The latest interview on amodelofcontrol.com takes things in a different direction. Where industrial electronics meets world events, and musical ideas are shared.
So, I had a chat with Ant-Zen recording artist Riotmiloo, to discuss the concepts behind her new album and to see where she goes next.
[Album cover by Stefan Alt, first photo by Alla Sol, second photo by Sev Denis]
amodelofcontrol.com: You’ve been releasing music and collaborating with others for some years over the Riotmiloo name – what inspired you to finally record an album now?
Riotmiloo: It all started when my garage punk band, The Venom Seeds, split up. I thought we were doing well. It all came as a surprise and I was truly devastated. There were three options there: either to stop getting involved in music, lament or move on and create something new or at least something different. I chose the last one. I knew I wanted a concept album. I knew I didn’t want any guitar sound in it. I wanted an electronic experimental approach. I also came up with rules, a bit like Dogme 95 but without a camera.
“I knew…that I wanted to retell those real life stories while adding dignity, strength and courage and of course illustrate all those words with powerful music.”
amodelofcontrol.com: The subject is also an interesting one – effectively giving a voice to a variety of women’s issues across the world (child brides, rape, living under Israeli occupation in Palestine). Was there a particular event or issue that gave you the idea, or did it come about another way?
Riotmiloo: I read about horror and heinous acts on a regular basis. Unfortunately, these events filled with struggles are not hard to find. Blogs, books, films and newspapers document them well. I am interested in people and their lives. My interest in this subject and concern is not new. In 2003, I had already written a song with my band at the time about a young lady called Amina Lawal Kurami. She had been condemned to death by stoning because of conceiving a child out of wedlock. She had a lucky escape. This is not the case for many women.
When the concept La Pierre Soudée (or The Welded Stone in English) became clearer in my mind, I knew then that I wanted to retell those real life stories while adding dignity, strength and courage and of course illustrate all those words with powerful music.
amodelofcontrol.com: Every track on the album is a collaboration with another artist – some might see this as an unusual route to take for a first album. Was the project an easy sell to your collaborators?
Riotmiloo: The collaborative route was one of the rules I had set up for this album. It may have been different to what others would have done but this is how I wanted it to be. I asked different musicians with different backgrounds to help me out. Some of them were corner stones of industrial music like Dirk Ivens or Till Brüggemann. Others like Scalper were involved in a band called 2nd Gen in the past but chose to pursue a different musical path closer to trip-hop now. Some were well known for making heavy and distorted sounds like Chrysalide and others like Babylone Chaos were closer to dark ambient. Everyone was very enthusiastic regarding the project and keen to join the team of collaborators.
Of all the people approached, only two couldn’t make it, not because of lack of interest but because of lack of time. I still can’t believe how supportive everyone has been! The most supportive artist was eva|3 who did the overall executive production, the transitions between the tracks (only available on CD formats) and who gave the album its distinctive sound and coherence.
amodelofcontrol.com: Who were your influences and inspirations, musical or otherwise, for this project? And what were your influences generally growing up?
Riotmiloo: My musical tastes are quite broad. I tend to get inspired by bands that deliver a message such as Skinny Puppy, Coil or Bikini Kill in the riot grrrl scene. I also love Sudden Infant and Deutsch Nepal. The way they both play with tapes is great. I do enjoy the experimental walls of sound delivered by dälek. Haus Arafna is also an inspiration in terms of eerie and brutal sounds. Their side project, November Növelet, is equally as inspiring in terms of angst pop. I also like Geneviève Pasquier. Some of her tracks are pure genius! I have a real admiration towards pioneers of electronic music such as Daphne Oram, Delia Derbyshire and in a different register, Throbbing Gristle.
amodelofcontrol.com: You’ve also lent your voice to other projects of late, in particular to British rapper Scalper on his latest single. How did that come about, as on the face of it, it seems an unlikely collaboration?
Riotmiloo: Unlikely collaboration? Really? (Laughs) I like to think that there are no barriers to whom I work with or what musical genres we work on. I like to experiment with sounds and art in general, ranging from harsh screams to softer melodies or spoken words.
Scalper and I met many years ago through mutual friends while he was still living in London. No need to say that I am a huge fan of his project. The lyrics he writes convey meaning and describe accurately and poetically the ill society we live in. I asked him first to be part of my team for La Pierre Soudée. He accepted and came up with a dark haunted inspired track to illustrate the theme of Child Bride. I then said he could count on me if he ever needed a female voice.
When finishing to compose his latest album, The Emperor’s Clothes, he asked me to sing for him. I only had to translate a line of his rap in French “I devoured them overpowered by their perfume, devour me before I devour you“. I accepted straight away. And the track Perfume was born.
Both tracks received fantastic feedback, so much so that I was invited to perform Perfume on stage with him twice in London [Ed: I saw one of those performances – it was awesome]. I was also invited to shoot a video with him. His part was shot in New Zealand and mine in England, in the middle of magical bluebells. It was a great experience!
amodelofcontrol.com: What’s next for Riotmiloo? Are you intending on exploring this subject further, or onto other things?
Riotmiloo: I could indeed do a part 2 of La Pierre Soudée. Who knows? Maybe one day, but not just yet.
First and foremost, I’d like to put some of the songs together to be able to offer a live experience of La Pierre Soudée. This is my priority and I am aiming to do this during 2016 if not before.
After that, I am going to explore the emotional and anxiety sides of a particular mental illness. I want to strip it all away from the glamour and clichés generally shown. This particular project will only involve eva|3 and myself. We already have composed a couple of tracks with analogue synths but we need to compose more before sharing anything else with the rest of the world.