All words | Lu Makoboka
In 2018 a French record label called ‘Roche Label’ released a compilation project called Waves. Vol. 2. This label is renowned for housing the some of the biggest French electronic artists such as FKJ, Kartell and Darius to name a few, but most importantly their popularity has come from being amazing ‘tastemakers’ for their audience and their ability to find artists which blur the lines of Electronic music. One of those artists had a track called ‘Paris 5AM’ which was moody and exploded with glossy synthesizers near the end. ‘Waves Vol.2’ was my first encounter with multi-instrumentalist ‘Plage 84’ (aka Kévin Descourty) and between late February and early March, he visited Cape Town from Paris to explore the culture and experience a completely different scenery. In this interview, we touch on the French Electronic scene, his travels in SA and much more.
Push play and carry on reading… ???
Lu: For those who are unfamiliar with your story, how did your journey with music begin? Was it always a passion from childhood or did you bloom into this later in life?
Plage 84: I started music during my childhood by studying saxophone and music theory in a little town near Tours (France). After some years of practising, I naturally went into music composition in my room by using a laptop and my inspiration! Creating from zero was something so exciting for me and something I wasn’t really allowed to do in my classic music courses. Then I started to discover the music production and went through many styles to learn and finally start Plage 84 as my special project.
Lu: When we spoke you mentioned that the reason you decided to momentarily leave France was to ‘get away’ and clear your head to inspire a ‘reset’. But why Cape Town, what drew you to this city?
84: I went to Johannesburg last year, and I planned to do Cape Town after this but because of the water crisis many friends was telling me not to come now ahah! So I just waited one more year to finally discover your amazing city. I have always been attracted by Cape Town, which for me is an incredible place by reunited mountains, sea, and an inspiring town. I’m gonna take my plane back to France in a few hours and I really can’t wait to come back soon. Work has always been really efficient here.
Lu: The first time I came across your work was through ‘Roche Label’ and their ‘Waves 2’ compilation. How were you discovered by the prestigious French label and why do you think the sound of ‘Roche’ has so much mass appeal?
84: My hometown “Tours” is really linked with the label as we are many artists from Roche that are coming from Tours. Roche has a strong image around the world, cause, in my opinion, we’re transmitting some family vibes and a strong French music style, but to be honest as an artist inside Roche it’s kinda difficult to analyse the vibe of the label abroad ahah! It’s just an amazing experience to represent that vibe around the world.
Lu: Your thoughts on the beat scene in France and where it’s going?
84: We have a lot of diversity in the scene, and for many beatmakers; a real passion to mix pop vibes with some independents and creative ideas together.
Lu: Talking about beats, the drums in your tracks are usually very ‘eventful’ to say the least. Could you give us a bit of a synopsis on your creative process?
84: I mostly start with the drums yes! I really try to mix organic drums and more electronic drums together, the organic with some frozen punch! Then more and more by the time I try to write the song through the harmonies, tell a story through some chords progression, and see where it’s bringing me. Defining a structure as fast as I can and then jam inside it.
Lu: Top 3 VST’s or instruments you can’t live without?
Lu: For those that are interested in exploring the Electronica/Hip-Hop/Beat scene that’s going on in France, which artists would you recommend? And why would you say the artists you’ve chosen are a good place to start?*
Mainly some of the most creative artists in France for me, with basically no boundaries and a really good approach to music creation. I feel this 3 are really free to make whatever they want and I like it.
Lu: Okay, so 1) An artist or band you’d love to party with. 2) An artist you’d love to have a D.M.C. (deep meaningful convo) and 3) An artist you’d love to spend the week in the studio with. Keep in mind you can also select dead/retired artists.
1) Herbie Hancock
2) William Basinski
3) Hiatus Kaiyote
Thank you brooooo!