First impressions matter. The grandeur of synths echoing through an abandoned factory hall on the first track Gost immediately drew me in. You could feel something good is coming next. The second track Glittered had me convinced this wasn't just a fluke. Halfway through the third track Silver Dust, with a beat and vocals reminiscent of Gessaffelstein, I had this album in my basket on Bandcamp.
Demence is the debut album by the French music producer Aymeric Chagrot as Perhopes, released June first on JST records. Back in 2016 he released his first EP Source on Owl Visions label Comorbid Records. During this time Perhopes really matured and perfected his musical style, which shows on his latest album.
This album is a must hear for any fan of the darksynth cyberpunk techno sound. I'm not going to waste any more words on this. If this sounds up your alley I urge you to just listen to this album on the 80s guy youtube channel or on any other platform, you can find the links on Perhopes website, listen while you read the interview with Perhopes below.
How would you describe the sound of Perhopes?
I always have trouble qualifying the sound style of what I do. That's because I don't necessarily limit myself when I compose, but also because over time I've borrowed elements from the styles I like to hear to end up making the Perhopes sound. I'm sometimes classified in mid tempo, cyberpunk, synthwave... maybe the most appropriate style is dark wave. But I like to compose rather melancholic, dark, heavy patterns with a frank rhythm and distorted leads.
Owl Vision, an artist who makes a similar type of music, is adamant to identify his style of music as 'Death Electro'. Can you relate to the way he refuses to be boxed in to other genres? What are thoughts on this genre? Does your music also fit this niche?
I think my music can actually be related to this genre even if I don't really sound like a genre anymore, some listeners will think that I'm doing one style, others will think that I'm doing another style and in the end beatport will put it together as "indie" :). Our way of thinking and feeling about music is quite similar and his music speaks to me a lot. At that time I had already composed schizophrenia and I had worked on other pieces like Source and Laments, and I had remembered his title Holy Sh*t. I really felt a closeness between my music and his music. I sent him a demo and that's how I was able to sign the Source EP [to Comorbid records].
Which artists are the biggest inspiration for Perhopes?
Without hesitation, my most influential artists are Justice, SebastiAn and Gesaffelstein. I also love the first wave of French touch with artists like Lifelike, Alan Braxe, Fred Falke, Thomas Bangalter.
Justice for some heavy drums / melodies as in Planisphere (my favourite track ever I think), SebastiAn for his creativity and Gesaffelstein for the work around synths and techno inspiration.
In an interview you earlier this year you said after submitting to Owl Visions label, Comorbid Records, he urged you to create a new alias and so Perhopes was born. What did that change mean to you going forward? Has this decision also impacted the sound you create, especially in comparison to your previous project 'The Dirty Squirrels'?
This change of alias was actually accelerated by Owl Vision because at the time we were coming to the end of what we had proposed under The Dirty Squirrels (me and MRJN) artistically and that alias no longer fit the music and direction I had taken in my short career. We were a little bit in that French touch 2.0 movement, with a more electro trash style influenced by Justice, The Bloody Beetroots, Mr Oizo, The Toxic Avenger and we thought we'd done the trick. On top of that, I had to get away from music for my studies. I was still composing during this period but my style had changed and my mentality with it. Perhopes became a more personal and mature project for me. A kind of new start for what I wanted to propose musically.
What were your main reasons to sign your first album to JST Records?
JST Records has always been, for me, a big player in this particular electronic music scene. I got to know this label quite early with artists like Dizkodeath, Laforcah, Hijack Da Bass, Into The Pale Abyss and many more especially through the Metalectro blog. When I was preparing dj sets I would always check out this blog and quite often I would find myself playing a lot of JST tracks. As time went by I got to know Zak [owner of JST Records] and he offered me to do two remixes for the label. It's quite natural that once the album was finished I sent it to him for his opinion and he offered me to sign it on JST.
I found a video of The Dirty Squirrels performing live on Techno Parade 2014 in Paris, in front of a huge crowd. JST Records is also known to do bookings for a lot of artists. Due to corona its impossible to tour right now. But once the opportunity arises will you be performing live too?
Every time I think back on that date I get chills. It's a great memory and it was really nice to know that even if they played sharp tracks or a style that was unusual for the audience they weren't going to run away.
After that date I had to take a break to finish my studies. At the same time I worked on a live show where I reinterpreted my tracks. I'm currently working on a new version of the live show with my new tracks. When new opportunities will present themselves once this period will be over, I will be ready to party again.
Now that your first album is released. Whats in store for Perhopes in the future? Any plans?
In parallel to the release of the album, I continued to work on the tracks. I've got a lot of tracks in progress, it's a bit of a producer's pain, I take a lot of time to finalise it and be fully satisfied with it. I already have good feedbacks about these WIPs and some of it are finished but I want to take the time to build something coherent around these tracks. On top of that I've launched version 2 of my website and I would like to make it more interactive, so that it becomes a little bit of a hub around "Perhopes". I've already started working on my YouTube channel which is quite recent too to eventually offer live sets, live sessions or playlists. But I think I will also propose via the website to simply exchange with me for me giving feedback on beginners artists' tracks, collaborations, remixes, booking, or even exchange on various subjects. One of the big project to come is also to improve my live performance by including my new tracks but also some of the synthesizers I use in my studio and that I would like to bring on stage with me.