Interview: Techno Don Brodinski Talks The French Electronic Music Revolution
There is a dark, twisted and raw madness in French techno. Brodinski is a true forward-thinking visionary. For years, he has been the banner, OG Don of the genre. He has razor-sharp focus, majestically composed stature and rock-star notoriety; he lights his cigarette, wears his headphones, cranks up the low-end, allures audiences, and injects them with infectiously booming synths, hard hitting, bleeding bass lines and drowning acid drops. When asked what is his secret to success, he confidently says, ‘I’m French’. For Brodi and company, this has resulted in hit records, sold out arenas, swooping up all the women, producing for globally-acclaimed rap artists and much more. So what is it the French are doing that is different from everyone? “I think in France, it’s always been about the music first, after that comes everything else. It’s a small country, but a lot of great music comes from here, like Daft Punk, Phoenix and more. My late friend Mehdi once told me, ‘If you can’t beat it, join it.’ Those words have always stuck with me. When I get into a studio, I never work alone. I think that’s boring. Everything I do is always a collaborative effort with my friends, like Yuksek, Guillaume Brière, Mike (Gesaffelstein) and, MYD. It makes it more fun. It’s the nature of the game over here. The best part, there is no competition and we all support one another in all our endeavors.” Judging by this video below, they sure know how to throw some solid parties too, even when they are not on local soil. Check out this video of the most recent Bromance takeover in Los Angeles. Growing up in Reims, Louis Roge (Brodinski is the last name of his badass grandmother) developed a strong interest in skateboarding when he was younger. Through skate culture and the Internet he discovered music, and interestingly enough never owned any vinyl. “I think a lot of people in the current day are in the same position as myself. It’s building a trend for a new generation. Everything is so easy to find now. I read a lot blogs, which is like a digital door that has led me to discover new music. It’s how I developed my love for Southern hip-hop and rap, trip-hop, punk and techno.” After dropping out of university, Louis took his musical know- how and put it into full flex. He met his manager, Manu Barron, and thus began the revolution of the frantic, and heart-squeezing sounds of dark, synth-driven techno music, which immediately became the driving force of the Bromance Records umbrella. Despite the overwhelmingly positive response towards their vision, he remains humble, “The music is very unique. It’s dark, but as long as people like it, we are happy. I think that’s the best feeling when they share and support your passions. I am really grateful to be able to do what I do and make a living from it.” Brodinski also has a knack for supporting and running with out of the box ideas. The video for his latest single, ‘Gimme Back The Night’ featuring NYC rapper Theophilus London, sees the Frenchman filming the entire thing using only a micro-camera placed in the inside of his mouth. It’s an account of his daily life. Just under two and a half minutes into the video, we get a glimpse of his trademark womanizing skills when a charming woman sitting in the driving seat of a car leans in for a kiss. What impressed us here was his control of the camera during the flashy display of salivary exchange. “This is a very good observation”, he says. “Let’s just say that we found a way to make it work in both our favors (he laughs). At 26 years old, I’m living the best life I could imagine and this project is a glimpse into that.” As a DJ, he fills the role with such perfection that many look up to him as the epitome, the revered ‘DJ’s DJ”. His open-format sets and wicked mixing technique strive to integrate all forms of his favorite genres together to foster new organically symbiotic relationships with various sounds. “Let’s just say as a DJ and producer, I make and showcase what inspires me. This is the same for Bromance. We make music for us. We don’t want to be part of the whole EDM movement, not because we are against it or anything, but because we want to create our own vibe to promote our music.” And this ‘vibe’ they have created is fresh, and does indeed separates him and his band of Bromancers from the rest. At their shows, they bring fresh and knockout worthy performances that has evidently resulted in loyal support from fans.
Video streaming by Ustream Along with his buddy, Gesaffelstein, blending dark hard techno with hip-hop has exemplified their global popularity. Particularly on US soil, it caught the attention of Kanye West a few months ago, which resulted in their production contributions on the Yeezus album. Louis is a huge fan of American rap and hip-hop, which he says is quite different from what the French do. “In French rap, everybody just complains and talks about bad situations. I feel like there isn’t so much of a story to tell. The American stuff, particularly out of the south, is what I enjoy and have even added those elements in my new album. There’s substance behind the words. It tells the story of struggle and overcoming obstacles they’ve faced over the years. They celebrate their success by ballin’ out. It’s real and inventive, you know. When Kanye listened to our techno sound, he liked it a lot and asked us to produce something around those lines. He’s a very smart individual and open to working with different ideas. It was one of the best experiences of my life. ” Gesaffelstein – Pursuit (official video) from Parlophone France on Vimeo.
Gesaffelstein’s recently-released album, Aleph, is already rocking the itunes electronic charts. It’s a unique fourteen-track masterpiece of the eclectic and futuristic, his trademark dark techno sound, power-packed synth stabs, elegant and subtle experimental hip-hop and RnB elements. The inventive nature of the progressive song structure and captivating samples leaves us bewildered. The video for his hit track, ‘Pursuit’, received double triumphs at the UK Music video awards for ‘Best Dance Track’ and ‘Best Visual Effects In A Video’ over the weekend. With the success of Gesaffelstein’s album, we can expect a forthcoming one from Brodinski early next year. “I have spent a good six years working on the music and have tried to combine everything that I love in it. The record is filled with tastemaker sounds combined with rap and hip-hop. It’s been a long journey but a well-timed one too. I feel like this is the best period for music because there is so much great stuff pouring in. I’m excited.”