Ellie Hewitt, London - United Kingdom - on 19/7/12
Hailing originally from Reunion Island, Parisian dwelling Seuil, DJ, Producer and owner of not just one but two labels, Hold Youth and Eklo Records, takes some time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about his work and his play. He tells Pulse's Ellie Hewitt about making groovy music for the girls, explains to us that he would rather sell 3000 vinyls than 3000 mp3s, which parks he takes his daughter to and how he feels learning an instrument can broaden your mind.
What was the ethos behind your album "Chamaeleonidae"? I was working on lots of music in the same spirit, but wasn’t thinking of it as an album at first. After listening to a couple of my tracks, Adrien from Masomenos proposed the idea of an album project to me – to release a full length piece of music, with exclusive tracks all mixed together, as a long trip of micro-grooves and house feelings. I don't know if it’s really a real album, but Chamaeleonidae was made in this spirit, and my aim was to make this sort of micro house with a groove and melodies, adapted for clubs and for home listening.
You’re running two imprints at the moment, Hold Youth and Eklo Records, what is the difference between the labels and what are your aims for both? Eklo is my very first label, which I started in 2007, celebrating the first birthday of my daughter I wanted to release music from talented artists I had met and from my friends in Paris. It isn’t focused on only releasing my stuff. In fact it’s really hard to decide to make a ‘Seuil EP’, in the sense that releasing on other labels is always a credit for me that my music is good enough to be released. (Although having said that, I have just personally released eklo 020 ‘Back To The Raw’ from with a remix from Fred P). Until now, the biggest difference between the labels, was that Hold Youth was a vinyl only imprint and also that I'm running it with my friend Le Loup. With the music, whether it be house, or techno, the difference is that Eklo takes more of a modern, fresh stance, whereas with Hold Youth we embrace more of an old school style and it emcompasses a wide range of genres. With Hold Youth the main aim is to release music we like and from our family, on vinyl, for as long as possible. For Eklo I’m thinking about stopping the digital, because I want to support vinyl and I want people to play vinyl in clubs. I prefer to sell 3000 vinyls than 3000 mp3s, even if I know today that’s a struggle. Also you should know that we are about to start a new Hold Youth monthly residency at Rex Club in Paris. For the launch party on 16th August we have invited our Romanian friend Cezar – very excited for this one! And release wise, look out for the new one from Le Loup ‘4 My Homie’, out now on Eklo.
Tell us about your musical background on Reunion Island, what’s it like to go clubbing there?I was born in Reunion Island in 80's so I grew up on all the things from the 90's, just as dance, house, techno was taking over in the clubs and on the radio. My father is a pianist, so I played the piano for years and he gave me a classical and jazz training. He also showed me "Maloya", the music from the island, which came from the slaves. So I have those djembés and kayambs grooves under my skin [laughs].
You then moved to Paris, where are your favourite haunts in Paris and why? Yes, Paris is my town. I love this city and I won't leave it. I feel so good here, sun or not! My favorite haunts are my great studio which I share in a nice underground place with the guys from Noze in the center of Paris. A little park near my home in the 5th arrondissement where I usually go with my daughter. I also have a lot of night time haunts like Zero-Zero bar, Rex Club, Nouveau Casino… but right now I don’t get to go out in Paris as much as I'm focusing on studio time and then at the weekend I’m usually playing elsewhere.
You’ve been trained in both the classical and the jazz piano for over ten years, what instruments would you like your children to learn and why? How important do you think it is for young people to play actual instruments? I don't know, they should learn what interests them. When I started piano I was perhaps too young as sometimes I would have rather have had fun with my friends on a Wednesday afternoon. This is something you really have to be motivated about if you want to become a real musician. But for sure, I would love my daughter to play the piano or guitar or even the drums. Playing an instrument can train your mind for good music, I hope they won't listen to the commercial crap on the radio. Being cultured about music is important, and it's not a gift, it has to be learnt.
Tell us about your live performance and how it differs from a normal DJ set. Actually I’m not doing my live set as regularly anymore. I have started to work on a new live set with more analog gears, but it takes time and I hope i'll have something new ready for the end of this year or early 2013.The difference is that you have to play on your own, with loops or melodies for at least one hour, while trying to bring the people somewhere. My point with my live set is about trying to show a part of your music, expressing yourself, not only by producing tracks.
You’ve just played at DC10 in Ibiza, what did you find the vibe like on the island this year? Thanks to Lola Ed, especially Dan Ghenacia, I had the opportunity to play there 4 or 5 times already, on the terrace and in the main room, and it's always a big pleasure. Especially this year the sound system is particularly well setup, so I can't wait to play again there on Monday 13th of August. The Lola ED showcase we had on 4th of June was so nice, great audience and new backstage, where you can feel really at ease.
You’ve worked with dOP, Boris Horel, Le Loup, Yakine and Aquarius Heaven to name a few, who are also your friends, what’s it like when you’re in the studio with them? Different with all them, but we all have the same aim in sight, making some groovy music for the girls! What happens in the studio usually only happens one time. I like to collaborate with friends, but different friends and not with the same guy every time - except with Le Loup of course! I like to take care of the beats with the mpc, then we start to work on bass and melodies but I won't give away all our secret techniques.
You’re a resident at ‘Half Baked’ in London, what’s it like as a party? I played the very first Half Baked at end of 2009, then I brought Le Loup and Yakine along who became HB residents too. It's an amazing party, people who work their ass to make an amazing day event with decorations, make up, people dressed up crazy! The other 2 mains residents, Robin Ordell and Greg Brockmann keep the vibe going with their great sets, as do the other residents too Rainer, Mike Shannon, and recently Julietta. There’s a real energetic vibe on the Sundays in London, indoor or outdoor!! English people know how to party properly!
You will be next be playing at 11th August at FACE presents Culprit vs Leftroom w/Droog, Matt Tolfrey, Seuil & Shonky b2b and Sam Russo in Birmingham, have you played the city before ? Are you looking forward to it? Yeah I played there New Year’s Day with Shonky this year. It was a great night and actually my first time in Birmingham. It's with Shonky again this time but a b2b session, really looking forward to it!
FACE have become a popular outfit over the past year or so, why do you think that is? Well I have seen the lineups and its really a forward-thinking party, there’s lots of DJ’s playing that are doing exciting stuff at the moment. Also my experience of New Year’s Day was a great venue with a really up for it crowd. The atmosphere was crazy! That’s what makes people keep coming back to party!
What new sounds and musical attitudes have you been experimenting with recently? I really like break stuff, so I tried to mix my micro modern house with some of this. Obviously it can be inspired by the english scene a bit, but i tried to mix it my way. Really like the recent stuff from Kowton on Idle Hands or Locked Groove on Hotflush.
11th August at FACE presents Culprit vs Leftroom w/Droog, Matt Tolfrey, Seuil & Shonky b2b and Sam Russo in Birmingham
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