EK Interview: Alexandre Lehmann

Alexandre Lehmann (running under the aliases of Ricardo Montalban and Zzzzra) is an artistic craftsman who works within the realms of dub techno creation and 3D fractal construction. It’s always great to see someone in firm control of both the visuals and audio. Lehmann was more than happy to contribute to this interview, and I couldn’t thank him enough for it.

I’ll keep the intro short, and let the Q&A do the rest of the talking. Enjoy!

Lehmann’s Logo.

Hello hello, thank you so much for taking the time to contribute to this interview. We can start with a little intro about yourself for our readers.

Well first of all thanks a lot for inviting me! My name is Alexandre Lehmann, I will be turning 40 this year and I live in the suburbs of Paris, France. I live a very pedestrian, workaday life, vacuuming and being a mediocre cook. My main hobbies include creating electronic music, fractal images and anarchy propaganda.

What attracted you to work within the realm of 3D animation?

I have been into fractals since the early nineties and since then I have always kept up to date with the latest technological developments in this particular field. After the discovery of the Mandelbulb (a 3D version of the Mandelbrot set) a few years ago, a couple of experimental tools were created which then led me to 3D animation.

Frame from Musicians With Guns – Univers 01.7 (Rotabox Mix).

What sparked your interest in venturing into fractal territory (pertaining to your Musicians With Guns series)?

I am most of all interested by fractals rather than 3D itself. I started with 3DS max back in college but that’s about as far as my knowledge of CGI tools goes. I never really practiced: I lacked time, resources and, most of all, talent.

Music seems to be a considerable influence to your artwork. Is it a major building block throughout your creative process? How do you go about completing one of these pieces from start to finish?

My main creative activity is actually making electronic music. Most of my work falls under the quite underground genre of dub techno, and is produced under the Zzzzra pseudonym. Musicians With Guns is the name of my ambient / drone project. You can listen to a lot of tracks over at my Soundcloud.

Frame from Musicians With Guns – Cometa (Mandelbox Version).

Fractals have this immense mesh between art and science. Do you have any similar insights of your own that are represented in your work?

I have no scientific background, but I actually regret that because I think it could help me a lot to understand how these mathematical objects work. I have a pretty good grasp of the general concept but it’s the details I don’t get. My approach of fractal art is purely improvised and based on exploration.

On the tech-side of things, what kind of software / tools do you utilize? Do you try to keep up with the latest and greatest, or have you already found your weapon of choice?

I use a small freeware conceived by a mathematician, which is available on the fractalforums.com website as “Mandelbulb3D”. This software is constantly evolving and is being updated on a regular basis (with the addition of new fractal formulas, the rendering process being improved…). However, it has many limitations, especially regarding animation, that are due to the conception itself. 3D fractal art is still in its early stages. The next years should bring a lot of new developments (real-time exploration for example).

Are you a fan of anyone else’s work? Maybe others who inspired you and your creations?

Regarding my work on 3D fracals, my friend Jérémie Brunet is truly an inspiration. I could also mention Max Ernst’s “geological” era, Jean Dubuffet and Hans Ruedi Giger. They produce very “organic” artwork, which is precisely what attracted me to fractal art, despite its purely mathematical origins. Here’s the Youtube account of Jérémie Brunet, which will give you an idea of his talent.

Frame from Musicians With Guns – Univers 01.7 (Rotabox Mix).

Any favorite movies, TV shows, music bands, websites? Other impassioned activities besides creating awesome art?

My favorite movie of all time is 2001 : A Space Odyssey. I also love the works of Luis Buñuel and John Waters. As far as TV series go, I love shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm, Louie, Father Ted, Arrested Development, Eastbound and Down, Superjail! and Kenny vs. Spenny. Regarding music I’m a huge fan of Frank Zappa, Sun Ra, Fela Kuti and also Miles Davis’ first “electric” era.

Can you think of any dreams or nightmares that you’d be willing to share with us? Do you perchance dream in fractals?

I have indeed dreamt of fractal structures. These are more like bad dreams, very alienating. When I roam through these structures in my dreams, I always end up feeling very claustrophobic and disoriented. It’s quite painful, to be honest.

Thanks again for sharing your time with all of us in the EK community. On a last note, is there any upcoming projects or potential work tidbits you can divulge to our readers?

Thank you for the opportunity to discuss fractal art in here, because it is, in my opinion, an art well worth discovering. At the moment I’m working on a new 3D fractals video which will be part of a CD / DVD box set on the Entropy Records label. It will include about 7 or 8 tracks from my ambient / drone project Musicians With Guns, along with a few remixes and a booklet filled with fractal artwork.

Cover Art for Remixes Perdus (Zzzzra).

Cram your noggin with more of Lehmann’s delicious work down below!

Musicians With Guns // Astroblast

Musicians With Guns // Univers 01.7 (Rotabox Mix)

Musicians With Guns // Cometa (Mandelbox Version)

Zzzzra // Helicologie

Musicians With Guns // Univers 03.5 (Affaiblissement)

Zzzzra // Cinq Débuts De Morceaux

Alexandre Lehmann