I discovered them a bit randomly about two years ago but Antiloops caught my attention immediately. A genius and hyper flute player, a bass player that I often saw at the Caveau des Oubliettes, some amazing musicians and some scratch: how not to get hooked?
After seeing them for the first time at the Sunset in 2013, I saw them again at the Chat Noir during an evening organized by my buddies from Cacofonix. The crew was composed of Ludivine Issambourg on the traverse flute (who also composed some of the tracks), Timothée Robert on the bass, Nicolas Derand on the keyboard, Maxime Zampieri on the drums and Mr. Gib on scratch replaced sometimes by Dj Greem (C2C).
Before hitting the road this summer for touring festivals, I went to say hi to Fontenay-sous-bois (yes, that far!) where Ludivine agreed to answer my questions.
First, can you say something about the project that is Antiloops?
Ludivine Issambourg: Yes! So, I was the one who came up with the project after four years of touring with Wax Tailor. I wanted to mix my ten years of musical practice in jazz, improvisation, contemporary music, hip-hop, funk etc. It was time to do a synthesis of all those genres: so Antiloops was born with always this desire to gather musicians from different horizons.
What is your musical training?
L.I.: I was taught how to play the flute by a trumpet player, a one-on-one teacher who taught flute and jazz saxophone. He was part of a big band in which he had replaced the trumpet section by a flute one. In fact, when we started to do some “impro” during the one-on-one lessons, the goal was to get their ticket to enter the big band, play during concerts, do solo parts… But he also taught us classical music even if we did not have music theory: only introductory lessons. When I decided I wanted to turn pro, I was pushed to enter the conservatory at 14 which is super late! I realized I wasn’t that much left behind because my teacher had taught me all the basics expect that the words used were not the same… after all, learning music without music theory is, according to me, possible!
With which project(s) did you start?
L.I.: During music lessons I met some friends and I decided to create my first band called H-Nod with who we played funk/electro covers, but we stuck on playing covers because I didn’t have the maturity at all to compose. The band was composed of a bass, drums, a guitar, a flute, a saxophone and some scratch… so in fact Antiloops is a little bit the continuity of this band! Except that I was 18 then (laughs).
What gave you the desire to go further?
L.I.: It’s when I moved to Paris as my first band was in Normandy. I came when I was about twenty/twenty one years old when I integrated the Cergy-Pontoise conservatory. Of course, at night I hung out in jam sessions in jazz clubs where I met some of the members of Antiloops.
Concerning Antiloops, what is coming up?
L.I.: Well… the release of the album on January 2015! So that’s it, it’s done and it’s already in the factory! And of course, promotion is going to start in autumn.
Can you tell us more about this album?
L.I.: It’s pretty much along the same line than the EP (YEP) and at the same time, there are one or two tracks, the most recent, that pave the way for a new direction, one more in depth: we are starting to add more electro and more machines. Little by little we start to enter at the heart of the topic. It would be even more thought through on the second album of course!
Where was it recorded?
L.I.: At the One Two Pass It studio in Montreuil which is the studio of our scratch dj, Mr Gib. In fact, I saw this studio when it was being built because we worked together on Wax Tailor’s tour: he was a FOH engineer. Every time we were on break between two tours he was pouring cement and placing blocks in his studio: I saw the construction, I saw it growing and I always said to him that I would come record my first album there… So I did!
What are your influences?
L.I.: First there is the Ninja Tune, it’s an English label record of hip-hop and electro music with bands like The Herbaliser, The Cinematic Orchestra or Jaga Jazzist who are a Scandinavian band. For the French, I like the Troublemakers for the acid jazz and electro jazz from the 90’s stage.
How would you describe briefly this project, this band that is Antiloops?
L.I.: … A surprising electric bouquet! That is how they introduced us tonight (at the Comptoir in Fontenay-sous-bois) and I really liked it. The aim is to gather a bunch of crazy people, to mix everything and you get Antiloops!
So you get it, Antiloops is a detuning mix full of life and of good music. On the stage, all the musicians are crazy and give everything they have to the audience. It is impossible to stop this crew, always laughing and playing: Timothée and Nicolas haven’t stop playing since the beginning of this interview!
In order to finish this interview with Ludivine, who is, I must admit it, one of my role model, I couldn’t help but ask one last, more personal, question.
You are one of the only girls in this very masculine world of jazz music, and a flute player on top of that: how do you manage to make a name for yourself?
L.I.: First of all… I speak like a guy! After spending all this time hanging out with all those boys I finally ended up speaking like one of them. It’s a little bit problematic during interviews in fact. And the way I play is quite revealing of that situation. I don’t want to be like Calimero but it was not always easy when I was younger to come in into jam sessions being a girl moreover not as a singer but as a flute player. People are often prejudiced regarding this instrument concerning its loudness. Maybe it is because of that that sometimes my way of playing is a little bit “angry”: I tried to made myself heard regarding the sound volume and it had an impact on the way I play I think.
There is no magical recipe then: work and perseverance! Hours of practice and the taste for a work well-done are some trademarks of Antiloops. While album is released, the EP will make the wait easier. And for those who do not know Antiloops yet, I strongly recommend see them live (dates can be found here) because the musicians’ energy and cheerfulness are contagious!