France has great wine, delicious cheese, and also one of the best nu jazz-electro-swing producers in the world : Minimatic.
He is also known under other alter egos as Boogalox, Brother Moulinex, Monsieur Sonotone…
I have never met this gentleman in person, but I have been following his sounds for quite a while, and we have some good friends in common. I have knows his music since he started his label Tour Eiffel records, and he has produced some fresh and exciting music ever since. When he started to produce electro-swing, I knew it would be a blast !
Electro swing DJ’s all over the globe have been playing his songs, the newly released Junco Partner, No Swinggity, and the Prosschai remix that has ended up on every electro-swing compilation out there…to name only a few. They kill it on the dance floor every time! Let’s have a talk with this gentleman to learn a bit more about him.
Can you describe yourself? Who is Minimatic?
41 yo, bald. First name Pascal, and it’s not fabulously interesting.
I started drumming alone in my basement around the age of 12. Then, a few years later, I joined a band as a keyboard player (what a pity, they already had a drummer…). Since then, I have always played keyboard as if I were a drummer…
I got my first sampler in 1986, and did a lot of pop and electronic experiments.
Minimatic as a musical project (and an alias) seriously began around 2004.
I imagine you as a big fan of cinema from the 60′s, pop culture, arts… You have as well some different names as Boogalox, Brother Moulinex, Monsieur Sonotone… Tell us more about your cultural influences, what do you really get into ?
I grew up in Nice (French Riviera), during the beginning of the 70′s : so you can easily imagine why I’m so influenced by the aesthetic, cinematic & design of this period (space age, plastic age)…I love these parts as much the sound as the music of this period, it is all totally linked altogether.
Besides that, I have always been balancing the passion for rhythm, the essence of the groove that irrigates swing, jazz, soul, funk, and on the other hand, the power of harmony in music (Bach, Mendelssohn, Shostakovitch, Satie, Reich, Pärt, Morricone…)
Music is an infinite play ground. I don’t care about the frontiers of styles, genres, or fashion. I just love any music with a strong taste, a great style, and a deep soul.
I discover your work with the remix you made of Serge Gainsbourg’s song « Chez les Yé-Yé «. I have always been a huge fan of Serge, but I never really liked remixes and covers of his work, but you came out with a really hot remix of that song. Can you tell us more about this remix you did? Did you get some good feedback from Charlotte, Lulu …. ?
This track was actually the “mother of all” Tour Eiffel Records releases… I used to play the original Gainsbourg’s “Chez les ye-ye” track for so many years, fantastic groove with just 3 perfect parts : double bass (phenomenal Michel Gaudry), guitar (Elec Bacsik at its best), and the voice and cynical words of Serge. I always had in mind a fantasy as if it was a “rough “demo version, and that I would someday love to be the Gainsbourg’s arranger, and make a re-instrumentation of it. At the same time I had never heard a satisfying remix of Serge (except “”Aeroplanes version by Readymade in 2001), all other remixes, in my eyes, never brought any value to the work of Serge…
So it was a challenge, to try to “explode” the track, make it more dancy, organic, percussive, vintage, and modern at the same time… After a bunch of Bourbon & Gingers, I got into a kind of hysterical trance editing and slicing the track, then recorded the organ parts, another bass, various percussions, the Brazilian samples, and so on all in one night. It captured the energy of that night as I was totally sweaty and excited. I always kept in mind that the phantom of Serge was somewhere in a corner of the studio, watching me, and what I was doing to his track…
When I released this first 7″, the feedback of all the DJs was really incredible : mods, 60s people, jazz, pop, funk, soul, house & hip-hop DJs, (even Gilles Peterson played it several times), all these guys played this track in a simple happy way. As for the “family” no news from Charlotte or Lulu : the Gainsbourgs don’t really have the time to listen to simple remixes of Serge, the only important thing for me was to make the remix deserving of him…
You released some big tunes in electro swing and I think it really grew your global audience. What do you think about the electro swing scene ?
Ha-ha-ha… Thanks for the compliment, though I am not sure if these are such “big” tunes. But yes, you’re right, the electro-swing scene is an incredible amplifier these days! I really did experienced that change. Actually, my music always had a touch of swing in it connected with jazz sounds & beats.
I have always had great feedback from DJs & musicians, even though it is quite complicated to classify my music. I am still producing funk, bossa, & soul based tracks, even nu-disco things, or more soul-folk ufo styles (my next album) as I can’t help myself but go in all directions…
When I really began to produce something purely “electro-swing”, then it boosted my visibility more clearly for the “generalpublic”. Then I started working with ChinChin Records, who is a very solid partner, and more importantly, very cool people !
This scene is so alive, multiplying & mutating all the time. This scene came originally from the swing-house era, and then, it brought in so many different influences in the Burlesque explosion (lately arrived in France, as usual…). For me the future of this scene is now more around swing-hop artists, who really give an incredible new & fresh blood to it.
You are the owner of your label Tour Eiffel Records. What is the next project with this? Are you looking for new artists in this label?
I never know in advance what’s going be the next Tour Eiffel Records’ release, I’m totally in a spontaneous mood with it. No strategy, no plan. The only thing is to make good tracks, that make me or my little daughters dance & smile at home, make a cool sleevefor it, and then to release it. I’m alone, doing everything from the idea to the final distribution, so it’s a simply craft way of working.
That’s probably why I’ve never seriously thought about releasing other artists, it is too much work to do everything. But maybe in a not so far future, because of cool guys that I really love, there may be a surprise in 2013…
Who are your favorite swing artists? Old or new?
Argh, big question… I would say 1000 names, both new and old, but you’ll need too many web pages to publish it !
So just 2 names among others : Louis Jordan is an all-time old fave, and new talented guys that I really like are Savages y Suefo.
I don’t like to play sets of 100% swing house linear mid-tempo, or on the contrary, play only swing hop with low tempo as I love to shake the people up! The cool thing is to find incredibly different tempos to bring dancers from smooth & sexy swing sounds, to absolutely mad demented uptempo, and so on. That’s exactly why I LOVE the electro-swing audience, and what I love to do in my DJ sets !
What is your next project?
My next big project (around others), is a full album, with a singer girl that I have liked for years… It will be a real two-sided project, probably not only under the name of Minimatic. I can’t really explain the musical style, but it will be beautiful and powerful. I am so excited about it!
Don Mescal is a dj, producer, blogger, and radio host in Montréal. I'm one of the pionner of electroswing sound in North America. I create (with Eliazar and Khalil ) Speakeasy Electro Swing, the first electro swing party to start In Canada (since 2010). I spinn records since more than 10 years, i like everything from dub to funk, jazz to electro...View all test don mescal posts.