INTERVIEW: French Duo Meloklektiv Get Label Exposure
Meloklektiv is a French duo consisting of Hugo and Guillaume, two cousins who share a similar love for all things house music. Theirs is a far-reaching sound too, and one that’s seen them pipe up on some of the scene’s biggest labels. Chief among these is German label OFF, where the boys recently unleashed the brilliant Change of Mind EP alongside Darlyn Vlys. We picked their brains recently, and here’s what they had to say about their career to date…
OTB: How was your winter? What are you guys most looking forward to about summer?
Hugo: This winter was very intensive, mainly because we had to prepare our first live act for the very first time at Kolorz Festival just before Rone, Nina Kraviz, Dusty Kid etc. It was a stressful but successful period for us. Winter also means intensive studio sessions. We prepared severals EPs and remixes which will be out later in the year.
OTB: How did you two hook up? And how have your styles changed since then?
Guillaume: We are cousins. Five years ago, we were producing the same type of music. So we decided to combine our different and complementary skills in order to create this project called Melokolektiv.
OTB: How do you influence one another’s music tastes?
Guillaume: Sometimes being a duo is not easy. It happens that our tastes differ. We used to communicate a lot in order to avoid this. Thus, we constantly influence each other tastes. We like to be a duo because when we are confronting our tastes and ideas most of the time it produces something hybrid and original that we would have not produced on our own.
OTB: So what sort of music did you both grow up with then?
Hugo: I grow up with jazz and rock music essentially. But I was also influenced by Latin-American music. My father listened to Latin music, rock and disco, and my mother listened to jazz and classical music, so I’ve heard a lot of styles of music in my times.
Guillaume: For me, I am more influenced by Latin music because of my father who played this music in a band. But we were both strongly influenced by producers such as Daft Punk, Vitalic or our idol, Laurent Garnier. I remember watching the “Stardust – Music sounds better With You” video clip when I was eating my breakfast before I went to school, haha!
OTB: And when did you become interested in house music? Was there one particular gig or DJ that changed how you perceive music?
Guillaume: I used to go to Dragon Ball parties in France when I was young. This is where I discovered the music of Rolando, Minologue, Steve Lawler, Dusty Kid etc. But watching Laurent Garnier has been the most exciting experience.
OTB: And are you full-time producers now?
Guillaume: I’m a full time producer now. I live in Marseille where I have my studio. For Hugo it’s a bit different because he is still studying.
Hugo: Yes indeed, I’m studying music at the University in Paris so I can’t work full-time on production for Melokolektiv. But my courses are based on music and sound productions, which permit me to improve my self everyday.
OTB: How did you learn to make music? Did working as a duo really help in that regard?
Guillaume: Hugo and I have different skills. Hugo is a musician who has learned harmony and music when he was young. For me it’s different, I’m autodidact and more club-orientated. Thus, when we are producing, most of the time Hugo is taking care of the melodic parts and I’m working on the arrangement and drums. When we combine both our skills we obtain something really interesting.
Hugo: I learned drum when I was 5 years old and I started to learn harmony when I was 16 years old by learning piano, and by studying at the university.
OTB: How long did it take before you started to send music to the bigger labels? Who were the first to sign you?
Guillaume: The first release we had was on Tenampa Recordings. The label boss, Gabriel, is the first one who trusted in our music. We are very thankful for that and we have a new EP coming out soon on his label too. A few months after we were lucky enough release a remix on Crosstown Rebels thanks to a Beatport contest. This has permited us to win in “legitimacy”. Now, most of big labels are listening our demo notably Get Physical where we have released a track with Konvex & the Shadow.
OTB: You produce on a lot of labels – is there one reason for this?
Guillaume: We had so many difficulties to find a label which trusted in our music and which offered us the possibility to develop a strong artistic project. Andre Crom and OFF recordings offer us this possibility. We are really happy to belong to this family label and we really want to focus on it.
Hugo: I listen a lot of styles of music, starting with Beethoven, finishing with Laurent Garnier passing by Charly Parker and Nirvana, so I’m influenced by a lot of type of music. I think it’s a reason to try to work with different labels, with different ways and different minds.
OTB: When was the last time you heard a track that took your breath away? What was it?
Guillaume: At the moment, I’m in love with Jamie XX – Loud Places. This track is just perfect. I can listen it 20 times in row. I also fell again in love with Carl Craig remix for Slam – Azur. This track is just perfect.
Hugo: For me it’s a little bit older, this year, in my faculty of music I’ve worked on “Koko” by Charly Parker who is one of the first track of bop-jazz. This track is just incredible, technically, musically, it’s a massive track for me. Of course to be more recent, I think it’s the DJ Koze remix of Moderat’s Bad Kingdom.
OTB: And was this new EP on OFF a challenging one to do? How was working with Darlyn?
Guillaume: Darlyn is a super friend. We talk to each other nearly every day. Working with him on this EP has been a great experience. Darlyn is demanding, thus we have made nearly 20 different versions of this track. Finally I’m really happy about the result. We have made two complementary tracks which is great.
OTB: And when you’re coming up with a new track, what do you start on? Can you give us an example of a track you made recently and how you put it together?
Hugo: It depends on our mood. Most of the time, we start with melodics elements and then drum and after FX.
Guillaume: On Change of Mind, Darlyn and I focused on the vocal made by Forrest. His voice is amazing and we wanted the track constructed around this.
OTB: What do you see as the future of house and techno? Where’s it all going from here?
Guillaume: I think that people are more and more looking for something authentic which goes to the essential. Many people are tired of listening tracks, which looks similar and too polished. I really like Ame, Dixon, Dj Koze, Keinmusik crew etc. They always take risks in their production. People want to be surprised and are tired of old nu disco orientated music.
Hugo: I think that electronic music is becoming more radical, more…essential. Maybe more techno, but with a lonely massive melodic element.
OTB: And what are your hopes and dreams for the summer ahead?
Guillaume: I think we both are exited to see summer coming. We have some really cool gigs planned. We can’t wait to share our upcoming releases.
Melokolektiv and Darlyn Vlys’ Change of Mind is out now on OFF Recordings
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