Chatting Angolan Club Music, Collaborating with E^ST, and the Influence of RnB with Panteros666 of Club Cheval

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Chatting Angolan Club Music, Collaborating with E^ST, and the Influence of RnB with Panteros666 of Club Cheval

Frenchmen Club Cheval have recently caught a lot of media attention for their upcoming album and different electronic style.

The group, consisting of Canblaster, Myd, Panteros666, and Sam Tiba, are currently signed to Bromance records, and are the best of friends who ensure their music is as original as possible. Panteros666 took time to speak to Stoney Roads the other day as their album dropped, to discuss things all electronic, hardware setups, and working hard to to make those ‘Magical Accidents’ happen.

Henry (HR): With Club Cheval, as you guys are a big group of four, were all of you always into electronic music?

Panteros666 (PV): Well when we met, we were all deadset on anything electronic. But previously we came from really different musical backgrounds, and that’s why we want to make music before anything else. Music with a capital ‘M’. I come from something that is more like acoustic and prog rock and death metal, and because I started playing the drums at the age of 7. Canblaster started playing piano at the age of 7 too, so he’s always been really into video game original scores and stuff like that, and then he was introduced pretty early to Detroit music, like Detroit techno. Myd has been playing piano since he was really young too, and I think his biggest musical crush was Fatboy Slim, so pretty early on in his life. Sam was really into soul, early RnB and American RnB, and a lot of World Music like Brazilian Funk and Zouk. So that was like our background, and when we met together we were all like big music nerds, spending hours on the internet trying to find club music from Angola, or a UK Grime track that nobody has, trying to hunt for that one specific sound. For example, I was really into Italo Disco, which is like weird electronic disco jams from Italy in the 80s. So that was the first type of Club Cheval: it was to share all our special and individual music treasures, you know?

HR: Yeah for sure. So because the four of you have such different music tastes, is there ever any difficulties working altogether, or does everything just blend really well?

PV: It’s really easy in the sense that we are never out of ideas. Most of the time somebody will be like “I’m gonna start a track with some guitar” and we’ll spend like a whole day together writing down some stuff on Ableton, and then we’ll just leave the project open on the Club Cheval computer and the other guys are gonna work on it, and we’ll then end up with something completely different than what was originally intended, but musically it’s going to be really interesting. We’ll always like, challenge what the other’s do, you know? And offer different ways to make the music. So like most of the tracks from the album, some started at like house tempo at like 140-110, and ended as club tracks at around 126 you know? And because everyone’s changing everything, you kind of end up with that ‘Magical Accident’. For example, we (Canblaster and Panteros666) worked this week with in Paris with E^ST, the Australian singer. So we spent a full day writing stuff and working with E^ST, and we just sent all the projects through to Myd and Sam Tiba who are currently touring in Asia. So we’re gonna work from there and get something completely different from what we started on. But that’s like the natural process of a track you know, it’s like a living cell. It evolves, splits, reunites, changes again, then finally settles in its final form.

HR: So then with the process behind Discipline, did you guys send projects to each other the whole time, or did you share a studio while you were making it?

PV: We decided when we all came to Paris, because we are all originally from Lilles, we decided to join all of our studio gear and equipment because when you’re together and you’re united you’re stronger you know? So we just united all of our studio gear at Myd’s place at first. Then we merged to a studio in Paris so we had everything in the same place so that we can work together, and have everything on the same computer. Because everyone has different versions of plug-ins and stuff it becomes a real nightmare (to do it on separate computers).

HR: That’s real lucky then that you’re all from the same area, and you all get on so well, so it must be really easy.

PV: Yeah exactly. I don’t know it’s just like you’re in a group of friends, we’re friends before everything. That definitely changes a lot in the way that you make music and think about your life you know? Because each of us has got a really different personality, there’s no conflict between two guys who have the same personal traits which is pretty cool.

HR: So when was that moment then, when you guys decided that you were all gonna work together and create this project?

PV: I think it was in like 2010 or something. But we started really small and local in our hometown. The first thing we did was like, basically sharing mp3’s and plugins and a lot of ideas. So we started with that and then soon after we just spent like our whole lives together, like we do today. The first thing we did then was actually to organise a party in Lilles. So that was pretty much the very first ‘Club Cheval’ moment. Then we started making music and remixes, started putting music out on San Pellegrino, Marvel, and lots of different labels, and then Bromance. Then we thought the next step was to form a band and make an album, so who knows what’s gonna be next, you know?

HR: Yeah definitely, you never really know. So what is life like then on Bromance Records?

PV: Club Cheval is a small family, and Bromance is like our second, big family. I’d say Club Cheval are like brothers, and Bromance are like our cousins. So the best Bromance moment would definitely be one of our big tours we make when we do like four different shows in a week and we’re all together with all our guests, and Brodinski and Gesaffelstein, so it’s always an amazing time.

HR: What are your thoughts on electronic music at the moment then? Any standout artists?

PV: At the moment we are all always excited by new things. We’re always curious to find some new ways of making people dance and enjoying music – we’re never isolated in the one specific genre because that’s a choice a lot of people make, and we chose to go the other way since the beginning, that is like our DNA, you know? So at the moment we’re really into like, French rap which is really interesting. We’re gonna work with someone called ">Hamza, because we fell in love with US RnB three years ago, so when we did the album we were listening to heaps of Frank Ocean, Majid Jordan and stuff like that. I feel in France, hip hop is becoming more experimental and pop in a good way. We all have a lot of different musical obsessions.

HR: What are your must-haves in your studio then?

PV: Our main equipment is the equipment that we use live too. We have a Virus, the big powerful synth, a Prophet 12, I use the TR8 a lot as well. A Yamaha Motif, that’s what Canblaster uses for all the polyphonic elements of the music. Myd has the new MS-22, the USB one, and Sam uses a pioneer DJM for all the voices, and a Helicon 2 for all the voices and heaps of MPC’s and electronic drumsets. That’s basically all of the hardware in our studio, and then we have music tools like compressors, EQ’s, Analog 1’s. And then a shitload of plugins everywhere (laughs). So we pretty much get the best of the analog world, and the best of the digital world and mix it altogether, because we don’t think we should just stick to digital or just analog because we like both and like to have both in our music. We think it’s good to blend the best stuff that exists in electronic music, and using the old ones too.

HR: So in terms of making this album, was there anything massive that influenced your direction? Or was it all naturally motivated? Did you guys just go in the same direction the whole time?

PV: That was the big challenge that we had. When we decided to put together ideas and tracks for the first Club Cheval album, first we had to work on the style. The aesthetic on what the music would sound like. So basically we called the album Discipline because we had to choose a really specific Club Cheval sound and stick to it, otherwise we would have an album that is not consistent. We wanted something to be really consistent from A-Z. We didn’t want it to sound like an electronic music compilation by a label or made by some random DJ. Club Cheval normally we mostly do music for clubs, whereas this time we wanted to write songs. We were all into the new wave of US RnB, that was really experimental and innovative with lots of fillings and sound textures, which was very much what we wanted to do. So then RnB was the main keyword for this album. Which doesn’t mean our sound isn’t going to evolve, I think we’ll choose a different style we’ll explore in each album, like we are always trying to find new stuff. So yeah we went from like TLC, Timbaland and the early Neptunes to like Frank Ocean, Majid Jordan, and even weird like house stuff.

HR: So you guys have traveled all around the world – both as a band and you’ve all played solo. Are there any shows that you really remember or anything that stood out specifically from any show?

PV: Well actually we just did like our first Club Cheval gig in Paris! We played in an old Opera theatre, which has been transferred into a Modern Art Museum. So we made our first unique show, which was just Club Cheval playing. We invited a guy who played steel drums with one of the members from Hot Chip, and he opened for us. I think that was one of the best moments, because for the first time, we really had the Club Cheval audience who came to see us specifically, and they knew the lyrics from the album and stuff, so that was probably the first time that our album had been out we could see people had listened to it and knew exactly what we were about you know? It was fantastic. We created some specific lights for the live show, and we had everything ready and that was the first gig, so now we’re ready to tour all around the world now which is definitely the next step for us.

HR: Yeah that would be absolutely insane.

PV: Yeah bro it was crazy to see it all come together.

HR: So aside from the album, are there any other big things we can expect to see from you guys this year?

PV: Yeah of course. We are already working on a lot of tracks together. I think we’re gonna make dozens of remixes and stuff and give them away for free, because that’s how Club Cheval started – with a blog with tracks on it and you could just right-click on them and click ‘Save As’ and you had the high quality mp3 (laughs). So I think we’re back on editing lots of stuff, like making music with interesting elements. We’re gonna do a lot of collaborations this year for sure as well. We’re going to get a lot of music videos shot too, and so yeah that’s pretty much the next few steps forward for us over the next few months.

HR: And finally, any tips for other aspiring producers?

PV: Focus on coming up with your own sound. Come up with music that’s interesting and new, because when I started, I had no skills in music production. I was coming from like a really traditional drummer background. But you can learn so fast now, there’s tutorials everywhere on how to make pretty cool music. So I say now it’s probably easier to produce electronic music, but then it’s like everyone is a DJ, everyone has a label, everyone has a club night. So I think to stand out, just control innovation and be original. We don’t really know though, we’re not really connected to the EDM scene. All that music that sounds exactly the same as a lot of the dudes out there (in EDM). We’ve always been like an indie rock band from our own sounds and own synths – making music for our audience and not caring what’s the hype at the moment. When we started it was like a blend of minimal and world music, and then three months later everyone was like “Wow we’re into dubstep and brostep!” and we were like “Oh okay” (laughs). Then it was like big, massive festival EDM, then it became like only weird stuff like experimental electronica, then back to deep house. Just goes boom boom boom, it’s so fast man. Just keep going, have your own sound, your own audience. I’d say it depends how you see electronic music. If you’re just like putting records out for electronic music as a whole, or if you’re putting them out as an individual, as an artist – then I’d say we definitely fit the latter category.

Club Cheval’s debut album Discipline is now available for purchase on iTunes, and you can stream the title track here from their Soundcloud.


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