French Deep House producer, DJ and owner of KV Records Kool Vibe mixes the first episode of a new flagship mix & interview series from 5 Magazine.
5 Magazine is pleased to share with you our new mix and interview series, simply called “A 5 Mag Mix”.
In addition to sets from some of our favorite DJs in the House Music scene, we’ll also be publishing an interview asking them some of the finer points about what they do and why they do it.
We’re starting off today with one of our heros, the owner of KV Records in France, Kool Vibe.
When and how did you get into the scene to start with? What was the French scene like when you stepped into it?
I discovered house music around 1988 listening to radio stations like Maxximum, FG and Nova in Paris. I was 18 years old back then. I lived my first parties in the clubs of the French capital, mainly the gay clubs (le Boy’s, Le Queen) which were definitely the places to be at that period (’88-’93): fresh new sounds, crazy people, new DJs (Laurent Garnier, DJ Deep). It was fantastic because we were witnessing the emergence of a new form of music in the making (Garage House, House, Acid House, Techno…) I was addicted to nightclubbing: it was all about the music and the communion with other people through the music.
From 1992 until 1995, I discovered the underground side of House Music thanks to talented DJs such as Candy Eric (RIP), David Serrano (RIP) and André who played at the KitKat after parties at Le Palace. They made me fall in love with the deep sounds coming from New York, New Jersey and Miami. At the same time, Ludovic Navarre (Deepside, St Germain), Shazz and DJ Deep released their first productions, making them the pioneers of the French scene who paved the way for all the following producers (mainstream or underground).
I don’t want to ask about your “influences”, but more about how your tastes came to be formed. When I started listening to electronic music, I listened to some really awful shit and – looking at the recent covers of DJ Mag – that’s obviously still true for people today. You really have an affinity for “golden age” Deep House from the ’90s, though, and the music which was influenced by it. Why does that resonate with you?
I think that this affinity for the ’90s “golden age” Deep House comes from my early love for funk, soul, gospel, disco, R&B. Luckily for me, my dad was a vinyl collector and as a kid, I grew up surrounded by all kinds of music. I was about 7 when he offered me my first turntable and my first vinyl records. As long ago as that time, I had a crush on American black music: I loved the rhythms, the bass sounds, the rhodes, the pianos and organs, and the vocals. So it was no surprise that I eventually felt a strong vibration for this new sound called House Music in the 90s, a new way of mixing and combining all the synthesizers and drum machine sounds of the 80s originally used to produce disco, soul and funk which sounded so familiar to me.
Besides, the ’90s Deep House was a declaration of love for very talented and inspired singers with strong vocals deeply rooted in the gospel tradition (Loleatta Holloway, Jocelyn Brown, Martha Wash, Rochelle Fleming, Colonel Abrams, Robert Owens, Adeva, Barbara Tucker, Michael Watford, Maydie Myles, Darryl D’Bonneau, Michelle Weeks …).
There are so many people in the scene – DJs, people who know music in general – who get discouraged by having no idea how to “get started” on production (not that I’m saying we really have a shortage… just thinking in terms of my friends). How did you “get started”?
Actually, it took a long time. After 12 years of clubbing and collecting records, around 2001, I felt the urge to produce music. I created my small home studio little by little. I never really learnt music, just a few musical theory course in High School. But as they say, “House is a feeling.” All the music I have been listening to matured in me over the years.
In 2006, I met Jeremy (Underground Paris), Sammy (Brawther) and Henri (Inner Sense). Though much younger than me, these guys happened to have the same passion for the ’90s Deep House sounds. Jeremy launched his own label My Love Is Underground in 2010 and I really got started with my first release in 2011 on his label.
I started KV Records in 2013 because I wanted a label to release my own music. It was a way for me to be in control and independent. At that time, Jeremy kindly encouraged me to do so and in a certain way, I consider MLIU as a friend label, both labels being part of the same family.
Did you have any models when you started KV Records?
Actually, I don’t really have a model but still, independent labels from Chicago, NYC and NJ of the early ’90s are certainly a true inspiration (Emotive, Eightball, Cutting, Easy Street, Clubhouse, Freeze, Movin’, Vibe Music, King Street, Music Station, Night Club, Thumpin!, Nott-US, Madhouse , Citi, Chicago Style, Dream Land, Swing Street, Music Box, Hip Rhythm, Chicago Style …)
All of your records have appeared on vinyl. I think they’ve all been vinyl-only. I think I know the “why” of that, but I’d like to ask how you think it’s benefited the KV Records, and if there have been any drawbacks?
To be honest, I never saw things in terms of benefits and drawbacks. I have loved vinyl since I was a kid. I was introduced to house music thanks to DJs playing vinyl. I forged my own musical knowledge by collecting vinyl records over the years. I can only be grateful to vinyl for the rest of my life. Therefore, releasing on vinyl was the only way, in my view, to share the music. When people buy music on vinyl, they really prove their commitment to the music and support from the vinyl-heads is surely strong and solid.
You mentioned when we began talking about this project that you “never considered yourself a DJ”. I’m gonna disagree with you, but why is that?
I am just a simple producer. I don’t consider myself as a DJ – I mean that I’m not a professional DJ. I just enjoy mixing at home. I am just a passionate music lover and record collector.