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Guillaume & The Coutu Dumont Interview


Beyond his achievements in modern beats, Guillaume Coutu Dumonts has a rich and varied history of music experience, from percussion for a funk band to studies in Latin and classical percussion, a university course in electro-acoustic composition to years spent working in a Montreal studio, not to mention [iks], a contemporary jazz formation which produced two albums and a tour around Senegal. Hennessy artistry managed to sneak in an interview with the Berlin-based artist ahead of his gig this Friday at Tao Terraces in Bangalore to find out what keeps him interested in electronic music, his associated with Mutek festival and his love for percussion instruments.
Besides the well-documented incident that triggered your interest in electronic music, what has sustained your interest in making music that is obviously outside of classic club conventions?
Hmm, outside of club conventions I can’t say that [my music] is totally wanted. I have an interest in music in general, so what I bring to the table is a, sort of, involuntary mash up of all those influences. If I look back, I’ve wanted to squeeze myself in club conventions more than trying to run away from it. I think of dance music as a playground with more or less defined boundaries. Whatever happens within those boundaries is free. The energy is very important. That is what stays with people after a show. It’s like seeing a movie you don’t quite understand but you totally dig the mood.
Who are some of the artists in the electronic music scene that you are inspired by?
The list is long but one of my first big slaps in the (musical) face was Theo Parrish. That dude just turned my world upside down. The last big slap in the face I received was from my good friend Colin de la Plante’s (AKA The Mole) upcoming album. Oh, sweet lord! That shit is just amazing.
Your name is almost always mentioned synonymously with Mutek though you aren’t part of the organisation. What is it for you that makes Mutek so special?
Mutek was the first platform on which I released some music (Egg, my first album, for instance). It’s my home base in Montreal. People over there have been supportive since the first minute so I’ll obviously always be more than grateful for that. Otherwise, the festival is just an atomic bomb. Think about summer camp for music lovers…a full week spent with like-minded friends in one of the most welcoming cities on this side of the universe. I remember going to summer camp for a full month when I was a kid. The moment to leave was always very sad and heart-breaking. Mutek festival is the closest I’ve come to that feeling.
You’ve mentioned how you moved to Paris/Berlin as it’s simply not viable economically any more. How does a festival like Mutek exist annually without a local eco-system to keep the artists who are bred in the city in the first place? Do you see any parallels to this in other cities?
Montreal like the most cities in North America has a fundamental problem. Laws basically prevent people from partying. Think Footloose (the old version of course). So it makes it very difficult to sustain a underground club music network. Mutek comes once a year and feel like bliss. But then it’s over and things move very slowly. The overall feeling probably changed a lot since I moved away. It’s been six years already so…Overall, I think, things are improving in general in North America. It seems like it’s finally back on track party-wise. I love to tour over there nowadays. You meet great people and attend great parties.

What do you miss most about Montreal?

It’s the people…plain and simple. Everyone who moved out of there for one reason or another will tell you the exact same thing.

For someone with such a deep love of percussion, do you have any connections with music from the Indian sub-continent?

It’s funny that you asked. I love Indian music, from the north to the south. I’ve played tablas for a very short while (that instrument is tough, and it’s pretty impossible to just brush its surface. You have to really go deep or else you always feel like a tourist). I love the count and to feel the beat, it’s all very sophisticated. Of course, it couldn’t apply to every type of music but on its own, it’s a trip.

What’s the weirdest place you’ve taken your music to?

I played in Chengdu (China) in a club that was also a brothel. Taking in consideration that this gig was co-produced by the Canadian Consulate made it pretty damn weird. I can honestly say that one of the weirdest gigs I’ve played was in a shopping mall in Mexico City. We were supposed to play while someone was “cutting” the official ribbon for a ceremony. The ribbon was actually made of ice and the cutting was made with an axe. I was playing and waiting for the whole ice sculpture to just collapse on the lady. It didn’t happen in the end, she was too weak to actually cut it. Or maybe she realised it wasn’t a good idea. In any case, it was disappointing.