Please introduce yourself and your band. Where are you from and what kind of music do you play?
I´m Josué Coloma and Alozeau is my one-man band. I'm from Valencia, but I,m currently living in Barcelona. I make experimental electronics, between ambient and industrial music.
Can you lay out in the history of the band a bit? Where have you started where are you now?
I've played in bands since I was 15 years old. The most of these bands were punk, garage, metal or progressive rock. I played guitar, bass or keyboards. In 2007 I began to play electronics with laptop as Alozeau, until now.
What does your band name refer to?
It refers to a canadian surname: Lozeau. Leo Lozeau is the main character of a canadian film called “Léolo” (Jean-Claude Lauzon, 1992). I love that film and I would say that it's one of my favourite ones. The name of the band is, in a certain sense, my little tribute.
What had been the initial idea when you started your band and how has this evolved over time?
My initial idea was experimenting with sound and noise and making atmospheres. In the beginning I used to play with laptop just. Now I'm playing more keyboards and guitars. I usually sample them and I play with all that. Maybe this is the little difference, but essentially I think that I make the same thing: experimenting with sound.
What would be the core essences of your music and how does your release “Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari” fit into this?
I don´t really know how to tell what the core essence of my music is. Maybe the intention is expressing things that can't be expressed in other ways. These things just can be told through art or creativity. Hidden aspects of human being, dark sides of existence, abstract sensations or feelings... I don't know how to describe it with words, just with the music.
“Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari” is quite a peculiar movie. What would be the connection between you and this film?
I watched part of this film in cinema class, while studying at University. I was fascinated by the aesthetics, set designs, costumes, the make up... From my point of view it's one of the first “atmospheric” movies of the history of the cinema. It´s a good story in a mysterious and intringuing atmosphere.
How did you feel about it? Do you like it?
It changed my way of watching films. I love it
Your opinion on the persons Caligari and Cesare. Are these two characters still of importance today? Is something of either of these still part of our own characters?
Caligari and Cesare are us. As the rest of the characters of the film, in different ways. I have a psychoanalytical reading about it. Caligari is the Id, Cesare is the Ego and Francis the Superego. Potentially, we are all “bad” people, we all have “bad” instincts, and we are controlled unconsciously by these primitive instincts. Society and morals make up this fact, so we don't kill each other..., well, at least we kill each other a little bit less. But despite the morals, the Id always goes back, it never dissapears. The Id is part of us. And we have to feed the monster in order to keep it quite. This monster inside us is Caligari, the Id. On the other hand, we can leave it free through art, music, literature, etc.
Do you think this film has aged well?
Well, it's a silent movie. Nowadays, we have a lot of technological advances in the cinema that may lead to the assumption that all silent movies has aged badly. But I don't think so. In fact, I think that movies as “Caligari”, “Battleship Potemkim” or “The Birth Of A Nation” still are actual because they are about us. They are old but new at the same time. I don't believe in a drastic distinction between old and new. It's not the same thing, of course, but both are connected, in some sense.
Are there other ones that you would like to write “a score” for? In case this would be true, which one would it be and for what reasons?
I've made music for “Ballet Mécanique” (Ferdinand Léger, 1924) and “Decasia: The State Of Decay” (Bill Morrison, 2002). There is no recordings but I've played them live in film screenings. Now I'm thinking about making “The Phantom Carriage” (Victor Ströström, 1921), “La Chute de la maison Usher” (Jean Epstein, 1928), “Aelita” (Yálov Protazánov, 1924) or “Algol – Tragödie der Macht” (Hans Werckmeiste, 1920). I can compose music mentally while watching these films. The images, the story, all that silence are inspiring. As this films are silent, I can imagine the sound freely. If I listen the original soundtrack while watching the film, it's more difficult to imagine something that already exists. Anyway, I've been thinking about doing it with some sound movie, like “Nosferatu” (Werner Herzog, 1978), for example.
Are you by chance familiar with other movies from this era of German cinema?
Yes. “Nosferatu”, “The Golem”, “Metropolis”, “M”... I think it's a great era of cinema.
How did you approach the film or the topic? Had it been just the aesthetics that played a role in crafting the music or are you aware of what the film tried to express and what its meaning would be? On how it reflects a certain state of mind in the Weimar Republic.
To be honest I have to say that the reason why I approached the film was mainly the aesthetics. I think that its dark “mise-on-scene” is connected with my music. However, I have always been atractted by the first half of the 20th century. Europe was in a time of crisis, a crisis of civilization. And in this time all the repression of the western culture came out in a bad way. That is to say, it came out in the form of State violence, racism, world wars, systematic discrimination and hate speech against the difference. I think we must look at these moments in order to be aware of all that, and so maybe we can avoid to repeat some errors. Anyway, I'm not very optimistic about it and I think History is repeating itself. Again and again. On the other hand, it was a time of powerful art production: avantgardes, jazz, expressionism, dodecafonism, Kurt Weill, serialism, ...
Is it possible to watch the film and listen to the music at the same time? Is there a cut of the film that you prefer?
Yes, it`s possible, more or less. In fact, I recorded the music while watching the film. A favourite one? “Du musst Caligari werden”, maybe.
For arguments sake, let us imagine that someone would merely listen to the music and be unaware of the film. Would it not be difficult to really grasp the meaning behind the stark switches between the various tracks? Take “Cesare, der Somnambule” and “Heimweg” for instance.
I suppose that the rhythm of the music suggests that it's about a film, or something visual. I don't really know if this person would grasp the meaning or not -the question of meaning depends on the context and it's difficult to know what is such thing as “true meaning”-, but I'm sure that one can make an own meaning, and that's the most important thing.
Parts of your music are quite disturbing and slightly off-putting. Why is that so? What role do noise and ambient play? When it comes to counterpoints, then how important is something like this to you?
Yes, I know that my music is not easy. It's not suitable for all audiences. But that's what I like to do. I want to tell something, or to express something, or simply experimenting with something. And I do it. That's all.
Noise and ambient are two of the main features of my music. There are noise moods and ambient moods, so to speak. And the counterpoints, in “Caligari”, is connected with the ups and downs of the story.
Parts of the music give the impression of mocking and playing with the mind of the listener. “Jahrmarkt” is not exactly what someone might imagine when it comes to visit such a place.
Well, I wouldn't say that I'm mocking at all. But it's true that I'm playing with the mind of the listener. It's unintended but I think it's like that. The track that you mention is a special one. I'm aware of people doesn´t feel like that while being in a amusement park. I wanted to suggest that this park is not a happy place, that it is not just entertainment, and that behind the appearance of a funny park there is somethink dark, at the movie at least. It is connected with my psychoanalytical reading of the film. Behind everything there is always something unpleasent, dark, difficult to accept. I'm interested in that point of reality.
Is there something that you may want people to take with them from your music?
I want them to find something in it. Fun, fear, thrill, curiosity, a story, a sound, an idea, a feeling, a though, a sensation. Just something. It depens on the listener.
There is a piece of paper added to the release, but the writing on it is in Spanish. What is it that you have written on it?
Yes, I could not imagine that a limited CD edition (30 copies) will travel across borders and that's why I just put the writing in Spanish. The text tells the story of the project. To sum up, Caligari's project started in 2010, when a friend of mine (Raül Fuentes) suggested me to make some music for a film screening. I chose Caligari. In 2014, in Barcelona, Joan Parera and Isabel García suggested me something similar one more time, and I did it again. After that, Òscar and Desirée asked me if I was interested in releasing the music in their label Marbre Negre. That's the story.
What equipment did you use for this recording?
For this recording I've used laptop. Everything is MIDI and electronics sounds.
How can someone get in touch with you and where can someone find your music?
What would be the future plans for Alozeau?
By now, I'll play live with visuals that I make. And possibly some live with silent films screenings.
Closing comments if you like
Thanks a lot for this interesting interview. A true pleasure.