While Vitalic may now be almost a household name to any fan of electronic music, French producer Pascal Arbez Nicolas’ original moniker DIMA may still leave you scratching your head. However, Pascal is set to relaunch this far heavier techno alias with the recent release of his ‘Sounds of Life’ EP, a masterpiece of intensely energetic but dark and cerebral music on his own label Citizen Records, that you can grab here. Setting aside the more funk-, house- and disco-inspired live sounds of Vitalic, he has returned to the more straightforward techno of his early days as a young producer, seizing his listeners and catapulting them into the heady heyday of the French 90s rave scene. After this ambitious reinvention, we caught up with Pascal for a chat, asking about the rebirth of DIMA, the memories of his glory days and what the future may hold in store for this electronic music virtuoso.
LSD: How does it feel to bring back to life Dima after so many years? But not only that, you are also relaunching Citizen Records, it seems like a trip to the past, how do you feel about that?
DIMA: I think that techno is not really retro now. Acid and stuff were created in the 90s and there is not so much difference with the current production. When i go out in rave parties or techno clubs i do feel like i time travelled. And there is nothing wrong about that.
LSD: What made you want to come back as Dima and relaunch Citizen Records?
DIMA: Voyager had a good success and it was really fun to produce it in Paris, L.A. and Barcelona, to set up the show with the architects and technicians, create the artworks and so on… but i didn’t feel like starting a new Vitalic album now. I wanted to make music dedicated to the dance floor, focus on the music itself only. I needed more instant music with less story telling, as opposed to Vitalic productions. S i decided to make a Dime EP. There won’t be any LP, but a few records over the next 2 or 3 years only.
LSD: What do you miss most about the 90’s rave scene?
DIMA: To tell the truth I loved the small events in the forest, that were more like family gathering outdoor. But i was not so crazy about bigger events. I understand the nostalgia about that era, because there were totally new concepts with a new music. There was also the game with the police and authorities that was very annoying but also thrilling. But soon they all looked the same and i got bored. I was happy that Gigolo would rise up with a new team of producers and new concepts.
LSD: Do you think that people will welcome back music from 20 years ago? Do you aim to keep making Dima’s sound more modern whilst keeping the structure old school? Or, do you intend just to make what you feel?
DIMA: As I said when I listen to the DJs now like Amelie Lens or Charlotte De Witte, if I close my eyes I feel like I am in 94 with Surgeon or Jeff Mills playing. So the movement itself now is turned to the past. Techno is the music of the future – but 20 years ago. Anyway there was no plan about this. I just thought I felt like making harder music with old school dark basses again. For my pleasure in a way. Generally speaking I do intent to do what i feel without thinking too much about the genre itself. I did a polka, a spanish song and punk rock stuff. I don’t fell like a techno producer, but an electronic musician.
LSD: Every artist identifies himself through music genre, personality, energy, image and many other aspects. How do you manage to differentiate between your aliases Vitalic and Dima, production and DJ wise? Do you ever end up not knowing if a song was made by Vitalic or by Dima?
DIMA: I don’t like identified but a gender at all. But it’s easier to have different aliases when you want to make different projects with different messages. There are some common aspects in my two projects of course. I think Dima is totally techno oriented while Vitalic has a wider scope.
LSD: What can people expect from new artists coming onboard to Citizen Records?
DIMA: We are just starting over again but i want to make a new team again and soon starts to make our own parties like in the past. I want Citizen to be techno oriented and Clivage would be the post punk / kinky subdivision. Send us demos.