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A Sit Down With DJ dOP

Since the Parisian trio of Clement Zemstov, Damien Vandesande and Jonathan “JoJo” Illel enigmatically flowered onto our electronic radar-at-large a handful of years ago they have provided a welcome anti-thesis not just to the musical zeitgeist but also to the refined, solemn visual aesthetic that populates the now. If I were to tell you to expect snuffling hogs in their videos; an ever-present mix of hard liquor and lit cigarettes on their stages and racks of raw soul sandwiched between their trusty synthesisers then your interest should be understandably piqued – indeed it may even be peaked. When to be live was to be different dOP led the way through a sea flecked with adversity to become one of the scenes most respected acts – to this day no one treads the line between poppy enthusiasm and electronic virtuosity quite so guilefully.

 

“You can not live only in this – this nightlife, this scene: it is loneliness.”

 

How did you meet each-other? 

We met in the office of Mrs. Bogossian, the director of the school for gifted. For flight business to taste. She claimed that a gang operated in the school. We have always proclaimed our innocence.

As a band you have explored almost ever genre imaginable, from jazz to reggae to the classical and the orchestral. Out width the confines of a computer do you think that these established genres enjoy more creativity, more freedom and inherent imagination than the electronic scene does?

Using jazz an as example, it is supposed to be a super open music with no real limit – but there are many conventions. The jazz world, the jazz business, has so many ideas and rules that it has to be like this, or like that. Electronic music is the music of now. It is inventing itself every day, it can go in any direction, can absorb music from anytime in the past: it is totally creative.

dOP has one foot in France, the other in Germany … Do you see a difference between the German public and the French public? 

Let’s say that clubbing is their culture to the Germans, they developed it, but the French public is in demand, they want to enjoy it a lot, we see the French traveling to clubber, in Germany, in Barcelona. Let’s say that the pressure in Paris does not facilitate things, prices of drinks, entry of clubs, volume law, no smoking.

How did you move from being in traditional bands into doing electronic-based music?

It first happened because we were making a record for a project we were working on—and we realized, just before releasing, there was absolutely no dance music on it, and it would be pointless to release it without any. Around that same time, we began to connect with the Nôze guys from Circus Company, and they said the same thing. 

What effect would you say the French music scene has had on your musical output? 

If you’re speaking about contemporary stuff, not so much. I’ve not been living in France for more than 3 years. I just hear some of it.

The industry is becoming increasingly fixated on live performance. When you first began you felt people were ‘scared of a live band’, has this changed? Is the scene becoming more human?

It is definitely more welcomed now. With a lot more bands playing live now it brings more good music, something more than ‘click-clack-boom’. Live acts can bring more personality, more emotion to the floor.

What does a day in the studio look like with dOP? 

It starts in the morning and it ends in the morning, in general, the first part of the day, we answer emails, do things rather serious, podcasts, mix, … and when the night approaches, things change, we take the aperitif, and the creation begins. Friends parade, we are less and less sober, the music is stronger and stronger. We love this contrast within a day.

What does a day in the studio look like with dOP? 

It starts in the morning and it ends in the morning, in general, the first part of the day, we answer emails, do things rather serious, podcasts, mix, … and when the night approaches, things change, we take the aperitif, and the creation begins. Friends parade, we are less and less sober, the music is stronger and stronger. We love this contrast within a day.

Do you still work on “non-electronic” music as well? If so what kind of stuff? 

Oh yes for sure, we have our French band called “Les Fils Du Calvaire”, which is based around French pop music. We also just finished the music for a documentary for cinema, the second one with the director Benjamin Marquet .You can dig around to find some information on him. We also did this project with the Tonhalle Orchestra from Zurich, we performed and wrote music with them, it will be out this autumn. It’s a meeting between dOP and some classical material.

After signing on prestigious labels such as MilnorModern, Circus Company, Eklo or Einmaleins we can say that your career was more than well launched. What were your most beautiful memories, your most beautiful discoveries and what were your worst experiences on the contrary?

It will be too long to tell you … To be short, it can happen to us in one hour to live the worst and the best. We are a real group from the tragedy.

 

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