DMCWORLD checks in with the Parisian DJ, producer and electronic artist as he prepares for his debut album ‘This Is Not Hollywood’ swinging our way via Roy Music. The record was written almost entirely in a small house in a forest to channel the same isolation he felt growing up as a child. The result is a genuinely interesting electronic album enriched with truly organic emotions…
Greg, a big welcome to DMC World! Where are you right now, and what are we interrupting?
Hi DMC World!! Actually, I’m taking three days off on the French Riviera. I was at the beach, listening to some music I’m preparing for the live show.
It’s been an exciting start to the year for you, you’ve announced your debut solo record ‘This Is Not Hollywood’ and have released your new single/video ‘Terry’! Please could you tell us a bit about the single and the video?
Yeah! Definitely very exciting start to 2018! ‘Terry’ is a track I wrote one year ago. It was supposed to be an instrumental. One day, I was at the record label with Cozy, he said to me “hey, bring me to your studio and let’s try some music!”. I played him the instrumental of ‘Terry’, he almost instantly sang these four lines. Awa Sy who’s a great singer just sang a gimmick but a very important one! When I was thinking about what the best idea could be to film a video for ‘Terry’, I visualized (while I was at the supermarket) a bunch of old peoples singing the track. This is just the story of a young girl that realizes that her grandparents were part of a gang of party people, when she find a video tape showing them getting crazy.
Greg Kozo - Terry (Official Video)
I’ve read that the new record was written in solitude in a remote part of an Auvergne forest in France. What was that experience like for you? Were you grateful for the opportunity to write alone with only your mind as the limits for your creativity, or did it turn out to be more difficult than you’d perhaps envisaged?
I have a studio in downtown Paris, and there’s always people that pass by. There’s internet. So many distractions. I spent 3 weeks in this house, with no neighbours, no internet, only a forest, a moog Voyager and a Mopho X4 Dave Smith, a pair of monitors and my laptop. Nothing to do except cooking vegetables and make music. The loneliness was honestly very difficult in the very first days, but it was necessary to step back after all this year’s touring everywhere. It helped me to become focused and not influenced by others, and after a while I didn’t even want to come back to the city. I already want to do it again haha.
You’ve said that part of your reason for going out into the forest was to emulate the isolation you felt growing up as a child. In what way did you feel on your own and how did you want to channel this into your music? Was it more of a personal quest or is this something you’ve actively tried to portray in your music?
I think that it’s something that lives with us every day since our first. It’s more a personal quest. I don’t try specially to portray it in my music, but I think there’s a melancholy that you can hear. When I start a track I always try to concentrate on some really simple emotions that move me. It can be dancing, sadness, loneliness, excitation, hope, whatever.
Did you have a particular message that you wanted to convey when you began writing the album? Do you think you achieved that or is the result something that evolved from that?
No, I was just trying to do something sincere. And of course, the result is miles away from the direction I’ve tried to reach, but the journey was great!
Whilst, I would say that whilst this record has its roots in house music, I can hear a number of other influences in here. What other influences both musical and non-musical would you say went into this album? What might surprise listeners?
I don’t know if you can hear it there but my first music when I was a teenager was hip hop. Then I learn double bass at the jazz school. There’s maybe a little bit of this. I have a lot of different sides in my artistic history. From music to video to photography. The funny thing is that I wanted to do an instrumental record, and that in the end almost all the album has vocals on it. I’ve promised myself that the next one will be instrumental! What might surprise people is that I’ve toured a lot playing powerful club music, and I put this part of me aside for this record.
Your record features a vast array of talented guest musicians, many of which are rising artists from France. In your opinion, who should we be getting to know from the French scene at the moment?
I was very lucky to meet all these fantastic artists whilst writing the album. On the French scene, Dalton John is a sure player. A very good DJ and a talented producer. La Fraicheur is a French DJ living in Berlin, we released a few tracks together and now she’s about to release her first solo album on Infiné. A must follow!
Your new album ‘This Is Not Hollywood’ is coming out via French label, Roy Music. How did you come to work with Roy Music?
Roy Music was the label for Make The Girl Dance. When the band has stopped, I told them that I had already started to write some music… It was almost logical to keep on working together. I’ve know them for almost ten years now.
For those who don’t know, please could you tell us a bit about your previous project Make The Girl Dance? How does what you’re doing now differ to that?
We start this band in 2009. It was a mix of electronic music, rock and “bangers”. We toured a lot all around the world. My music now is less about this ‘immediate efficiency’. Some tracks have this ‘after taste’ that comes after a few listenings.
What hopes do you have for the future? What other plans do you have lined-up for 2018?
I hope that you all guys are gonna stay in a good shape and have a lot of fun! For me, I’m gonna be back on tour this spring. I’m excited, it’s going to be a mix of a DJ set and a live performance. So I hope to play as many clubs, festivals and venues as possible! I’m already writing music for the 2nd album. On the other end I’ve started a side project called Cluss Trover, very minimal analog-only house for clubs. I’m gonna start to tour with it too and want to release as many tracks as possible. Additionally, with our own label ‘Enchanté’ (I’ve started it with The Toxic Avenger and Christophe Tastet, the guy that was behind Diamond Traxx) we look forward to releasing a lot of good music!!
Thanks for taking the time to chat to us. Best of luck with everything this year!