Monthly Archives: May 2020

Alex Gopher (Interview)

I’m proud to present an exclusive interview with French musician Alexis Latrobe, better known as Alex Gopher.  After having released two studio albums, Gopher recently stepped back into the spotlight with a remix album titled My New Remixes – which I used as an opportunity to ask him a few questions about his musical past, late singers, and Yves Saint-Laurent.

Disco Demons: Hey Alex, let me jump right into it: Your musical career started by playing bass in the rock a band called Orange with friends from school – including Jean-Benoit Dunckel and Nicolas Godin, now better known as Air. As rock music with English lyrics was quite unpopular in France back then, you exchanged your bass for synthesizers and sequencers. In retrospect, are you glad that these language barriers made you switch to electronic music?

Alex Gopher: Of course yes ! That’s true that going in electronic music was at the beginning and opportunity to forget this language barrier. But at the same time the most important thing was the opportunity to be a pioneer in a new kind of music. Being innovative in rock music was a real challenge, but with a computer and a sampler it became much more easy. I made the right choice !

D.D. After the band split up, you’ve been collaborating with Air from time to time. What was it like working with former band collegues? As you spent lots of time making music with them in Orange – do they still influence you and your music?

A.G. It’s always a great pleasure to work again together. We have a lot of musical tastes in common so it makes things much easier. Of course I’m always a loyal fan of their music but they are doing their own thing, and I always tried to stay different. When we split up, it was because our goals were different, but now that we’ve down our own things it’s possible to collaborate again.

D.D. When you’re working together with Etienne de Crecy, what’s the process of making music like? Does one of you just come up with an idea and you’re then building a track upon it together?

A.G. When we work together for a track, we start from nothing, we do everything together. It was not the case for the Superdiscount 1, I did two tracks that Etienne “tweaked” to his own sauce.
But for the new tracks or remixes, we worked like a band.

D.D. Your first album was a huge success, partly thanks to the track The Child, featuring a Billie Holiday sample – decades after Billie Holiday’s death. If you could travel back in time to have one singer record vocals for a track, who would it be?

A.G. Marvin Gaye would be my choice for this impossible dream.

D.D. Back in 2001, Yves Saint-Laurent requested three tracks for his fashion shows from you, an honour that puts you in one line with names like Daft Punk (or later Justice). What was it like producing music for fashion shows? Did he give you a free hand in creating this tracks, or were there any restrictions?

A.G. It was a real collaboration between Hedi Sliman, the designer and myself. I was working on the music, and each days he gave me some indications, asked me for some modifications. It was at the same time really free but like fashion, really precise and calculated. A perfect melt of Art and Handcraft.

D.D. Your latest release is a remix album, featuring remixes for the likes of Kraftwerk, Fischerspooner, Shinichi Osawa and Dada Life – instead of creating an album consisting of your own tracks, you are re-interpreting other people’s music. How does it feel to have an entire album full of other artists’ songs and voices, but with your own sound and style?

A.G. When I do a remix, I really re-appropriate the music. So its true that this album is really close to an album I could have done if I was producing my own club album. That’s why I wanted to compile these remixes, it was important to do produce a conclusion with this compilation, to say “here is what I did musically these last two years”, because in many ways doing all these remixes is the same timing as an album.

D.D. I know lots of DJs and procuers who would never listen to their own tracks (or anything similar) at home. What music do you enjoy at home, in the evening?

A.G. You are right, I almost never listen electronic music at home in the evening !
After a day in the studio, I need some quiet, some cool music. Nick Drake for example is one of my favorites. Serge Gainsbourg also.

D.D. What was the last song you listened to before we talked?

A.G. A new track from autoKratz, ‘Skin Machine’. Good, I will play it on Saturday night ! [note: this track can be downloaded in 320kbps quality for free on Disco Demons]

D.D. I once asked Olle from Dada Life what songs he would pick if he could only save five records from his burning house, and he told me: “Records? I’ll go for the computer to save the whole collection! We aim for the future.” What do you think about the quarrel betweeen vinyl lovers and laptop DJs?

A.G. Technique is just a detail for me in the process of DJing. The most important thing is to give and so to take pleasure. I’m an old school DJ, so even if I don’t mix anymore on vinyls, I use CDs like I used Vinyls : one track on one record. That’s not very safe for the environment, but that’s far more funny than being in front of a computer like doing emails or accounting !

D.D. Out of personal interest: How did your track “Aurora” get its name?

A.G. With this track, I wanted to start something new, to be musically born again. Aurora is the beginning…

Dada Life (Interview)

As promised, here’s my interview with Olle from Dada Life, talking about Sweden, Mando Diao and of course electronic dance music…

Disco Demons: Â I guess you hear that question a lot, but since you’ve been around the scene for quite a while, you’ll have to answer it once more: What were your early beginnings, what musical background do you both come from and why did you start producing electronic dance music?

Dada Life: Â Both Stefan and I have been into music for years, but it wasn’t until 2006 when we met in our studio that we started to work together as Dada Life. Stefan is more from the trance-background while I have been doing everything from playing in punk-bands to doing sound installations in Brazil.

DD:  As a music blogger, I receive dozens of tracks and remixes every day from all over the world. In the past months, I’ve noticed a steady increase in the number of producers coming from Scandinavian states. Upcoming artists (like Maskinen) are becoming quite popular lately – also thanks to your help, by including their tracks in promo mixes, etc. Do you think that big names like Trentemøller, Röyksopp, and also you guys are playing an important role in helping the electronic music scene in Scandinavia to develop?

DL: Â Yeah of course. But even more important is probably the weather. The winters are so cold and boring that there’s really nothing else to do but music…

DD: Â Here’s one question I keep asking every artist I get to interview: The electro scene is booming all over the world right now. Do you think electronic dance music will ever become as popular as, say, indie rock?

DL: Â It already is…in some ways. On a regular weekend, more people are partying to house and electro than rock. They just don’t know what they’re hearing at the club. I don’t think that will change, but that’s fine!

DD: Â Speaking of indie rock: Just out of curiosity, what do guys think about your compatriots Mando Diao?

DL: Â We don’t listen to Swedish indie-rock. Sorry. Living in Sweden you hear it everywhere and just get bored. We love Miike Snow though. Don’t know if you would call it indie-rock.

DD: Who doesn’t love Miike Snow? Back to your music: your tracks and remixes feature a massive, powerful trademark sound. Since most of my readers are somehow into DJing or producing, it’d be interesting to talk about the technical side of music: Any tips? What software do you use for your productions and remixes?

DL: Â The gear really doesn’t matter. It’s all in the head. We’ve been working with different programs, with software as well as hardware, but in the end, it’s our experience and our ideas that shine through. It’s like Lee Scratch Perry: he only had a four-track recorder in his studio (or if it was 8…?), but then at least 24 additional channels out there somewhere in space.

DD: Â Your latest release, Happy Hands & Happy Feet features remixes by the likes of Alex Gopher, Moonbootica, and Malente. What is it like to spend huge amounts of time working on your very own track and then send the remix stems to other producers to completely re-work it? What were your thoughts when you first heard the remixes?

DL: Â It’s always fun hearing what other people do with your material. We also give away all samples at our website, so we’ve received tons of remixes that way as well.

DD: Â Some heavily anticipated albums are going to be released this year, including Tiga, The Proxy, and The Bloody Beetroots. Who do you think will own the scene in 2009 as e.g. Justice did in 2007?

DL: Â Dada Life. What else could we answer?

DD: Haha, of course! One last question: If you could save only 5 records from your burning house, which ones would you grab?

DL: Â Records? I’ll go to the computer to save the whole collection! We’re not vinyl fetishists. We aim for the future.

The Disco Villains (Interview)

No need to introduce the Disco Villains, with one of their tracks having been dropped by Justice on BBC Radio 1 recently and shows with the likes of Crookers, The Rapture, and Treasure Fingers. Due to lucky circumstances I’ve had the chance of getting to ask them a few questions, talking about their career, Kanye West and of course electronic dance music:

DD: Â As far as I know, Louie started playing guitar at an early age, dreaming of a rockstar career. What musical background do you both come from in general?

Louie: My love for music started at a young age when I first listened to Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”. I remember knowing the lyrics of almost all of their songs. Then my cousin started a band and he was my musical mentor for many years to come. He introduced me to bands such as Metallica, R.A.T.M., Smashing Pumpkins, Deftones, etc. He was so good with the guitar. So I started to mess with my dad’s acoustic guitar. I bought an amp and a guitar, played with a few bands, etc. One day my dad came home with a bunch of CDs for me. He bought me Dr. Dre’s “2001″, 2pac’s “All Eyes On Me”, and a couple of Beastie Boys CDs. I guess he got sick of listening to me jamming all day to “Bulls On Parade”.

Tony: Louie played guitar and I played Guitar Hero haha haha hahaha just kidding, (P.S. I just got school at the hero last week by Louie and Assilem not cool)…. I used to play drums at a church when I was a little kid and I also played saxophone in the school band real jazzy shit. But I’ve always been really into music all kinds of music, I got that from my dad he always made me listen to all kinds of music. He installed in me that variety is key in life, he would make me listen to Banda which is Mexican folk music that borrows heavily on german folk music. then he would make me listen to Creedance, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones I used to hate it but now I appreciate the fact that I have such a diverse taste in music. But then I really got into Hip Hop started listening to Dr. Dre and Tupac and from there I was always just really into hip hop and Latin Rock music, but hip hop was always the mainstay I remember crunk music thinking damn this makes me wanna party. Whatever happened to Lil Jon?

DD: Â Sorry guys, I don’t have any information on Lil’ Jon’s whereabouts. Back to you guys: Justice recently played one of your tracks on BBC Radio 1 … do you think that luck played a role in your career?

L: Â In this case luck didn’t have much to do; besides the fact we feel so lucky of meeting new people and now having the best friends in the world (you know who you fckers are..), but I think it’s safe to say that the biggest role player was our determination. We’ve been contacting bloggers, promoters, managers, DJs, and just good people all around the world so they can listen to what we have to offer.. and this is on a daily basis. We check our email and both our myspace accounts around 20 to 30 times per day. (No.. YOU get a life!!) We’re also really determined to put up a great fuckin’ show every time we play, don’t matter if we have 10 or 10,000 kids in front of us. We also have a lot of commitment to making at least 1 good remix per week. So I guess it’s the combination of everything.

T: I agree with Louie, those Fckers are Krazy ……. but yeah it has definitely taken a lot of work, time, and determination. I also believe that karma has had a big part of it, like our good friends the Dans say Give Love, Get Love. I think we have always been positive towards people and have always tried to be real. We keep ourselves in the loop by talking to people getting ourselves out there by putting out one remix a week. You know its a combination of a lot of things. The fact that Justice played one of our tracks did push us over the edge though. We do also put on an amazing show, I think our shows or more of a performance than a DJ set. we party like crazy no matter who, what, where, or when.

DD: Haha, Â I hope I’ll soon get the chance to experience one of your shows. Here’s one question I keep asking myself: The electro scene is booming all over the world right now. Do you think electronic dance music will ever become as popular as, say, Indie rock?

L: If the “Axl”s, the “Simmons”, and the “Van Halen”s of our generation start making more “Gossip Girl”-friendly music, I honestly think it will happen. I mean, the guys leading the pack are setting the pace. They’re the ones getting noticed by the big companies, so I think it’s just a matter of time. There will always be this “Underground VS Mainstream” debate, but frankly, I don’t know where to stand in all this. In one hand, it would suck for “THAT dude who used to listen to THAT band long before they were THAT big”… But on the other hand, it would be sweet to be a (really small, but cool!) part of the next big music movement to go down in history. To be, like, really old and say: “Son… I remember when I opened for Boys Noize back on planet Earth the spring of ’09… Now that was a helluva party… What?? You’re telling me that you ain’t never heard of THE Boys Noize?? Sit your ass down and bring me my old blu-ray collection..”.

T: I’d say popularity-wise I’m almost sure electro will catch up to the indie rock. I mean you get electronic sounds in mainstream pop and hip hop now so I believe that’s the direction its heading. In my opinion, Indie Rock and Electro work so well together is amazing I mean listen to MGMT’s Kids its eclectic, catchy and amazing then listen to what Soulwax did with it, it just blew my mind. You even have Kanye working with Daft Punk and performing at the Grammys that is insane, Justice and So Me doing coke cola commercials.

DD: Â Most of my readers are somehow into DJing or producing. Any tips? What software do you use for your productions and remixes? When playing shows, who does what?

1) Sidechain compression.. can’t live without it…
2) Lots of panning, filters, and automation.
3) Catchy basslines…
4) Hard kicks/snares and overlapping claps…
I use FL Studio 8 XXL and Adobe Audition. I have like a gazillion plugins, but I’m in love with just a few of them like NI’s Massive, Sylenth, Genesis, and KORG’s Wavestation.
I’m always working with multiple remixes/tracks at the same time, so I when get stuck with the one I just jump to the other one. It kinda keeps it more fun this way. It has also helped me a lot to create this sort of “covers” of another DJ/band, that way I learn how they did it.
When we play we basically do the same stuff. Beatmatch, play with the FX and filters, but I gotta say that, even though I try to put on a great show, it’s nothing compared to Tony’s stage antics. He brings so much energy it’s ridiculous. You’d have to see it to understand me.

T: You forgot DV party, Louie!!!!!!!! That shit gets it popping every time man hahaha hahaha yeah We do put on an awesome show!!!!! I like to think of it more of as a performance than a DJ set cuz we do so much man, we bring so much energy jump around, drink, party, we always make sure to get the crowd involved. I mean our job is to entertain the audience and make sure they are having the best night ever we want people to remember us you know and if we can have a good time as well(which we all ways do) and meet some good people, damn what else could we ask for.

DD: Â Talking about playing shows: Which one of you gets wasted in the club?

L: Both…

T: Both… Crown Royal, RedBull and Five Hour Energy (We should be sponsored by all three of these, Louie, let’s work on that, kid)

DD: Â Apart from drinking, you seem to spent huge amounts of time producing tracks, releasing new stuff nearly every week. Have you ever been thinking about producing an entire album?

L: Of course.. who doesn’t, right? But I think nowadays, or at least on this whole electro movement you have to be really big to start thinking about recording an album, so I think we will first focus on our shows, on the remixes, and then we will focus on creating a really, really good E.P. (plug: we’re still looking for a label!)

T: Of course we would like to work on an album but I don’t think that in the cards just yet, I think we are gonna focus on our shows and trying to incorporate some new ideas into that, some stuff we can’t let out just yet. we are now gonna have two new tracks on Beatport which is really cool. A remix for FutureFlash called Get Down The Funk that is literally a face melter, it’s got an insane amount of balls plus its got reggaeton air horns which are always fckn awesome. Then a remix for Hot Pink Delorean called let’s Get Free which is also pretty fuckn badass then we got some original stuff we are working on that we play live that now has yet and would probably end up on our E.P. Louie- Get the Pary Started is insane man . (P.S. we are still looking for a label and a manager)

DD: Â Speaking of big names: Some much-anticipated albums have been released/are about to be released in the next few weeks, including Tiga, MSTRKRFT, and The Prodigy. The Proxy is producing an album right now, The Bloody Beetroots are working on their remix compilation. Who do you think will own the scene in 2009 as Justice did in 2007?

L: Â The Disco Vi… Nah, I’m just kidding… I wish it was either MSTRKRFT or The Beetroots.. but I really hope for a few surprises (Daft Punk, Chemical Brothers..)…

T: The Disco Villains will rule 2009 …….. HAHAHAHA just playing I agree with Louie I hope its the Beetroots cuz they make banging shit and are awesome people plus they really know how to party. Hopefully, someone comes out from the bushes and destroys as well the man Fake Blood has been killing em softly lately as well and our boy Bird Peterson is doing some crazy things as well.

DD: Â Seems like you’ve got big plans. Just out of curiosity: What do you guys think about Kanye West? Everyone’s talking about him at the moment, but opinions seem to differ heavily.

L: The most talented, misunderstood, and the self-centred guy in the world.

T: I really love the new video for HeartBreak, it’s amazing, some of the most creative stuff I’ve seen in a long time. I don’t really like the song though, other than heartless I thought his last album was fckn lame compared to College Graduate, but then again I read somewhere he said he banged it out in 2 weeks and sold more than a million records so there just aren’t any words to describe that. He is utterly talented and most definitely misunderstood and can almost do anything he wants musically and make it work.

DD: Â One last question: If you could save only 5 records from your burning house, which ones would you grab?

L: Dr. Dre’s “2001″, Arctic Monkeys’ “Favourite Worst Nightmare”, Smashing Pumpkins’ “Siamese Dream”, MSTRKRFT’ “The Looks”, and Daft Punk’s “Discovery”.

T: Louie took 2 of the ones I would have chosen; def Dre’s “2001″ (Dre at his finest), Daft Punks “Discovery” (Daft funky but real), Creedance Clearwater Revival-” Hits – 20years” (cuz every song reminds me of the movie it was in; I love movies), the Beatles -” Number 1s” (Come on its the Beatles), Soda Stereo – “Comfort y Musica Para Volar” (Gustavo Cerati is a living legend). Damn this is a hard question fck there are too many to choose all The Cure and the Smiths albums, the Rolling Stones collection, Justice- Cross, The Looks for sure.

DD: Â Definitely agrees on most of these… thanks for the interview, guys, keep up the good work!