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Cliff Viljoen, Cape Town - South Africa - on 6/8/13
Born and raised in Paris but a resident of Amsterdam for the past fifteen years, DJ and producer Julien Chaptal turns in a cracking house mix for Pulse Podcast 137, recorded specially onto 1/4 inch tape. Here Chaptal chats to us about what's been happening in his world of late, along with sharing some insider tourist info on Amsterdam and some personal advice to up-and-coming electronic artists.
Pulse: Give us a quick rundown of what you've whipped together for this week's exclusive Pulse Radio podcast. Julien Chaptal: This is a mix I recorded on 1/4 inch tape with some of the tunes that have been rocking my world. Some of these i have played for over 10 years, others are not out yet, and some are edits I made to play in my sets. I really like recording mixes on tape, it reminds me of the mixtapes i was making as a kid for my friends. The medium also tends to eat up some of the high frequencies and it sounds round and beefy in the low end so it's all a bit more intimate feeling than digital recordings.
Fill us in on any imminent upcoming releases or remixes out soon. I'll be releasing a few remixes the coming months for Luke Solomun, Mauro Picotto, Felipe Venegas and Pablo Cahn. Unfortunately i have been kept away from my studio for a few months so there is no original music coming out from me very soon. It's probably a good thing though as the last releases on Defected, Supplement Facts and Supernature need space to breathe! I am now back in Amsterdam with a head banging full of ideas so i do expect something will burst out again soon, maybe an album?
Daft Punk lover or hater? Give us your take on the most anticipated album release of 2013, if ever, 'Random Access Memories'. Daft Punk has actually been super influential for me over the years. 'Homework' is certainly one of the albums that has given me the inspiration to do what i do today. I still listen to it. This new one sounds absolutely gorgeous, I read they spent over a million dollars on it and I can hear that. However i've only listened to it once so far, I'm sure it needs more listens but it didn't touch me very deeply musically.
Name three records or tracks seared into your soul and etched into memory because of an associated unforgettable moment or milestone in your life. Joe Smooth - 'Promised Land'. This one was a revelation for me. I was a kid when I first heard it, i guess it was at the end of the 80's. It's one of the tracks that put house music on the map and crossed over to the mainstream. Still one of my favorite tracks ever.
Octave One - 'Blackwater'. This is the track I always end the night with when I play at Studio 80. It's such an epic track and Ann Saunderson's performance is just so...I get goosebumps every time I hear it and it's got many memories attached to it.
Talking Heads - 'This Must Be The Place'. This one isn't dance music but has been on heavy rotation at home for years. It's always associated to the start of a great day with my girl. Listen to the lyrics, David Byrne hits right on the spot.
What feeds your soul more, producing or performing, and why? There is definitely no winner in my mind in this contest. It's like trying to ask myself if I have more affinity with wine than cheese! They go hand in hand and are both soul food essentials to my well being. I shouldn't spend too much time out of the studio though, I've realized this recently when I got back in to work on a new liveset, my machines were crackling. These things have a life of their own and need a good share of lovin'.
You and David Labeij have a history of collaboration and quite a firm friendship. How did the two of you meet and give us a little overview of this passionate bromance. David and I met around 2000, we were both working at the Melkweg, a live venue in Amsterdam. I was a sound tech there so when David started making music he asked me for tips and we would spend some time listening to our tracks on the big system. We then went on to release music on the same label and soon formed a band with Kabale Und Liebe, Lauhaus, Boris Werner and Gert Van Veen from Quazar, called Amsterdam 661. Since then we've all been playing a lot together and David and I though it was about time we started a label together last year, MFD. It stands for anything you like: My Favourite Dragon, Music For Ducks, My Friend's Dog. It's a real fun project where we mostly use machines at the heart of the productions and subsequently we have also been performing live together as MFD with a bunch of hardware. You won't find it on beatport though, the music is only out on vinyl.
Blood, sweat, tears as well as many hours of passion, indomitable will and hard work are the cornerstones of longevity in this industry. If you could share one piece of invaluable industry advice with young, aspiring DJs or producers, what would it be? I'd say that it's all too easy to start applying a formula to your productions or DJ sets once you have had a breakthrough with a certain track or sound. Everybody tries to put you in a box and also pushes you to produce a track or a remix that sounds just like that track of yours that everyone was raving about the previous month. If that's what you want, and you indeed enjoy making this one thing only, then by all means, go for it and stick to your guns. But the most of us actually enjoy producing different types of tracks and surely as a DJ there is nothing holding you from playing a Marvin Gaye tune in the middle of a techno set if that's your bag. So i'd say the advice is to keep doing what you love, and only that.
Let's say Team Pulse just landed at Schipol. As an honorary Dutchman who has lived in Amsterdam for almost 15 years, we are assigning you as our official tourist guide. Give us your list of tourist must do's in the city. Checkout Roest - it's a creative space located on a canal in the east of the city where you can do things like watching a film with a cocktail in your hand on the city beach, or being head to head with a cow in the stable while listening to a band playing in the background. If you're visiting in the summer you definitely have to find time to chill in one of the many parks, the Westerpark is a nice place to go to, and there's the Westergasfabriek next to it with cinema, theater, bars and restaurants, and of course the Gashouder, a massive venue hosting events like Awakenings. The Studio 80 is unmissable for any globe trotting club goer, my favorite club in town and where I have a residency. It's a rather small venue with two rooms, and it's all about good sound and quality music. And finally for a nice bite to eat reserve a table at Toscanini in the Jordaan. Yum!
How many hours would you say you've wasted in airport lounges across the globe over the course of your career? Do you have a favourite boredom curbing activity to kill the time? I seriously can't count the amount of hours I have spent in airports waiting for a ride but I can tell you it's not my favorite thing to do, surely not when i'm on my way home. I do actually like to make music when going to a gig or listen to new tracks to put in my sets, I do that very loud on the headphones. From the looks on peoples faces around me, I'm not making many friends when i do that.
You seem to have cemented quite a strong South African fan base in the recent past. Any memorable moments from your previous visits to share with us? And any plans for a return visit to in the near future? Yes, I feel super lucky to have had such a good connection with people there. I was there the last time for the new year parties this year and I couldn't think of a better place to be. It was my second time playing at Truth in Johannesburg and these were both memorable moments. Being jumped on by a young lion at the lion park the morning after a night out was another thing I won't forget! Seriously though I think all the parties I played at there were freaking awesome, everybody I met and saw there on dancefloors lives for and breathes electronic music from a young age, and it's everywhere. It's a very passionate affair. I'll be back next month at the end of September doing a tour with a few dates in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Tell us about your most bizarre encounter with a fan. This guy came up to me in Newcastle once after I played a live set. He was asking me questions and telling me how much he liked the set, obviously he was having a good time...maybe too much of a good time. A photographer came by and took a picture of us and when she showed it to me I saw the guys had actually taken his pants down!
I'm sure you heard the urban myth that DJs don't dance. Fact or fiction? Does Julien Chaptal ever embrace an undeniable urge to get down and dirty on the dancefloor to a random DJ's set? For mosts of the time it's true, I wouldn't call what I do dancing, I guess bobbing would be more accurate. It does happen though - last week I danced my ass off at the Welcome To The Future festival listening to my buddies Eric De Man and Aron Friedman, aka, Musclefarm. And that felt gooood!
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