Pierre Biol : The sounds of the world in a basement

Photography : Camille Noyon - Text : Lucas Delattre
Pierre Biol

Pierre Biol is a composer of electronic music. Where others play the trumpet or the violin, he « plays » complex software that treats audio signals like sine waves, cuts them, alters frequency and texture, assembles fragments and creates new types of tunes.

That’s how, at twenty-three years old, he spends most of his free time in front of a computer, in the windowless room of a modest suburban house’s basement in Senlis. His compositions, which he calls « sounds », have titles reminiscent of their prototype status: « Paranoid », « Osirus », « Sample Jungle », « Strange Beat » or « Trap Beat ». But they already attract over 1200 followers over the world via an online music-sharing platform. Recently, some better-known rappers have come to sollicit him and invite him to record alongside them in the studio.

In spite of this, Pierre Biol doesn’t know musical theory and has never learned to play any classical instruments. The passion of composing came to him from listening to music day and night, even in his sleep. He started using musical software on his laptop while in class, at the faculty of biology in Marseille… « I took the decision to learn out of the blue, thanks to YouTube tutorials. What I make is computer-assisted music, everything happens by ear. But as I got better, I realised the limits that this puts on me and I have recently started learning to play the piano », he says, pointing at an electronic keyboard on his bed.

Music is a passion, but it is also a way for Pierre to gain self-confidence. So far, he has tried numerous paths, each one leading to discoveries and experiences, but none taking him to his goal. First it was competitive sports, swimming, with five hours of training a day for five years, from 8th grade to 12th grade, getting up at 5.30am every morning, until he realised that his performance would not take him to the highest spots on the podium. Then it was biology classes cut short, and then a sound engineering school that he left before getting a diploma.

After trying all these things, today Pierre feels that he has found his way. It will be music, but not just any kind: the fusion of electronic music, which he makes, and Indonesian gamelans, those metallic orchestras that he discovered while on a trip to Jakarta with his father and which captivated him like they enchanted generations of Western composers before him, from Debussy to Steve Reich.

« A rapper friend was struck with this style of music, I am going back to Indonesia this summer », Pierre explains. He sums up his dream in a sentence: « finding myself in the studio with this guy from Saint-Denis and Indonesian gamelan-style musicians ».

To help him make that project come true, two statuettes of Asian divinities (a Buddha and an Indian God with multiple arms) watch over him from the top of his studio speaker.

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