Marc Nguyen Tan, known by the moniker Colder, has spent the past 10 years liberating his music from Output Records and uncovering new influences to inform his project’s sound. During his time away, Colder fans have patiently awaited his return, which was honored with the release of his EP, Many Colors, just a few months ago.
This week, the French electronic musician is back with not one, but two new albums, out June 24—one titled Goodbye and the other, The Rain. Colder’s new projects revisit his classic sounds, while incorporating the New Wave expressionism and dynamic electronica that attracted him during this period of creative renewal.
Listen to the BULLETT premiere of Goodbye, and read more about the artist’s 10-year-long absence, below:
On the last 10 years:
I didn’t dedicate my whole life to music in the sense of a conservatory musician. My initial work was art direction and it still is art direction and graphic design. With the first Colder album, I had an opportunity to release it through the record label and decided to give a chance to this new career mostly out of curiosity. I was really an amateur. Then the record label sort of collapsed because of various problems and I got stuck, for what seemed to me like a very long time, in some contractual problems. During these 10 years I was still recording for myself. I had an interest in acoustic and electric recording and expanded my studio to be able to record live musicians. It happened that in my surroundings at that moment, I had a lot of people coming from the jazz scene. I was recording on a friendly basis with jazz musicians and it had nothing to do with Colder. I wasn’t even really producing, sometimes I was contributing by adding a little bit of attitude to the production, but these people who were coming from an acoustic background, were finding the experiment interesting. I think I recorded much more than when I was working on Colder actually.
I started to have an interest in jazz, which was something completely new because, to be honest, it was music that I never completely understood before. I [had] a superficial opinion about it. I don’t know why, but during these years I started listening to it in a completely different way and then I had to go through and rediscover all the classics in jazz, like Miles Davis. It’s a large world because there are so many musicians and composers. I worked a lot on this professionally because I was doing it well, but I never wanted to release or push [it] commercially. It was personal research. At the end of the day, I recorded a lot and even if it doesn’t translate at all in what I’m doing today because there’s zero jazz influence in what I’m doing, I still feel that the time I spent working on this has opened a lot of interesting perspectives in the electronic world. And these years of break where I was able to experiment with something completely different things, I can feel on a daily basis the benefit of that time.
On directing videos:
My approach to video is very visual and very graphic. For a long time I was working in TV doing title sequencing, animation, and stuff like that. I think I come from that kind of angle to be visual and what I’m doing in video is still kind of a continuation somehow—always very graphical. To keep the story minimal [and] abstract, I try to focus on feeling and impression rather than a proper storyline. It’s a good balance because the music I do is not like pop, so it always has this component that’s somehow more repetitive and goes well with more abstract images. If Colder was a more pop project, it would maybe be more difficult to match the abstract images with the music. Somehow I can see now it’s working well because music and image respond to each other. Working on moving images is very similar to making music and producing music. There are many bridges between both.
On returning to electronic:
I was busy enough already between the commercial work and music I was doing with jazz musicians, so I was happy with that balance. While I was working, I lost interest in going to pure electronic music production. In 2012, there was an electronic producer/DJ named Patrice Baumel that contacted me saying he was working on an instrumental and looking for a vocal feature. We started working together and it never really ended up anywhere, but working with him on those instrumentals, for me—it was a little breakthrough because I had a good couple of years without touching any electronic club music. I was surprised to see I was doing simple things again and enjoying electronic club arrangements. That was the moment I considered going back to that kind of music format. It took a little bit of time, but step-by-step I went back to what I was doing before. It was more of a dialectical process—going back to where you come from, but I went through the process and came back with a greater pleasure and new ideas in mind.
On his new album:
I’ve got a feeling that today, compared to when I released the first Colder album, I’ve mastered what I’m doing much more. I’m much more precise, so it’s a gratifying feeling in the sense that I always think of ideas in a global way, from the arrangement to the production. These two projects are more like a return to the kind of sound I was doing in the very beginning, but with a twist. I’ve always considered every project I release as a proposal. Above all, releasing something at a particular time is like an answer to what I hear and what I feel in terms of where music is moving. These upcoming releases are a much more lo-fi approach, whereas the previous release Many Colors was a fuller sounding electronic production.
You can buy The Rain and Goodbye, here, on June 24th.