We caught up recently with Stephen Rasolofomasoandro, founder and manager of the amazing underground music channel WAVEVISION. Here’s what he had to say…
Hey Stephen. Thanks so much for agreeing to an interview. Where are you currently based? Do you tend to travel a lot, or are you firmly rooted at home?
Hi, thank you so much for this invitation. I’ll try to do my best to be understood. For now, I live in Toulouse, South of France… always at my parents’ home. I used to live in Paris 4 years ago, I’ll be back probably next year for studies. Then I’ll try to travel a lot, Nordic countries, Japan, United States, South America, South Africa. I really want to discover our planet and meet other people and cultures.
Can you recall your first real exposure to music? Was music a major part of growing up for you?
During my childhood my parents always listened to music while cooking, bathing, driving, sleeping and waking up. Basically all the time! I grew up with the powerful voices of 90’s R&B singers like Sade, Whitney Houston, Maria Carey – and of course the king of pop music, Michael Jackson! So yes, music was and is clearly a big part of my life. I remember one thing very clearly from when I was about 7 years old. I accompanied my two cousins to their piano classes, and when they began the first notes of their duo, I stopped talking and just listened. I was really impressed by their performance. Not only during the performance itself, but afterwards too, because I wanted to be like them.
Did you always know that you wanted to form a record label and / or promote electronic music?
No, I didn’t. From the ages of 13 to 16, I made lot of playlists on my blogs, but mainly R&B playlists, not electronic music at that time.
Tell us how Wavevision came to exist, and the journey from its inception to the present day.
My YouTube channel was created in 2011. I decided to create the channel because I wanted a platform to showcase my passion for summer photographs. That’s why lot of my first video uploads promoted a genre called « Chillwave ». I wanted to gather all my favourite photographers and all my favourite music in one place. I had to find a name so I used a name generator and Wavevision was born. At the same time, I was a great fan of the youtube channel called Tammyszu. The owner, Tammy, really inspired me with her choices of music and the photographs she carefully selected. Lot of things have changed since that time. I decided to promote more electronic music, a little bit of UK garage, experimental music and Future Garage and I learn to spend more time in choosing the right visual.
Then I discovered The Accidental Poet’s channel… something deeper, more true, less UK garage, more experimental and more « Future » things. From that time and until now I consider Tammyszu and Poet as the most important channels for me, and they help me to find what I really like in music, to be more creative. I always tried to promote lot of unknown artists who wouldn’t otherwise get much exposure.
One day I copied/pasted an unknown track on Youtube and someone had already decided to promote… his name : Fingersonmyhand, now known as FOMH. He had a little community on Youtube, no more than 500 subscribers, and I decided to follow him because he had this uncommon sense of sensitivity in promoting artists. A lil’ bit later, we talk and share together some great finds. Today, we know how much this channel is bigger and greater.
Poet, FOMH, and myself started a label entitled No Sound Lost in order to create and share compilations and promote all the artists included on our channels. It was a great experience with them, and I hope this label will continue in some form…
Today, not much has changed in terms of the music itself. A new genre called « Wave » appeared, and yeah I like it. But channels like Poet and FOMH knew about this new genre from the beginning, they are far more associated with it than Wavevision. I only promote the Wave genre when I feel a need to do so.
Is Wavevision your main career, or do you see it more as a creative ‘hobby’?
It’s purely a creative hobby, or a blend of hobbies in one place: my enthusiasm for this type of music, photography, and promoting unknown, underexposed, and sometimes more famous artists of the genres I work with. My Bandcamp was a great way to promote music, because artists needed a well-known entity to gain exposure, and I needed them to help me grow my community. It’s like a win-win partnership. Now with the internet and all those platforms like Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Facebook, artists tend to know how to promote themselves and they don’t really need people like me anymore – or at least less and less. Now there are many ways to discover music, and the internet helps people to do it DIY!
Tell us about the governing ethos behind Wavevision. Do you look for a particular quality or trait in the music you choose to promote?
Because of my current situation in life (I am currently working a very intense job), I tend to have less and less time to promote music, so of course I’m more and more demanding in terms of the quality of the track. When it comes to the music I choose to promote it’s fairly difficult to explain. There are more and more new artists to follow, so undeniably more tracks. However, I rarely promote more than one track a day on my YouTube channel because I want people to particularly focus on it. I have to choose the right one, so you can imagine how it feels when I miss a day, two days, one week of music. I tend to find the music I like on Soundcloud and VK (basically a Russian version of Facebook) and I follow some groups who act like retailers but in music. They promote music like me , sharing a bunch of new tracks in one post… and all I do is to choose my favourite one and add the other ones to my playlist (or maybe save them to promote later on). I rarely check my messages because most of the people only want to have their music on my channel without saying hi or trying to learn about the types of music I normally promote . In my opinion, Facebook should be used as a way to discuss music (or whatever you want!), Soundcloud should be the place you share music, and Instagram should be used for photography. I have to say that I rarely answer messages, but every now and then I check them.
Do you have a favourite Wavevision release? Or favourite moment in the history of Wavevision?
Not really a favourite moment or release. I think it’s a daily pleasure for me to talk with artists about music, life, or whatever, and help promote them. Simple things are the best, they enrich you. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing the growth of an artist you have promoted. If you want some great examples from my channel – just look at hidden jayeem or Phelian!
Where do you see Wavevision going in future? Would you like to expand the project to branch out into new genres or fields, or would you like to keep to the same path?
I will still continue to do what I’m doing. I’ll probably branch out a bit more into photography. I don’t really know – it’s exciting!
Any upcoming Wavevision releases or events you’d like to tell us about?
I would like to complete the number of my compilations with a third one but I will really have to think about it. Something bigger – a big new release – is incoming very soon in the second part of February 2018. I’m in charge of the promotion of this release, and there will be some gifts to win through my different pages, for now that’s all I can reveal.
Do you have any thoughts on the future of underground musical styles? Do you think the scene will evolve further?
I haven’t any ideas, Wave music is clearly a big thing and the genre is far from slowing down in terms of its evolution. I would like to see more Future Beats or Experimental music again, just like in the past. Shlohmo was one of my favourite artists in those genres – and Mathbonus too.
Do you have a favourite artist of all time? Favourite tracks?
Difficult to choose only one artist. Volor Flex is one of my favourites. I listened to him before Burial, but Burial’s tracks are timeless and that’s why I consider him as the main pillar of this genre. Sorrow, Vacant, Bucky, Synkro, Nocow, Irrelevant, Twisted Psykie, Phelian, Pensees, Nuages, Tim Schaufert, hidden jayeem… a lot of artists are on my mind and it would be impossible to list them all here. All I have to say is follow them all, listen to all their tracks and you’ll see how difficult it is to have a top 10 tracks or artists!
And finally – any artists who are relatively unknown who you’d like more people to know about?
Following channels like mine or particular groups on the internet is a perfect way to know more about new releases. But it’s up to people to follow their favourite artists and they do so every day. It can all happen so quickly with the internet as it is today, so don’t worry, if there is an unknown but talented artist, their light will shine out quickly.
Thanks so much Stephen!
Thank you too.