Photo: Press (François X)
François X is one of techno’s most visionary mindes precisely because he doesn’t accept the genre’s boundaries. The DEMENT3D co-founder, who has just launched XX Lab as a platform for more adventurous sounds, has become a fixture in the Paris scene and beyond, pushing the envelope with a sound that is mindful of the techno history while trying to pave the way for new developments. His mix for our Groove podcast similarly navigates between the past and the present, marching towards a more exciting future.
First off, how are you doing and what have you been up to lately?
Hey, I’m slowly doing well, trying to consider what might be our techno future… Besides that, I’ve done a lot of music, some techno bangers, but also more indie stuff for my upcoming album and some rap beats. Which is something I am into since last year. Actually I had my first beat placement with a french drill rapper in June, 1PLIKE140.
You’ve founded the DEMENT3D label in 2011 together with HBT and started DEMENT3D XXX just last year. Which challenges do small labels face during a time in which the club scene has effectively come to a grinding halt?
The challenges we are facing during this pandemic era are pretty “tough”, you realised at some point that the clubs are essential and vital for our music to live and evolve. Without them, the income is pretty low. But on the other hand, more ideas come to mind, and allow the label managers to develop more products like merch or non-profit compilations. It is for some a perfect time for inspiration.
DEMENT3D XXX aims to push the envelope, serving as a platform for more experimentally-minded techno. What was your motivation to found this sublabel?
I wanted to be more independent, because I was working with my friend HBT on DEMENT3D. To be able to push my personal aesthetic.
You’ve already announced that it will be renamed as XX LAB – where do you want to take it?
As far as it can be pushed, I really want to find the perfect balance between club and indie music. I want to create a community where we can be amazed by anything and everything at the same time. It could be a super fast techno track, a rap album, or super weird and unconventional pop video clip. No boundaries, only freedom based on entropy, social utopianism and forward-thinking principles.
A major theme on some of your earlier releases, especially your 2017 debut album Irregular Passion, was the movie Blade Runner. What is it about this movie that fascinates you so much and how did you try to translate that into music?
As a kid I was really fascinated by Blade Runner Soundtrack, Vangelis is the man responsible for my love of epic strings and haunted melodies. Growing up my interest in the movie became more focused on the themes of melancholia and utopia and shaped my love for nightly escapism. Exactly that was at the core of my album: the fascination for the intensity of what nightlife has to offer; euphoria, whether experienced in the spotlight or incognito. The album tracklist depicted a spin-off story for which I had envisioned a complicated story with my life-time muse, Rachael.
Irregular Passion was fully remixed by a slew of producers, among them Bambounou, Pessimist and Redshape. How did this extensive remix project come about?
This extensive remix project came about pretty naturally, as I really wanted to let the story go on. All the remixers were close to me in terms of friendship or mindset. So after a long process of compiling it, this beautiful piece of music came to life.
Your own history as a DJ is deeply intertwined with the venue CONCRETE, which had to close its doors in 2019. What would you say were the most important lessons you’ve learned as a resident there?
My eight years as a resident DJ there shaped me and made me the way I am today. I gained so much confidence there. The lessons I’ve learned there were really important to me, building a career that will last, shaping the aesthetic of my music – everything that makes you a true artist.
What was the idea behind your contribution to the Groove podcast?
My idea behind the mix is simple, I want people to lose their shit thanks to a combination of high speed body bumpers. Some oldies, some newbies, and a lot of passion!
Last but not least: What are your plans for the future?
The launch of a compilation on XX LAB, working on my new album, doing a lot of music and hopefully soon playing again!
Stream: François X – Groove Podcast 271
01. Odete – IS IT LO
02. Emma Dj – Cry In Public
03. Kelela Jupiter – (Bjarki pandemix)
04. Egotot – Beginning
05. Trudge – No Future
06. u.r.trax – What Was On Their Mind
07. D. Carbone – Acieeeeed
08. Cool Tiger – Transcend Space
09. KAPTAIN CADILLAC – Show Me Luv (Robert Armani remix)
10. Céilí – Time Is No More A Thing
11. Peder Mannerfelt Enter Reocurring Disparity (Tommy Holohan Remix)
12. Mall Grab – TAKE DOWN ENEMIES (Special Request Splurgecore Mix)
13. Dj Hypnostedon – 3
14. Grienkho – T.E.X (Original Mix)
15. Carlota – entropy to syntropy
16. R-Zac – Easter 92
17. VTSS 1 VARG – Do The Roar
18. P.E.A.R.L – No Fall Damage Part 1
19. NKISI – V
20. Cosmin TRG – Zentrum Ziggurat
21. Amnesia Scanner – AS Rewild