After relaunching his Dima alias two years ago with a new ep “Sounds of Life” and with more releases coming soon, Pascal Arbez-Nicolas, aka Vitalic, aka Dima, is re-releasing his Fuckeristic ep on Citizen Records, his label. This iconic ep, now 20 years old, gives us an insight into the journey and evolution from Dima into Vitalic in the early 2000s.
Pascal Arbez-Nicolas, aka Vitalic, aka Dima, tells us how Fuckeristic came about:
“Back in the day I was just getting started and didn’t have a lot of hardware. It was expensive! The ep was made with a Studio Electronics ATC-1 synth, Novation Drum Station and Yamaha VL1. I’d only just got the Yamaha and the ep was the first I used it on, essentially for the choir and tinkler sounds, although to be honest I felt they both sounded too digital. Anyway, I had only a few machines to work with and everything was different back then, before the internet really came into its own. I even used to record my tracks on a DAT machine, which I’d bought second-hand, and send the cassette by post to be mastered!”
“For my first ep as Dima (Bonne Nouvelle) and the track ‘Untitled’, released on the Choice label based in Dijon, I was making music influenced by English techno and bleep tracks. For Fuckeristic, I wanted to create something with a stronger techno feel, something a bit harder but with melody and a rhythm that was almost rock. You could say the ep falls somewhere between Dima and Vitalic, which I went on to launch two years later. These two identities have common sonic elements: vocals, melodies, bells, rock rhythms… In the break at the end of “Poetry (Shit Again Mix)” I used my Mac’s voice synthesiser (this was way before Siri existed). It was meant as a tool for the visually impaired – you typed in your text and the computer could say it in three or four different voices. The signal was low-quality, kinda dirty, but it’s a technique that has been used quite a lot in techno.”
“As well as the synthesised voice from my computer, there’s also the voice of James at the beginning of “Poetry (The Year 2000 Remix)”. James was my flatmate when I lived in England. One night he was really drunk, and I recorded him and used his voice. Back then I’d been living in Guildford, 30 miles away from London, for a year and a half. I studied languages and economy there for a year, and the Fuckeristic ep was recorded partly there and partly in Dijon. I was based in England but returning to the mainland quite a lot – two or three times a month – for weekend gigs in a few clubs and quite a lot of raves.”
“At the time, the rave sound was pretty tough, with a lot of hardcore and hard techno. It wasn’t really my thing – I wasn’t making that kind of music because I wanted my techno to have melody to it. “Poetry” was stilled played a lot at raves though, although pitched up to make it faster. Laurent Garnier and DJ Hell liked it a lot, and this led to me releasing an ep on Hell’s label Gigolo. Once, he played ‘Poetry’ at the Love Parade in Berlin and people loved it. At the time I had a girlfriend who was an intern at Gigolo. She told Hell she knew me, and he said he liked my sound and that if I had any new tracks I should send them in. So a year later, I did. Those were the tracks that would become the Poney ep, my first 12″ for Gigolo, under a new name – Vitalic.”
“After having released tracks on Choice, a label from Dijon, the Fuckeristic ep was released on Step 2 House Records, part of the Parisian label Happy Music. Step 2 House was a respected label that a lot of DJs followed. At the time, I had also done two remixes, one of “Fadin’away” for The Hacker on GoodLife, which was really well received, and one for Elegia, “The Essence Of It” on F Communications that got a lot less attention. Either way, those two remixes, like the Fuckeristic ep, allowed me to move on from Dima to Vitalic. In fact, one night at the Rex Club, Elegia said to me “The music you make isn’t techno, it’s rock!” And that’s why, for the Poney ep, I called one track La Rock!”