Ronda is the label of the Parisian band, Melmac.

Melmac consists of two brothers Luc Reverter (Casiotron, Mpc 2000, Minidisc) and Nicolas Reverter (Guitar, Tapes, Clavier, Minidisc), and first formed in 1998, has been described by critics as both a post-rock group and an electronica act.

The Reverters recorded a string of compilation tracks and three EPs, 'On efface tout et on recommence' (1999), '00 : 20 :37' and 'P1 Vs P2' (both 2001) on other labels , before deciding to establish Ronda in late 2002.

Ronda's debut album, an entirely improvised Melmac mini-album 'Game_02' , came out in November of that year. The Reverter brothers followed this with Melmac's full-length studio debut album, 'Les Secours Arrivent et Prennent Le Relais' last summer.

They also use Ronda as a platform for their own solo projects Nicolas' project Anaconda released a 5 track self-titled EP, which found him experimenting wiith his voice and a delay at the beginning of last year. Luc's act Lucky R put out in January of this year a similarly eponymous album, which found him merging Melmac's electronic ambience with break beats and hip hop rap samples.

The Ronda website has recently started adding on a quarterly basis MP3 samples from other equally experimental artits.

Pennyblackmusic chatted to Luc both about Ronda's first year and a half, and also the Reverters' aspirations and hopes for their label in the future.

PB : Why did you decide to choose the name Ronda for your label ?

LR : In the French TV series 'Alf', Melmac is the name of a planet destroyed by a nuclear explosion. Ronda is the name of Alf's beloved who disapeared in the explosion.This childish and nostalgic universe reflects quite well the fragile kind of feeling carried by our music.

PB : Why did you decide to set up Ronda ? Was it simply so that you could have total creative control of your own work, or were there any other factors ?

LR : First, we came to the point where we wanted to have as you mentioned, a total creative control of our work. At the same time we started to feel the desire to help other artists by creating a totally independant structure, enabling them to express their art in a total freedom. We wanted to share our experience with other artists.

PB : Ronda is run by you and your brother Nicolas. How do you split up the tasks between you ? Who does which duties ?

LR : The artistic direction is undertaken by both of us. When we want to work with an artist, we need to both love the work of this artist. It's a question of honesty between us and the artist.

For the "business" part, I deal with the manufacturing of CDs and the press relations.Nicolas works more with the distributors and retailers.

PB : You have now been running Ronda for about 18 months ? Has it been easier or more difficult running a label than you expected ? What have been the advantages of going solo ? Have there been any disadvantages ?

LR : Running a label is not an easy task, especially when you are trying to make the best of a small investment.Music is a passion for both of us and it's hard sometimes to have to deal with the business part of the work.On the other hand, the kind of music we support is so special that I don't think that anybody
could support it better than we do.

The music we support is really free, so the main advantage of going solo is that it guarantees our freedom. The price to pay for this freedom could be isolation, but our work meets with so much support that we couldn't say that we feel alone at all!

PB : Melmac's work has become increasingly more "human". 'Les Secours Arrivent et Prennent Le Relais' featured lots of factory noises and had various snippets of dialogue and the sound of children playing. Was it a deliberate decision to go in that direction ? Do you see you work as continuing to go that way in the future ?

LR : After our EP '00:20:37' which was very paranoiac and mechanical, we thought that we had reached a peak in the expression of one atmosphere. We wanted to put more feeling into this very claustrophobic world. That's why a lot of listeners find our work more human now. We simply try to express a variety of feelings and not only focus on one mood.

In the future, we want to bring in to our work more acoustic instruments. We want to use machines in our own way and mix acoustic instruments and electronic textures.

PB : You and Nicolas now have both got solo projects. Up until now you've always recorded music together. Why did you decide to take a break from each other ? Did you find yourself missing each other's input ?

LR : Melmac is at the crossing of each other's universe. It is a place for discussion. We simply needed to challenge ourselves with solo projects to know if we were able to lead an experience on our own and give life to our own desires and aspirations. Both experiences helped us gain confidence in our own potential. It helped Melmac in extending its world towards new influences.

PB : 'Lucky R' has found you moving in a new direction and experimenting with hip hop ? Why did you want to do this ? Are you a hip hop fan ?

LR : Melmac offers a music built with melodies and textures. I simply wanted to experience beats. Hip hop is the music of the suburbs near Paris. This environment directly influenced me. I am a great "sound collage" fan, which can be found in hip hop music. I owe a lot of respect to the work of great DJs like Terminator X who were pioneers in the art of sound collage.

PB : It also found you collaborating with Sug (R)cane, Seb R. and Donna. What do you think they brought to the album ?

LR : Each collaboration brought new influences and orientations to the album.I didn't want my album to be too egocentric, so I asked musicians I felt strongly connected with to collaborate in order to help me push further my boundaries.

PB : Anaconda has found Nicolas using just his "voice and a delay". What is a delay ? What does that project sound like ?

LR : A delay is an effect which repeats a sound. Miles Davis was one of the first to use it. When you say 'hi', it repeats 'hi hi hi...'. You can interact on the feedback and build endless repetition ("hiiiiiiii....").Nicolas has built incredible rhythms and textures with this effect. The project sounds very hypnotic. The listener travel through an abstract world made of strange rhythms, deep textures and hypnotic repetitions.

PB : The Ronda website has recently added to it sound samples by Blue Haired Girl, Sug(R)cane, Silencio and Bleetch. Who are these acts ? Do you hope eventually to release records by them ?

LR : These acts are all very innovative. Sug[R]cane mixes electronica and shoegazing (somewhere between My Bloody Valentine and Aphextwin). Sug[R]cane runs his own label Soundzfromnowhere .Blue Haired girl is a first rate French post-rock band.Silencio and Bleetch are electronic acts really close to the works of the Austrian label Mego.

We helped them by releasing MP3 singles and we intend to help other bands with this support every quarter. We might release records with them in the near future, maybe even a compilation... this is still under progress...

PB : Melmac have been described as creating "introspective electronica". Do you see the other acts on the Ronda label as doing something similar ? What other criteria do they have in common ?

LR : We really want Ronda to be a place of freedom for the artists. So we don't want the artists to make all the same music. We want to help them express their own art and personality. We love diversity. We want to share a common spirit with them, the love of an independant art, freedom of expression.

PB : What other plans if any do have for Ronda in the future ?

We will continue to have MP3 singles released every quarter on our website. We are working on a compilation for October.We will also be extending our mail order catalogue. Melmac will be in concert on the 26th of March, opening for Califone (Thrill Jockey) in Brussels. These are some of our projects..

PB : Thank you.

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