The French producer's debut album takes inspiration from jazz, IDM and more. It comes out later this month on Karat, but you can hear it here first.
Jazz seemed to be an inspiration for the album. What are some of the people you were listening to while recording Freewheel?
That's right. Jazz has been a big source of joy to me, particularly the period from 1955 to 1970. In a certain way it has influenced me a lot, even if I feel awkward to compare my work with them; not the same music, not the same level, not the same technology, not the same goal.
I'm a huge fanatic of Thelonious Monk (a passion I share since quiet a long time with my friend Ark). He was in my opinion a real genius, his musicality was just outstanding. He was the music. Charlie Mingus, Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter, Sun Ra, John and Alice Coltrane, Don Cherry and Pharoah Sanders were the people I was listening while recording my album. I was also deeply into Moondog at this time, Erik Satie, Claude Debussy, but also quite a lot into electroacoustic music (mostly the French school, Parmegiani, Luc Ferrari, Francois Bayle, Pierre Henry), ethnic music (north and west African, North India, south east Asia), and,, of course a lot of electronic music: the last Tim Exile album on Warp, Burial, Four Tet, T++, Pepe Bradock, Pole, Caribou, Isolée, Bruno Pronsato, Clark, Jan Jelinek, Pantha du Prince, Kenny Larkin, Maurice Fulton and Hieroglyphic Being among others.
Karat seems to specialize in promoting French artists. How did you hook up with them for this album?
I met Alex and Laetitia from Karat almost at the same time while I decided to develop my electronic career after 10 years in different bands. This was around 2004. A friend of mine introduced me to all these new techno and house sounds—what we used to call minimal house, micro house—and I fell straight in love with Karat releases, Ark, Krikor, Portable, Chloé. It sounded very fresh to me, and had this sense of eclecticism which fits my personality. I'm from Perpignan in the south close to the Spanish Border and Laetitia is also from there, so once they came there for summer and we arranged a dinner, and since we became good friends.
Afterward, in a very short time, I got my first EP signed by Circus Company, got selected by Red Bull Music Academy in Melbourne, got regular gigs around Europe, so they kept an eye on me (not to mention they offered me my first gig in Paris at Rex Club). I spent quiet a long time producing and playing music that I was very unsatisfied with, so I never sent them any material till I completely finished this album.
Honestly, I'm very happy to release this album on Karat because it's a label who means a lot to me, and also because it's a label who has been giving a lot to the French scene and the Paris nightlife.
The album cover is very interesting. Can you tell us more about it?
At first I thought I should make the artwork by my own. I'm originally a graphic designer and spent quite a long time studying painting at university. But once Laetitia from Karat showed me this painting which was supposed to be the artwork for the Dolibox's album, it blew my mind. Dolibox chose to use something else, so when my turn came up it was clear that this painting would be the perfect artwork for mine. It has this perfect feeling of loneliness and melancholy that my music tries to achieve, and the painting itself has got this remarkable paint quality I like so much.
The artist is Damien Cadio, a French painter who lives in Berlin, and his work is phenomenal. We used two others for the inside, which represent a vinyl record. I always have painting in mind, I make music as if it was painting. Both of them are and will remain my more precious treasures.