Monday, 21 June 2010

The Jacques Perspective


Was so great to finally see the man Jacques Renault play some tunes at The Civic the other week after a couple of missed opportunities over the last two years. I'd be tediously repeating myself by noting he's responsible for a stack of beastly edits, he's one half of Runaway, he runs a young label called On The Prowl and he's up with the very best in the disco arena. Clearly I'm no journalist but Jacques, being the sympathetic gentleman that he is, kindly answered a few quick Q's about current happenings.

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DD: I hear you started out as a D&B DJ - after being a viola whiz, no less. Was that the first kind of 'dance' music you got into? Where did that initial interest come from?

JR: Growing up I went through quite a few phases. It wasn't until I was 18 and went to this party called Cold Rice -that's where I first heard Soul, Dancehall and Drum & Bass all at the same party and was so excited about it. I started collecting more electronic records and got myself some turntables when I moved to Chicago for school.

DD: Were you into buying records as a kid? What kind of stuff did you dig growing up?

JR: I started buying punk records when I first got into records. I was pretty obsessed with the early DC hardcore stuff and then the early 90s post punk sound. I feel pretty lucky where I grew up and what kind of music was going on at the time.

DD: Hit me with 3 of your most cherished records.

JR: Here are the first 3 that come to mind:
Grauzone - Eisbaer
Loose Joints - Tell You Today
Fred Wesley - House Party

DD: How about all time favourite DJs?

JR: I like to listen to old Ron Hardy Mixes online. Some of them are really amazing, I wish I got to experience that...

DD: Getting down to business: some people I've spoken to feel that, with the current trend of edits and the like, disco is too backward thinking. Do you think it's leading somewhere or are a lot of people really just stuck in the past?

JR: The reality is as long as there has been DJs there have been edits. I'd agree that there a lot of people putting out edit 12"s and like anything some are better than others, but at least people are trying new things. As long as there are creative people trying something new with other people's music, the music will sound new. If they just mimic what others have done then it's no fun. There are great producers making something new out of songs we love. If it's for their own DJ sets or for limited vinyl, I'm happy that it's still alive and we're all still buying records.

DD: I know I'm flogging a dead horse here but I always like to hear what people have to say about vinyl vs digital. Personally, aside from sound quality, I have a real romantic connection with holding a song in my hand. What's your reason for sticking with records?

JR: I still enjoy going to the record store and discovering new music but taking a stack of things that look familiar or not and listening to stuff. I used to joke that I listen to more bad music but you always find something you like. I still go to the record shops and I buy online. It's just what we all have to do these days. The digital quality is a ok when you travel and the turntables don't work. There will always be a plus and minus for any medium.

DD: Blogs - another overcooked topic but I have to ask. In your experience as a DJ, producer and now small label manager, have they been handy or harmful? Is free music the future?

JR: It's true it's hard to make money on music these days, but having your own label isn't to make money in our minds. It's about having an idea and following through with it. Marcos & I are releasing a few original artists other than ourselves and it's exciting to have On The Prowl out there. I know a few blogs but I'll be honest I don't really look at too many. I know who some people are and I think it's great to hear their stories and success... the reality is people learn about music this way and that's fine by me. It's nice to see our music online on the blogs and in the shops.

DD: Going back to that question about disco progressing; which producers and labels do you think are really carrying things forward and breaking new ground?

JR: Lots of great stuff happening. I'm a big fan of what The Revenge, Azari & III, TBD, Holy Ghost, Cosmo Vitelli, Andy Ash, Tensnake, are doing...to name a few. Labels like Rong, DFA, Golf Channel, Instruments of Rapture, Running Back are a few favs. This is always tough, I feel like I'm forgetting something..

DD: Any chance you like Twin Peaks?

JR: ha yeah I've seen the movie. I like the reference...

DD: Finally, what's on the cards for you in the next 12 months?

JR: More traveling and production of original work and remixes. Plus Marcos & I are working on our Runaway Live set. 2010 is going really well.

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For further proof of Jacques' talents, gobble up these tracks. One of the edits from his RVNG of the NRDS which started this snowball rolling; a deep Runaway contribution to the I'm A Cliche catalogue; and some large-but-smooth house from the second OTP record. Big winners.

Jacques Reanult - Tuxedo Dance

Runaway - Your League [buy]

Jacques Renault - Love & Happiness [buy]

Also check out Video 1, Video 2 and Video 3 of a great in-depth interview with Jacques by pals Future Classic. They're heaps better than me. And they're hosting Prince Language this Saturday! Check it out.

Know what else is good? This old Greg Wilson remix of Gary Davis. That's what.

Gary Davis - The Professor's Here (Greg Wilson Remix) [buy]

Could the formatting of this post get any worse? I should stop asking rhetorical questions. Is it irritating? Don't answer that.

BACK WITH MORE LATER IN THE WEEK, TOODLES