A stroke of fate

Fabrizio Moretti, drummer of The Strokes and Luz, the French cartoonist met in a rock bar in Paris. From this chance encounter began an artistic project on the story of the Minotaur.

Here are some explanations on this black, white and blue collaboration.  

* You’ve been living in Paris for a while now, have you met any French musicians and listened to any French music?

Yes, especially as I’m sharing a studio with other musicians. I’ve been listening to French artists, and of course Serge Gainsbourg that I very much like.

Being in a studio is new to me, my approach to creating music has changed. I feel the need to practice, to work on my flexibility and not become too stiff. It’s the first time in my life that I don’t consider this discipline (drumming) as negative. Ever since, it’s become a routine, and it’s just who I am now.

If I’m working on the drawing, and just can’t seem to be creative, it’ll obsess me till I go crazy. It’s incredibly frustrating. The next day, I know that I’ll have a clearer head after my studio session, after a period of intense concentration. It’s a positive balance.


 

 
 

* You’re far from your band, The Strokes, is that a change…?
 

Band life is an abstract life, similar to a teenager’s life. Being in a band isn’t easy. We love each other but there are moments of tension, even if in the end it all works out and it’s like; damn I love this guy! Imagine it being a marriage between five asexual people! And sometimes it’s hard to keep your mouth shut!
 

*And Paris is an opportunity to…

Keeping your mouth shut (Laughs) I came here to take a break, to be in another language environment, and to find a sort of serenity. Finally the hardest is to talk with French people who will systematically talk back to you in English! That’s not easy!

Moreover I think that the French people speak more English than Americans speak French. It seems to be easier for a French person to talk with a foreigner. And when we speak French between foreigners, it’s a complete mess!

* When did you begin to draw?

I can’t really say when or how it started. It’s always been a part of my life. When I was 6 or 7 years old, I remember classmates asking me to draw suff, and for me it was a way of joining in.

Today it’s a way of discovering new things; it’s a permanent discipline and enables an instant image. It’s my way of expressing myself.

 




 

* Where did you meet Luz with whom you worked on the artistic project called Fuzlab?

I was having some drinks at a bar called Truskel, and we started chatting as we were both friends with the owner. I had with me Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces based on mythology and in which is mentioned the story of the Minotaur. Luz and I talked about mythology and we immediately wanted to invent and illustrate a new mythological world.

If you are interested in Greek narratives, you can quite easily find a parallel with our own contemporary stories. I find it incredibly interesting and intriguing! Furthermore Greek mythology is very visual and Luz and I wanted to transform and reconstruct the illustrations.


* How do you regard Luz?

We’re very different but we draw well together and our styles complement each other. Luz is both innocent and mischievous, and this balance makes him curious about everything. He is capable of synthesizing what’s on his mind with what he draws. His drawings pour straight out of him, and the results always seem like the punch line to a joke.

Although we didn’t know each, we talked for hours about the Minotaur project. When we decided on the project he immediately told me about this huge roll of paper that a friend had given him. The next day he showed up at my place with the roll of paper. Luz is that kind of guy.

It felt very natural to be drawing next to him; I was very impressed because for him, it’s his job whereas I’m just a drummer! At first we just drew, but then we decided on a more elaborate scenario.


 

 


* Did you listen to music whilst drawing?

Yes we both brought records in and it was another way of sharing. Mahavishnu Orchestra was actually Luz’s idea and we came up with the idea of a sequence of battles. It was very exciting!

* Did you listen to other artists?

We listened to Walter Carlos, or rather Wendy Carlos, Grover Washington Jr, Mahavishnu Orchestra…and also psychedelic rock.

We listened a lot to Switched-On Bach by Wendy Carlos. It was an important pioneer album of the 70s. She recreated Bach’s recording with a synthesizer, which at the time was a relatively new and unknown instrument. It was a very interesting approach.

* And what about the color blue?

Luz arrived with blue, and also black and white. That’s how the project began, and now we are evolving to add different tones.

* And if Luz were a color?

Easy to answer, it would be Electric Blue!