You’re latest release: Sunday Afternoon EP is due out on Zingiber Audio in late-September 2016. Where did the inspiration come from for the title track?
The title of the release came because, with such a busy work schedule and with running the label, I only have a few hours off to create music. When I started the first track of the release, it was a perfect sunny Sunday and I felt very relaxed therefore I tried to describe my mood of that day.
Can you talk us through how you produced it, including any favourite software/ hardware you like to use to enhance your ideas?
I created ‘Sunday Afternoon’ first using Live 9 suite with many samples reprocessed in analog effects such as the Moog MF 103 and Roland Demora modular effects on small parts. On ‘You’ I worked on the vocal using the audio in Arturia Minbrute (not the synth’s sound) which allows you to modulate the sample like a regular wave in this machine, it was just a one shot with this set up. I’m preparing new tracks at the moment using Pittsburgh Modular 10.1, playing / recording real drums, percussions and other analog gear for effects or melodies alongside Live 9 for the editing / mixing side.
You launched Zingiber Audio back in 2011. How have you found the experience of setting up and running your own label in today’s digital world?
When I started the imprint I hadn’t thought of doing it for a long time. It was just a self produced vinyl but slowly I got more and more involved in the label and luckily had great feedback and support from cool producers. Also at the beginning of the project I wanted to run podcasts that make you feel good for example while having a drink with your friends whilst hanging out, and then two years ago I started receiving amazing demos from artists I know and also from producers I liked to play but I never had the chance to meet. Therefore I decided to find a distributor and become a functional label releasing on both vinyl and digital. I hope the label will continue this way and I particularly appreciate doing this as a job now because I have to do various jobs in one, such as being a graphic designer, music creator, music selector, producer, artistic director, e-business manager, order picker and many other tasks that you can imagine you have to do to make everything happen. Being flexible as people say!
Tell us about your experiences of NYC and the story behind why you choose there to studying audio engineering at the Institute of Audio Research ?
I never thought when I moved to New York at 21 years old that I would stay such a long time. I initially came to study English but NYC is such a perfect place for opportunities and meeting people because most of the people living there are from the rest of the world.
So while I was studying I started to spin in the East Village and loved it so much that I decided to continue studying there but this time in the field I have always been more passionate with. After visiting all schools with programs such as audio recording, mixing and mastering and music business courses my choice was pretty easy: The Institute of Audio Research. I think this school has teachers with so much concrete experience and I think they really go through all you need to start working as an audio engineer, or any job in the music field for that matter. All of the teachers were very friendly, picky, experienced and they truly influenced me in the way I hear or do music. Sometimes I’m in the studio thinking what would this teacher do to make this sound perfect and I even go back sometimes to my notes and books from when I was there.
For example I discovered modular synthesis and all the different kinds of audio treatments you could do in music.
According to the creative side, I had the chance to see / listen to so many great DJs, producers, bands, visual and graffiti artists during my time there. Art is everywhere in New York. Djiing in this city is great because even on Mondays, Tuesdays, you can spin or go to parties, which felt new to me coming from Lyon France (which wasn’t like it is right now when I was in my 20s). The crowd in NYC’s nightlife communicate with you all the time and you see people having fun like if it was their last day on earth so you feel blessed every time you play. My DJ experience was great because of regularly meeting brilliant amazingly different people from countries I’ve never been to and DJs performing in town who later became some of my closest friends. I first met Justin Strauss at Virgin Union Square who then brought me to some of the best parties in town and has continued supporting me ever since. I really think I’m lucky because he’s one of the busiest and hardest worker musicians I know. He’s still playing with the band he was in when he was young and I like his attitude – he’s humble and made so much music in his life that I take him as an example for my personal career, much like a mentor. The Halcyon’s shop owners welcomed me to DJ in their Brooklyn venue and were always nice with me as well. I also had the chance to meet David Mancuso, Felix Da Housecat, Paul Johnson, Josh Wink, Random Factor, Jerome Sydenham, GusGus and Ralph Lawson, plus I heard the likes of Mathew Dear, Magda and Metro Area playing DJ sets before they became as famous as they are now. I think since the 2000’s the music business has changed a lot as back then everybody would visit the record shop on a weekly basis digging’ through records looking for something to sample or just rare records to play rather than just ordering at home like today. NYC is still an inspiration for me and “the city that never sleeps” slogan is far from a myth.
Who are your main influences both in Dance music and outside of it?
My influences are very wide because I started music by playing drums and not DJing. I first listened to a lot of Rock and New Wave bands like Nirvana, Radiohead and Depeche Mode at first before I discovered electronic music, such as House and Techno giants from Detroit and Chicago i.e. Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May and Jeff Mills. Following that I became more influenced by the newer French, British and German scene as well, such as Laurent Garnier, St Germain, I:Cube, Daft Punk and Dimitri from Paris or labels like Roulé, Robsoul, Freak n Chic, Silver Network or Classic Music Company. There’s always a place in my heart for the Chemical Brothers, Giorgio Moroder, DJ Shadow and A Tribe Called Quest, not to mention German pioneers such as Kraftwerk and Einstürzende Neubauten, as well as labels like Warp stuff, Ninja Tune, Big Dada and all abstract hip hop or electronica sounds.
I’m also a big fan of Villalobos, Craig Richards, Luciano, Derrick Carter and Delano Smith but my all time favourite DJ will remain as Larry Levan for this avant-garde, futuristic style. Nowadays I play a lot of Archie Hamilton, Julien Sandre, Apollonia and Samu I, not to mention many more underground records…
Your latest Podcast sees you mixing a varied selection across three decks. How would you describe your approach to DJ’ing and what for you makes a great record?
Dj’ing with 3 decks is the best way you can set up turntables but I prefer mixing vinyl to using dj controllers. I don’t think they represent “real” Dj’ing but this is my personal opinion and I don’t judge whether people really make something amazing with it. I started out with vinyl and I will always come back to it.
I can play on Cdjs, Serato controlled vinyl mixed with vinyl or just vinyl by itself. As long as you’re telling a story while playing music and it sounds good to your listeners / dancers, it is perfect. What makes a good record is a hard and a simple question… the music sometimes talks to your soul, sometimes to your mind, sometimes to your body, or in the best cases all three together. Sometimes it can be something that you never thought was possible. Sometimes it is obvious, sometimes less. There are a lot of songs I like but just don’t fit what I play. Some songs have a perfect beat or melody but all the other ideas, such as vocals or synths, may be cheap ideas. What makes a perfect track is that from the beginning to the end it makes you dream or dance and even feel pain or joy. Every emotion has a musical sound.
Can you share your forthcoming plans for the both the label and your DJ’ing?
The future of Zingiber Audio is not all that defined yet because I still have a long way to go before the label’s got recognised by a lot of people but I’d like to prepare more releases with as interesting and talented artists as I’ve done so far. I will try to bring new artists as well as take more risks artistically, though the scene is full of so many amazing labels and artists. Every record is a new story so I cannot tell the future…
In terms of Dj’ing I plan to organise some label showcases at some point but I’m waiting for the right time and the best venue for it… So far people have asked me about promoting parties but I haven’t had a lot of time to prepare events correctly. I’m starting to work on a new live performance but if possible I would also like to have some of the label artists perform live at future events.