Interview: Elena Savlokhova
Cover Photo: Simon Minó

Sydney Valette is an artist and musician based in Paris.

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Get the EP 'Brothers' here.

How big of a dreamer are you?
At night, I can be a crazy dreamer, like some action movies sort of James Bond’s course pursuits. Daytime, I think I forgot my dreams in the last 5 years, plunged into social and personal morbidity, and now they are rising up again. Lockdown helped… 

How well do you know yourself? Do you have a clear understanding of who you are or are you still seeking certain truths about yourself?
I guess at 34 I know a bit more about my boundaries. I’m quite shaky at the moment with who I am and what I wanna do with my life though. 

What does music mean to you?
Quite a lot: at breakfast, lunch, and dinner… 

How do you feel once you complete a significant piece of work, like, for instance, your latest EP ‘Brothers’?
I feel happy first and then depressed, like having a baby maybe? 

Is it important for your work to have a meaningful context?
Context chooses you more than you are choosing it.

Any context can become meaningful if you succeed in ‘catching’ it. 

You’ve done classical piano for 10 years prior to shifting into electronic music and in a recent interview for The Brvtalist you mention that you’ve started playing again. What musical piece would you say is the most personal for you to play and why?
First of all, I have to say I have never really been a good player because I’m super clumsy and nervous… There was this old piano sheet in one of my drawers recently: Franz Schubert Trio op.100 2nd Mov., more known as the ‘Barry Lindon’s soundtrack. The arrangement I worked on is very simple, perfect for starting again. I love this piece because it’s so melancholic and desperate, but at the same time courageous and epic. Beethoven and Schubert are for me priceless. One of my first pieces was the ‘Moonlight Sonata’, like for many other piano beginners. Once I stopped playing when I was something like 21, I was studying Beethoven’s Sonata N°17 3rd Movement ‘Tempest‘ – this one is so powerful…It was a pretty hard one and this was my final attempt to practicing for real. I’m not a good player but maybe one day I’ll try my luck again. 

What is your idea of God in the modern world?
I’m kind of an Orthodox Christian-Buddhist-Hinduist – that sums up the situation LOL. I know it sounds like a nightmare, but I think

globalization makes religious categories more fluid.

We can create our own personal cult, especially with all those gurus on Youtube xD… That would be a good name for a song: « Personal Cult »! I guess God is Nature, and I don’t believe in any kind of fancy Paradise or Hell. Those last years, churches really became a center of interest for me, and luckily for that, I live in Paris. I don’t understand people saying those places feel like death, because I don’t know… I feel quite at peace in most of them. 

What’s the most interesting piece of art you’ve seen or experienced recently?
I don’t go much to museums, but the last time was in New York, just before lockdown, at the MOMA: great building and a great museum, but I don’t remember much of what I saw. So I would switch to architecture and say ‘Grand Central’ and the ‘New York Public Library’.

Do you think that free will is real or a mere illusion?
Damn, I feel like I’m on the uni benches again! I’d say yes and no. I recall the atomist thesis saying that the creation of the Universe is born from an accident: the derivation of one atom amongst all the others in perfect order, falling like parallel rain. The derived atom then hit another atom, deriving it from its course, and so on, until now… 

What characteristics should music have in order to be timeless in your opinion?

Did you ever have a paranormal experience? Did something overly bizarre ever happen to you?
Sleep paralysis is one of a kind…I really thought the Devil was trying to suffocate me once with my pillow. I mean it was very real. Or one day I took LSD in London, and I saw those two girls at the bar with their clothes interchanged, so I thought, “fuck this drug is powerful”, and began to laugh like crazy, feeling ecstatic about that dumb thing. Then a friend told me they had really interchanged their clothes. Or I saw one morning a wallet flying with black spider rays in a bus after huge consumption of MDMA. 

What impressed you the most when you were a child and what do you think about it now?
Such a hard question. My childhood wasn’t very happy. Nature, football, playing video games at my cousin’s, Micheal Jackson, Top DJ4, Nas.The beginning of the Rollerblading era. Smoking cigarettes in my friend’s cave, the sad feeling of void and silence, traveling with my mum… 

Do you tend to see the best in human beings or are you cautious of the less pleasant side of human nature? Is it easy for you to trust new people?
I’m pretty pessimistic and looking more on the dark side of people than the contrary. I’m trying to change though. 

What amazes you these days?
Waking up at 5 and going for a run. An empty Paris with a clear sky. Recording new tracks. 

What question would you like to be asked in an interview and what would your answer be?
Is it gonna be ok? I hope so. 

Photography: David Fitt