French turntable group C2C have racked up nearly 30 million hits on YouTube and, despite forming way back when in 1998, are only breaking into the UK’s mainstream consciousness now following the release of their debut album ‘Tetra’.
The band’s DJ Atom gives us the low down on the changing DJ scene and why France’s clubs can’t hold a torch to a good English rave.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR EARLIEST MEMORIES OF MUSIC?
On my side, my parents bought me a little Bontempi synth when I was nine or ten, that’s the first real contact I had with music.
HOW DID YOU GO FROM DJING AS A HOBBY TO BELIEVING THAT IT COULD BE A VIABLE CAREER OPTION?
Well, it kind of just happened. We were actually all into our studies when we entered the DMC championships and won our first World titles, we always did it as a hobby but seriously at the same time, so I guess it happened “naturally”.
HOW HAS DJING CHANGED SINCE YOU STARTED OUT?
I think the main change is the appearance of mixing softwares like Serato or Traktor, when we began we were using “real” vinyls. For instance, to do a show, we had to bring more than a 100 vinyls with us – not that practical! To me it’s a beautiful thing that nearly anyone can now have access to any music on the internet and become a DJ, I remember when we had to find and buy two copies of a record if we wanted to juggle with it, there was a kind of pride when you found the second copy but creative possibilities were limited. We’re also happy to leave our personal vinyl collection we care about at home so there’s no risk of breaking or loosing them.
HOW DIFFERENT DO YOU THINK THE FRENCH MUSIC AND DJ SCENE IS TO THE UK ONE?
A few years ago, Pfel and I toured a lot in the UK with another project called Beat Torrent, and what amazed us most was the musical and club culture people have here, even in little cities you had a club, with a DJ that knows his hip-hop, his funk, his soul, his drum’n'bass. Here in France, we grew up with shitty dance-clubs playing all the commercial radios crap every Friday and Saturday night. It’s changing now with globalisation and the internet, but when we began our first shows with C2C in 1999 or 2000, we still felt that French crowds weren’t as aware as the UK’s about the kind of music we used to play, except of course in Paris or big cities like Nantes, Marseille or Lyon where you could find groups of people that seemed a bit more “educated”.
TELL US WHAT INSPIRED THE EP ‘DOWN THE ROAD’.
Everything! The thing is that C2C is all about melting musical influences, so we try to have as most different inspirations as we can.
HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH THE CONCEPTS FOR YOUR LIVES SHOWS?
There is a slight problem being four DJs with four turntables, four mixers and four laptops on stage – you can’t really move. Not is the same way that a guitarist would walk or dance while playing the guitar on stage for example. So the first basis was finding a way to change this and being able to show something new for a live DJ band. The other main idea was using animations, seeing which movements could be analogue to a vinyl’s (in term of speed mostly), linking it to the sounds we use to play our songs live, and scratching those sounds and visuals at the same time so that what happens on the screens is really linked to the music. We scratch both music and video.
WHERE DO YOU FEEL MORE FULFILLED – IN THE STUDIO OR ON STAGE?
It’s two really different things. One is about concentration and spending time (and sometimes money) to reach what you think could be “perfection” and the other is all about spontaneity, sharing direct moments and emotions with people. I love both but being a hard studio cat myself as a producer and record mixer, I may have a slight a preference for the studio.
HOW DOES IT WORK IN THE STUDIO – DO YOU ALL HAVE SPECIFIC ROLES TO PLAY IN TERMS OF CREATION, PRODUCTION ETC.?
Generally we start from a demo one of us created, then we rework it together in the studio, that’s partly why this album took so long to be done – we all have to agree.
HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR SOUND PROGRESSING?
The album was released in France at the end of 2012 and it took a long time to produce it. At the moment we are more focused on promoting it and travelling along with it. But looking at the way we started with this album, I guess the progression would happen from nourishing ourselves with more musical styles and cultures.
HOW DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO REACT TO YOUR MUSIC?
The main evolution between the album and what we used to do in DJ competitions is that we tried to be into something more developed and personal. We hope people can feel the emotion in this record and not only the catchy or spectacular side of the project.
WHAT ARE YOU HUNGRY FOR?
New and fresh music. Always.
‘Tetra’ is out now