Interview – Ensemble

Ensemble, a group doing some pretty cinematic and interesting music, are lead by Olivier Alary, who was kind enough to answer some questions our writer Tonan sent his way.

We believe that every music instrument has its own personality; what’s the instrument that can really touch your soul and why?

I feel that every instrument can touch me, really. What really matters to me is the musical content and the interpretation of the musician playing it.

There’s magic in your music that embraces every listener’s environment, so what’s the most important ingredient in every song of yours?

What I find the most important in Ensemble is the balance between music and noise.

I think there is a lot of room for pop music to become more adventurous and for experimental music to become more accessible. Somewhere between the two is a middle ground where you can reach many people and still challenge them and make them think about what they’re listening to. This is what I am aiming for.

The cover of this new album is quite interesting, why so many objects from the everyday life all piled up?

Excerpts is about memory, so I wanted the artwork to represent personal memories as objects kept in a room. I found this beautiful picture by Montreal photographers, Carlos and Jason Sanchez, of a hoarder in his environment and I felt that it was a good visual metaphor for the record.

What are your considerations when setting up a tracklist for an album like Excerpts?

Well, I always try to create something that I would like to listen to. I wanted Excerpts to have a certain dramatic structure comparable to a film.

When the main songs were done, it was very easy to figure out their order. And we created the interludes and transitions in function of the album’s track listing.

You’ve added music to film and museum exhibitions. Any plans in the near future to repeat any of these ventures?

Of course, this is how I make a living, I’m currently working on more film music, collaborating on an art project on generative music called Capture.

What’s to consider when collaborating with one specific artist, whether for vocals or instruments, for a particular song?

I usually follow my intuitions mainly. It’s about knowing if our musical universes can coexist in a song.

There’s a strong surrounding wall-of-sound feeling in each song. Why do you favour this wall-of-sound recording technique?

I love the immersive quality of the wall-of-sound technique.

When you work with such production techniques, you get to play a lot with the actual physicality of sound. I find this fascinating because you leave the realm of music and open up the possibilities of expression through pure sound.

‘Things I forget’, ‘Valse des objets trouves’. Is there a theme about loss (memory, objects, etc) in Excerpts?

Thematically speaking, the album is about the collecting and cataloguing of memories.
How they are changed by the sheer quantity of media surrounding us. I have been subjected to so many films, records and books that I sometimes cannot distinguish fiction from reality; what I’ve lived from what I’ve seen, heard, or read.

This dizzying confusion that either alienates or triggers nostalgia is the subject of Excerpts.

Any news regarding Chlorgeschlecht (Olivier’s sideproject)?

Capture is my new Chlorgeschlecht.

Will you be doing any remixes of fellow bands from FatCat in the near future? The remix for The Twilight Sad was great!

Probably. Hauschka just finished this very beautiful remix of ‘Excerpts’, so I owe him one!

We’d like to thank Olivier and Ash (@ Fat Cat Records) for this interview.

Check out our review of Excerpts (link).


Website. Facebook. Myspace. Spotify. Website (old version).

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s