richard pinhas press
Composer, guitarist and electronics innovator Richard Pinhas is recognized as one of France's major experimental musicians. A pivotal figure in the international development of electronic rock music, Pinhas' stature in France is analogous to Tangerine Dream's in Germany: the father figure of an entire musical movement. The pioneering, aggressive music produced by his band Heldon during the 1970s, fusing electronics, guitar and rock, heralded the industrial and techno to come and remains today vital and unsurpassed. The 'Father' of electronic music in France is also recognized as a world-class guitarist whose "diabolical guitar work" (Progression) earns comparisons with Robert Fripp.
PROGNET DENMARK: How did your adventures with music begin? Did you have any musical training or are you self-taught?
RICHARD PINHAS: I started playing guitar at the age of 13, my adventures in sound started with The Yardbirds : For your love, Rolling Stones : The Last time and of course Jimi Hendrix. I met him at age 14, to give him in Paris, a PICATO green strings O9 gauge. The guy that were The MC knew that i were a hard fan of Jimi Hendrix (saw him on stage 8 times live)and phoned me. Before the second Hendrix OLYMPIA show in 1964 or 65. My first show (i was very very BAD guitarist..Supposing that i am better now.) at LA Locomotive. It was the same place the who played one week before. My first gigs were ind london and in paris. In london replacing the lead guitarist of a band in a club, the guy just dissappeared. And in paris at Golg Drouot with Klaus Blasquiz. He went to Magma some years later and i found Schizo the Heldon. Then it was Heldon's first vinyl 33 tours in 1974 (recorded in 1973), then it got serious with Heldon 5 and Un reve sans consequence special, then succes until i disbanded in 1979. After 9 years the drummer and bassist Didier Batard wanted to stop, so i decided to stop the name of Heldon and continue alone under my own name mainly (Schizotrope projekt, a 3 CD project with french brilliant writter Mauriceg Dantec)So at the age of 17 i went more and more into music, but goes at the same time at university for history, stopped that and went for sociology, anthropology (masters) then definitivly philosophy, with a phd. at the age of 23.Teached one year only and had quite a "success" (relativ with 19.000 sold in one year of the lp Heldon 1.
Chose the life of a Guitar Player and Synths composer more attractive and i studied with Deleuze for 17 years at the university of paris 8. Became "professional" guitarist difinitivly at the age of 22, the same time as i did my phd and recorded the first release from Heldon. After that it was only music, except the periods of 1984-1989 were everything stopped for me - even guitar playing. I was thinking that it was done for me, nothing left to play. Mountains, Parachute, Paragliding and then it was back to the music by a big big chance.
After the proposition of Steve from Cuneiform i re-released all the catalog of Heldon an my solo work (at the same time a proposition in europe and japan, so i took the three. At this time it was possible to have the same lp in a euro version, in usa version and in japanese version. Now i work only or mainly with Cuneiform, except some small tracks or collaborations. I understand that one Cd a year is a lot and their support is fantastic. Thanks to who ever that Cuneiform excists and follow my work so well. For the moment i am doing 4 projects for the next 2 or three years and intensive touring. Just got home from Asia (Korea) after touring USA with Merzbow and Wolf Eyes. Going back to Asia (Japan) again, then Canada festivals and USA. Europe also, perhaps London, i have not played in London since 1993, so there is a kind occasion in march. 3 hours of a students help to show me the basics, then self taught because anyway in 1965 you cant do in any other way. So i heard a lot of guitarist mainly british blues, then came John Mayall, The Yardbirds finaly Clapton and the Cream era, in my humble opinion the best. I listened and tried to re-do and learning by ears only for hours and hours.
PROGNET DENMARK: What music genres do you yourself listen to, and is there some kind of music that inspires you?
RICHARD PINHAS: These days i listen to the new one from Eno - Heavy Loop "Small Craft On A Milk Sea". The tracks one and thirteen are some of the most beautyfull music i have ever heard. I got it from a young french girl named Lynn, who gave it to me just before i went to Asia last week. I also listen to a lot to Godspeed you black emperor, they are coming to france soon (in january) and i am a very big fan of all their music - they are one of the best bands for the years 200 and forward for me !!! Other artists i listen to a lot, are the magnificent Frank Zappa and older Brian Eno stuff. I listen to many unknown musicians as well that ask me for my opinion or the oppertunity to play with me, and sometimes i do. Also classical music is something i listen to, for example Scarlatti, Bach, Wagner (Ring + Parsifal). Some of the music of Johnny Cash and the french singer Bashung. The last days Captain beefheart... Peace... RIP.
PROGNET DENMARK: If you should mention 10-15 records that have meant something to you and your music, what would they be?
RICHARD PINHAS: In no particular order :
+ Miles DAVIS Strange brew and all the music from 1970-75 era.
+ Jimi Hendrix...From the first Hey Joe to the end of his career.
+ Fripp and Eno...first album (recorded at the same time as the first on by Heldon)
+ King Crimson Larks tongue in aspic and Red.
+ Scarlatti, Bach and Wagner
+ Stockhausen: Hymnen
+ Debussy and Ravel
+ John Mayall
+ The Peter green era of Fleetwood mac
+ Jeff Beck
+ The Doors...of Course
+ Frank Zappa
+ Bob Dylan
+ Alain Bashung (french singer)
+ Led Zeppelin
+ God speed u black emperor
PROGNET DENMARK: You are in my ears a musician who is in constant movement and going in many different directions from track to track and from release to release. Where do you get your ideas from and what is your secret (if you have one)?
RICHARD PINHAS: Thank you very much. I dont have any secrets, it is a process going on in my head and just work, work, work - every day. I cant stay without playing guitar (when i am abroad) more than 2 dys. When i am in Paris i play every day. I generally record music 2 or 3 months a year and i try to do experiments with other musicians, sound producers or alone. Music, reading writing and love - of course. Musical Process and production is a mystery, a magical mystery. Never forget that you anyways have to work a lot, practice guitar, create sounds, engineering etc. And your task in life is to give it to everybody, then people will give you a lot of love in return. But you have to be in the music - 2 possibilities :
You are in the process of doing music and you are inside - so you are productive.
You are not (then you have nothing to do in the Music system of production).
After all of this i have to question myself to change as soon as possible in my production. Right now i am thinking of the next solo cd, quiet without LOOPS for example and perhaps a return to synthsizers. Is it clear enough ??? Music is an emperic immanent plan of life, all my life - and remember that music is your best friend ever !!!
PROGNET DENMARK: Are you a full-time musician or is music your second job?
RICHARD PINHAS: Being a full time musician is not very well payed for. But it is my full time job and i make a living of it. Sometimes i write books and articles or do conferences in philosophy. I do not have a second job, the only thing for me is music. Only MUSIC is Real.
PROGNET DENMARK: You have on several ocasions worked with the king of noise Merzbow. How was it like to work with a big personality like him ?
RICHARD PINHAS: Masami Akita is now A real friend to me. He is a great Musician, the incredible NOISE movement leader of all time. I have deep respect for his way of doing sound, even if perhaps he is not a common "musician". Eno is not a "musician - Eno is a pure genius of sound. MERZBOW was a great encounter and the begining of a long history that started around 3 years ago in Tokyo. It is long story, the first time Masami came to the opening of the first concert there and we asked him to play with us for the encore. The second time we played together and decided to record in Tokyo. That resulted in "KEIO LINE" (double cd at Cuneiform, Tripple Vinyl at Dirter Records, UK). Then we played together in europe, germany i think and Paris and at last in D.C, USA at the Sonic fest. There we recorded live some new tracks and have triple cameras teams to video it. That will be the next album at Cuneiform : "Rhizomes - Live in USA,2010" from Merzbow and Richard Pinhas. It is an incredible CD, recorded live by Orion studio(Baltimore) in Washington DC, last september 2010, and mixed in Paris at Ramses. Some tracks from the Paris concert will figure on it. It is real TOP MUSIC. Because it only happended this day, only this DAY. Some big events are yet planned but i am not autorised to talk about untill next january, festivals in America and europe. Merzbow is a fantastic creator and i hope a close friend. We have total mutual respect for each other and a great friendship - Thats all folks!
PROGNET DENMARK: If a new listener were about to buy his first recording with your music, which one would you recommend as the best introduction to your amazing music?
RICHARD PINHAS: I would of course suggest the newest one METAL/ CRYSTAL" But also METATRON and KEIO LINE are very GOOD. If you would like to get started with Heldon i would recommend "Interface", "Un Reve", "Consequence speciale" and "Stand by" which all are my favourites. Or maybe wait for my new collobaration with Merzbow "Rhizomes" which for me is a really amazing recording. It still do not understand, after 3 months, that this cd is one take from one concert.
PROGNET DENMARK: I have had the pleasure to listen to your latest two releases on Cuneiform Records. Could you tell us a little about those releases ?
RICHARD PINHAS: I Spent 2 years working on "Metal/Crystal", recording from WE material(michigan) and a paris concert Merzbow did with me. Then Recording in the studio in Paris and Alchemy - at the end i did not know where i was. Mixed it at Ramses with my old sound engineer Laurent Peyron. Then editing it at Heldon studios (my place now, nobody knows for how long???). Then losing almost everything because the brand new hard drive broke in one second, but 3 weeks of work to reorganize copies from the other secondary hard Drives. THEN i were miserable !!! I was not sure of the result - i let it stand 2 months, then hearing it again and was mesmerized. Was this my work ??? i was enthusiastic. I am a REAL BI-POLAR and treated as a Bi-polar. This explain that, perhaps, now i think it is pretty fair.
"Keio line" was a real adventure between Tokyo and Paris and a real link between Masami Akita and me. We talked very little, but decided to do music together. I stayed around 8 days in Tokyo, then did a big concert with the help of embassy peoples (thanks to them), then a second concert with Masami for the noise Scene - only by email and a lot of people came. We were after that in a very small noise studio, one hour by metro from Tokyo center and spent 2 days recording like in a live condition. Masami was so nice to me, taking care of me, I really thank him. It was a benediction to be both at the right place at the right time. Then Cuneiform were OK for the dobble Cd and Dirter (UK) for the vinyl edition. "Keio Line" was simple and very efficient, "Metal/Crystal" was hard and all in all an Adventure i wish to finish before turning along another page of my life (my young brother died in 17 days quite in my arm, my ex girl friend, commit A 99% suicide..). The new album with MERZBOW is yet Mixed, videoed and sent to Cuneiform and it will be out next march/april - "Rhizomes, Live in USA, 2010" RP/Merzbow. I am now working on so much different things. In about two years from now i have a new solo album "Devolution", then as solo it will be the last "Farewall" like the last vinyl of the CREAM. So after that you will write: Richard Pinhas 1951(Neuilly-France)- 2012 or 2015(TOKYO)...RIP