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Loop Artist Interviews
Tioneb is a singer / song-writer and human beat box specialist. He won the Roland World Loop Station Championship in 2012. His solo music is a soulful electro-pop crossover made from layered voice and human beats for a new kind of song.
: January 2015

LiveLoopers.com - You have said in your videos sometimes that you are not very good at social media and promotional things. Yet in your music I notice you have the most incredible lyrics and great things to say. If you could trade one for the other --say for example some huge record exectutive at an enormous record company approached you and said she could guarantee you millions of fans and arenas full of cheering youth but all of your lyrics would have to be dumbed down and you could only sing about very simple and radio-friendly kinds of things-- would you be tempted to make that trade?

Tioneb - Good question! My main music goal is doing music for the rest of my life and to keep searching, there is no way I would trade my work for some fame. In fact I don't care about fame, the closest feeling I could find is the will to live by my music but there is no connection in my mind to being well known. I like to work for days and weeks in my corner to finally have the chance to share the fruit of my efforts with the audience. Of course I want them to like what I do but I don't care about the number of views on my videos or the number of zeros on my bank account. Life is too short to spend it on Facebook, as long as there's food on the table and music in my heart, I'm happy.

And also becoming a pop star would scare the hell out of me! I have a kind of social anxiety (I stammer) and if my work leads me one day to a certain success it would have to be something sweet and progressive not the raping of my private life!

LiveLoopers.com - You are one of the loop artists who gets the absolute maximum out of the technology available and you are always pushing the edges of what can be done with looping. Are there any features, capabilities that you wish for but don't have? If you could design the perfect loop machine for you is there anything it would do that current loop stations aren't doing?

Tioneb - I can see that softwares like ableton live offer a wide range of possibilities (routing, plugins...) but to me having a computer on stage is just not conceivable. I need an instrument, something I can touch, I can plug and play with in 2 seconds and also something made only for the art of looping. So right now The closest to my expectations is the rc-505, it's awesome, versatile, very light and fully controllable but of course I would love to have a deluxe version with a bigger choice of effects and the possibility to mix them to create new ones. It could also have an internal recorder in order to bounce tracks in live conditions and redistribute them or simply being able to record full songs at home. A fully programmable scatter section would be awesome too. But the biggest dream for me would be an internal vocal midi synth scanning the notes of my voice and transforming them into any instrument sound!

LiveLoopers.com - Do you wish that there was a bigger global audience for music in French? Do you fell like you are more expressive in French?

Tioneb - Well I'd say that French has the audience it deserves, English is spoken everywhere not French... Also the sound of French doesn't really fit a lot of modern music genres. It sounds good with rap --if the rapper is good of course. Or with old popular songs where the meaning of words and the poetic gymnastic of artists such as Jacques Brel or Serge Gainsbourg gives emotions in context, using little details of life to explore deep feelings and pains. In my last album I tried to record some songs in French but the next one will be more funky and 100% in English.

LiveLoopers.com - How did you get into performing? And What was your first experience with a looping device and how did that change your performing?

Tioneb - I started performing at 15 with first my band (neo metal fusion stuff) and i instantly enjoyed it.

The very first looper i touched was an Akai Headrush 1 in 2000. It belonged to one of my teachers in the music school I was studying in and he let me borrow it for 2 days. At first it confused me quite a bit but I rapidly found a lot of interest in that strange metallic box. Unfortunately I could not afford one and I had my band and stuff to do at school so I put the idea of having one aside for a bit. I really started to work with it 2 years later when I got sick of bands. It changed completely my way of creating and perform music. I could rehearse at 2 in the morning, find my own gigs... But more important I had the possibility to find a unique sound that only belonged to me because voice creation depends on what the voice sound like and on who the person is, it's a reflection of the soul. So it takes time to go beyond the simple gimmick of music genres or other artist's work but as soon as you get to this point it's complete freedom to me.

LiveLoopers.com - Do you have a lot of experience in creating music with groups? What are your thoughts about creating music in a group vs. being able to compose music as an individual?

Tioneb - Groups have helped me grow a lot. Some people only can work in a group but at some point I realized I was kind of a loner. To my mind even if you work in a group there has to be some kind of boss, someone who creates and decides even if everyone brings something. But in most cases it's really hard to compose in groups. There's often conflicts of ego and stuff... And I'm not patient enough to deal with this right now. I prefer working wherever and whenever I want and sharing this with the audience. Or just do some brief collaborations. That's more in line with the caveman I am!

LiveLoopers.com - What is the best live performance you've ever given and what made it so great.

Tioneb - I don't know if I can point one in particular, I have 2 or 3 moments coming to mind but their common factor were that the audience was really listening and at the same time understanding what I was doing. It was a shared experience and I could feel it in the air so it allowed me to go deep into the sound and details of the songs because I had nothing to prove. I could feel a great amount of trust coming from the outside I guess. There was a time at a live looping festival in Paris, the room was filled with live looping artist and the sound was really good. Another time at Musikmesse fair in front of all the Roland staff from all over the world for a pre presentation of the 505 at 8 in the morning. I just did this one song but I nailed it more than ever. And of course the final round of the live looping championship, even if the technical performance was not perfect, the energy in the room was crazy.

LiveLoopers.com - Probably a LOT of people have purchased an rc-505 based on your product demos and your informational videos. You definitely influenced me to buy one. Has Roland shown their appreciation to you? Do they treat you well as a person who has spoken on behalf of their products?

Tioneb - Glad to know I influenced you not because you bought one (I don't get a cut on sales) but because it really is a great piece of gear. And yes Roland had shown great appreciation in the way that they offered me work for 3 years, giving me plenty of demonstration gigs where they basically just told me to do my stuff and never imposed on me to turn myself into a salesman... I did a lot of demos in France of course but also Belgium, Germany, China and Malaysia. Also they gave me all the products I demonstrated, 2 rc 505s, a TR8, system1, VT3 (this one is my new best friend), HPD20......so THANK YOU Roland! They definitely kick Santa's ass.

LiveLoopers.com - How would you like fans and admirers of your work to interact with you? Should people just check in on your website? Subscribe on YouTube? Have you ever gotten any comments or email or in-person interactions that have really helped to inspire you or keep you energized?

Tioneb - Subscribing on YouTube is great, sharing my stuff even better. But also, as you say, sending me comments or encouraging emails really energize me because I work a lot and the fact that someone takes the time to write me something and cheer me up just makes me feel that my efforts are not vain and that I at least touched this one person and this feels really good. I'm currently recording an album that is a bit more electronic than usual so I'm probably gonna concentrate more on my soundcloud account (right now I'm not even using it) so in a couple of months I will need some subscribers there as well...

LiveLoopers.com - Could you say a bit more about the "more electronic" album you're recording now or any other projects that you have planned?

Tioneb - I'm currently mixing the first of 11 tracks I've recorded. The new thing is that I don't use human beat box on this one because I didn't want the recording of a performance but an actual album with songs that someone could just like without thinking "Wow it's all done with the voice, pretty impressive", they would just like the song (or not). But apart from the beat that is made from a drum machine all the other sounds are vocal sounds but once again transformed so it doesn't sound like voice. I use my vocal chords as a synthesizer with the help of vocoders and effects and I come out with some pretty unique sounds. The idea of Strings that are not strings, horns ensemble not made of horns, clavinet from the future, leads sounds from the x files.... I pushed the effect part quite far this time because I did not just recorded some voice and add effects, I literally played the effects with my voice, undoing and recording the loops until I reached what I wanted. So I'm having some good fun right now and I've no other plan than keep on going, day by day!

LiveLoopers.com - What song or lyrics are you the most proud of and what song of yours would you want new potential fans to check out?

Tioneb - I'm basically never satisfied with what I do for more than a month so I would be tempted to say "the stuff I'm recording now!" But there are some songs from my last album I still like for example "the hill" you can check that on my site and if you want to discover the kind of energy I have currently with a live looper the video for "Don't Give Up" gives quite a good picture of it.

LiveLoopers.com - If a huge television show contacted you to write a song about whatever you wanted and it was going to be seen by millions of people around the world what would you write a song about? What message or topic would be important for you to have everyone be able to hear or know about?

Tioneb - I would write about being able to let go of the people you love the most when you're hurting them with your love. It's precisely what I want everyone to know about. It's something really hard to do. We always kind of feel deep inside that we own the people we love. Sometimes we want to cut their wings because we're afraid to be alone and sometimes we want to protect them so much that we turn into control freaks offering disability, lie and dependency instead of love. If you're able to see this and act accordingly it means that you truly love because you don't ask for anything in return. This involves not living in the past or the expectation, listening to the sound of your world, being aware of the energy around you, living the moment. So you see it's a key for many doors. And the extra bonus is that you get to contemplate joyfully the freedom you've offered. What a cool deal!

LiveLoopers.com - If you could somehow acquire any talent at all is there anything you really wish you could do? Is there a skill or ability that has eluded you?

Tioneb - I wish I could play the piano like a badass I love this instrument and I think there's nothing cooler than a guy coming into a bar, seating by the piano and starting to improvise. I have a friend like that, he's my hero!

I'm also captivated by the people who jump cliffs, sky dive or any super dangerous anti gravity sports, not that I would want to do the same. I Don't! But the fact they somehow kind of kill the survival instinct in them or enhance it to the maximum depending on the way you see it, that completely eludes me.

For more news and info on Tioneb check out his website at tioneb.org

LiveLoopers.com - Thanks so much for doing our interview.

Tioneb - Thank you Alex for this opportunity of self introspection (how much do I owe you doc?).

This interview was conducted by Alex of LiveLoopers.com

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