Alan Braxe: The master at work
Riding through on the first wave of the French touch in the late 90s, the masterful Alan Braxe has maintained his reputation for producing heart-swelling electro house epics for over a decade. But while his commitment to electronic music has never faltered, a lot has changed in the life of Alan Braxe. ITM catches up with the enigmatic Frenchman to discuss his position in the French scene, getting over his DJ fears, and his split with Fred Falke.
Hey Alan, thanks for chatting with us. What are you up to today?
I’ve actually just woken up! Last night I had my very first party for my label Vulture. I was organizing everything and I’m pleased because it went quite well. I have never done anything like that.
So with Vulture, is that your main focus at the moment?
Yes, absolutely. I have already released three records this year, which is more than I have done in past years. I originally created the label to be an outlet for my own music and never really worked at it too seriously. I was always serious about having a record label, and releasing music, but I didn’t have too much time to devote to it. Now, I have found someone good to work with and I really want to make the label more productive and open to new artists.
I can see that you’re already starting to make that happen, as the last three releases on the label have been very different in terms of style.
Oh yes, I think that is important. You know, this year we have released records from Lifelike, Das Glow and Fenech-Soler and all of those records are very different and apart from each other. I don’t really care what kind of artist or band is producing the music, as long as I can find something in the music that interests or excites me.
With the Fenech-Soler single, I was a bit surprised to see it on your label, as it’s by a British indie-pop band. What was it about that song that won you over?
Even though it was not the usual style of music that I like, when I heard it I thought that it was a really beautiful song and I knew that I wanted to put it out. That is the direction that I see Vulture music going in. I want to use it to help people get their music out.
Will we see another Alan Braxe record out on Vulture anytime soon?
Yes I’m working on a new record at the moment. It will most likely be a four track EP of new material.
It’s been a little while since your last single Addicted, came out, can we expect something similar to that, or something completely different?
It is different from Addicted, I think. Addicted was recorded in two days and to me was an experiment. I liked it a lot, and so did some other people, but a lot of people were really against it. I guess that is a good thing, to have people reacting to your work. This new record is also an experiment in a way. I am recording the whole thing on just one synthesizer. I think that too many people are relying on a library of plug-ins and computer software to make their music, and while that is good because it helps new producers in the beginning, I think it is also bad because there is something less authentic or less real about the music. So every sound I put into the new record will come from the one synthesizer. It is a journey for me.
You’ve collaborated with a lot of other artists in the past like Fred Falke, Thomas Bangalter, Kris Menace and Killa Kella, what is the appeal of doing collaborations for you?
I quite like working with other artists because it forces you to be honest with each other. When I met Killa Kella we only had a limited time to work together in a studio so there was no time for any ego or bullshit, we just had to work with each other and do something. But it is not my focus at the moment, this next record I will do on my own.
You developed quite a partnership with Fred Falke over the years, but recently stopped working together. What was the reason behind that?
Well, I think we were starting to go in different directions. Fred wanted to make a particular kind of music and I wanted to make something else.
He has been doing quite well for himself recently, remixing lots of big artists and doing tours.
Yes, he’s doing good things. I’m very happy that he is doing so well.
Although you’ve been producing for over a decade now, for a long time you never played many shows as a DJ. What made you want to do that?
Yes, for a long time I never wanted to be a DJ. I have always been very shy and playing in a club in front of a lot of people like that was very frightening for me. But my friends convinced me that I needed to get out of my studio and do some gigs. I actually really enjoy it now. I was touring America with DJ Falcon and it was one of the best things that I can remember.
What do you put in your sets?
I try to include everything that I like, whether that is some house, or some Italo tracks, some techno, or disco. I try to do it all.
From an outsider’s perspective, the French scene seems very close-knit. With the recent explosion of French artists and labels like Kitsune, Ed Banger and Institubes, do you feel a sense of brotherhood with them?
Absolutely, yes, I think there is a brotherhood between us. Ed Banger, Kitsune and Institubes have all been very successful and although not all of us sound the same, there are connections between us. We play at the same clubs, listen to the same music, hang out together or go to dinner together, and I do feel like I am close with them all.
Catch Alan Braxe this Friday 3rd July at Roxanne Parlour in Melbourne.