Asura

English / Polish version

Asura
    WHERE: France
    WHAT: world music
    ALBUM: Life2
    PARTY: summer festivals
    LIKE: cinema
    DISLIKE: boundaries in music
    PRIVATELY: Charles
    CONTACT:
    - Official Site
    - Ultimae Records
    - Myspace
    - Last.fm
    - Discogs

Asura. Actually, you do not need to write anything more, because who has not heard about this project? At first it was powered by three well-known characters – Vincent Villuis (Aes Dana), Christopher Maze (about him we know the least) and Charles Farewell (currently appearing solo under the pseudonym of Asura). At the turn of years this composition has some modifications, since one of the leaders of the group, Vincent decided to devote himself to the project Aes Dana, as a result he was replaced by Alex Ackerman. Ultimately, however, since 2005, Asura is one-man project of Charles Farewell.

Probably it will not be a great exaggeration, if we write that Asura is one of the key projects on psychill / psybient scene. Unless each of released albums proved to be not only perfect, but most of all Charles managed to get a first global brand, associated with downtempo music from the top shelf. Characteristic sounds that accompany each album, are instantly recognizable and have become quite the label of this project. A mixture of ambient, trance and world music, melancholic melodies and vocals, elements of liturgical songs, symphonic interludes, variable rhythm, the music at times reminiscent of the film soundtrack – Asura has all of it to offer us.

On January 27 2010 we had an interview with the project Asura (Charles Farewell) and now we encourage to read it.

Ashoka: Hello Charles. To begin with we would like to thank you for finding time to answer some of our questions; we really appreciate it. The first question is connected with your collaboration with Vincent Villuis, Christopher Maze and Alex Ackerman.We have found out that you have been working solo since 2005 and we would like to know what is better in your opinion: working as a team or alone? What advantages and disadvantages can you find in working solo?

Hello. Thank you before all for your interest in my music. I don’t know what is better. All I know is that I was a little bit afraid of working alone before 2005, because I have always been working either in duo, or in trio before. But in 2009, I wouldn’t go back, only for collaborations sometimes with other artists, or a side project. You don’t have to prove to the other members your idea is good, but you have to cope your responsabilities when you are alone. Moreover, when you succeed in creating a great track you are alone too, as you are alone if the track is average or bad. So it’s at the same time scary and grateful to be solo. I like it!

Ashoka: Can you say anything about your career and beginnings with music experiments? Are you a professional musician? When have you heard your first psychill track and what was it?

I first met Vince Villuis (future Aes Dana) in 1994. To sum up, we tried out some experiments during 2 years, and decided to create Asura project in 1996. As far as I am living with my music, yes, I am a professional musician.
I don’t think that psychill as a genre did exist in 1996, but some tracks from Banco de Gaia (LAST TRAIN TO LHASSA) or downtempo Astral Projection were guidelines. We decided afterwards to create an album who would merge ambient and trance, and CODE ETERNITY was born in 2000.

Ashoka: Who decided to name your project Asura? Could you tell us what is the meaning of the word Asura? Is it connected with deities in Hinduism? Why have you chosen this name?

Vince thought about Elysium, but it was already taken. Then whe decided to call it Asura. In hinduism, the asura are a group of power-seeking deities, sometimes referred to as demons. They were opposed to the devas. Both groups are children of Kasyapa.The negative character of the asura in hinduism seems to have evolved over time. In general, the earliest texts have the asuras presiding over moral and social phenomena and the devas presiding over natural phenomena.
In zoroastrianism, the term asura is linguistically related to the ahuras of zoroastrianism, but with an inverted morality. Thus, while in vedic religion the asuras are demonic, in zoroastrianism, the ahuras are benign. This inversion also applies to the other class of immortals: where the vedic devas are benevolent, the zoroastrian daevas are malevolent. That’s why we chose this name. For his ambivalence, not totally good, not totally bad. Like and human. The asuras are very human deity, in fact.

Ashoka: If you had to compare your music, sounds of Asura to anything in the whole world (pictures, landscapes, phenomenon, part of nature), what would it be?

It’s really hard to figure it out… Maybe it’s a question to ask to Asura listeners. I don’t wanna enclose my music in genres or styles, so I think it can be compare to many things, and associated to many images. Sometimes, one says it’s a default, for me it’s a force to have no limit.

Ashoka: Please, tell us where do you find the inspiration to create your music? Why have you decided to make psychill music? What’s so special in this musical style?

Inspiration… It’s the great question… It’s coming like that. By listening to music, looking at movies, living joys and pains. Guess it has nothing extraordinary, that just the way it is. I didn’t decide to make psychill, it didn’t exist when we began it with Vincent. The idea was to mix every kind of music, with no limit. The term psychill was invented after, but I am not sure my music is psychill. Some call it too ambient, or trance ambient, or psy ambient. For me it’s just music. And I would say, if one is obliged to give it a name, that it’s world fusion, much more than psychill. It’s a filter of ancient and comtemporary music, electronic and acoustic, beatless and beatfull… What is special in it, is that it’s a free genre, without boundaries. By all means, it’s what I would want it to be.

Ashoka: Do you think that the music of a particular country is inspiring to you?

I think I answered in a way yet. Music I am doing is a filter of so many kind of music and influences.

Ashoka: Could you give us three titles of albums, compilations that are very important to you and are an influence on your music? We are asking not only about the psychill work, but about all the music styles in general.

Impossible to give only three. Too frustrating! So let me say Tangerine Dream RICOCHET and RUBYCON, Jean Michel Jarre EQUINOXE, Maurice Jarre DOCTOR ZHIVAGO and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, John Williams SCHINDLER’S LIST, Hans Zimmer THE RING, Vangelis CONQUEST OF PARADISE… Too, too, too many to sum up them here.

Ashoka: In your opinion, is there one, specific, psychill artist whose work you admire the most? Can you tell us what album is the most spectacular to you? Is there any prospective album from a psychill artist that you can’t wait in the nearest future?

Solar Fields. For me, it’s the best that electronic has to offer since several years or decades. This guy is a sound stakhanovist, and a great melodist (which lacks in many trance or ambient artists). And he has his unique style. For me, MOVEMENTS is a chef d’oeuvre. Avant garde sound with melodies you can whistle. Terrific. But for me, this is not only electronic music or psychill one. This is music, that’s all. Concerning the psychill album I can’t wait in the nearest future, yes, there is one: mine!

Ashoka: Getting back to your work, could you say what track are you proud of? What track from the albums you created, has given you a lot of pleasure? Which one is the less successful in your mind and what could be the cause of it?

I am above all happy that some of my tracks, absolutly not in the ambient mood, be loved by some listeners. For example, GOLGOTHA, LA CHANSON DE CARLA or LOST EDEN. Or, during my live acts, when people still ask me and dance on CODE ETERNITY or THEY WILL COME though they are old tracks. Some of my tracks mean a lot to me. For example, LA CHANSON DE CARLA, cause I composed it for my daughter. I don’t know what means ‘less successful’. As far as a track is released, and above all, as far as there is only one person that likes it (except me of course), it is successful, to me.

Ashoka: Could say which one of your albums is your card, logo and the substance of Asura style?

I think the link between all my albums is emotion, I mean demonstrative one, sad or melancholic, sometimes dramatic. CODE ETERNITY listeners would say: 4/4 beat and acid layers, and sad synths. LOST EDEN listeners would say: world ambient, more breakbeat. LIFE 2, maybe the mix of both. I really don’t know.

Ashoka: What is the nicest and the most surprising thing you have heard about your music?

I received several years ago a mail from an Iraqi. He wrote that he was listening to LOST EDEN during bombardments of Bagdad, in 2003, and that it gave him the will to survive and go on. I am honoured, proud, and moved (I am not sure there is a good word for that kind of emotion) to make music only for this guy or that kind of message. We are not speaking about music, we are speaking about universal sharing and friendship.

Ashoka: Is there any other kind of art beyond the music which is particularly interesting to you?

Cinema. I am a movie eater. My last blasting experience was Avatar. I never saw something like that before.

Ashoka: We have heard your live act on several psychedelic trance festivals around the world and we are very curious which one did you like the best?

Guess that my live act in Sherbrooke, Canada, in 2008, was a great moment. Cause everybody there were connected with ambient, with my tracks and with me. Blend Club in Athens, in November of this year, for It Records birthday party, was full of great energy and sharing too.

Ashoka: Is there any place in the world where you would like to play a live act and where you haven’t got the opportunity to present your music earlier?

In Corsica, in South of France. This is the land of my forefathers, and it would be a perfect mystical place for that kind of music, for sure.

Ashoka: The next question is connected with your future. Is it possible that you could tell us something about your plans related to project Asura? Are you thinking about creating a new album or maybe getting involved in a new project?

I am working on two projects. My next album, 360 will come in 2010, and the next one, a spacey album, should see the light in 2011. I want to do a beatless album for a long time now, a real ambient one. A kind of tribute to great space artists of the 70’s, like Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze or Michael Stearns. And I am creating too a new project with another artist, which is not in the ambient scene. But this is another story…

Ashoka: The last thing we would like to ask you concerns the Polish psychill scene. Do you know any artist, project from Poland?

Yes, I know Aural Planet. They are performing a wide range of styles. I like it. I like every kind of music as far as it is not enclosed in too many rules. Music is freedom, doesn’t matter the way to express it!

Ashoka: Thank you for this interview and finding time to answer our questions. We wish you good luck and a lot of inspiration.

Thank you very much for your interest and your patience, and I wish you the best 2010 possible!

LOVE LIGHT

(The interview contains only the original, not changed statements and replies. All answers are authentic statements spoken / written by the interlocutor / interviewed person.)

[10.01.2010]