TSA Artists

Category Archive: Music


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    French DJ/Producer/Label Owner Franck Roger has given an interview for DJ Mag in their July issue.

    The Frenchman talks about his inspirations growing up, his favourite record shops in Paris, and the idea behind his own labels, Real Tone Records and Home Invasion Records.

    Have a read of the full interview below:

    The first time he heard ‘Promised Land’ by Joe Smooth, says 38-year-old French DJ/producer Franck Roger, he was desperate to find out everything he could about house music. Back then, when that record came out, he
    was too young to get into the Paris nightclubs that played the tune. So, instead, he fuelled his desire for the 4/4-driven tracks from Chicago and the US that he heard on Radio FG — played by the likes of DJ Gregory and DJ Deep — by going record shopping.

    Now, he says, he still lives in Paris and still buys up to 15 bits of vinyl a week. But these days, he’s the one making the house tunes that get played in clubs: ‘Who Knows The Truth’, ‘No More Believe’ and ‘After All’, to name a few. Since he released his first tune in 1999 (a co-produced house track called ‘Tamashi’, inspired by the sounds of Kerri Chandler and Blaze) his production sound has sat somewhere between soulful garage and deep house. With his co-owned Real Tone Records, and new label Home Invasion, Franck’s been busy since then, carving out a niche all of his own — and because so many people are into his productions, he’s getting booked to play gigs all over the world. On his home turf, he’s currently got a residency at Badaboum in Paris. With two albums already under his belt, Franck’s in no hurry to record a third. Instead he’s busy working on a string of singles and remixes. Just don’t call them French house…

    What made you start Real Tone records?

    “Me and Lionel met at Betino’s Records, a shop in Paris where I worked for four years. During that time I started to release my own music on Straight Up Records. Lionel was a customer at Betinos and we became friends and discovered we had the same taste in music. Eventually we decided to start Real Tone, at first to release our own music, then we opened the label to many famous producers and remixers.”

    Things seemed to really change for you when you released ‘No More Believe’. Can you describe what happened after that came out?

    “This song opened me up to the US market, I think because I produced it in a similar way to how MAW used to make music — with a strong vocalist, French but with a gospel and R&B-style background, and a killer keyboardist. It came out on Kenlou (MAW’s label), which was an amazing feat for me. I think I might have been the first French guy to sign a tune to their label and, after that, I seemed to get a lot more DJ gigs too.”

    What productions are you working on at the moment and what are they like?

    “They are more modern I think, even if I still have an old school way of making my music — with analogue kit and just the way I work. I try to put different influences — from deep, to techno music — in all my tunes. I don’t like to be in a box: keeping the same drum kit, same synths, the same sound generally. When I make music I want to have the freedom to go anywhere I want to go.”

    Tell me about Home Invasion, your new label project?

    “Home Invasion is a vinyl-only label. It’s a label made for curious, passionate people who will go in a record shop and spend time trying to find something new that will make their next gig different from other DJs, that are playing the same top 50 tunes. Home Invasion has the same music ethics of Real Tone, but it’s for a more underground market.”

    You love playing with vinyl still and I know you buy lots of records. Where do you go record shopping?

    “For technical reasons I don’t play vinyl when I travel because DJ booths these days just aren’t set up for it. Clubs today are made for digital music. But I still buy vinyl. I go record shopping twice a week to Synkrophone. I buy at least 15 new records a week, then put them all into Logic and burn them onto CD after that. CDs are easier to play when you’re DJing. Playing on CD means I can loop parts that I want — using the CDJs.”

    I’ve heard you’re anti-Serato. Why is that?

    “I’m not exactly anti-Serato. It’s a cool program and I used to use it to DJ in clubs when it first came out. I think it’s good to use at home for doing podcasts, or when you run a radio station, say, because it gives you access really quick to anything you have in mind. My problem with Serato started when I was playing in a club one night and it crashed during a set. I’d had problems connecting it before I got on the decks and it ended up being a real mess because I was playing at peak-time. That’s why, now, I prefer to play with CDs. I feel like I can see more clearly what I’m going to play and I don’t spend half of the night staring at a screen. I think when you DJ using CDs — or vinyl — you connect with the crowd more. You can look at them and they love to look at you. There’s more of a connection that way.”

    What do you think makes a good DJ?

    “A good DJ really believes in what they play. A good DJ knows all the tunes they play really well — every single track. And a good DJ will dance and connect with the crowd.”

    DJs apart, which dance music artist has been the single greatest influence on you musically?

    “If we talk about house music, Jovonn is the producer that really influenced my music when I started to produce. It was something about the energy of his music. I also love Blaze, Ron Trent and Joe Claussell. But the list is long.”

    Your parents were into disco when you were younger — what songs do you remember hearing and what did you like about them?

    “My parents loved Quincy Jones tunes and they loved pop music too, like Michael Jackson. They also loved disco — music on Prelude — and some funk and jazz. At the weekend they’d go to clubs and sometimes they’d take me with them. I remember they’d sit me on a high chair and I’d be playing pinball. I remember watching my parents dancing — I was only about 10-years-old. I was allowed in because my parents knew the DJs. It was mostly disco and new-wave music, and it really had an effect on me.”

    You started DJing in 1997. What made you first take to the decks and what did you play?

    “I started playing house music from New Jersey and Chicago and I’d spend hours in my bedroom, practicing with the few records I’d collected. Ever since going to clubs with my mum and dad, I’d wanted to be a DJ. I just loved the energy that a DJ got in a club. The DJ has the power to unify people and make them smile. It’s all about creating emotions through the music, using a huge soundsystem. It’s like a ceremony.”

    France has a strong legacy for house music with Daft Punk, Cassius, Laurent Garnier and even Bob Sinclar and now, on a more EDM tip, David Guetta. How much has this legacy affected the way you make and play music?

    “Laurent Garnier is the one that I was listening to when I was 17. I was never into Daft Punk or Cassius, even though I respect what they do. My house music background was definitely US house — from NYC to Chicago and Detroit — and Laurent Garnier was the only French DJ who played the house music I liked in the 1990s. He played from techno through to house in a very clever way — that really inspired me.”


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    Kate Simko, who recently unveiled her London Electronic Orchestra project with a stunning live performance at London’s National Gallery, has given an insight into her weekend performing in New York.

    Simko talks about a few of her highlights whilst playing at Brooklyn’s happening club Verboten, where she will return in September with the London Electronic Orchestra.

    Read the full piece here.


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    Hyponik have featured French label ClekClekBoom ahead of their compilation ‘Paris Club Music – Vol.2′, which is now set for release next week.

    Following on from the eclectic debut of the ‘Paris Club Music’ series last year, the two-disc follow up showcases the exciting range of producers representing the Paris-based collective and confirms the city’s status at the forefront of underground electronic music.

    The Hyponik feature takes an in-depth look into the release and includes an interview with label co-owner French Fries and colleague Bambounou. The compilation opens with tracks from newcomers NSDOS, Manaré and Aleqs Notal, showing dedication and adherence to a new sound as the label endeavours to incorporate more international sounds into Paris’ already bubbling scene.

    French Fries speaks especially highly of ‘free-jazz’ newcomers, NSDOS:

    “They definitely changed the sound of everybody… for me, it was really a revelation; they were like the biggest band of the year! They’ve really changed my way of thinking musically. It’s real raw music!”

    Read the full feature over at Hyponik.

    You can preorder your vinyl copy here.


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    Sheffield- based label-owner and club-promoter Lo Shea had a chat with House of Tee about all things past,present and future.

    As the man behind the vinyl-only Seaghdha imprint as well as Hope Works, one of Sheffield’s most exciting venues, Lo Shea teakes time out of his very busy schedule to talk about everything; from what inspires him to what he has planned for the rest of the year.

    “I am trying to design experiences that are explorative, challenging and exciting. I work with my local community of creatives in all areas within Sheffield….something I’ve done for many years…and something I believe is important”.

    Read the full interview here.


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    Peckham based DJ and producer Wbeeza has selected his current top 10 favourite tracks for Technique Record Store in Tokyo, Japan.

    The chart includes productions from Chez Damier and Brawther, as well as some of his own material released on Wbeeza‘s pfly record label.

    You can check out the full chart here.

    Wbeeza‘s live sets are a rare improvised performance that showcase a truly exceptional talent. Be sure to catch him in action during his busy summer schedule.


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    San Francisco producer and Soo Wavey chief Vin Sol scores 3/5 from Resident Advisor on his latest release, ‘Western Ways EP’.

    The “Raw” side of the 12″ features ‘Cookies’ and ‘Spoiled Exile’, two tracks of dance floor- ready, mutated house, whilst the “deep” B-side recalls the sound of Chicago, with ‘Pyramids’ and ‘Meltdown’, of which the latter’s percussion is stripped back and melodic.

    Head to Resident Advisor to read the full review.


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    Ben Sun and Sisterhood both deliver outstanding interpretations for ‘Ended Up At The Ambassade’, San Soda and Gratt’s collaborative record out today on newly-founded Belgian imprint, Ensemble.

    Belgian producers San Soda and Gratts combine under their De Ambassade moniker for the opener ‘Gebakken Lucht’, which deploys funky bass and sporadic chimes for an original sound, and is complimented by the more chilled and melodic second track, ‘Intiem’, from Ensemble resident Raw Sketches.

    Next up is Ben Sun‘s Sunny Interpretation of ‘Gebakken Lucht’, an upbeat and lively track, and the record is rounded off perfectly by London-duo Sisterhood, whose Cloudy Interpretation of ‘Intiem’ combines a catchy bass hook and intermittent snares to create an uplifting house spin.

    ‘Ended Up At The Ambassade’, with its amusing title and photography, is in many ways a feel-good record and is set to be a great release.

    Order your copy here.


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    Amir Alexander has teamed up with pioneering DJ Traxx on their split release ‘Acid Frenzy’ EP.

    The record is the first of a collaboration entitled ‘Howard/Loyola Project’ and falls from Anunnaki Cartel, the label founded as a mutation of Vanguard Sound.

    Driven by incessant 303s, the EP is exactly as it says on the tin, with both joint and individually composed tracks from Alexander and Traxx.

    ‘Slow Ride’ is a dark affair courtesy of Alexander, demonstrating his diversity as an artist as he showcases the darker side of his musical palette.

    Preview and preorder the ‘Acid Frenzy’ EP, which is set for release 15th July, at Deejay.


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    After the success of his last EP on Burek ‘Serenity In a Forbidden Place’ last year, South African producer Esa Williams returns to the Croatian house label with the forthcoming ‘E Roots’ EP, set for release on 7th July 2014.

    As a continuation of his solo project away from the impressive Auntie Flo live show, the ‘E Roots’ EP contains four tracks of soulful, introspective house, the highlight of which being Esa‘s collaboration with classically-trained vocalist Henry Bennet in the opening track ‘Time of Planck’.

    Preview and preorder Esa’s ‘E Roots’ EP over at Juno.


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    Following on from ‘Beneath the Ice’ in November 2013, German producer Johannes Volk has released ‘The Awakened Guardians’, the next EP on his own label Exploration Records.

    The eighth release by Volk on the label is a three-track EP that builds on the label’s characteristic sound of conceptual futuristic techno. Heavy bass and sinister synth lines combine to create an experimental record that takes you on a journey and epitomises everything great about the German techno scene.

    The EP is available on vinyl at Decks.

    Preview Johannes Volk ‘The Awakened Guardians’ EP: