Glass talks to the co-founder of the record label InFiné, Yannick Matray
Constantly seeking new experiences and collaborations with worldwide artists from all genres, French independent label InFiné Records was founded in 2006 by Yannick Matray, Alexandre Cazac, and internationally-renowned musician and DJ, Agoria. Since its first release – a collaboration between Francesco Tristano and notorious electro DJ Apparat – the label has 20 albums under its belt. As well as musical output, the label has established a unique annual event in 2009 entitled InFiné Workshop. In this, its fourth year, a dozen artists from the USA, Mexico, Austria, Belgium and France will perform on the Normandoux estate, situated close to Poitiers, a town in the French region of Poitou-Charente.
The venue, set in an isolated quarry surrounded by verdant vegetation, will certainly enchant visitors. Designed and run by French architect Francois Pin, the Normandoux quarry is complemented by a small manor house in the main grounds, and a cluster of bungalows serving as accommodation for workshop guests after some peace and quiet. There is also a small pool, and a restaurant serving delicious wine and local fare.
The InFinÈ Workshop will be open to the public every evening from 21-25 August, with performances starting on the second day.
What exactly is the InFiné Workshop? The workshop for InFiné is a moment when artists from all walks of life can meet – artists on our books as well as other artists from all over the world. These meetings often lead to other projects like albums. The feedback from the artists has been extremely positive too – they often say that because the Workshop is set in such an idyllic place, the Normandoux quarry and its manor, it is a break for them – a break in the sense that the isolated surroundings allow them to feel relaxed but also because the workshop is fully-funded for them and they can also come here with their families. The Workshop also allows artists to meet other artists as well as members of the public, people who listen to their music, and this opportunity to exchange with the public is a rare one.
The Workshop actually takes place over a couple of weeks for the artists to give them time to prepare. InFiné suggests collaborations that we think will work and when the artists meet one another, they usually haven’t met before, so it’s completely new for them as well as for us and the public. There will be about 10 artists on stage from all over the world, and this mix is really important for us. How did the idea for the Workshop come about? Well, it’s very simple and happened completely by chance. The idea arose while my business partner, Alexandre Cazac, was speaking with his neighbour, architect François Pin, who owns and designed the venue. François’ project was to host live music performances throughout the summer and, in 2009, we created the first Workshop. We did it without really thinking where it would lead to be honest – we just decided to go with it. It’s an original way of putting our artists out there and no record label that we know of does it. Has anything concrete come out of the last three editions of the Workshop? Yes, something always comes of it, but if we’re talking projects, then yes, also. An album is always released as a result of the work that has taken place here. The first year we recorded Arandel’s album followed by the duo, Composer. The following year we released an album by Pedro Soler and Gaspard Claus. Right now it’s a bit early to tell if an album will come out of the actual collaborations. Do you have a favourite artist among those who will be performing at the Workshop? I wouldn’t say that I have a favourite. You know it’s a bit like having children, you’re supposed to all love them the same. Also, as we have no idea of what will come out of these first-time collaborations between the artists, it is difficult to say – all we know is that it is going to be different to what they usually do and I am ready to be surprised!
How would you describe the music that will be heard at the Workshop? Well, that’s a hard one to answer as the artists are all so different! But this year we have organised the artists into styles. On the first night, Brubaker will be playing the piano, followed by Dorian Concept, who has promised us something of a mix between soul, jazz and electro music although he won’t reveal anything more. His music is so indefinable; it’s hard to say what exactly to expect!
We like the Workshop to be an opportunity for artists to be free to explore other styles to what they might be used to. On the second night there will be several art projections on the quarry walls by various artists as well as music. The third night we will see Rone, a firm favourite on our books who is an electronic music artist. He will be collaborating with musicians from the Conservatoire de Poitiers. His performance will be followed by Cubenx, a Mexican electronic artist, who will be collaborating with musicians playing Indian tablas and the sitar.
InFiné has made a name for itself on the French music scene, but going right back to the beginning in 2006 – how did the name InFiné come about? We started out with a list of names we liked but they were already registered. It took us six months to find our name, which sort of came to us out of thin air … We thought it sounded international, giving us that multicultural edge that we want to put across. What’s the last thing you were listening to on your personal music player? I’m actually listening to the mock-up album of Aufgang, one of our artists, which will be released beginning of 2013 and Rone’s album, which is released on October 15 this year.
What’s your favourite sound? I like the sound of the rain at night – with me being indoors though! When I’m tucked up in bed. Is there another music label that inspires you? The independent British electro label, Warp. Since its creation about 20 years ago, it has known exactly how to reinvent itself, how to keep with the times, staying fresh and relevant, always in vogue and just for that, I’d say big respect! I also really admire the way they have always supported their artists like Aphex Twin; artists tend to move around different labels in the industry but Warp has succeeded in keeping its collaboration with its artists going long-term – their artists don’t leave. And that’s our model – that is how we aspire to be with our artists. Also, Warp hasn’t compromised its independence despite the ups and downs of the industry over the last two decades. by Rooksana Hossenally
For details of the event, visit the InFiné Workshop blog; more information about the Normandoux quarry and accommodation at the quarry, can be found here and for further information on InFiné Music visit their website.
InFinÈ runs several annual events. We recommend 48hInFinÈ, a two-day music festival hosted by a group of Parisian hangouts and clubs. Dates have yet to be announced, but the event usually takes place in December.
For the latest event news, sign up to the label’s Facebook page.