ROPE is an electronic project melting dark and minimalist electronica with visual art, video and Photography. Collaboration between the photographer Jessica W. (of the experimental / Ambient project «Erockaerb») and Thomas P. (also known for his Industrial dark hop project Le Diktat). We’re proud that the french duo ROPE is part of our serie “13 questions to…”!
kulturterrorismus: Hello from Germany ! we hope all fine with you ? Where are you ? Please, tell us your story !
ROPE: We are both based in Paris, we met in 2007 during an industrial party were I was playing with my other project LE DIKTAT ( in a more Heavy and Dark Hip hop way ), Jessica was also implicated in the scene by her own musical project ( Erockaerb, ambient soundscapes and hardcore ). We had a lot of common friends in the scene. The idea of composing together came a few years after, Audiotrauma proposed us a booking in their “Noxious art festival” in 2010, and we decided to create a brand new set with a new common project “ROPE” .
kulturterrorismus: When did you start composing music ? what or who were your early passions and influences ?
Jessica: I began electronic music with Cubase in 2005, for my Dark ambient/hardcore work. I was influenced by electronica, industrial and breakcore scene, bands like Merzbow, Winterkälte, Axiome, Sphere, Snog or Venetian snares … But i quickly decided to explore more cinematographic and dark ambiances for my own production with Erockaerb.
Thomas: For my part I started composing in 2000 with a friend for my project Le Diktat, I have a cold wave / New wave background but I also felt in Old school Hip Hop, and experimental Dub a few years after when I discovered bands like Scorn, Techno animal, or Bill Laswell … and it was the starting point of Le Diktat. we did a few albums on Audiotrauma and OPN records.
Concerning ROPE, we would work in the vein of bands we admire like Orphx, Plastikman, Vromb or Scorn, creating atmospheres and dark pressure in a minimalist approach.
kulturterrorimus: What are currently your main production-challenges? Give us an example! Do you work mostly alone or with other musicians?
Thomas: Our main challenge is to be able to join our ideas and feelings at the same time. Emotion must be there. But we live together so it is much easier to play whenever we want. We only work together for this project. We only use hardware stuff, we work on two Electribe ESX samplers and some analog synthsizers like Roland SH 101 and Doepfer Dark Energy. We wanted to keep a strong, dark and massive sound with a physical approach. I was bored of computers and softwares I was used to …
Jessica: We like to be on the same machine, it’s a simple configuration, it sound great and it’s a part of the game. Restraint forced us to keep our challenge : make a very minimal, dark and sexy sound.
kulturterrorismus: What do you usually start with when working on a new piece?
ROPE: Starting with a soundscape, a loop, a noise and we add some layers on it until it evolves to a complete atmosphere … We have to feel something, it has to bring emotion.
kulturterrorismus: Do you strictly separate improvising and composing? What is better free jazz or classical style?
Thomas: Yes we do, when you work on hardware stuff and analog synths, it’s not the same experience, when you re improvising turning knobs and opening filters for exemple, you keep an intimate connection with the sound you make, it’s not the case when using a laptop and a trackpad … After ten years composing electronic music I finally consider that the only way for me to make music with real pleasure, is to stand up, use my hands, headbanging with a concrete sound level … no more screens and softwares except for final mastering and mixing … so Free Jazz would be the answer !
Jessica: I think machines (PC or hardware) have to serve the user. I don’t want to choose. The Korg Electribe was our choice here but maybe PC will be usefull next time. But I love hardware want to make a Rope 2 with it :)))
kulturterrorismus: Is any relationship between sound and live or working day? Please tell us your opinion!
ROPE: If you mean a connection between our musical activities and our every day life, I would say yes for my part, I work in a Musical instruments / DJ ing stuff shop all day long … so when it’s possible I turn on samplers and machines to create loops and basselines ! I feel lucky to be paid for that !
kulturterrorimus: Do you feel it important that your music spread a message? How conceptional is your music or only for hearing without thinking? What await your listeners?
Thomas: I used to think that the political message was something really important … I Finally changed my mind when I heard to much bands (especially in the Electro / Industrial scene ) spreading stupid messages in front of people already convinced … If you want to change the world, you should act in your real life, vote, go to meetings and protest. Shouting in your songs or on Facebook that you are a rebel really sucks or at least you have to be conscious of the limit of your message … being lucid.
Jessica: I don’t want to deliver a message, I would like that people feel something and imagine their own story when listen it. They got my vision of our music in my photographic work. I propose a dark, strange and erotic visual, and the title and the tracks names make the link with my love for shibari.
kulturterrorismus: The role of an artist is always subject to change. What’s your view on the (e.g. political/social/creative) tasks of artists today and how do you try to meet these goals in your work?
Thomas: I think that the idea is to talk when you really have something to say. Unfortunately today, everybody claims everything, spreadings petitions on social networks for nothing. I respect real activists but I have not the pretention of spreading any kind of message anymore, try to focus on sensations and sound.
Jessica: There are some excellent artists I respect because they create sounds or visuals that helps people to think about political and social matters. Snog covers and coming into my mind, and C-drík Kirdec for his work and collaborations (discovering a lot of unknown talented musicians all over the world and mostly in asia and africa, and fighting against racism and sexism). I don’t spread any message myself, I only try to give emotions I feel.
kulturterrorismus: There seem to be two fundamental tendencies in music today: On the one hand, a move towards complete virtualisation, where tracks and albums are merely released as digital files. And, on the other, an even closer union between music, artwork, packaging and physical presentation. Where do you stand between these poles?
Jessica: Of course we are more close to the last tendency you describe. The idea behind Rope is to combine music with Photography and Vjing (filmed by Thomas Lampis), Jessica worked hard on the visual identity and we are very thankful to our label OPN records to carry on producing beautiful objects and high quality sleeves.
kulturterrorismus: Music-sharing sites and -blogs as well as a flood of releases in general are presenting both listeners and artists with challenging questions. What’s your view on the value of music today?
Thomas: I consider that as a very good thing, internet changed the way people share and discover new bands and alternative culture, and it’s also a great opportunity for people to spread their sound and art.
Soundcloud is a very good exemple, intuitive and minimalist interface, focus on music only.
kulturterrorismus: Do you see Facebook as blessing or shit? Is it right, that musicians can not work without Facebook, if they want near by their fans, make cooperation with other artists and so on?
Thomas: I Think that the real revolution was Myspace in 2004 / 2005, that was a good concept , everything was customizable and it was a good way to spread infos and sound … Facebook became the main media for bands but I really don’t like the way it works ..; asking people to become “a fan” of your page … I don’t know … I feel like submerged by self promotion and invitations for parties I don’t’ really care … That’s why I don’t really use these social networks for self promotion anymore … it’s just a way for people to contact us for gigs or questions like you did and that’s a good thing at least for that.
kulturterrorismus: Is money the only thing to be recognized artist? Or could non-mainstream music same successfull as mainstream?
Thomas: I Think that the big mutation in the music business has really changed the deal … Money doesn’t means recognition anymore … It’s difficult to sell records for everybody. On the other hand the access to alternative cultures, rare recordings and material is so much easier than ever … that’s why, according to me, the distinction between mainstream and non-mainstream doesn’t make sense anymore.
kulturterrorismus: The last words are yours!
ROPE: Well, we’re actually thinking about new material for Rope, we work in the same deep and dark way, but it could be more dancefloor … we hope to give you more infos soon!