In Conversation With... Tour-Maubourg
Composed of both house songs and downtempo sound researches, always flirting with the jazz sounds that have made the producer’s touch recognizable, Paradis Artificiels invites us on a journey in the lineage of St Germain, Massive Attack or Nicolas Jaar.
If the producer’s first EPs were mainly focused towards club music, this first album oscillates between the atmospheres that made the success of these previous releases and those of a studio album.
The one who was described by Trax Magazine upon the release of his 1st EP in 2017 as ‘‘one of the most promising producers of the French house scene’’ has now proven that he's become one of its best representatives.
Thank you for spending this time to talk us through this new release and what’s on the horizon for yourself.
1. Being your first album, please describe the feelings you had whilst working your way through all the tracks and how you managed to transform the sound you have cultured for yourself into an album?
It’s been quite a natural process actually. We first talked about releasing an album around late 2018 with Pont Neuf Records, but at the time I had no idea what I would propose, if it would be a club album or anything about it to be honest. It was more like a dream I had since I was a child.
Few months ahead, I started renting a studio in the north of Paris with some hardware aficionados, and this profusion of gear led me to experiment with new textures, sounds etc… As I was experimenting, trying to mix cool jazz with the sounds that were all around me at this time, I started gathering more and more tracks that were not club related and that’s how I started to see an album creating itself. The hard part was more about picking the tracks that had the most meaning together and leaving some on the side even though I love them.
2. How has your process differed in making this album from your previous EPs?
It was very different for two main reasons. First as I said I started to work mostly on hardware units, which totally changed the way I produce. In terms of sound, as I feel that there is much more depth to this album than my previous EPs. Also in terms of process, as you are no longer constantly copy/pasting stuff in your computer your sound is just more human. It definitely shaped this album into something much more organic.
The second thing is that it took a very long time to produce. I usually try to finish a track within two days or three maximum. Otherwise I just get bored, and I feel like I lose the freshness I might have had when I started producing something. For this album every track was worked and reworked until I got the sound I wanted. I even totally reworked the main single a week before the mastering. It was a house track but I got bored of it, and turned it into some jazz fusion track.
3. The sounds and feel that this album conveys seems to have taken on a more encompassing range of emotions in comparison to previous more club centric releases, where were the inspirations and influence taken from? (If there were any artists in particular / albums that inspired you it would be good to include them)
I think the main influence I had is from the people I rented the studio with during the production process. I met many artists from the Parisian scene there who have many influences from jazz funk to electro and ambient. Evolving in such an artistic place had a great impact and really led me to experiment more with my music.
Otherwise, for the more classical influences, I could talk about Moby, Nicolas Jaar, Jan Jelinek or Ron Trent. I don’t know if we really feel those in my production, but they are really important influences I keep in mind when I work.
4. Can you run us through you studio set up and what instruments / tools have been most used in your productions? (A glimpse into an artists studio is always very insightful and often inspiring, if you could provide us with a picture to pair with the interview that would great.)
The studio changed a lot since I produced the album. Thanks to my old “studio room mates”, I had access to all the gear you can dream about. To produce this album I mainly used a 909, 808, Prophet 8 REV2, SH101, Mono/poly, Juno 60, Eventide H3000D/SE, MF101, MF108 (personal favorite), a Midas Venice, Ableton, some plug-ins for the mix and my MPC2000XL. When my mate Bezhad moved in Marseille and the Pont Neuf fam came in the studio, the setup changed a bit. Now, if i have to chose one piece out of the new studio, it would be the H3000SE I bought a year ago. It’s a multi effect processor, and I just can’t find anything that sounds better.
5. The album itself explores many sub genres within electronic music, I imagine when creating an album the creative freedom it allows you must be very liberating. What was the most enjoyable part of creating this wonderful piece of music?
It went somehow the other way around. I first thought « I want to explore more genres and tempos etc ». The most enjoyable part was really the exploration, and feeling that I was reaching a different level of production. Like it’s Tour-Maubourg 2.0 now aha.
6.As we are currently not out clubbing as much and the scene is having to adapt, do you feel like this has had an impact on the composition of this album? (Not necessarily a negative impact but perhaps just changing your attitude to the music you produce?)
Not really as all the demos were already chosen a few months before the lockdown, but I’m pretty happy, since the album isn’t really clubby, it kinda fits the current atmosphere.
7. The main component of the album is the music but the other art which accompanies an album often enhances the experience and the music video for ‘Ode To Love’ is no exception. It’s grey scale shots of brutalist architecture whilst following you around is reminiscent of scenes from ‘La Haine’. What was the intended message of the video?
For the music video we couldn’t really picture a story over this music, so we thought that it should be like a sneak peak into my life, and I live near the places we shot. No real message intended about “la haine”, we just wanted to show a little piece of the environment in which I created the album.
8. In the hyperactive french house scene, the sheer amount of top quality house music being produced is impressive. In this sea of talented producers how have you managed to carve your own sound out and does this increase in talent help push you forward in your productions?
Yes it’s true that we have an almost too active scene in france. I say almost too active because it became impossible to follow the general release calendar. It’s like we have 4 new top notch producers every week.
It’s a very stressful environment, if fame is your main goal. To me it’s not really a problem. I don’t mean that i’m not looking for fame, i guess every artist wants his work to be recognized, but it’s clearly not my goal. I just want to make music, and as much as I can, personal music. I don’t know if I manage to make a difference in this ocean of music, but I hope people think my music is singular, different from what they usually hear. In order to do that, the most important thing might be to mix my tracks myself. The result might not be perfect, but I believe it definitely give singularity to my tracks.
9. Finally, if you were out on tour what would be 5 big tracks that would be on heavy rotation for you?