As a musician, there are always so many unforgettable memories to be made. From hosting and meeting like-minded individuals, to getting the chance to travel the world, these experiences will always be life-changing and must be preserved. Today we get a chance to talk to Romain FX, best known as a music producer and DJ but who has many other creative facets as well.
We had a chance to meet him during his Asian tour Last December when he played in Manila for Sado Maso Disco. After learning he was shooting film during his trip we were keen to see the photos when the tour was over and he was back home in France. In this interview we talked to him about his tour and also his experience using the much loved Lomo'Instant Automat. He shares some intimate photos from his travels, his thoughts on analogue gear, and what he has in store for the rest of the year.
Greetings! Can you please introduce yourself and tell us how you started getting into analogue photography?
Hello everyone, my name is Romain, also known as Romain FX. I'm a producer, DJ, graphic designer, label and radio owner, and event organizer - I wear many hats. I've always been captivated by the allure of tangible things like synthesizers, vinyl, CDs, and photographs. In a world where instant gratification reigns supreme, it's sad to see the younger generation communicating through disappearing photos and messages. But in this rush towards digital ephemera, I personally find solace in capturing the physical essence of my adventures across the globe. I can then share these photographs with my kids and grandchildren, a timeless reminder of the beauty that exists beyond the fleeting nature of the virtual world.
As someone constantly traveling and on tour, what do you look for when it comes to film cameras and film stocks to capture moments? What kind of gear do you use?
When it comes to cameras, I'm mostly interested in ones that have fast autofocus and can capture moving elements quickly. Since I often only stay in a city for two days, I don't have much time for sightseeing, and I enjoy taking photos at parties and other events. I prefer cameras that don't require a lot of manual focus or parameter changes. Currently, I use an Olympus AF-1 camera with Kodak and Fujifilm 400. When I'm at home with my friends, I like to use a Lomo'Instant Automat for sharing moments with them or keeping them for me - it's really helpful in that regard.
You mentioned owning a Lomo'Instant Automat. What's your experience using it been like?
I’ve had it for a long long time now, it’s been with me since the birth of Fauve Radio. It was a gift from friends. They knew I was opening a radio and was looking to get one of those to document all the DJs passing through.
I like the instant memory aspect of it and how you get to decide whether to keep the memory with you or gift it to a friend. It’s a very social camera and a really great tool for party pictures. Also as the flash is very powerful.
For those unfamiliar with your work, can you talk about the music you make?
I don't even know how to describe my work. I think it's reflective of my upbringing as a third-culture kid without a proper "home" per se. My music is also without a home. It takes inspiration from everywhere and tries to create music without borders that everyone can enjoy and be surprised by. I draw inspiration from a wide range of genres, including House, Cantonese music, Italo, New Wave, Trance, and everything in between.
You finished your Asian tour a few months ago. Can you tell us about it and what was it like documenting it through film?
It was an amazing experience - three months of touring is hard to summarise. Even when I got home and people asked me how it went, I didn't know where to start. Having these physical photos and core moments really helps me commemorate the trip. I often go through the photos with friends and reminisce, saying things like: "Oh, this is from the amazing rave I played in Manila, organized by Sadomasodisco - the crowd was beautiful."
Can you tell us some of your highlights and unforgettable moments from the tour?
There were so many highlights, it's hard to choose just one. I would say that playing in new cities like Jakarta and Manila was special. But what impressed me the most was seeing the locals taking the lead on the music scene - there were so many new DJs, producers, and event organizers. Having lived in Asia for 20 years, it was great to see that this time around, it wasn't just expatriates throwing parties and making things happen. Being welcomed by these locals with open arms was even more heartwarming. I felt right at home.
When we talked last time you said you always try to shoot the crowd from behind the DJ booth. Has this been something you thought of recently or something you’ve always been doing?
I've been thinking about this a lot lately. As DJs, we're so lucky to have this perspective where everyone is smiling, looking at us, cheering us on, and giving us energy. It's a beautiful thing. However, in our society, DJs have become such a product, always taking pictures of ourselves, doing a million photoshoots, and posting every day to fight the algorithms. But to me, the true stars will always be the people in the crowd who enable us to do what we love and motivate us to spread joyful and liberating energy. They are the reason I do what I do so I want them to be seen as they deserve the spotlight.
These days things are very convenient. For touring all you have to do is bring a USB and a laptop with all your files to perform. So what is your fascination with “analogue” and older pieces of equipment?
To me, the most valuable treasures are memories, not material objects. The records and gear I acquire aren't just tools for me to use, they hold stories and are rooted in a specific time in my life. Each of them had a life before me, and with proper care, they'll continue to have a life beyond me. The "analogue" nature of these items imbues them with a tangible essence that transcends time. Even photographs can capture fleeting moments and preserve them in a way that allows them to live on forever.
Among all the photos you shared with us which one is your favorite?
That's a tough question, but if I had to choose, it would be this photo. Everything in the image is off, from the light leaks to the misplaced flash hitting the palm tree. The sunset isn't even captured within the frame. Despite these imperfections, the photo still exudes a certain beauty and richness with its textures and play of light. The hard light on the palm tree gives the image a haunting quality that feels like a ghostly apparition. To me, this embodies the essence of analogue photography - perfectly imperfect.
What’s next for you in the coming months?
I have a series of upcoming events lined up, including Macadam's 50th Gloria anniversary celebration in France alongside Budino, Ki/Ki, and Marcello (Marvin & Guy), as well as the La Douve Blanche Festival. There's also a significant gig in Berlin that I'm thrilled about, although I can't reveal the details just yet. Additionally, I'm excited about my IBOAT residency with Alpine DJ where we’ve invited Donald's House, and I have another short Asia tour scheduled for August/September.
On the music front, I have a sunshine-filled EP set to release on Permanent Vacation, and I'm also working on another EP for Cormac's Polari label. Furthermore, I'm diving into some thrilling new live experimentations in preparation for an upcoming live tour for the summer of 2024.
What advice do you want to give to the rest of the Lomography community?
If you’re a dreamer like me, never wake up.
written by rocket_fries0036 on 2023-06-07 #culture #people #places #music #philippines #rave #malaysia #instax #hong-kong #china #disco #indonesia #techno #asia #france #japan #vietnam #taipei #house-music #lomo-instant-automat #apac