We talked to the French producer on the eve of the release of his first full length, Total about drinking buddies, hip hop influences, and of course, making out with yourself.
You were one of the first artists to release music on Ed Banger, but you are just now releasing your full length debut. Why did it take so long to complete Total?
I took my time to find some different sound direction. There is also another factor which came into the time I took to finish this album. Romain Gavras, the guy who made the video for M.I.A. (“Born Free” video), asked me to make the soundtrack for his movie called Our Day Will Come. I thought the soundtrack would take one or two months maximum for me, but in fact it took way more time to work with a lot of people.
So that put your album on hold?
I did the two projects at the same time. I thought it would be quick, but working on a movie is different. You have a lot of people around and you don’t make all the things you want. It’s not as fast and quick as producing for yourself.
Did you ever have the feeling you wanted capitalize off the hype of the Justice record and get your album out sooner?
I’m not in competition. I don’t know how to answer these questions.
The album art is very different from what you would expect from an electronic album. What was the concept there?
The cover is kind of a joke. It’s about the artist and the relationship with their ego. I also wanted to change a little from the general avenue of style we had, which was full of colors. Maybe I’m not the good guy for once. I see all the artists are trying to show themselves as humble person, but at the same time they have a big ego. Because I don’t feel like this, I wanted to show this allegory of the artist. They always say I wish I could kiss myself – so I did.
How did the DJ Premier remix happen?
He was one of the biggest influences for me in producing, hip hop was very interesting to me when I started. DJ Premiere and Timbaland for Missy Elliot or Jay-Z, for example, was very exciting to me in the way they were producing their tracks.
One day Pedro (Busy P) asked if it would be possible to have a remix from him. I don’t know how it happened.
Did you find out if he’s a fan of your music?
Oh, I don’t know. I’m quite sure he’s not fan, but he’s not against it too. It’s a bit early for me. I don’t have many years like him. He’s a legend in hip hop. It’s different. I’m a big fan directly.
What is your favorite DJ Premier beat?
The best one is probably “New York State of Mind” he did for Nas. The other one is… umm… ah, shit. It’s one he did for Group Home and another for Jeru The Damaja.
You are definitely a true fan to name drop Group Home.
Yeah, what he did for Group Home is incredible.
Pedro [Busy P] turned down your rap tracks when he signed you. Is there still an interest to explore and collaborate in hip hop?
For me, I could collaborate with everybody – well, not everybody. There’s a lot of shit right now. But, I could collaborate with every style.
On the album you include a few previously released songs. Why did you include “Ross Ross Ross” and “Motor,” to name a few?
The album Total was… I tried to take all the styles I made since I arrived to the label, to now. I wanted to include all the different styles I tried to realize. “Ross Ross Ross” for example, was one of the first songs I showed to Pedro when I arrived to the label. I just like those two songs and how they translate to the global album.
Now that you have an album is there plans to tour the U.S.?
Yes, I’m starting a live show right now. The first show is in Paris and then I’m going to run with it. So of course I’m going to come to the U.S. I’ve been there many times already.
Kavinsky gave you the reputation of being the best drinking buddy ever. Is this myth or true?
Ah yes, because of my Slavian roots. My mother is from Slavia. I am able to take very well a lot of alcohol. But, if I have to work I can stop in a minute for like one month. Yeah, there’s two ways to drink: I drink a lot, then I stop, then I drink a lot, then I stop. But, I can drink more than him and he’s one of the best ones I know.
What’s your drink of choice?
My favorite is of course, red wine. Yeah, yeah. I’m French.
Total is out now on Ed Banger Records.