Etienne and rimrimrim were originally from the opposite ends of France and their relationship grew via communicating on various message boards over a period of years. With Etienne now living in Paris and much closer to Olivier's home in Lille the duo have already expanded their working relationship into film projects. Forumusic spoke to Etienne to find out more.
What music forums / message boards did you and Olivier meet on?
Olivier / Rimrimrim & I were heavily into indie rap in the early noughties (Anticon, Project Blowed, Co Flow, etc), and we both frequented French webzines / message boards that are now defunct like Hiphopsection or Hiphopcore I was a collaborator in both these sites.
How well do you know Olivier given that your main communication with him is via the internet?
Yeah, we met a couple of times. We made the connection through my cousin when he moved to Lille where Olivier lived. They’re both illustrators. I don’t remember how things went or if we met before we started the site but prior to meeting him I was impressed by his work and thought about him immediately when the idea of the Six Ton Armor site arose.
I know he kind of looks like my cousin, in a weird way. Maybe there’s a pattern for all illustrators hahaha... I know that he’s a busy father of two and a very creative guy. He’s always down for whatever decent projects you bring him and is always very positive. Basically that’s the dream guy to work with. I also have to mention Morgue who lives in the US who helps us with the psychcasts and Nidal who helps out with the label.
Given your ages, did your love of psych come from vinyl or downloading from blogs?
We're younger than most people we work with, I guess. Hahaha. I started buying vinyl way before the blog phenomena though but obviously took knowledge from some of them and the more specialized forums. My interest for psych music grew bigger with various mixes I played on repeat. From that point onwards I started looking for the original LPs.
Are there any big psych collectors that have politely refused to compile a Psychcast?
Haha.. Yeah, it happened. Sometimes politely, most times they don’t even answer our request. But you know, they’re mostly busy people, they don’t have a clue who we are, it’s all good. At least we never had somebody saying they would never contribute our shitty site!
I really like the fact that we blend all kinds of collectors. You don’t have to have a ‘big’ name to be featured on our site. I also think a lot of other sites which offer stuff from currently hyped artists often put out mixes that boring and badly crafted.
If a newbie to the genre wants to understand what psych is, what mixes would you direct them to listen to first?
Damn! Do you realize what you’re asking? Haha… I’ll have a couple of selectors mad at me for not picking them. Jokes aside, that’s a tough one.
I love the fact that everyone has his own interpretation of what psych music is supposed to be. I love the fact that Buddy Peace made us a mix about early electronic stuff but with a very obvious psych aspect. Then again, Big Pauper made a complete mix out of obscure VHS, Pete Sasqwax put together a concept mix blending BBC Radiophonic Workshop with Malcolm Catto and Enigmatical did a selection of Scandinavian psych jazz. I really couldn't put any one of our mixes higher than another, they're all so different.
Personally I love a mix of straight psych obscurities like the last one by Lothar Funk. I guess I’d just tell a psych newbie to scroll randomly until he finds something he likes.
We can see you have some pretty cool T-shirts on the site. How else do you see the Six Ton Armor website evolving?
Thanks. Well, we have a couple of nice projects coming on. We have a project called Time Is Now, which is an audio/video project. Basically it’s a video montage of vintage Giallo movies and such over a psych mix I made, like Cherrystones & Lovely Jon’s Jigoku. I’m pretty proud of it. We’ll have it released as a VHS from the US label Video/Horror/Show (http://videohorrorshow.bigcartel.com/) and also as a DVD/CD limited edition. It should be out in a week or two, check out our site (http://sixtonarmor.com/timeisnow/).
Other than that we’ll have a vinyl postcard series soon. We’re currently working on the first one. Also we'll probably have our first vinyl release sometime this year. We’re presently working with this awesome band from San Diego called Hezus (http://hezusmusic.com/). Finally, we'd like to try to make a new version of our site at some point, if we find the time!
You mentioned in an interview a few years ago with the UGSMag website that you were listening to Wolf People, Ars Nova and Aphrodite’s Child. What are you buzzing on at the moment?
I listen to a lot of Brigitte Fontaine, especially Je Ne Connais Pas Cet Homme and Comme A La Radio. There’s not too much French music to be proud of, but this one is ace.
Other than that… T2 “It’ll All Work Out In Boomland”, Felt - “S/T”, Liverpool “Por Favor Successo”, Wakhevitch’s “Dr Faust”… Broadcast, Hezus, the Pre-Cert/ Demdike Stare releases.
After that it's a lot of noise rock, 90s rap and 60s soul 45s. You'll understand that lists like this are endless and ever changing.
Are there any new Psych-flavoured bands around today that you think are worth checking out?
Wolf People, Tame Impala, Laughing Windows, Dungen, Sleepy Sun, The Black Angels. I like some bands from the garage scene like Thee Oh Sees... I wouldn’t say they’re a psych band but Unknown Mortal Orchestra released my favorite record of 2011. Oh and Hezus of course. I really hope they’ll get the attention they deserve.
Are you really a descendant of Roald Amundsen or were you just teasing the UGSMag website?
Yes I am actually. I look quite the opposite of a viking though!
Etienne Mézin (AKA Olsun) / Interview by Ian Townsend / March 2012