal riffs, to aspire to some futuristic credibility. It is time to stop thinking of dark music as guitar riffs dredged with poor electronics, and let's admit that the power may come from an equal association of both. The problem is electronics have always been a taboo for the basic metalhead. Moreover, another reason why metal is not so much 'industrialized' is that programming and sampling require time, discipline and almost autistic concentration. People live in immediacy, and making music for most of them is to go to the rehearsal or on stage, to liberate some energy and have fun. Some landmarks must be wept out and I've chosen a different way for P.H.O.B.O.S.
To that end, in the bio there's a mention of 'enslaving machines', which I find to be an apt metaphor for P.H.O.B.O.S. in the way you build up these vast, monolithic soundscapes that probably wouldn't have been attainable without sound-layering/tweaking/etc - but can it be vice versa, too ? Like, are you 'enslaved' to your machines ?
Machines drive my music and offer me the sound, the precision and the creativity which were missing with my former partners. I've never found a more powerful and crushing drummer than my expander. But the force in the spectrum of P.H.O.B.O.S. comes from the guitars too, which riffs are composed and played, not looped. I don't feel enslaved since I voluntarily work in an old-fashioned way by sequencing and sampling with old machines, to be sure to master simple but effective technology. The work of monsters of late '80s like Skinny Puppy or FLA, or older pioneers like Einstürzende Neubauten, taught me it is rewarding to take time to sample and to shape your own textures. That is the true industrial manner to create music, instead of waiting for your computer to spit out downloaded sounds and loops.
A debate has raged, most likely since the advent of synthpop in the early 1980s, about the 'authenticity' of using technology (and lest we forget that people have been using amplified stringed instruments since the early 1950s). Regardless of that oversight, is it really any less 'authentic' to use keyboards, sequencers, pedals, etc. ? In a(n obtuse) way, are you flaunting arrogance in the face of a largely macho-based ideology/pedagogy ?
That music can be as destructive, evil, and daresay MANLY whilst being 'enslaved to machines' vs. the now-standard 'rock' instrumentation ?
If there is no authenticity by using effects and computerized music, then people must be true to themselves, even deny electricity and get into unpplugged music only. Some thinks the obliged way to show musical force is through live rock instrumentation. The explanation is Freudian : they need to visualize the power delivered by moving puppets with their erect axes/penis. They stay focused on the means and tools, instead of feeling the result. Sad for them...
An even more obtuse query: If we're to assume some self-willed nihilism to P.H.O.B.O.S., then, how much does your music aim for physical annihilation vs. mental annihilation ?
There is no physical annihilation underlying in my music, even nothing physical, as I do not perform live. But the answer is yes as far as the lyrics are concerned, if obliteration of mankind is what you call physical annihilation. Mental annihilation is of course a part of the process: P.H.O.B.O.S. wants to break your certitudes by provoking chaos in your mind through noise and dissonance control.
Curiously, by virtue of P.H.O.B.O.S.' overall BLACKNESS, you're now of a distinctly French musical lineage: See any of that characteristic nastiness of Franco black metal, past and especially present, carried over into your work ?
Evil is in every man, not such or such nation's privilege. There is a worldwide front of few artists that spreads new forms of aggression and low vibes, and they don't confine themselves in the metal or industrial fields. I don't think there's a specific 'French musical lineage', even if some original French BM acts distinguish themselves at the moment. And I don't feel influenced by them, as I started P.H.O.B.O.S. with my own precise plan for a while. Nonetheless, with my country fellows Blut Aus Nord, we share a common vision of what extreme music can be. A new blackness, without artistic boundaries nor compromise.