Hailing from Newcastle, UK, Francophilippe is a self-described maker of “hard fonk”, a brand of funk that utilizes dripping wet slap bass grooves and thick house beats to get your feet moving. He first gained notoriety for bootleg remixes of The xx and Miike Snow, but has now graduated to doing official remixes for the likes of Pony Pony Run Run and releasing tracks with the help of Ministry of Sound. Hot off the release of his Action Hero EP, Francophilippe was kind enough to make us a 15 minute long mix which utilizes 20 tracks by the likes of Prince, Justice, and Chad Valley. We also got a chance to ask him a couple questions, so hit play and look down below to find out what he has to say about his hip-hop influences, whether or not anyone can ever top Daft Punk, and what upcoming producers should look for in a label!
Francophilippe: Definitely, I still research old records for inspiration. I think the quick cuts are something that blew me away with scratch DJs of the 90′s, I love the rhythmic chops, how the frequencies pop up and down between the different samples. There’s a raw feel there which seems to have gone missing in the digital era.
Some of my favourite HipHop producers are The Rza, J Dilla and DJ Premier. Groups and artists are harder to call as the quality of what they released was up and down but some of my favourite albums are GZA: Liquid Swords, Pharcyde: Bizarre ride II the Pharcyde and Nate Dogg: Ghetto Preacher/The Prodigal Son
US: What influence does the Asian aesthetic have on your music, if any? I noticed on tracks like Harajuku Pop you’ve put together an assortment of anime clips to capture “the mood of the track”. How does that Eastern vibe filter into what you do?
Francophilippe: I really love the J-pop vibe. I don’t think it’s so far from electronic music in Europe, it has a huge amount of 80′s rock and disco influence but with a real child-like innocence. I visited Japan when I was young to see my brother (who still lives in Asia) I loved the whole fast-paced ‘Future World’ vibe of Tokyo and got really into Asian cinema and Anime. This is why I have one or two J-pop style tracks.
US: You’ve worked with a variety of labels in the recent past (Velcro City, Champagne, Yeah!/Dish) – what do you look for in a label? What label-orientated advice would you give to a musician who is trying to break into the scene?
Francophilippe: I think if a label is enthusiastic about putting out my track and they have a strong connection with their audience then I’m interested. I’ve been introduced to a lot of labels recently which seem to have no promotion plan and put out a record every week without really ‘selling’ the artist. The only advice I can give is make sure the label is putting in as much effort as you, otherwise the track you spent endless hours producing could get lost in the ether.
US: You’re due to come out with an official remix for Pony Pony Run Run soon, how’s that going? Do you see any similarities/differences between your two sounds that has come out in the remix particularly well?
Francophilippe: It’s a big opportunity for me at this stage so I’ve worked harder than ever before. The funny thing is I spent two weeks solid on it polishing it to perfection and then right as I was about to press the ‘send’ button. I scrapped it and started from scratch. My original remix felt forced, the 2nd attempt was much more natural.
As for PPRR’s sound and mine, we’re very different but I just try to work from the sentiment I get from the track. It’s kind of melancholy and I think I got a good idea about how to convert that to something for the dancefloor without losing the original mood.
US: Your remix for Trafik is set to be used by the Ministry of Sound, how did that situation arise?
Francophilippe: I don’t know the details but I know those guys (Trafik) have great promoters. I’m assuming MOS got a copy of the promo release and took a shine to my remix, which is a nice surprise! I was recently informed that Mighty Mouse spun the track at a night in Brooklyn, which is really cool to hear.
US: Daft Punk obviously stands as a monolith over the entire French House/Nu-Disco scene. Do you think there is another artist out right now that is capable of redefining the scene like the did, or do you think that their achievements will simply never be topped?
Francophilippe: I don’t think so, Daft Punk are about more than just the music, it’s the full package. They’re at that level of ‘cool’ that I think they will out live several generations of music. Everyone I knew at school loved Daft Punk (rockers, indie-kids, chart listeners etc) they really managed to bridge the gap between all styles of music. If someone else can put together a look/sound/gimmick that unique then they might have a chance, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon.
US: What do you define as success? Is it playing a certain size of show, getting a certain collab, selling a number of records…?
Francophilippe: I’d be an idiot to say no to sell-out tours and platinum albums, but in all honesty, I think if I could just get by in life with a career only in music then I’d consider that a success. It’s been my goal as long as i can remember and something I’m working hard to achieve.
US: Last Question: If you had to take your approach to music
and encapsulate it in one sentence, what would you say?
Francophilippe: Don’t listen to too much Wagner, you may get the urge to conquer Poland. (I may have loosely quoted Woody Allen there)
A big thanks to Francophilipe for doing that awesome mix and for talking to us! Stay up to date with his tour dates, upcoming remixes, and more at his facebook and his soundcloud, and check out the mixtape track listing below!
Francophilippe – Upside Sounds Micro-Mix Tracklisting