With a tireless work ethic and a focus on creation rather than infamy, Aurelien Riviere may be one of the best-kept secrets of the European house and techno scene.
His rise as DoubtingThomas has been a slow and steady one, with releases on key underground labels and prestigious residencies confirming what those in the know already understand; that this is an artist worth paying attention to.
intricate sounds, sizzly textures, and unending grooves for over an hour. A true odyssey with one of the scene’s finest. But not only! We’ve had a chance to cop a little chat with Aurelien, and we’re absolutely glad to have his insight. Have a good read!

 

Hello Aurélien! Thank you so much for having us. How have you been?

Hello Meoko! Always a pleasure, I am very well thanks !!

 

 Let us start by getting straight to the point. Where does the story begin for DoubtingThomas?

There is a very long and very short story but basically I needed an alias that was low key, not too pretentious and meaningful back when I was a Rookie Dj and started producing electronic music in the early 2000’s.

We know that your alias is derived from the apostle that only believes when he sees. How does this reflect on you as a person and an artist?

Although I am not big on religions of any kind I choose that alias as a motto to my creative methods. While being sceptical Thomas was researching and questioning things before affirming facts, it’s the scientific approach to everything I relate to deeply as an artist.

When I first started to produce music I felt really unsure about what I was doing and where things were going.  Today I still apply a great deal of constructive self-criticism to my work, nothing is perfect and sometimes even blurry but to thrive and do better you need to experiment continuously until things become more natural and clear.

 

You’ve been traveling a lot inside Europe and outside throughout your career. How has this affected your vision towards music production?

I have traveled a ton, the last 10 years especially. The beauty of traveling to places with a strong musical concept is that wherever you are regardless of culture, language and other barriers, you’ll find like-minded people. Of course, memories are a big part of the inner creative process so I presume people and places are a big part of my musical inputs.

 

What about the imprints that London & Berlin have left for you?

I spent over 13 years in London where it all began for me and a bunch of friends and artists now well known in the underground electronic scene. The years spent were extremely enriching personally and creatively of course. Moving to Berlin for a few years was also such a tremendous step towards being able to become independent as a producer, there are no places like Berlin and I am so grateful for the experience and the kickstart the city has offered me over the years.

 

We are really hooked on your works. Tell us a bit about the creative process that takes you from an idea to a complete piece of work

Ah thanks ! Means a lot to me ! Writing music that touches even a few people is the best feeling in the world for me. I am not compromising much in general so it has a great deal of meaning when people get it.

In terms of the creative process, emotions and ideas prevail in the music that I make. Usually, I don’t like to spend too long on the production time to keep the core and feel of the moment of creation as intact as possible. I love when the music takes me to places rather than forcing it and doing something that would be too cookie-cutter or perfect. Of course, the method doesn’t always work but when it does it can be quite magical.

 

What about being a DJ? What are your perspectives when you’re behind the decks?

Although I am playing Live pretty much 95% of the time nowadays, I am still a DJ at the heart of course.

My live act is a 32 channels Hybrid set that can be modulated to the infinity and beyond, it helps me to create a variety of moods and sonic experiences on the go and showcase my take on club sound. Mixing high energies onto softer notes is the concept behind my live sets. It’s what I love to do the most and believe I am the best at. I love to play records also from time to time of course, I have always been a digger and have a large collection of vinyl I have been carrying around for decades.

 

The promises… seems like the series is a whole other take on things, maybe another side of Aurélien. Can you tell us a bit more about it?

I started The Promises a while back in London after being a little frustrated with Record labels that had the tendency of not choosing the tracks I really wanted to release being quote « Sometimes too weird or not Clubby enough »

I wanted to have a platform that allowed me to feel free and release the music I really wanted to showcase, pushing musical concepts rather than achieving commercial effectiveness.

 

 

Other than The four-on-the-floor stuff, we are aware that you’re a Musician on a wider level. Let us in on that, would you?

I have been experimenting with ambient and low tempo music since I started producing music back in the late 90’s even before I started exploring club music. It’s something that I deeply love and where I can really push my creative boundaries always forward without mood, tempo or energy restrictions. I have worked in a multitude of films and art projects over the years and also do some music for publishing.

 

Could you tell us some bits about your view on today’s scene?

My view on the scene is pretty singular since the Club scene has a variety of  faces nowadays even within a specific genre. The business strategies and social media’s involvement is shaping our industry quite drastically nowadays and it can be dragging sometimes for people like me that don’t take pictures of their meals every day, i respect those who do, I am just not amazing at creating social media content outside of my musical bubble.

Other than that, there is a healthy amount of intelligent electronic music out there that gets its space in the multiverse despite the more commercial side of things.

 

What would you say are your main motives as an artist?

I guess that would be to continuously be better at what I do, keep on learning and explore different creative paths while being able to afford it.

 

This is all great to hear! We’ve actually missed seeing you around for the past couple of years. We’ve learned that you were on a pause. Why did you decide to stay on standby for 2 years?

Obviously, the pandemic didn’t help 🙂 Also, i thought there was going to be a right time to start and tour again, it didn’t feel right to me until very recently. I am now working with James What @ Arai agency and the future already looks brighter from what we can tell and I have a bunch of very cool shows lined up this year at last.

 

Coming back strong we hope then! We’d love to hear some insight about this break. What lessons did you come out with?

The last two years have been really positive against the odds, I have produced a ton of music and had all the time in the world to push some projects on hold for some years.  I feel extremely lucky to have had the time to thrive musically, living in the countryside with my loved ones felt really safe while the World was going sideways, i can’t complain really when we all know how terrible the last two years have been for many artists and creative minds. We survived it and I am very grateful to open this next chapter in my career.

 

I’m sure that you’ve spent some time in the studio lately, so I’ll shoot straight. Any exciting projects you could let us in on?

I released a bunch of EP’s Between 2020 and 2022 with my very talented Friend Wyro, a great number of Remixes also on various Vinyl are out or on the Go.

I am preparing a new Album for The Promises that should be out this summer and I am also working on a very special number of songs with a few local musicians here in France for a new indie project called « Apatride »

In the meantime, I am working on my live set for the coming tours.

 

We would also like to thank you for the mix you prepared for MEOKO. It’s been some time since your last mix, how do you feel about this one?

It’s been a long while indeed since my last Meoko cast 10 years or more 🙂 I wanted to showcase a bunch of songs that I have been loving for some time, playing at home with my turntable, I hope you like it.

Listen here!

 

It’s been a pleasure talking to you! we hope to have you around again soon!

Thank you very much for having me, always a pleasure xx

 

Words by Ramy Ounis

 

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