Kaneel Sketches It

For some of us here in the Renoise community, Kaneel's debut commercial album has been a long time coming. Released on Apegenine Records, "I've Sketched It A While Ago" hosts a mature collection of songs with intense glitched beatwork married with beautiful child-like pop melody. I recently spoke with Kaneel on the Renoise IRC channel about all this: what you have below is the lightly edited transcript. Thinking Deep.

Let's start at the technical beginning. How did you get into tracking music on computers?

Kind of chance I guess... a boring summer, an internet connection and I knew about modules. I had this friend. Once, I came to play at his home and he made me listen to some modules. I didn't care back then about composing, I was just listening at them. Then, summer 99, I had nothing to do at home, decided to download a soundtracker.

So we're talking Impulse Tracker?

Well, for me its been IT2 for some months then FT2 then going back on IT2 :)... IT2 at first looked scary to me, but then, I noticed that it2 > ft2. (anyone can say so... its something well known even if some others wont admit it)

Did making the switch to Renoise open the creative floodgates for you?

Hmm not necessarily. You know the deal - when you're used to make music in ONE AND ONLY application, it's getting hard to switch to an other one. I was so much used to IT2 than anything looking differently was a mess to master. I had to figure things out... struggle with it. But then, after that, the possibility to use VSTs opened gates to me. Weirdly, it also gave me headaches :)

Too many choices?

Yes, that too.

Was most of this album made on Renoise?

All composed in renoise 1.2 (no, not kidding, 1.2).

So that's a while back now, 2004?


Renoise was somewhat 'young' back then, still morphing into the stable machinery we have now. Did you find any limitations working to your favor?

At that very moment, not at all... how could I've been finding them? I mean... I had new things to discover: synthesis, "mastering"...

Was the music heavily produced, or was it something that flowed out easy for you?

Well, I have to explain the situation back then. I was living far from my girlfriend, far from my family... Well.. Not so far. But, far enough not to be able to see them when I wanted too. And I had this job, working as an architectural modeler... With heavy hours... So each moments I was feeling "okay", I was making music. Some beers helped me a bit. I can't really remember if it flowed that easily. I remember I was in front of my keyboard, making the bleeps :)

So it was more of a slower sporadic cathartic process?

Indeed. Completly cathartic. Thats when I started to express my sadness through a "fake joy", if I can put it that way...

Musically speaking the speaking the album has a lot of delicate 'small' sounds on it, was this a conscious choice in honoring the tracking heritage?

Actually, no. An old habit :) To make everything out of small pieces. Of course - it comes from the tracking heritage! But it's not made to honor it.

More of an efficiency thing?

Just an old habit :)

Stylistically your music has had the tag 'naive' put to it, and it certainly seems to be the case here on this album. What's this whole 'naive' thing about for you?

It's about a different way to compose music, just not formatted to be "mainstreamly accepted". Working on progressive ideas...

Why pink?

Because it's the best color to express the "naive feeling" ? Because it's cute... Because I like pink :) ...and why not afterall?

I've heard people refer to your music using that troublesome genre name of IDM. Most artists who get this description tend to be dismissive of it. Is this something you've had to deal with in sharing this music?

Everyday. I just somehow hate it to be considered as IDM.

There's a tasteful sprinkling of glitched percussion throughout the album. Unfortunately, many of the enthusiasts who collect non-mainstream music move in collective taste fads. Glitch as a sonic element seemed to be very fresh and prevalent around the turn of the century, but now people are moving back into nostalgic revisions and mutations, for example breakcore and dubstep. Is this a concern for you?

Well, the glitch comes from the tiny pieces of sounds. (explain more your question plz :D)

Well I'm trying to imagine people listening to this for the first time, and it would be a shame if I saw people going 'ah this is glitchy, I'm so over glitch'.

AH yeah, these people. If they enjoy following whats "fresh" and "not fresh".

Does that bother you?

Of course it does. I can't understand people who are just not considering a moment - it's MUSIC AFTERALL. A music is not GOOD because its ACTUAL. Its GOOD because IT IS. For example, breakcore is old as hell. So what? They should be over it as well. But NO, someone said its fresh so now, it's fresh again. And maybe glitch will be fresh again in 2 years. To be said - it's not really important.

Why has it taken so long to get this work out there?

You mean, to get this album released?


Ho well, regarding the name of the album - it wasn't making sense if it had been released right after I finished it - it had to get older... Ok. I'm lying :) The label is having trouble to see its path through this hard world that is the music scene. The label owner, Vincent, is a great guy... He's believing in any of the artists of Apegenine, but it doesn't mean people will follow. And thats great, he wants to release the music he likes and not the music that will be liked! But so what? You have to find money, make choices... Some releases had to be released before mine... It's like that :)

So you were OK with waiting?

I was.

Would you change the album at all now if given the chance? Or does it hold up for you still?

This album is about my life at this very moment. If my life had been happier during the making of it, it wouldn't have sound the same. I caught a moment, expressed it. Somehow, my music changed, but its still "about myself".

In recent years the industry has been undergoing challenges to the old established system of making money. Do you think going with a Label still has good opportunities for an artist starting out?

Many people are confounding labels and majors. A label is a label is a label. I see it as a family. You make the opportunities... The problem is more on the audience side.

Do you think people are still interested in CDs?

Are people still interested in vinyls? NES? Old computers :D It's fetishism. I know many people who still are enjoying buying an object.

A lot of your music is freely available online, including newer music that has an 'updated sound' to it compared to your album. Is this part of the marketing of Kaneel, or an unavoidable necessity that every artist faces these days?

Yes, it's marketing. I'm releasing my music for free because it makes me look cool and generous. Because people nowadays tend to think that musicians doing glitch are not GENEROUS. Because they make their music weird so only esthet are listening and understanding it. (:DDDDDDDD°

Speaking of self promotion, it seems you've either actively or inadvertently made a minor celebrity of yourself in the Renoise community via some rather entertaining YouTube videos. Additionally you've been sporting an alter-ego named Monsieur Baguette who has a tongue-in-cheek breakcore comedic mission with a string of free releases. Has this all been a 'bit of fun' or part of a larger artistic plan?

"Bit of fun." ...Related to the Renoise irc channel. I had to do it :)

Where do you see yourself headed with your music now?

Completly nowhere of course. That's frustrating. But it also opens a door. I'm free to do whatever I want with my music and whatever moves I want to promote it, make it evolve. So at the moment, I don't have any label commitments, I AM FREE... (whoohooo)

Speaking of Labels, I see you have started your own - Petite & Jolie. This seems to be continuing the 'naive' theme but with other people's music. What's going on here?

That I want to make evolve as half-a-label/half-a-netlabel... Petite&Jolie is born in my head years ago. At first I wanted to make a compilation only about cute music, naive music. Pink? Kindergarten even... Anything that could be "CUTE". But eventually it was aborted. And years after, it has relaunched as a netlabel, just because I think it was somehow "lacking".

Is it going as planned?

It is. We got supporters, some reviews - we even made it on phlow (the official netlabel magazine) while it was our first release. So yeah, it's going as planned, even better :)

What's your message to the world?

Hmmm, there is this message on my website: "Make it happen, make it last, make it work and appreciate this moment because it's already time to go back to real life work..." I want to remain young, as us all. But real life is trying to get me back to it. So I have to remain a kid inside my head and still, accept the real life how it is, be mature.


Yap. You know I suffer from that :)

Anything I missed?

A beer.

* mr_mark_dollin slings kaneel a Fosters.

Ho and the veggie bbq.



Get your copy of "I've Sketched It A While Ago" here.



Nice article and cool interview. Kaneel, keep up the good work. I must admit, I envy you some bit but on the other hand... Releasing a complete song is quite impossible for me right now! Mr. Baguette 4ever!
You don't envy my actual lifestyle, it's about taking a train to go work at a different city and come back at home on the night :(
Great interview man ... can't wait to hear the whole album.