The second part of our LYL Takeover features the station's founder Lucas Bouissou aka Frère Zèbre with a 90 minute mind-expanding musical whirlwind of melancholic electronics, post-punk-ish wave, nervous dark-pop, prog-rock, cosmic drones and outer-space synth vibrations.
To support LYL Radio, along with artwork by La Brigade Cynophile, EDWIN have produced a limited edition Tee to celebrate their studios in Lyon, Paris, Brussels studios and their vast network of international hosts.
"For this mix, I needed more of an idea rather than a tracklist and for that, I chose to dig through my cassette collection, which I never digitalized nor played at the radio. So, in this mix, you’ll listen to a selection of DIY music, some rare, some more popular, some vintage, some recent, all bound by a sonic grittiness which I always, always related to.
There’s synth-wave, industrial dubs, metal, post-punk and more. There are classics like Minimal Compact, Circle X and Etat Brut, and underground musicians like Sir Freddi Viadukt, Franco Nanni, Le Renard. It starts lightly with a few telluric tracks than hits you in the guts and takes an oblique towards the gutter, something like that… and it ends with The Shadow Ring’s « We’re complex Piss » which is not only a great track but a nice mantra to me. Tracks are untouched, unmixed and played in full, no shenanigans!”
As usual, we sat down with our host for a deep chat. Check the interview with Frère Zèbre about the origins of LYL Radio, his very own bistro in Lyon and the unforeseeable adventures of his label Zèbres Records below.
Support LYL and pick up your T-Shirt from one of the LYL outposts, Bistrot Senior (Lyon), Dizonord (Paris), Brasserie Atlas (Brussels) or on Bandcamp.
Q. Hello Frère Zèbre, can you introduce yourself to our readers? How was your musical formative years and when did you decide you wanted to make some noise in music culture?
A. Yo EDWIN, first of all, thanks for your time, I’ve been appreciating all your recent articles so I’m glad to contribute to whatever you’re working on. Concerning my upbringing in the music world, I guess I can trace it back to my youth, yet I feel it grew into a habit later, probably around my 18th birthday. Before that, I was listening to whatever my older sister had on: a lot of French rap, a bit of raga, from NTM to T.O.K., and I can also recall Spice Girls, George Michael and more bullshit blasting heavily through stereos at whatever birthday we were having for our 8th or 9th birthdays, high on sugar and in trance from Mel B.’s rap — good ol’ times.
Luckily, three things diverted me into independent music: the glorious days of French rap, DJ Goodka’s record store in my hometown Grenoble and skate videos. I developed a taste for electronic music much later, though Miss Kittin & The Hacker’s (they’re from Grenoble and had a couple of what we felt like the biggest parties ever then) breakthrough had impacted me as well at the time. Anyways, the digging was on: I touched on rockabilly, northern soul, and garage through a girl I was with, and then took a good dive into electro and techno and so on, one genre leading to another.
At this point, I was in Lyon and mostly writing music through the CLFT entity. This thing we had with a friend also involved podcasts, gigs and record publishing, and I kept up with it for three years I think, a period in which I became more and more active within the music world, touching on a bit of everything adjacent to it. The radio thing came a bit later, I developed it while taking a long vacation abroad, and came back in Lyon with somewhat of a plan afterwards.
Q. In 2015 you launched LYL Radio in Lyon. Today you run offshoots in Paris and Brussels. What’s the radio’s philosophy?
A. I think the radio started in 2014 but we had no studio in the first year. Instead, we were moving our gear from a record shop to another and produced live radio shows there. Thanks to Raymonde we settled in Les Ateliers Sumo later and started working on the present radio formula. There wasn’t much of a philosophy, just a few takes on how we wanted to do things, which were much influenced by DIY ethics. It was a special time in Lyon, in the span of two years, Groovedge Records and Chez Emile Records opened and a good bunch of labels emerged. The radio was just the link, the cement between all these people and entities that came down at the studio and meet, and eventually party, and sometimes work together. It was bliss because everybody was creating his shit at the same time, we were all enthusiastic, devoted to our stuff, enjoying ourselves and making shit happen our way — which in Lyon also meant the opposite way Nuits Sonores did.
Q. What projects is the station working on right now?
A. The radio just follows its path, there’s no plan, no strategy. We just keep on listening to music and inviting the people we believe in to contribute. We’ve opened a studio in Paris because OKO DJ wanted to, and we’ve opened another one in Brussels last year because Mika Oki wanted to as well. Opportunities just present themselves because we’re still out there, and then I choose to follow through or not and then to make them viable but really, what makes the radio today is the people we have around.
On a more practical side of things, the radio works now with a new team of web developer and graphic designers so there’s a bunch of updates, application and all coming up in the near future. We also might settle another antenna somewhere in the south of France, we’ll see what the Mistral brings. Anyhow, all these operations thrive only because our volunteers are so dedicated so thanks to them, and to our hosts, and all the others that are participating to the radio, the radio is their thing more than mine’s really.
Q. How did you select the tracks for the EDWIN Music Channel?
A. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve even thought of a mix. Given that I’m much more into cooking now, I tend to think more about what will do well with my artichokes rather than what will go along with my latest Trance-Port tape. So, for this mix, I needed more of an idea rather than a tracklist and for that, I chose to dig through my cassette collection, which I never digitalized nor played on the radio. So in this mix, you’ll listen to a selection of DIY music, some rare, some more popular, some vintage, some recent, all bound by a sonic grittiness which I always, always related to.
There’s synth-wave, industrial dubs, metal, post-punk and more. There are classics like Minimal Compact, Circle X and Etat Brut, and underground musicians like Sir Freddi Viadukt, Franco Nanni, Le Renard. It starts lightly with a few telluric tracks then hits you in the guts and takes an oblique towards the gutter, something like that… and it ends with The Shadow Ring’s « We’re complex Piss » which is not only a great track but a nice mantra to me.
Tracks are untouched, unmixed and played in full, no shenanigans!
Q. Can you remember where you first got attracted to music and what kind of sound put you under a spell?
A. There’s obviously a lot of albums, gigs and meetings that got me going along the years, and still today, having music as a companion feels as much as a comfort as it was before. I’d say what put me in a maniac practice of music was more bound to a personal trauma than to a specific track, genre, scene or community.
To me, music is primarily about connecting myself to an inner area of myself and beyond, towards a dissolution of myself, « Le Dernier Royaume » like Pascal Quignard (French author, poet and essayist whose work is always bound, charged with music) wrote. Hence, what I’m listening to is not so much music as it is sound, a quality of sound and that would also explain why my curiosity goes in every direction rather than specializing in one genre. So I’ll say I’m under a drone-like, continuous spell, growing like Lucier’d feedback with the music and people I encounter.
Q. What's your view on the value of music today?
A. Cultural studies have already analysed what our music world is going through in the sixties, ain’t nothing new here: what’s underground often goes mainstream for a moment, lifted by industrials and intermediary agents wanting to bite-off this or that movement. That shift creates economic opportunities, sure, and also fabricates heroes and myths which now a lot of people think they’ll duplicate and so earn this or that from the industry, going for it with disputable ambitions…
Anyways, industrials eventually move on to whatever new underground culture they can suck off until dry and on and on… as a cycle.
What’s always stable throughout these cycles is the people doing shit just for the fuck of it. You may think (like me) it’s overcrowded, saturated with wanna-be DJs, producers and labels, maybe even to the point where the original message is messed up but there will always be musicians and weirdos doing their thing whether there are opportunities, salaries, gigs, super-tours, Instagram or not.
So, here you (me) are, trying to navigate through the ever-growing shit-pile of podcasts, mixes, releases, gigs, labels... towards these people. I wish everyone would ask themselves whether they’re publishing something for the culture or for narcissistic issues, out of moral or just for ecological (in a large, Taoist acceptation) but who am I to judge in the end?
Sorting out the whack from the authentic will always be a subjective, debatable exercise, and as much I think I hold strong ethics in doing so, it doesn’t mean it matters more than the guy next to me, even if his thing is David Guetta and Tomorrowland or any other farfetched adventure… I could go on ranting for a long time, I could tell you about this new web radio copying this, about this new label faking the funk, about this producer ripping off others, etc. but there’s not much sense in it. Rather keep who you’ve elected as good people close, work with them, have fun with them, try to build things together, East of all the rest. Maybe too, just slow down the pace, « screw », ask yourself a second time if you’re really putting out this or that for a good reason, if you’re not unnecessarily stepping on someone’s shit, and we’ll all be alright.
Q. If you could spend a night partying with any of your icons, who would it be?
A. Marlon Brando, George Best, Tyson Fury, Pierre Michon, The Legend Lady J, Carmine Lupertazzi Jr., Jacques Roubaud, Alan Vega, L.I.M., Dennis Rodman, La Monte Young, Eliane Radigue, Jeff Grosso, Marcelo Bielsa… I’ll probably throw a mafioso in the mix too, and perhaps a tzar or any ruthless leaders from Rome — guys must have good anecdotes, right?
Anyways, I’ll trade them anytime against a Flamenco-IUEKE, a charentaise-Sacha Mambo, a ron-coca Judaah, a beat-boxing Raymonde & Simon, Tarba pulling-up, a pose-closing Clément and any other bum I’m used to spending a party with most of the time — everybody has a bit of magic past 3am and the right amount enjoyment.
Q. In Lyon you run the “Bistrot Senior”, where you also function as the chef. Can you tell us a bit about this place and your passion for cooking?
A. About four years ago, along with the people working with me for LYL we started thinking about opening up a space where the radio would be set, where we’d feed and drink people to death, just as we were already doing at our studio, but in a professional manner. Every weekend we were hosting radio guests at the studio, and often cooking them a meal so in that sense, opening some kind of a restaurant sounded like a natural extension... and also a necessity, since we never wanted to earn our living through the radio. In addition to that we all had been or were working in restaurants, so we just started to look for a place. Two years later, after many, many ups and downs, hopes and deceptions, ways splitting… I ended up opening the space on my own, and so moved the radio there in 2019.
The Bistrot is also attached to a far more ancient tradition of French cafés, the ones where the vibe is smooth and lively, a place which you’re not intimidated by whether you’ve resided 50 years in the neighbourhood or you’re a newcomer, whether your wallet’s dry or stacked, whether you’re from or this or that part of society. the kind of places that are mostly substituted to coffee shops, brunches or whatever-the-fuck concept stores all over European cities.
Culinary-wise, the ambition is the same: we cook honestly, fresh, local, in tradition, detail and with more personality every day. Our work is about taste and generosity, and simplicity. We try to get down to the essential so instead of adding one ingredient here and there we rather explore our base, our « terroir » deeper and develop cooking techniques at our products’ service. It’s about trimming off until we find the core of our ideas, in some kind of a minimalistic way maybe.
Obviously, the music is omnipresent: the shows are live every Thursdays and we usually invite a guest on Fridays or Saturdays to play for the restaurant during the whole service. Those (super neat) recordings will start to come out in June as cassette releases in a series entitled « Bistrot Cassette » and we’re hoping to get back to these blissful nights soon!
Q. You also run the label Zèbres Records and will soon release a record by Plein Soleil. Can you tell us a bit more about the label and the upcoming material?
A. Plein Soleil is a drummer (be sure to check his Société Etrange band, and his Pan! Pan! Pan! duo with Raymonde) and all-around musician, his name is Jonathan Grandcollot, he lives with his wife and kids in the countryside. I founded the label 4 years ago to release Raymonde (another experimental musician from Lyon)’s works and now we’re releasing « U.V. », a mini-album featuring delicate dubs, ambient and percussions composed by Plein Soleil, to be published around August. Zèbres is now collective, the Grrrnd Zero (Lyon’s most generous venue) guru and graphic designer Félicité Landrivon aka La Brigade Cynophile has joined it, and so did Raymonde (also head of the cassette label Mus Joutra, be sure to check) and Tom.
We might release more music soon, or not, Zèbres is just out there, kept in a small space between all our activities, always ready to publish the music we cherish.
Linda & Steve Hillman - Ashtar
Franco Nanni - Aria
Etat Brut - Karol Simon
Bernard C. - Totem Electronique
Sir Freddi Viadukt - ? (From his « You Look Good » cassette)
Iverson & Walters - Naningo
The Indian Feast - ?
Le Renard - Enquête
Violent Quand On Aime - Les Jardins du Mépris
Being Says - Arbeit
Gutura - Des Êtres Calmes de Peur
Circle X - B1
Waiting For Winter - Two
Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement - Monuments in Easter Island
Pan Daijing - Clear
Soma - Halici
Minimal Compact - Disguise
Hula - Invisible
Craig Leon - (From « Film Noir » cassette)
The Shadow Ring - We’re Complex Piss