Getting to know innovative music producer Ouai Stéphane

Music producer Ouai Stéphane, aka the Mad Scientist of Ableton, has released his new EP ‘Ché Pas’. Ouai Stéphane is known for incorporating everyday objects such as drying racks and clocks into his sound. The artist is well versed in music production, specializing in Music And Media Technologies at Dublin’s Trinity College. He has cited the Chemical Brothers and Kylie Minogue as highly influential to his sound.

We find out more about this creative in this interview.

Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? And music production?

I started playing the violin when I was 5, so that’s maybe the moment I got into music. I then continued with drums, and bass for many years and played in a few bands… I think I got into music production because I realized that I wanted to play all the instruments. The best tool for this is a computer 8-).  I downloaded Music Maker 2005 then Reason, Ableton Live, Max MSP, Csound… So I suppose I started music production when I was 15-16 years old ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?

I think all my tracks are based on technical experimentation. I always take some time to try new plugins out or extended techniques I had in mind. Because the result is always boring and non-musical, I focus on arranging all the created elements in a nice way (◕‿◕✿). That’s how I compose and produce!

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Personally, I love having constant background noise while I make music. It’s a bit anti-productive in the concept but I really find calm and comfort in the idea of leaving a TV switched on with some sort of emptiness or some non-content. For example, I love watching Friends, Hey Arnold, Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I love these shows, but they don’t demand a specific level of attention and I know all of them by heart therefore my focus can be switched on music. This “presence” is my weird way of keeping my brain active and efficient at producing.

As a musician, it becomes apparent that there is a huge difference between the art and the business. Is there anything about the music scene that you would personally change?

I am very lucky to have a great team around me who supports me in all my artistic choices. I don’t feel a huge gap between my art and the business around it thanks to this team. I know it’s not the case for all artists, but I have nothing to really say on that subject.

Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?

It’s hard to choose between these 2 different tasks and environments. They are completely different. I really thought I was more of a studio guy for a long time, but with this weird concert-less era, I realize that I miss playing live so much. So I suppose it depends. At the moment, I prefer playing live maybe? I presume we all prefer what we can’t get/don’t have (☞ຈل͜ຈ)☞.

What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?

I have a track called ‘Ouai Ouai’, which means ‘Yeah Yeah’ in French. I received an Instagram message asking if it was possible to redo this track with her fiancé’s and her own voice saying ‘Oui’ (Yes) so that they can put the track when they get married at the “Yes I do” moment. I think that’s a thing I’ll remember for a long time. Of course I accepted, and I even got invited to the wedding. At the end of August, I’ll let you know how it goes ˙ ͜ʟ˙.

What’s on your current playlist?

I came back to my parent’s for the lockdown and found an old hard drive with some music I listened to, so I’m back on this stuff. Here are a few examples:

– Death From Above 1979 – ‘Romantic Rights (Erol Alkan’s Love From Below Re-Edit)’

– Kylie Minogue – ‘Slow’

– Animals As Leaders – ‘Wave Of Babies’

– Emiliana Torrini – ‘Gollum’s Song’

– Vengaboys – ‘We like to Party! (The Vengabus)’

And some more recent stuff:

– Fontaines D.C. – ‘Televised Mind’

– OSC Kins, Speed Gonzales – ‘s3x-E-b^k’

– Special Request – ‘Spectral Frequency’

– IMANU – ‘Come Forward’

– Arvo Pärt – ‘Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten’

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you in the near future?

I have looooooads of stuff ready for the future. I’ve nearly finished another EP for September/October. I’ve 2 or 3 new music videos. I’m going to release a compilation with all of my friends. I have an online radio station that I’m preparing with my fish. I’m trying to hack a stethoscope so that I can link it to Ableton (I want my heart to control the BPM). I’m working on a new live performance and still working on new tracks that could take the form of an album for next year (/) (°,,°) (/).

Famous last words?

Ouai

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