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Test Pressing

Interview / Syracuse / Antinote

Syracuse have just released their debut long player, the sublime Techno Soul of "Liquid Silver Dream", on Antinote (shaping up to be one of the labels of the year). We spoke to the Parisian duo, Isabelle Maitre & Antoine Kogut, just prior to the weekend`s atrocities.

Where are you from?

Isabelle /

I grew up traveling the south Pacific Ocean with my father. I was born in Tahiti and was raised in New Caledonia. Then I decided to move to Paris when I was 15.

Antoine /

I was born in a hippie maternity that is known for always putting the child first in “Les Lilas”, just outside of Paris. This clinic has been renowned since the 70’s for practicing a myriad of birthing techniques such as water birth, upright labour and drug free birth. Some friends of mine that were also born in this maternity turned out to be artists as well. I’ve always lived in Paris. The band was formed here. Antinote our label is composed of a group of Parisian friends whom are all diggers, vinyl collectors and synth aficionados.

What made you start?

Isabelle /

Around 3-4 years old, during a travel in Hong Kong, in a huge hotel lobby full of people wearing white shirts and black suits, I got mesmerized by a woman with a dark green dress playing flute, a man was playing piano behind her. His fingers were so fast and were always hitting the right key at the perfect moment. I though to myself he was a magician. After that I had my first keyboard, I’m still playing with it for Syracuse`s live show and I took piano lessons with the nicest and most eccentric guy, Jean-Pierre Paillard.

Antoine /

My mother was in an amateur theatre group. My father organized a high profile science fiction festival in Metz, a city in the east of France. The festival’s main focus was literature and music. Phillip K Dick made an appearance in 1977. He held a famous conference in which he theorized that the reality in which we live in is a commuter game. The band Suicide’s first European concert also happened at this festival. So with this background, I was destined to make futuristic live acts and music.

What makes you continue?

Isabelle /

I ran away from home when I was 15; later I sabotaged my studies and started doing shitty jobs to prove to my family that I couldn’t do anything else other than music. Syracuse and Antinote gave me the chance to make something good out of it.

Antoine /

It’s been a few years now that I’ve been playing with Isa. We have developed a certain vocabulary and technique. Musically, we still have a lot of stories to tell.

How would you describe your sound?

Isabelle /

Maybe like a light dreamy wave that can hold a deeper darkness.

Antoine /

As we listen to all styles of music; from Pop to Contemporary, we do not just play one genre. The previous 7” was a bit folky, but the newly released album is more electronic because we created it while we toured this last year and a half in clubs and festivals.

That previous 7” was one side of Shoegaze and another of gentle synth Pop, while the new record is considerably more “Techno”. Any clues as to what we might expect next from Syracuse?


Isabelle /

When we did “Lovventura / Latomia” it was summer in Paris, the city was totally empty and we were a bit depressed. We really needed to create a warm and comfort feeling in a bubble, light, relaxing but also really brief, like a single breath inspiration. While at the opposite most of the songs from “Liquid Silver Dream” were born during touring, the energy and more particularly the mood is different. After this aquatic experience, I’m thinking about a psychedelic desert trip with long lost moments, refreshing oasis mirages and an “Annette Peacock touch”. I fell in love with the song “Sky Skating” almost two years ago and it’s stuck in my head since. I would love to be able to create similar feelings. Her music is warm, sincere and unsettling, a distant distress. But this is one direction among many others. We’ll see where it takes us.

Antoine /

You can expect to be surprised.

When reviewing “Liquid Silver Dream” I listed a whole load of past references: Haroumi Hosono, Mikado, Torch Song, One Dove, Lil` Louis, Kenny Larkin, John Beltran, Craig Peyton, Sade. Did any of these artists actually have any impact on the making of the record? I ask because I now know that Isabelle is a fan of Brenda Ray, and Brenda was another reference that I could hear.

Isabelle /

Hosono, Mikado, Lil’ Louis, Peyton, Sade, Brenda Ray and many more, make the music I listen to everyday. When I’m making a new song, I always close my eyes and try to hear a melody in my mind. And when I don’t know which direction to take, I ask myself what my favorite artists would have done. And sometimes in my mind those people also have really talented children together and I ask them:

“What would you do?”

Antoine /

I’m a big fan of all these artists, so of course it reflects in our music. Bravo! You were able to identify a lot of our influences.

I`d also like to ask the impact of Disco on your work, since you covered Evelyn King and Antoine`s list of “party starters” contains a couple of Disco classics, which was a bit of a surprise.


Isabelle /

We did a disco version of Sade`s “Hang On To Your Love” for Antinote`s 2nd birthday and also covered Evelyn Champagne King`s “Shame” at the same party. I’ve got a tape with Claudia Barry “Boogie Woogie Dancing Shoes” that we also covered when we were 17. So this is also a long love story.

Antoine /

I was introduced to dance music while listening to Ron Hardy mixes on the internet. He combined a lot of Disco records and early House. I loved it. I put myself to the task of discovering Disco / Cosmic music.

I also heard similarities with fellow Parisians Peine Perdue. Do you know those guys? Is there a scene as such for this music in Paris, outside of the Antinote party?


Isabelle /

I think I must have a song or two from this band in my computer but I never really listen to it. I probably will a little bit more now.

Antoine /

I dont know this band. I think they’re from Germany. At this moment in Paris there are a lot of up and coming electronic artists, a lot of parties, but I can’t say that there is a particular scene. Everyone has their own particularity.

Where is your favourite place to play / party / other?

Isabelle /

We played at Camp Cosmic this summer, It takes place on an island in Sweden. It’s the kind of experience that remains in your head months after you come back. I had the same osmose feeling when we played for Siestes Electroniques a year ago.

Antoine /

In my opinion, the two best places where we played are the festivals “Siestes Electroniques” in Toulouse and “Villette Sonique” in Paris. Both festivals are free and have a great eclectic line-up.

Who else was on the bill at Camp Cosmic, Siestes Electroniques and Villette Sonique? Who were the standout performers at these festivals for you?

Isabelle /

Albion’s cosmic family, Sacha Mambo, Andre Pahl, Johan Ressle, Eva Geist, Tiny Hermann, Traxx and many more fantastic people… Hypnobeat and Aquaserge for Siestes Electroniques.

Antoine /

Ninos do Brazil, TRAXX, at Villette Sonique, 
a crazy Indonesian Metal band playing with traditional instruments that I don’t remember the name at Siestes Electroniques.

What are you most proud of?

Isabelle /

I’m proud of the people behind Antinote and Syracuse, We are like a family and we’re just trying to do our best to follow a passion.

Antoine /

I am most proud of the records that we have produced and created. They will survive us.

How did you meet Quentin and hook up with Antinote?

Isabelle /

I met him when I was 17 or 18, Antoine was my neighbor and we used to make music together in his bedroom that we recorded on tapes and Quentin was playing records with Raphael Top Secret. Years later I met him again, in a club where I was working as a barmaid. He told me that he was making a label and that I should start making music again. Then few months after Antoine called me to record the first Syracuse E.P.

Antoine /

I’ve known Quentin for about 10 years now. In my younger days I would go to the parties he organized with Raphael Top Secret and get down. I had him listen to our demos so that he could guide me in finding a label because he already knew everyone from the electronic scene in Paris at the time. He preferred to keep us for himself.

Who are you working with?

Isabelle /

I did a collaboration with Nico Motte. It’s gonna be released soon on Antinote. I want to work more with the other members of the label. They are my friends but also great artists that I respect.
Nicolas worked with Antoine as Bells Angels didn`t he? Do you have any clues as to who Domenique Dumont is?


Antoine /

I worked with Nicolas Motte on a soundtrack for an exhibition by the Bells Angels. We released a single sided vinyl limited to a 100 copies for the occasion. Nico Motte plays some percussions on our new album and we both will be featured on his upcoming record. We’re also working on a song with the band Paradis.
 Apart from Syracuse, I composed with two other musicians the soundtrack of a play called” In the Republic of Happiness” by Martin Crimp .We play live during each show. I have no clue who Domenique Dumont is. They’re from Lithuania. This is also why we asked them to play for our release party, which is coming up the 19th of November.

Who would you like to work with?

Isabelle /

Brenda Ray and Hosono or if they can work together. It’s a good idea too!

Antoine /

I would love to work with Holger Czukay !!!

Who are you listening to right now?

Isabelle /

Mariah, “Light Wave Today & Tomorrow”, Jeff Phelps` “Magnetic Eyes”, The Exaltics and Nico Motte’s LP on Antinote.

Antoine /

I’m rarely into new music, right now I`m listening to Caribbean Disco, things like Jacob Desvarieux or The Group NSI.

What are your plans for the rest of 2015?

November 19th / “Liquid Silver Dream” Release Party / Point Ephemère, Paris
November 21st / Iboat / Bordeaux

November 27 / Five Years of Redlight Radio / Amsterdam
December 19th / Festival Fabrique / Bézier

January 22nd / Festival Nemo / Paris

Test Pressing`s thoughts and hearts go out to the people of Paris, France, Beirut, and everywhere on this planet suffering under the tyranny of threats and violence, bullies, fascists, fanatics, and murderers.