We discovered Roméo Poirier – AKA Swim Platførm – last week, through his sleek synth collab project Poirier Marshall Partners. A quick soundcloud nosey, and it turns out young Roméo has his toes in several pools – from dapper jacuzzi pop to more murky explorations. His briny meeting of minds with softly spoken Norwegian poet Lars Haga Raavanad is particularly engrossing – ringing out like 10 minutes spent in a diving bell with Herman Melville, Ivor Cutler and Jonny Greenwood. Yes, if you hadn’t guessed from my laboured metaphors, Poirier is ‘obsessed with the aquatic element in all its states (liquid, solid, gasous).’ Appetite whetted, we reached out to the Platførm – our reward a wonderful guest mix and mini interview. Enjoy.
Kit Records: You describe Swim Platform as a deeply personal project. What caused you to be so preoccupied with water?
Swim Platførm: I always felt right beside water, (on the beach or in swimming pools or under the rain). The tempo is very relaxing and inspiring. As a kid I used to dive in my bathtub with a too large wetsuit, trying to beat records. Last year I made my fist dive with equipment, an horrible experience … Now I have accepted to only keep the poetic part of diving. Swim Platførm means not being on the ground and not being in the water, but standing on that border between the two different attractions, and getting the overall view of humans on the beach and the unknown of the ocean by looking across the surface.
I love watching people entering and going out of water, I can see their change of state. Entering into water means the death of our language, like a necessity of going back to a prenatal state where words were not articulated – there were only sounds and sensations, and then slowly regain the power of speech, with this new experience. That’s my hypnotic repetition. I’m actually registering to become a lifeguard in swimming pools and am looking forward to getting this job, becoming more than a passive phantasm.
KR: And is your work as Romeo Poirier completely separate from this?
SP: For the past five years I’ve been playing drums, guitar and bass in a lot of bands. A couple of years ago I formed a duo called Romeo & Sarah and released one album on the Herzfeld label from Strasbourg, France. Looking back to the lyrics of the songs, they recall islands, lighthouses, beaches, resort landscapes, and on the cover we’re both dressed as frogmen. I understood the need to go deeper into the ‘concept’, and try to recreate an evocation of water and its surrounding through the language of sound. So I started playing experimental improvised music and met Colin Johnco in Paris, with whom we established the Quartet Swibekiko (with Bérangère Maximin and Kirikoo Des). I think that in almost all the projects I’m involved in, I try to connect research with new experiences. Being alone in a musical process can sometimes be very boring!
KR: We love the interaction between music and poetry on ‘HVAL FALL’. How did this come about? Are there any more interesting collaborations in the pipeline?
SP: This encounter with Lars was quite important to me. We were traveling through Norway with Charlotte, visiting Øystein, a very good friend. We were hosted by Lars and his twin brother in Bergen. Lars told us he was writing poetry about dying whales and their slow movement to reach the bottom of the sea. So we came back a year after in the south of the country at the exact place where Lars’s story takes place. For one week I recorded him reading excerpts of his book and collected sounds from the area. Then I returned to France and composed the music. With a language that I don’t understand I found myself totally free to hear his voice like material and rhythm. I would rather work with breath, blow or hiss, with a trumpet or a foreign language. It brings presence, and also memories of the past – as if in white noise, was concentrated all the sound of history. We are talking about making a another project, with Lars’s next book that he’s currently writing!
Right now I also have a new project with Michael Marshall (from the band Babe), called Poirier Marshall Partners. We made two recording sessions and are currently rehearsing for gigs. This project is very exciting because we just met but it feels like we’ve known each other from a very long time, musically connected, even if we don’t listen the same tunes. We are trying to make music in a very intuitive way and are very productive. The music is moving toward a sweet techno with a lot of substances interweaving.
KR: Does your mix have a theme or concept?
SP: You can definitely feel the depth of things or someone by looking at their surface. I don’t need to go deep in the sea, I would rather let space for the deep to come up to me, keeping a distance. So if the depth = surface there is no volume anymore, but just a flat form where depth and surface are in contact, linked. That’s what platform means to me. The mix starts with some German rain and is finish by a Japanese souvenir of ice (he sings in French, but I can hardly catch a word – so nice).
Andrew Pekler – Close to Strangers
Oval – P-Project
Jan Jelinek – The Video Age
Atom™ – Mittlere Composition N°iii
To Rococo Rot – KB9
Inoyama Land – Glass Chaim
Jon Hassell – Empire V
Mapstation – Sororities
Sun Plexus – Coup de Hache
Martial Canterel – Baltic Coast
Lee Gamble – Yehudi Lights Over Tottenham
Mitchell Akiyama – Thaw
Rafael Toral – Space IIA, IIB, IIC, IID
Testpattern – Souvenir Glace
All shots by Romeo. You can find more at his lovely analogue photography blog here.