Étienne de Crécy has been a permanent fixture in electronic music since he burst onto the scene in 1992 with Motorbass alongside Cassius’ Philippe Zdar.
During his 20+ year career, Étienne is credited as one of the founding fathers of French Touch alongside luminaries such as Cassius, Alex Gopher, DJ Falcon and Daft Punk.
Since then the producer has released two seminal Super Discount albums, toured the world with his eye-catching Beats ‘N’ Cubes live shows, and now is about to release his third, collaborative-heavy, Super Discount album.
We managed to grab 10 minutes with the French producer via email to find out why he thinks now is the right time to bring back Super Discount, his thoughts on the dying album format and what he’d save from his studio if it ever burnt down.
You’re about to release the third Super Discount album next week – why did you feel now was the right time to bring back the project?
The music I was playing in the cube was meant to go with this huge lightning cube ! That was violent and techno. I didn’t feel it could have any sense on an album. Like House music ten years ago, all the “Bangers” sounded all the same!!! And there is a new school of House music, very funky and groovy !! I decided to follow this influence which was influenced by the sound I use to produce 15 years ago!! And the new tracks I produce are perfect to listen to in a club and also at home… that’s why now is time for a new album !
There’s been a lot of talk about the death of the album – do you still believe in the album concept, where you not tempted to go different direction?
I’m old fashioned ! I have a strange way to listen to music: when I love an album, I listen to it on repeat! I played AM from Arctic Monkeys everyday for 3 months !!! I love this format. I don’t know why, maybe because I’m 45 and I discovered music this way? Today, despite the single oriented music market, artists must deliver albums with no weak tracks. Great success comes only with great albums.
How do you think the third album sits with the other two albums – did you have an initial concept you were working towards?
I think the songs are the main difference, the two first Super Discount albums were only instrumental. Music Wise, I made the first one only with samples, the second one only with synths and the third one with sampler AND synths ! I took 20 years to learn how to work them properly ! Night (cut the crap) and ‘Hashtag My Ass’ were meant to appear on the Commercial ep3. But I liked the sound of those tracks so much I thought they deserved to be part of an album. I thought they could define the sound of a third Super Discount album ! But I didn’t have idea of how it should sound before I get those tracks done.
One of our early favourite tracks is WTF Recall featuring Pos & Dave from De La Soul – how did that collaboration come about, did they need much persuading?
I was introduced to Dave by Lucien Papalu (THE lucien from A Tribe Called Quest, who spoke about him in ‘Luck of Lucien’ !!!) I sent an instrumental to Dave and Pos. They were very enthusiastic, but unfortunately we missed the recording session when they were in Europe. So they did the recording on their side. And I totally re-arrage the instrumental !! It was actually really smooth and easy process !!
The French dance scene seems to gaining steam once again – do you think we’re entering another golden era?
I think the golden era never stopped !
Who should we be looking out for in 2015?
I heard some tracks from Brodinski’s album! It’s really dope ! You should also keep an eye on Amine Edge & Dance, Clyde P, Boston Bun, Maelstrom and Paradis.
We hear you’re in the planning stages of a new live show – can you give us idea of what will replace the famous Cube?
I’m on stage with Alex Gopher and Julien Delfaud and we still have no computers or CD players. Only good old analog stuff and we’re playing in a big and luminous ‘Super Discount’ sign !! The show is less authoritarian and more funky !
If your studio was, god forbid, on fire – and you could go in and save one thing, what would it be?
Catch Étienne de Crécy stateside in February.
Thu 2/12 – Verboten, New York City
Fri 2/13 – Coda, Philadelphia
Sat 2/14 – Area 51, Salt Lake City
Mon 2/19 – Mezzanine, San Francisco
Wed 2/21 – Bardot, Miami
Étienne de Crécy has also teamed up with director Dimitri Paihle and writer/DJ Bill Brewster (“Last Night A DJ Saved My Life”) to create a short documentary about the history and creation of the Super Discount series. The 11-minute piece features interviews with de Crécy alongside fellow pioneers of the French Touch movement Alex Gopher and Philippe Zdar.
Etienne de Crecy’s “Super Discount 3” Out January 19, 2015