With the revival of the French House scene, some dynamic players have started to take centre stage. One of these figures is STUFF, a DJ and producer originally from Grenoble who had his introduction to the circuit around 2007, fraternising with such influential local acts as Acid Washed and Kiko. Since producing his first releases on David Carretta's well-respected Space Factory label, he has now started moving into the genres of house and low Miami bass and is a soldier at CUFF label. We talked to him about his background as a DJ and producer, and asked him what guidance he would give to new, aspiring artists.
Can you tell me how it all began? Did the DJing or production come first?
Since my early childhood I was totally into this music, especially "synthetic" music, so I began by learning production. I really wanted to understand how all these sounds were made which seemed so futuristic!
Where did you learn your skills from and on which equipment? Were you self-taught or did you take a course?
I was self-taught. I learned all by myself, alone like a geek, experimenting on the first equipment I had which was an old analogue synthesiser called a Realistic Mg-1 (which was actually made by MOOG) and a Roland TR 707 which was about 14 years old!
When DJing, what is the set-up you request and why?
I now use Traktor Scratch+ and an X1 Kontroller. I used to work with vinyl back in the day, and on CDJ too. However, today we have these wonderful tools which can help you really personalise your set using a lot of wonderful FX. I don’t think the audience give a shit about how you make your cook - they just want a musical trip! So for me, it's the best way to make it really personal.
What do you think about beat-syncing software? Is there a place for this or is it just taking away from some of the magic of DJing?
I think the most important thing is the result and not the way that it's made. Some DJs are able to make huge sets with beat-syncing software; others are better at producing an old-school flavour. It's all subjective I think.
When producing, which DAW do you use and why?
I produce in Ableton Live because it's so complete. The software already has everything you need to make a good track and I know all its parts and tricks. I think it's truly designed for our kind of music, and so I can work really fast on it!
Which part of the production process do you find most pleasurable and most challenging?
I love the beginning of a track, when you jam on the keyboard to find a sound or a melody. It's the most exciting part for me. I’m a bit lazy so I don't like to spend that much time on the structure, the details, the mix and all that kind of thing, but today the level is so high that it really can make the difference, so that’s the challenge for me!
What do you do if you hit a brick wall when producing a track and lose your inspiration?
I have produced for many years now, and lots of different kinds of stuff too. My experience is that you always make your best track when the process is really easy and everything happens really fast. My best tracks were made in a couple of minutes, so when I’m not inspired, I stop! It can be nice to watch some movies/TV shows for example - sometimes you can find some dialogue which will give you inspiration; maybe a rhythm, maybe a melody, or maybe just a title.
What projects are you currently working on and what is lined up for you in 2014?
I have a lot of music coming out soon; an EP on Time has Changed records with a really cool remix from German Brigante, and the long awaited birth of my homie's label CUFF, run by my brothers in arms Amine Edge and DANCE - it will be huge. I can't wait for my first release on it. The feedback is awesome and we are already planning a lot of gigs all around the world!
Any tips for our students and readers who also want to find a job out there which involves music and DJing?
Trust yourself and don't be in too much of a rush. You need to really understand all the aspects of this job; it sometimes can take a bit long to learn but if it’s your passion, then it's also a pleasure at each step!
And last question: what does it take?
It's pretty simple: you need big balls! In order to say "Hey! Listen to me. I’m here and this is good music which you will love now!”
You can check out STUFF more online at: