Techno, electro and a journey through the cosmos.
TC80's discography, which begins in 2015, suggests he's relatively new to the scene. In reality, he's a veteran DJ who's held residencies in European clubs for more than a decade, beginning with taking Kylie Minogue requests in a gay club in Metz, 30 KM from his hometown of Thionville near the France-Germany border. His experience is obvious whenever he plays. He brings together a range of styles, eras and moods with a steady hand and an expert sense of flow. Inspired by Japanese video game soundtracks and associated with Cabaret Recordings, Club Der Visionaere and the wave of producers twisting house, minimal, techno and electro into exciting new forms, TC80 applies a delicate touch to all aspects of his music. You can hear this in the stargazing melodies splashed across standout tracks like "Phrase," "Vestiges Of Fools" and "Sector Z." His DJ sets are similarly cosmic, balancing the nervous squirm of acid with the tumbling grooves of '90s tech house. TC80 is about to release a new album, Play, on Sequalog, the label he runs with Etienne. It will be the label's fourth release, following the excellent Prologue EP and Etienne's V3.
We get TC80 at his best on this week's RA podcast. He lays down classic acid, electro and a few new productions, all brought together with an effortless veteran's touch. It's a stellar introduction to TC80's world.
What have you been up to recently?
I've been working on Sequalog, the label I cofounded with Etienne, touring Europe and South America and digging in record shops I can find on my way. During my travels, I use my iPhone as a kind of musical travel book. With GarageBand I can have a workflow similar to an MPC or Electribe and can work on ideas in the present moment. This way I can be inspired and creative everywhere I go. I also pass a lot of my time reading, learning and meditating.
How and where was the mix recorded?
This mix was recorded in Barcelona at a friend's place with decks.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
For podcasts, I like to tell deep stories with eclectic tracks and genres but with a common sonic palette that works harmonically, creating new energies as a third track. 1 + 1 = 3. I also like when there is a large range of intensities and being able to express different emotions and moods, keeping a smooth progression but with some surprising moments.
You play a lot of your own productions in your DJ sets, but many of them never get released. How do you decide which tunes to put out?
It really depends on the situation and the tracks I have available to release. Playing my tracks at my gigs allows me to feel what people like. I think it's nice to release tracks that they resonate with. But I also want to release tracks that I can't always play in club situations. I think that the artist's role is to make the soul-realm perceptible, so it's important to release music that is not necessarily club-oriented. When I work with labels, I let them choose the tracks because they have their own visions.
For our label, Sequalog, I try to choose tracks that I find complementary and that can be used in different situations: warm up, peak-time, closing. As a DJ, I love getting a record with three or four tracks I can use in my sets. For albums, I like to choose a concept, message or story to work on through the selection, titles and the graphic design.
Many of your tracks are influenced by video game soundtracks from the '80s and '90s. Why does that music appeal to you?
I would first like to mention that I'm fascinated by '80s and '90s video game soundtracks from Japan. Since my childhood I've been connected to a part of Japanese culture, because a lot of anime, manga and video games were imported in France at that time. I'm really sensitive to the spirit of those stories and this type of music. I will always remember the day when I played Mario Bros on NES for the first time. It was like entering in a new reality full of creativity.
Even now, I'm still digging a lot of video game soundtracks from Super Nintendo, Sega Mega Drive (Genesis), PlayStation, Saturn and Dreamcast games. There's so much good music to discover and some can be also played in clubs. I hope to be able to visit Japan for the first time soon. I would stay some extra days to discover the culture and to compose music from there. I also have the wish to work on video game soundtracks and maybe to develop experimental games with the label.
What are you up to next?
About music production, my new album, Play, on Sequalog is coming soon. Later this year, there will be an EP on the Frankfurt-based label Blank State and one track on a compilation for Albion Records. I'm also preparing tracks to send to Cabaret. Some gigs are planned for Amsterdam, Barcelona, London, Leeds and new tours are in preparation for North and South America, Asia and Australia. Aside from DJing and production, I give advanced music production classes, with a focus on creativity, expression and musical identity. I also have an event project called WOKE with Anah, a friend and DJ based in Barcelona.