Bob Sinclar is as experimental as he is outrageous. Everything about him, from his photo shoots, to his personality, all reflect his core philosophy of fun, glamour and good times. His influence on the dance scene cannot be ignored, having hits on the underground as well as in the mainstream, which makes him the legend he is today. His career spans more than 15 years being on the dance circuit, creating new sounds and beats for himself and other DJs alike. His new release 'Strictly Bob Sinclar' is an album which mixes the labels classic cuts with his contemporary productions. He's here to talk collaborations, working in Jamaica and how to actually pronounce his name.
Words by Toni Tambourine
Q. Is it Bob Sinclar or Bob Sinclaire?
My name, I don't know! When I talk to all the guys, sometimes it's Sinclaire, sometimes its Sinclar. I know in your country Sinclaire is everywhere, I saw this Sinclaire in New York, Sinclaire the cleaners! So it's good to be on the scene.
Q. Does it piss you off when they get it wrong?
Nothing pisses me off in this business. I could never imagine getting to that stage as a DJ, I just discover a new way of making music; I recycle and create sounds for my pop music as a DJ. Its pop music now but in the beginning of the 90s, it was beats!
Q. That is actually good because I want to find out now if Bob Sinclar is an underground artist or an over ground artist? In your own opinion, the way you see yourself, how would you explain that?
I don't care to be underground! When I'm playing in front of a crowd, and I have a feeling on a track, if they react crazily, then my goal has been reached. I didn't have any distributors in the UK. So I rented a car, manufactured it, gave out some records there and now I have some big hits behind me.
Q. Just one choice, which of your productions would you say you are most proud of?
There is, "World Hold On" which has the perfect combination of the emotion, of a dance track, the quality of the lyrics. Everything is there and it was all by accident! I start to create my own melody, so I learnt music, how to make beats, the arrangement, and I'm very proud of that!
Q. What did you learn on your holiday away in LA?
After 3 years of madness and 15 years of work through the label, travelling around the world, it's time to relax, to think of new ideas in LA. I started to listen to folk and indie rock, even though I am used to listening to disco. I was happy to listen to some stuff and create my album, Born in 69, which was released last year.
Q. You have worked with many black artists. Have you been approached by any R'n'B artists? Who would be your dream collaboration?
Craig David called me as he is a fan of World Hold On, Will.I.Am called to do a remix of one of his singles, Madonna called me to do a remix of Four Minutes. My dream is to work with Justin Timberlake and Kanye West. There is a good vibe to find collaboration in the U.S.
Q. How do you feel about the success of David Guetta and how he has worked with Kelly Rowland and Akon? Has this revitalized house music and has he brought a whole new sphere to the genre?
His success was unbelievable, he did the right project at the right moment. But this is not something for house music; he always wanted to be a pop artist, even if he is not a singer. It has been massive but this is not house music. It was good for DJs as now they have the drive to create pop music instead of just doing house music. I'd prefer to create a big hit with someone unknown so that I can concentrate on the melody and the song.
Q. Your videos are always a bit tongue in cheek. Do you think it's important not to take yourself too seriously?
For sure! It's important to show that I'm not a serious guy. I'm a DJ and I don't have a big head. I'm having fun now which is important. It's my life and music runs in my veins. I like to play for the crowd and share the good vibes.
Q. What comes into your head when people say "Strictly Rhythm"?
Strictly Rhythm means Real to Real, Eric Morillo and I Like To Move It. Strictly Rhythm was THE label, with all the big hits, lot of DJs who make their reputation and they were happy to be produced by them. I discovered house music with Strictly Rhythm.
Q. How do you remix a record like "Free"?
When Simon asked me to remix "Free" I said it's impossible, it's a classic! But I used the acapella from a track I used for this remix. So with this, I can find new chords so maybe something can work. In the end, I hope the people are going to like it, I have got good messages about it.
Q. Now, "Kiss My Agony" with Daddies Grove, how did this come about?
Daddies Grove came to me and said they released a track called "Aunty", they had put the acapella of "Kiss My Eyes" on top and asked me what I thought about it. If you stay very old school in your mind, you say no, but now for the young generation, it's good to do. You can give the track something new and fresh again.
Q. What happened with "The Russian March"? What's this record about?
The first time you hear this, you will think that it's too dark for me, it doesn't sound like me. That's why I did it with Dirty South. I had a demo with vocal that I couldn't use. It was too dark for my album, it doesn't fit me. I said to them if they like it then let's do something together. I love their beats and I'm sure they will find a big sound for it.
Q. Are you going to put a vocal on it?
There are no ideas to put a vocal on it. He had the idea to put the "At Night" acapella and it worked perfectly. But I'm sure someone will find the right idea to create a mash up!
Q. Ok, let's talk about "New New New", a classic Bob Sinclar track.
I recorded the track in Jamaica where I made "Love Generation". Shaggy opened his studio to me to record a few tracks. I recorded "New New New" in his studio; I did the demo in France, and the n added the additional Jamaican guys in Kingston. So every year I go back there. It is my new religion! The people are all smiling even though they are all poor, because of music, and that's the kind of message in the track. I would like to be the ambassador of Jamaica!
Q. Ok, could you tell me about the mixes that you did and the differences between them?
When Simon Dunmore said he wants me to do a Strictly Rhythm compilation, I didn't know how to mix together the tracks from the 90's and the tracks from now. So Defected did beautiful remixes of all the classics and my idea was to do a good combination of the old tracks and the new tracks. The tempo is faster now, it gives something fresh to the track, and it keeps the same tone. To show to the young generation what house music was, and this can inspire them to create vocals.
Q. So coming up towards the end of the interview. I want to know something about Bob Sinclar that I don't know?
Something you don't know is something I wear everyday. I wear ski socks everyday! My feet are very cold. But you know everything about me, I am gorgeous, sexy and one of the best producers in the world! But that's too obvious!
Q. What's happening in Ibiza this year? And where else can we see you?
Ibiza is going to be very big this year as house music is everywhere. Pacha will be massive, I'm lucky to be playing at the Defected party this year; this will be my fifth time. I have to prepare bootlegs, the best mash ups, remixes to be up to date. But when you play for Defected you have to be able to play the classic tracks, that's why the people come.
Q. Any tracks you're working on you would like to tell us about?
I'll tell you about something! In Jamaica, I was lucky to meet legendary producers Sly and Robbie. I have had this idea for 2 years to remix my songs into reggae. It will erase the house production, then people will concentrate more on the melody, the words and the message. I did that in 3 weeks in Kingston working with Sly and Robbie. It's called "Made in Jamaica". It's a piece of happiness. It's got a very good vibe.
'Strictly Bob Sinclar' is released on May 3rd on Strictly Rhythm.