I am François de Benedetti. I started a few bands and played with a few others in France and the UK (mainly in the London area) from the early 80's to the mid 90's. My brother Philippe, who's made contributions to some of my projects (he has done some programming and played synths for Data Unit and Orange 86) also played in some of the early bands I was involved in.
I am deeply involved all sorts of Cold / Electro explorations, through playing guitars, bass guitars, keyboards, synths, programming, recording and so on...At one point, I grew tired of music, and so I decided to quit writing and playing in 1996.
Then, I practically started from scratch in 2006, at which time I realized that I had a need and a desire to make music again.
I've always been keen on Ambient and "Enlightened" music, although I didn't always work in that style myself. It actually wasn't until I had a conversation with a longtime friend, Igor V. (who made me feel comfortable with the idea that I could actually make music in that way) that I finally bought some new gear and plugged it in...
After a few ups and downs, I started Data Unit in 2007 to do whatever I was interested in. It hasn't always been easy -- I have difficulty sometimes focusing in on one style to write in -- but, within Data Unit I feel free to work on whatever moves me.
How and when was Data Unit formed?
On December 12th 2007 Data Unit was initiated, and the principal focus of the project was: Since I had lost everything that was important to me, I came to regard myself as nothing more than a protocol. I used to feel so lonely that I began to imagine that I was no more than a flux of data; a useless, forgotten, odd protocol sending 0s and 1s into the void. But I was wrong.
Can you tell us what you've been working on and what you've got forthcoming in the near future (new releases, tour, etc)?
Yes I can. Well, I started a few bands and played with a few others in France and the UK (mainly in the London area) from the early 80's to the mid 90's. My brother Philippe, who's made contributions to some of my projects (he has done some programming and played synths for Data Unit and Orange 86) also played in some of the early bands I was involved in.
I have been deeply involved in some sorts of Cold / Electro explorations, through playing guitars, bass guitars, keyboards, synths, programming, recording and so on...
At one point, I grew tired of music, and so I decided to quit writing and playing in 1996. Then, I practically started from scratch in 2006, at which time I realized that I had a need and a desire to make music again. I've always been keen on Ambient and Enlightened music, although I didn't always work in that style myself. It actually wasn't until I had a conversation with a longtime friend, Igor V. (who made me feel comfortable with the idea that I could actually make music in that way) that I finally bought some new gear and plugged it in...
After a few ups and downs, I started Data Unit in 2007 to do whatever I was interested in. I'm writting a new album since a few month and working on my sounds as well with the idea to play live asap...
What was the question again? XD
Date Unit. Analog Dream.
What sort of reception does your music get in France? What's France's indie scene like?
My music gets more and more support as time goes by here. But not as much than in America and UK, these countries have always been much more supportive to whatever I did and still now they are on top of my stats.
Even if it isn't so accurate to focus on numbers and on "how green is the map" on soundcloud and youtube-like, it is very pleasant to see the audience growing in term of number and age/genre. I don't feel very comfortable talking about French reception, nor about the indie scene here.
In my humble opinion, there are some people doing their best to do, spread and share and a lot of some other who seem satisfied of main stream stuffs.... Maybe I shall go out more often.
Do you consider Data Unit's music (or any of your other projects) to be part of the current shoegaze/dream pop scene, or any scene? Defining one's sound by genre can be tiresome, but do you feel that Data Unit identifies closely with any genre? How do you feel about genres in music, in a general sense?
To be honest, I wouldn't put a sticker on my guitars. So it's not to me to say if I am doing or sounding like this or like that,it actually doesnt really matter to me as I am really keen on inventing genre names
What about thoughtgaze or ice cream ambient ?
What do you think of modern shoegaze/dream pop/psychedelia artists, any favorites?
Well, I like a few of these scenes.
What gets my attention is when a band sounds true and not "jumping someone else's train".
My horizon is quiet wide. I don't think a genre is so important these days, but it's up to every one to see what to do with it.
What is the most important piece of gear for your sound? Any particular guitars/pedals/amps that you prefer?
This could be the easiest question for me...
I'm stuck on my Fender babies, I mean Crystal and Skaia.
They are my Jaguar and my Jazzmaster. I'm using mostly them because they are those I like much (I could say love but this would become a litle private, lol) but I'm using a bass and two other guitars, too.
I'm got into effects since almost the moment I learned to play guitar, so I had a lot of pedals and multi effects. Of course I love the classical Boss like BF-2 and all those so well known people with whom we like some mutual sounds. Now I'm just using two Zoom, a G2.1u and a G2M.
I'm planning to add some more pedals to my sound and even getting some real amplifiers (Fender / Vox) because I'm on simulations at the moment. It is not software though. I'm doing all hardware, I don't mean it's better to do like this or like that. I used both, and came back to hardware. My choice is simply mine.
How do you feel about the state of the music industry today? There is no doubt a massive change underway; how do you see it and do you feel it’s positive at all?
I think the music industry is changing and, not to point the obvious, it has begun a few years ago yet. In my opinion, things are going much balanced for "non main stream bands". I, as a few other people, believe in real changes to be able to enjoy, share and spread as cool as possible.
Well, I think it's really positive.
Data Unit. Never Again.
When it comes to label releases versus DIY/bandcamp and the like, what is your stance, if any?
I know how tough it can be to release something.
My answer will have two levels :
If a band can make it on label releases, it's all fine.
If a band can't, DIY seems like a good solution in a short term effect.
Anyway, I do enjoy both as a listener and also as a musician.
Do you prefer vinyl, CD, cassette tape or mp3 format when listening to music? Do you have any strong feelings toward any of them?
Yes I do. As a purchase I accept mp3 or whatever...But I like to have the real object, and I like vinyl than CDs. I like tapes too, they are convenient. It is not a question of poshy hype, I just rather like a needlecaressing a spinning bliss. It's way warmer to my ears and nicer to my eyes.
What artists (musicians or otherwise) have most influenced your work?
If you consider my choices of guitars and sounds it's easy to guess. I started with bands like The Cure, Sisters Of Mercy, Spacemen 3, Slowdive, and Echo and the Bunnymen. But I grew up in a family where music was like a weapon between my parents, my Mother was very keen on rock, psychedelia and a few other "styles", and my Father was keen on Military music, Italian Opera...
So I'd say I've been lulled by both the Shadows, The Beatles, Motown's, Pink floyd, Can, Kraftwerk and on the other hand ... my dad's tastes.
Can you tell us a little about what you are currently into (books, films, art, bands, etc)?
I'm really enjoying some bands like The Stargazer Lilies, Morpheme, Drowner, Chatham Rise, Spell 336, The Fauns, LoveLiesCrushing, Winterlight, The Electric Koolaid Compagny, Black Market Karma, The Warlocks, Singapore Slings, Labels (and Bands on) XD Records, Vebeth.
I really like your sharings on When The Sun Hits and deeply enjoy your radio show (when I can), and I do like Tin Can, IATP, Dirk Geiger's on FlippinRadio, Dead TV, Ola's, Uncle Matt's, Simon Raymonde's radio shows as well. Those are just a few names of some (mostly) friendly bands. I'm reading a few as well, mostly nowness's concept relative books...I'm too lazy to go to a movie, especially during summer, as I'm sure to fall asleep with A.C. I like painting, drawing, calm events, fountains...
I'm spending a lot of hours screengazing daily, I like a lot of things, maybe too much to write as proper list, but well, you probably know this yet.
If you had to choose one Data Unit track that was the ultimate definition of your sound, which would it be and why?
Definitely one I didn't record yet :)
Ok, seriously, I'd say "For Your Smile" and "Eolis Dream Unit".
Can you tell us a little about your song writing process?
It's just like letting all go in a quiet moment. I am very calm in my daily life and I do like to enjoy every simple moment as it comes. So when I want to write music, I just have to be able to play on some nearby gearr, because the music doesn't ever stop in my mind, it's quiet simple. I becomes trickier if someone is around, so I do rather like to do so on my own.