With a combined fifty-plus years experience at the forefront of the French dance music scene, Timid Boy (Damien Almira) and Ohmme (Olivier Giacomotto & David Lecocq) have the productions credentials to match some of the best in the business. Now, off the back of their already formidable individual careers, the three electronic musketeers join forces with long-time friend and esteemed stage designer, Alban Piot, for their foursome’s first collective project and one of the most exciting label launches of 2020 – Sacré Coeur Records. Following the recent release of the label’s inaugural EP ‘Ceremony’, from Timid Boy, we sat down with Damien, Olivier and David to find out more…
Good day guys and thanks for chatting with us! This is a loaded question these days but… how are you doing?
Damien (Timid Boy): I am fine, thanks, in Paris where autumn & cold just arrived after a great sunny september
Olivier: Hey, we are ok, spending a lot of time in our studio making new tracks with David for our project Ohmme, thinking about the future and how to improve our projects.
Where in the world are you answering this interview from right now?
With 2020 being such an exceptionally different year than any before it, I have to ask: how have the last few months been for you?
Damien: Sad months for a lot of people, and especially in cultural & entertainment business.
Olivier: It’s different for sure, all the gigs have been cancelled, so 2020 is hitting us hard financially, but we stay positive and bet on a better future. We had the opportunity to use our time in a different way, doing sport or cooking. As I said before, we spent weeks in the studio.
Where did you spend lockdown and how did you keep busy and motivated?
Damien: I was in my apartment in Paris where I also have a home studio. Actually lockdown was ok, I focused myself for 2 months on new productions, I decided to act as when I was a student before my exams: 2 months of “isolation” to focus on exams. Most difficult was after lockdown because for us, the artists, nothing changed, our professional activity, go and play on stage, is still “lock down”. It’s a disaster.
Olivier: Except the traveling and the gigs on the weekend, things have not changed a lot for me. I’m lucky enough to have my studio in the house, so the lockdown was smooth, even better as I had my family around me.
David: I obviously spent the whole lockdown at home, it gave me the time to build a new DJ set up in my house, and I also helped Olivier to improve our studio with some new equipment.
Do you feel the lockdown has slowed your progress as artists, or do you find some positives in all this?
Damien: As I said, I think the lockdown itself was ok, but now is very complicated, unfair & dangerous. In most countries of the world the authorities consider cultural life as a sanitary danger with the virus. It is nonsense. It’s a nightmare to see authorities acting like this! They are responsible for a lot of disasters in the way they “try to manage” or “fail to manage” the virus.
Olivier: It’s complicated. As the whole electronic music industry has been shut down, the lockdown has stopped not only artists, but also clubs and festivals. Some of them will probably not open anymore… it’s so sad. To keep being positive, that situation gave us the opportunity to think about the future and to open the doors of a new label, and we have now new music ready.
I understand you are launching a new label in October! Can you tell us a little bit about it?
David: A label was a project we had in mind for some time, what we needed was a strong team. Damien has a good experience managing label such as Time Has Changed, David is very active in Paris’s clubs and nightlife for more than 20 years, Alban has a huge background of stage designer and artist management such as Luciano, Ushuaia Ibiza, Unum Festival, Polaris Festival, etc.
Damien: I wanted to start a new label with a new team beside my own Time Has Changed since a while. I used to speak & exchange ideas a lot with David Lecocq. One day in february we started to concretely speak about it, he also wanted to launch a label with Olivier. Then Sacré Coeur Records was born quickly.
What else do you have planned for Sacré Coeur between now and the end of the year?
Damien: First release is by Timid Boy, it’s called Ceremony, a kind of nostalgic & rave track with modern production. Ohmme made a killer deep tech track & Matt Sassari a dope tech house one. Next releases will be Ohmme, then Timid Boy, then Rone White & Rowen Clark are also now on board. We also expect to get friends such as Traumer & Oxia on the label.
Going back to the beginning, what were your first introductions to electronic music?
Damien: Rave parties in Montpellier , south of France, where I come from, in the early 90’s. A new world, a magic world, very peaceful & nice people. A lot of UK artists were popular there at the time, I especially remember about Darren Emerson & Charlie Hall, my heroes. Then quickly I discovered Plastikman, Aphex Twin & Derrick Carter in house music who became very important for me.
Olivier: An acid house tape cassette my cousin gave me in 1989. it was called “This is the sound of house and new beat”.
David: My first electronic experience came from the radio in the early 90’s listening to music from artists such as Joe Smooth’s Promised Land or Disco’s Revenge from Gusto.
What were you planning to do before you realized that the world of music production and DJing was going to be your passion and work for life?
Damien: Politics or/and journalism. Politics was the main subject of speaking in my family, I wanted to do a job in this area, I was also passionate about the press (i read a lot, i recently subscribed to The New-Yorker magazine by the way – such a legendary magazine). Then I went to my first rave when I was 16, and it changed my life forever. But for a long time I was a DJ and my job was journalism (in music!).
Olivier: music is in my DNA. I studied business and marketing only as a B plan in case music would not want me. Hopefully the A plan worked quite well.
David: I’ve always been passionate about electronic music, I have worked in clubs since i’m 18 years old, so it’s all about music since day 1.
If you could share a studio session with any other artist in the world, who would you pick and why?
Damien: Well, Aphex Twin, definitively.
Olivier: Hey, I would have answered Aphex Twin too because technically he’s a mass murderer. But let’s say Richie Hawtin, I love his vision of the sound.
If you could play b2b with anyone in the world, who would you choose?
Damien: I really love b2b, it’s an opportunity to play other tracks, because you observe the other DJ and your track is an answer to his track, then also a question to his next track. Well, it should be very funky & great to do with Joseph Capriati! Seth Troxler is often great in B2B, he knows how to go into a different universe & stay coherent, so yes lets say Seth Troxler!
Olivier & David: We would probably choose Marco Carola, but we would also love a B2B with Jamie Jones, Luciano, or The Martinez Brothers…
What is the best thing you’ve eaten in 2020?
Damien: Wow I can’t answer, I go a lot to the restaurant with friends, that’s one of my favourite activities !
David: Probably during Olivier’s birthday lunch early february, we had one lunch with Damien at L’ami Jean in Paris. We had the 5 dishes experience from Chef Stéphane Jego… it was mind blowing from start to finish, but if we had to choose between all the dishes I would pick the dessert : he makes the world’s best rice pudding.
Any final words for our WOTN readers?
Damien: Stay strong. Music will never die.
Olivier & David: Get ready for the time where things will bloom again.
Timid Boy – Ceremony EP (including remixes from Ohmme & Matt Sassari) is out now via Sacre Coeur Records