Hi Olivier, welcome to We Own The Nite NYC! Thanks for taking time out of your schedule to talk to us. How are you?
Hi, thanks to you too. All is well, I hope it’s also the case for you.
How has 2020 been for you so far? We’ve seen that you’re currently on a big tour around South America?
The beginning of the year went pretty well. I did a lot of good dates in Europe, and also in South America; I was in Chile 3 weeks ago, then in Brazil and now I’m back from Colombia. It was really cool; it’s always a great pleasure to play in South America, the atmosphere is always very hot and the audience is very enthusiastic.
Let’s talk about your label Diversions. Do you have anything exciting projects planned for this year?
So … We’ve been getting a lot of demos lately so we already have 4 EPs that are almost ready and will be released soon. Three of these EPs are by young artists – two of them, Bizen Lopez and Airbas, have already released a lot of stuff, and the third one is a young French producer called GVRL. As for the 4th one, it will be from a longtime friend, Yannick Baudino, with whom I had already collaborated on the labels Saved and Gruuv. There will also be two remixes on Yannick Baudino’s EP, one by Bizen Lopez and one by myself – well it’s more an edit than a remix – and I did the same on one of Bizen Lopez’s tracks off his new EP on Diversions.
You run the label with your good friend Nicolas Masseyeff. How and when did you guys meet?
Yes, we waited for quite a few years before we decided one day to set-up a new label together – in fact, we’ve known each other for more than 20 years. Back then, Nicolas was organizing parties in the south of France, near Cannes, and he invited me to play when my career was taking off; I had just released my first EPs. And so that’s how we met; we immediately liked each other and bonded. Our friendship has lasted ever since, and I’m his son’s godfather. On a professional level, several years passed before we decided to make music together. Nicolas had already helped me a lot to mix my album “Tides Of Mind” released in 2012, then 3 years afterwards we decided to go for it and found time to make tracks together. Once we finished these tracks, we naturally sent them to some labels; many people wanted to release them but we actually had to wait for several months… So that’s how we had the idea to create our label, in order to be able to release our tracks when we wanted to, without having to wait for the labels’ answers or for them to decide when to release them… That’s how Diversions Music was born.
You are both pioneers of the electronic music scene in France. How would you say this scene has evolved over the past years since you started out?
Yes indeed, we were there at the very beginning so we really witnessed how things evolved. The scene has of course grown a lot since; we went from underground parties that were not always legal to big festivals that are very well-organized with big productions. A lot of places have started doing electronic music parties as well. In the beginning, techno and rave parties were a bit scary, like any new movement, then little by little it became more and more accessible to people. An increasing number of young people became eager to participate. What happened next was that everyone was able to access the internet, which I think has played a big part in this evolution because people from all over the world were suddenly able to discover and listen to music. It was much easier than before, when there were only vinyl records and the radio; so more and more people started wanting to attend events and check-out live the artists whose music they listened to at home.
And that was the same for production. Nowadays it’s possible to make music with only a computer and a few plugins, which was not the case when we started. We had to buy machines and that was costly so it wasn’t accessible to everyone. Therefore, new means of production gave the possibility to many more people to make music – for the best but sometimes for the worst 🙂
But it’s cool for all the young people who are really talented; it allows them to express themselves through their music and bring you something fresh. This has made electronic music evolve in a way, also.
What would you say have been some of your biggest achievements or proudest moments since you launched Diversions?
It’s always hard to say, but perhaps the most important EP for Nicolas and I is the very first Diversions “Connivence EP” released in 2016 because, first of all, it was the first EP we did together, and second, it’s this EP that made us start the label. So, in my opinion it’s probably the most important achievement, even if we’re proud of everything that followed.
What is the electronic music scene like in your hometown of Grenoble?
The scene is pretty active for a small town like Grenoble and it’s been like this for a very long time because the first nights took place in the mid-90s, with artists and friends who later became internationally-famous DJs like Miss Kittin, The Hacker, Kiko… We all started a little bit at the same time and evolved together at the beginning. Then there were newer generations who started doing things in Grenoble, before some of us moved to Paris or somewhere else, like Janeret for example. There are several places in Grenoble that have a good electronic music program. The most important one is a venue called La Belle Electrique; a lot of big artists have played there in the last few years such as Nina Kraviz, Laurent Garnier, Maceo Plex, Seth Troxler, Ame… I also play there once a year. All the parties are usually sold out with a capacity of 1.200 people. There are also smaller venues that do interesting things, so the scene is going pretty well.
You’re clearly very accomplished both in the studio and behind the decks. Do you prefer one or the other? If so, why?
I really enjoy doing both, for me it’s complementary; I couldn’t do without one or the other, at least for now. I like being in the studio, taking the time to try a lot of things. I sometimes take a little too much time trying things, mind you, that’s probably why I don’t release that many tracks 🙂
Moreover, I also like to be in front of people and share the music with them. There are sensations and energy that you don’t find in the studio in front of machines. So … I’m just as comfortable in one as the other.
What are 5 records that haven’t left your box recently?
There are obviously more than 5 that I play regularly so it’s not easy to choose, but here is a non-exhaustive list.
– Ohmme – Better – Diversions Music
– Patrice Baumel – Sender – Afterlife
– Harry Romero – It’s You – Crosstown Rebels
– Nic Fanciulli, Black Circle – Leap of Faith (Extended Mix) – Saved
– Mathias Kaden – Square – Pets Recordings
What are you most looking forward to this year? Any cool projects you can tell us about?
As far as my projects are concerned, in addition to the releases on Diversions, I just finished a remix for my friend Agoria. It’s a remix of a track in collaboration with a young French artist called Sacha Rudy. The original is a pop track from the soundtrack of the recently released film ‘Lucky’ by Belgian director Olivier Van Hoofstadt.
There are other projects in progress, including remixes and new tracks, but it’s still a bit early to tell you about them. Besides that, I hope, like every year, to do a lot of good gigs all over the world, and of course to come back to NYC and the USA very soon.
Any final words for our We Own The Nite readers?
I hope to see you soon somewhere in the world, wherever you are, so that we can have a good time together.