An Interview with Dead Sea: New Kids on the Block

We recently caught up with French electro-pop outfit Dead Sea, who released their first EP in November last year. 


What is Dead Sea, how did it come about and what are you about?

Charles: we formed the band with my brother Alex and my best friend Julien a full moon night on a desert island in Indonesia, approximately two years ago. Then it took us a while to find the female singer we were looking for. We finally met Caro at a psychedelic rock festival in Paris a few months back. We released our first EP in November 2014, and our first video in march 2015.


Tell us about your first experiences with music. Who are some of the artists and what are some musical styles that have informed your sound?

We all started to make music motivated by the impression that it led to something beyond understanding, and it quickly became a need and a way to always look forward.

Back then we were in a pure shoegaze dynamic, but we decided to move on from this very 90s sound to playing with electronic machines, we still kept an electric guitar though.

Our main musical influences are: krautrock (Neu!, Can, Kraftwerk), shoegaze (My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive etc.), and IDM (Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada etc.)


We had the chance to listen to your EP (Keep it High) and we loved it! Tell us more about the making of the video and your experiences working together.

The idea for the video was not to tell a particular story but to give the ability to everyone to interpret the video in his own way. The video aims to allow people to feel the song, not to understand it. When we met Sebastien (ed. the video director) for the first time, he already had his view of the video. We just gave him some additional ideas: we sent him visual and contemporary art references, and then we talked about what was possible to do and what was not.


What has the response been to your music? Are you happy with it?

People seem to really enjoy it, and it means a lot to us. But we still have the feeling that much more people should experience it. Maybe we should play on TV.


Your music sounds dreamy, playful and experimental. Can you describe why you make music the way you do? What inspires you most?

We’re trying to make what we imagine is the music of the future. To do so, we are constantly looking for new sound textures. We are not interested in highly technical music, we like to keep it as simple as possible, that’s why most of the time you won’t hear more than two different chords in our songs. What inspires us the most is our gear: we always begin a song by looking for a cool sound we never heard before.


How do you feel about Paris these days? What sort of impact do you think this city has had on your creativity?

We love Paris and we think it’s the best place to play indie music in France, but it’s not always easy because radio stations and most labels want bands who sing in French as if they lived in the 50s. We hate that.


What’s your studio set-up like? Any favourite pieces?

We are using a wide variety of modern analog synthesizers and drum-machines, and lots of effects on the guitar.

Charles: Dave Smith Instruments Prophet 12. Perfect to create shoegazy leads. When I play with it, no one can tell if the sound comes out from my synth or from a guitar.

Julien: Boss VB-2. It sounds like what a stranded spaceman on the moon would hear before his oxygen runs out.

Alex: Dave Smith Instruments Tempest + Vermona DRM MKIII. Those two combined, I can do all the beats and effects that I want, from Cluster to Aphex Twin like sounds.

Caro: Nord Lead A1. When I start playing with the knobs there’s no turning back, I know I’m gonna be on it for quite a while. Headphones on and it’s a very inspiring bubble you get into.


Where do you see yourselves in the next five years or so?

We see ourselves in our house near San Francisco Bay during summer, recording our third album and preparing for our second world tour with The Horrors.


What are you obsessed with at the moment in the world of music?

Modular synthesizers.


Do you have any music recommendations for our readers? 

Charles: The Black Ryder – Seventh Moon 

Julien: Kendrick Lamar – The Blacker The Berry

Alex: My Bloody Valentine – Wonder 2

Caro: Chromatics – Yes, and the vast majority of the soundtrack from the movie ‘Lost River’


Summer is coming and that means festivals! Are you playing any festivals this year?

Not this year, we came out a bit too late. But next year for sure! We would love to play to the Austin Psych Fest, we followed the evolution of the festival since its creation, and the lineup is amazing, every artist we listen to played there already.


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