Aes Dana

English / Polish version

Aes Dana
    WHERE: France
    WHAT: downtempo music
    ALBUM: eg. Memory Shell
    PARTY: don’t have one favourite
    LIKE: ambient / trance / electronica
    PRIVATELY: plenty to do
    Official site

Aes Dana is a solo project behind which stands probably one of the most expressive person in the world of psybient music – Vincent Villuis. Frenchman from the origin, a musician by love. It will not be an exaggeration if we write that thanks to his productions as well as albums released from the wings of his label, this kind of music has taken on a new course and he has given it a completely different meaning.

Aes Dana, that is Vincent Villuis, a composer and sound producer, dj and co-owner of the French label Ultimae Records. From an early age connected with an electronic music. A bassist and singer of many cold wave and industrial bands. A former member and co-founder of a project called Asura. He has been cooperating with Magnus Birgersson for years and creating with him a project H.U.V.A. NETWORK. Vincent’s music is a combination of a progressive sound, some spacey vibrations and a whole spectrum of a psychedelic kingdom. In his productions there is no lack of some hypnotic vocals or rituals surrounded by some tribal rhythms. As he says about his music, he creates it in order to offer his fans some new opportunities to explore the sound. Till now, his four solo albums has been released (SEASON 5, AFTERMATH, MEMORY SHELL, LEYLINES). Each one offers something innovative and timeless. His productions have often appeared in many compilations such as: OXYCANTA, ALBEDO, whether in cult series called FAHRENHEIT PROJECT, for which he is personally responsible. The cooperation with Magnus resulted in releasing two albums – DISTANCES and EPHEMERIS. However, Vincent is not only rotating in a psybient circle and that fact can be exemplified by his edition of a soundtrack for a science fiction movie – ‘THE PASSPORT’.

Ashoka: First of all, we would like to say thank you that you have decided to answer some questions for us. Before we start we would like to say to you a very simple word again (which is not only our, we are sure) – thank you. Thank you, because you are a real master of a new path in psy chillout music and carry the sounds not only to our souls and minds, but mainly to our memory. Your music is unforgettable. How did you find this path? Why psybient?

I thank you for your words and consideration. I started to work early with computers and machines, making sampling, sound fx in some gothic, industrial projects. I worked also with hardcore band, creating intro, the ‘between tracks’ soundscapes. I have a long background in creating electronic music but to be honest I am not sure to be a psy-ambient artist. It depends what you link with the term ‘psychedelic’. I was simply labeled this way by reviewers, but if you ask me I create immersive ambient, hypnotic downtempo and neo-classical electronica.

Ashoka: Do you know that Ultimae is the most prestigious psychill label in the world? Tell us what is the key to Ultimae’s success? How do you select artists whose albums you release? We suppose that you receive hundreds or even thousands of demo CDs from all over the world, right?

Is it? Oh wow! I guess the key to our ‘success’ is that we work with our heart. We care for our artists and we care for our fans.
Indeed we do get many demos, but it is quite rare when one of them ends up being printed by the label. We tend to work with artists we like as individuals and whose music touches us deep within. If it does not grab our guts, it is out. We do not want to release anything politically correct.

Ashoka: Ultimae is well known mostly because of its original, specific and characteristic style. When we put a CD to a player we easily can recognize Ultimae sounds from hundreds of others. Are you open to any new trends and branches, which are coming more and more popular in psybient music or you prefer to focus on just ‘one’ way of expressing music?

That is funny, from your question I am under the impression that Ultimae only released one style of music. I think all albums are quite different even though you can recognize the Ultimae touch. We are not into launching trends; we really do not care about that. We are here to give artists a good structure to spread their wings from and to make people dream.

Ashoka: Let us focus now on (in our opinion) your best album – MEMORY SHELL. We do not want to say that LEYLINES, SEASON 5 or AFTERMATH are worse, they are masterpieces as well, but the first which we mentioned is absolutely unique, and it is completely different from your other production. Could you explain us why? It is a real psychedelic kick.

Oh wow that is an old album to me. Yeap, it does have more of a kick and a bit of a trancey feel to it, especially in tracks like MEMORY SHELL. But I can not explain the album or the creation process. It is just something that you got to appreciate as it is.

Ashoka: We must ask you about your inspiration. Do you have your favourite albums, artists, groups? What kind of music do you like to listen at home, in the car?

Right now we listen to Lilly Allen a lot, because my daughter aged I do not have any favourite, each music is very fond of the singer has its moment, I listen to very different genres from Arvo Pärt to Trent Reznor.

Ashoka: All we know some details from your past, we mean your cooperation with a project Asura, why have you decided to leave this project? There are a lot of gossips, so it is the high time to know the truth?

I felt like doing something different and that is all there is to say about it. Leave the gossips where they are please.

Ashoka: If we are talking about cooperation, we need to ask you about your common projects with Magnus Birgersson (better known as Solar Fields) – H.U.V.A. Network. First of all, your new album is a huge step towards ‘faster’ downtempo music. The album includes not only panoramic and atmospheric sounds (which we like so much), but also a lot of music which makes us dance – that reminds us Ozora Festival 2009, where people were a few centimeters above the ground during your live act. Could you say us something about that?

I deeply enjoy this collaboration with Magnus. We are brothers in sound. Each album, or each composition time brings new explorations. Sometimes we work from his studio in Göteborg, sometimes from mine in Lyon and quite often via the internet. We remix all the tracks for live acts and did a special one for Ozora that would rock the stage. Each live act is different.

Ashoka: Aes Dana in old Irish means: ‘people of the arts’, are we right? We know you have studied art and literature, so maybe there is some connection with these branches? Why did you decide to choose that nickname? Does it have any deeper meaning?

My brother Mat had the idea of this moniker. Apparently in the old Celtic time they were the artists and the technicians. People who could see behind the veils of the worlds. Also they would not go to war and would stay to take care of women. I kind of liked that bit!

Ashoka: In the first half of the year 2009 the world got a chance to listen to your another album LEYLINES, but you should expect our greed. So, when can we expect your another release? Are you working on something new? Can you tell us more about your latest productions?

This year I am resident artist at ‘Les Dominicains de Haute Alsace’ in Guebwiller and will write a few pieces for them. I guess from that work will emerge an album. I am also composing other tracks at the moment that have no relation to the residency and which will either feature on comps or be released as digital EPs and working on [PERIMETERS], an album featuring several artists whose work I deeply appreciate and which should be released at the end of the year.

Ashoka: Have you ever thought about making uptempo music? We know your EP MANIFOLD, which is more progressive than chillout, but it is a real exception. So, do you think that downtempo productions are better or maybe they express you in a better way?

Yes, I have thought about it, actually I even composed quite a few uptempo tracks, take MEMORY SHELL which you were talking about earlier, MANIFOLD, the releases on Electrik Dream and Blue Tunes. In a way I feel more drawn to composing downtempo, but I would not say that it is better. It is simply what comes out when I am in a creative process.

Ashoka: You are a guest in many psyfestivals around Europe; do you like it? Can you tell us about your favourite one or maybe your best party ever?

I very much enjoy going to Ozora, there is a good vibe and real people. I have no such thing as a best party ever, sorry.

Ashoka: Now we would like to ask you about some advice, because there are a lot of gifted and talented producers in our country. What should they do if they want to have a day when one of their track or even whole album will be release for example by Ultimae?

First, they really should not think that way. The most important is not that they get a release on such or such label. It is that they create the music that resonates deeply within them. We have decided not to bring any new name in the label for the moment. The team as it stands now is big enough and if we want to do a good work with everyone, then we should not expand. Also we choose the people we want to work with, either because we heard them play live or met them and enjoyed their company.

Ashoka: You can not be a producer all the time, so tell us about your day off; what do you do?

Quite right, I am not only a producer. I run the label with Sun, give Master 2 classes at University. Lately I have had very little time to compose, so when I get time off from all the other activities, I turn into a music producer.

Ashoka: Do you know anything about Poland? Any artists, music, anything?
Maybe you would like to play some day with us, what do you think about it?

Of course, I would love to come and play in Poland. I am keen on travelling, and especially meeting people. I do not know much about the country or its artists. So far I only worked with the guys from Aural Planet.

Ashoka: Please tell us something that you have never said in any interviews, tell to all your fans something that they do not expect?

That is a very odd question. I have been doing interviews for 10 years and I do not remember everything that was said or was not and since I do not know what people expect, it is hard to say something they do not.

Ashoka: Now you can tell whatever you want to people from Poland.

Wish you all the best!

Ashoka: Thank you for this interview, we wish you all the best and we are waiting for your new productions.

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