Question N°1 : Can you take a moment to introduce yourself ? Why “Pyramid” ?
Sure! My artist name is Pyramid but my real name is Etienne, I’m 25 and now a full time musician. I started Pyramid as a Sci Fi lover and wanted to recreate my musical vision of it, as wide as possible. Space can be represented as empty and quiet but it can also be wild and dark, so I didn’t want my music to be only chill or brutal, but spatial as the way I see it. I chose the name Pyramid because of it’s axial aspect, the word is 7 letters long, the middle letter has the shape of a pyramid and I liked that, plus, the word is kind of international therefore not too difficult to pronounce (but hard to find on Google).
Question N°2 : Can you tell us a little about your musical background . When did you know you wanted to produce music ?
I used to play drums and piano when I was a kid but then stopped for a long time and forgot most of it. I think I just kept some basis and it helped with my ear but that’s it. Then I would listen to a lot of my father’s old records and music from radios or TV shows. I tested a software called Magix Music Maker when I was 11/12, demos were awful but it was my first steps, then I discovered FL Studio when I was 16/17 and a whole new world opened up to me and I couldn’t stop experimenting, it was in the same era Ed Banger started to be a massive thing and I loved this kind of fresh vibe, I obviously wanted to do something like this and I started to produce for fun.
Question N°3 : What equipment do you use when you’re producing ?
Mainly my macbook pro with Logic Pro X on it with Maschine and a bunch of VSTs, but I try to integrate more and more analog stuffs. I don’t want to have a full analog process, I like VST and the way it can go further than some analog equipment, but I also like to tweak real knobs and feel the warmth and imperfections on old synths, I have a Juno 106 that I use a lot, and recently bought a Yamaha CS01 and a Bassbot 303, didn’t have time to use them a lot, but so far, they seem incredible.
Question N°4 : What program do you use to produce ? Any favorite VST’s or drum machines ?
I use a lot of Native Instruments and U-He plugs for the instruments, and SoundToys made an incredible bundle of plugs for the FX, use them on almost everything. I used to have a crazy amount of VSTs and plugs but now not so much anymore because when you have too much stuff it’s easy to get scattered and lose the main thing. So now I try to use a small amount of plugs and explore all the capacities they offer. Arturia made some cool vintage emulations, I use the Jupiter 8 and the ARP 2600 a lot and the Diva from U-He is a beast I use a lot. Also little plugins like Paul Stretch or Akaizer … trust me, you should dig that ! For the drum machines, I use samples from a lot of vintage drum kits and try to emulate old, warm and saturated sounds like the MPC 60 sound for example.
Question N°5 : Do you use any other special or unique production techniques ?
Really hard to say, as everyone has secret techniques and as there are no rules on the production world, I can’t really say if I have unique production techniques. I just do my thing, I experiment a lot without going too far from my style or tastes. A special trick maybe is simply to put a flanger on a bus that applies only on the sub / bass frequencies (it has to be really precise or the effect is hard to hear) and put that on my drums to make it a bit wider and louder.
Question N°6 : Do you have any special methods for playing live shows ?
I don’t play live shows. I don’t feel ready for that yet. I know I released a lot of tracks and remixes but I feel like I still have to experiment a lot and I think that I’ll know when I’m ready to go live. I want my first live to be musically powerful and visually interesting. As long as I don’t feel ready I won’t force myself to do it. When I’ll have the good songs for it, the good ideas, and the opportunity to use the equipment and the visual I want, I’ll start, but not now.
Question N°7 : Do you create or really enjoy any music outside of your regular electronic genres ?
Yes a lot, I actually don’t listen to electronic music that much lately. I listen to a lot of 70s psych rock / pop and more and more abstract hip hop / beatmakers, like the Jazzysport label. I also made a beat for one of the best rapper in France these days, Nekfeu, it was my first try as a beatmaker and I loved it, the track is called Plume and I think it still has my vibe but in another genre.
Question N°8 : Who would you say are your major musical influence ?
My biggest influence is Boards of Canada, don’t know why but I’ve been obsessed with them for more than 4 years now. I listen to at least one of their tracks everyday, the treatment, the ideas, the melodies, the philosophy behind their music… everything they do just amaze me … Then bands like Supertramp, Pink Floyd or Tangerine Dream were part of my childhood. Then as a teenager, like I said, all this Ed Banger crew was my vibe, groovy and brutal, melodic and wild, loved that. But also loved more ambient stuff, Moby was the album I listened the most as a kid, and bands like Royksopp or M83 were important to me.
Question N°9 : It seems you have many influences from video games. Is that correct – and if so – what are some of your favorites ?
Movies and video games are my 2 biggest influences. I play a lot, I love the feeling when you can escape your world and enter a new one, games today are pieces of art. If you played games like Stanley Parable, Half Life or Bioshock you understand that you’re doing more than merely playing a game. A game like Bioshock Infinite is so rich in its Artistic Direction and writing, it just blows your mind. Games like Half Life inspired me a lot, or indie games these days are just jewels of creativity like Fez, Limbo or Journey and they also inspire me. But I think the best game I ever played is Super Metroid on SNES … I did it again last year and it didn’t aged at all, it’s incredible. I once worked on a little indie game called Pixel Boy and it was an awesome experience that I want to do again.
Question N°10 : Do you have aby other media influences, prehaps from cinema or contemporary artists ?
There is one painter who has a massive impact on me, Jeremy Geddes, he paints surrealistic scenes with an ultra realistic style. His work is so beautiful and mysterious. His falling astronauts drive me crazy. Cinema is a great source of inspiration too, especially space movies, I could say Alien is my favorite movie, it has everything a movie needs for me.
Question N°11 : What haven’t heard anything new from you… ca we except something from you soon ?
Oh yes, I’ve been quiet lately but it doesn’t mean I wasn’t working. A new EP is on its way and should be released in March. Some other projects I can’t talk about will be revealed soon. 2 new remixes should be out in January / February, and free tracks coming soon too. I also start to think about my debut album, feels like I released a lot of EPs and now want to see how a longform could be.
Question N°12 : Have the recent Paris attacks affect your production in any way ?
Not really, it just stopped my production cycle for 4 or 5 days, the atmosphere in Paris was really hard. I thought about putting my emotions and the way it affected me into a track but I preferred not to do so and just spent some time with my friends and family.