Tresors:
The TVD Interview

For the better part of the last fifteen years, France has become one the most influential exporters of electronic pop music. Ranging from the groundbreaking (Daft Punk, Air), the shamelessly careerist and poppy (David Guetta), to the iconoclastic (Justice, Sebastian Tellier, the Ed Banger label). Thankfully, the nation’s rising international profile has resulted in underground musicians getting some love as well.  

Trésors is a Paris-based duo comprising two men named Adrien (Durand and Kanter, respectively). Since their formation at the end of 2010, the two have been crafting experimental music with a strong pop twist. The result is danceable music that’s challenging without being needlessly unlistenable. Adrien and Adrien have performed across Europe with the likes of Suuns, Puro Instinct, and Teengirl Fantasy. They are currently mixing a record in beautiful Baltimore, MD, and I had the pleasure of interviewing them.

How long have you known each other? 

Adrien Kanter: For about five years now. We were in different bands but involved in the same scene.

Adrien Durand: We shared a lot of stages before playing music together. But I don’t remember our really first meeting, maybe AK does! In a club in Paris, I guess.

You’re both named Adrien. How does that work when someone wants to address one of you when you’re both in the same room?

AD: I don’t know how but it always works. Tibo, our soundguy, calls us “Monsieur D” and “Monsieur K” though.

AK: Yes, it needs a bit of training but we’re starting to be good at guessing. You have to listen to the way people say it, rather than to the word itself.

What were your previous musical projects (production, bands, etc.)?

AD: I played in bands since age 13, so it would be a long list.

Mainly post punk, noisy bands where I played guitar. It’s the reason it’s always so special to come to DC for me.

AK: I’m a guitar player, too. I played in a noise rock band and an improvisational duet before starting Trésors. I’ve also produced dozens of songs on my own in my room.

How did you meet the guys in Protect-U / Future Times?

AK: I met Aaron [Leitko] and Mike [Petillo] through their previous band, A Day in Black and White. I loved that band (and still do). So I organized their first show in Paris. And another one the following year. Then I went to Philadelphia and DC for a visit the year after. Then Mike came to Paris. So we’ve always been on contact.

Have you ever visited the States? What about (glorious) Washington DC?

AD: Many times! As a tourist, touring musician, and as a student. [I’ve only visited] DC only once, and I just saw few things. It still reminds me of Dischord Records.

AK: Yes, quite a lot of times. Last time I was in DC was to visit Aaron actually, three or four years ago.

French music has been getting a lot of international attention in the last decade. Do you feel any pressure to perform and/or deliver?

AD: No, not really for me. I don’t listen to many French bands. I prefer old acts like Gainsbourg or Lizzie Mercier-Descloux, or what we call “variety française” that reminds me of my childhood… to any kind of French touch 2.0. We do have a pretty cool rock garage scene these days, and it makes me really happy. I don’t know, French bands want to get famous and sell music to car commercials… Not really my thing. So no pressure, only excitement!

AK: God no. Absolutely no pressure. Simply happy to be there and play our music in front of people who may not have the chance of listening to us.

You list Boards of Canada, Joy Division, Moroder, and DFA as your influences. What do you take from these artists and how do they inspire you to make music as Trésors?

AD: It’s always really hard when you come out of the blue to describe your music to other people. And we tried to cite bands that can be related to Trésors. Adrien and I have different backgrounds and influences. We play synth music with electronic beats; the melancholia and trippy atmospheres are the link between our different songs. We share this love for “sad music.”

AK: Yes, these influences are guidelines for people to quickly have an idea of what we sound like. But the people that we really relate to are the ones that give a special soul to their music.  Those people who put their heart in it. Like Neil Young, for example.

When it comes to production, what do you think is the most difficult part about completing your tracks?

AD: Deadlines. I don’t know. AK handles the mixing work, and I do beats. It’s 50/50. Sometimes it’s easy; sometimes it’s harder. It really depends.

AK: We are new and fresh in the electronic music world. We’re still finding out things, getting better and better (in terms of sound and composition). Difficulties are evolving all the time, but we are getting more and more precise.

What are your favorite piece(s) of equipment?

AD: I just bought a Korg M1, and the sounds are really funny and “sci-fi.” But I’m really bad with equipment!

AK: I like equipment with a strong personality that recalls immediately the time they were designed. Equipment that gives you pictures in your mind straight away.

What are your plans for the rest of 2012? 

AD: We came in the US to mix a new record in Baltimore. It will be released next fall; then we are gonna be on tour. Hopefully far away from home. We also completed a remix for the new DNTEL record and we’re working on one for our New York friends, RARECHILD.

Any long-term plans?

AK: As for long term plans… Getting better and seeing if people realize it.  

Trésors will be performing with Protect-U and Colin Crowe (of Buildings) at Velvet Lounge tomorrow, Saturday, June 23rd. Doors are at 9pm. Show is at 9:30pm. Tickets are $8.

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