Fred Falke Talks French Touch, Chic, and His Debut Album
You can't really talk about house music without mentioning "French touch," the sample-delic filter-heavy style of Gallic producers like Daft Punk, Cassius, and Etienne de Crécy that ruled international airwaves all through the late '90s to early '00s.
Now Fred Falke may not be the best known of the French touch producers. But his sound is certainly one of the most representative with its unabashed retro nostalgia. Plus, he takes dance music to the next level, constructing lush, soulful space disco tunes with classic hooks and basslines.
Falke should be right at home when he hits Bardot this Thursday for the Midtown club's Living Room Sessions.
Crossfade: You're a multi-instrumentalist. How did you first get into electronic dance music production?
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Fred Falke: I actually started out as a producer with dance music. I was listening to American house music. Stuff like Kenny Dope. I bought an MPC and an SP-1200 and went from there.
The French didn't particularly excel in popular music before the EDM era. Now you guys practically rule the international dance music scene. What do you think makes the French culture so adept at EDM?
I think as we were on the fringes of the global music scene for so long, we just sat back and took in all the best music from the UK and the States and beyond, and created something else.
How did you first hook up with long-time collaborator Alan Braxe for your debut record?
I met him in a music shop and we made a track together. That ended up being "Intro," my first release.
Why did you part ways with Braxe in 2008? Is there any chance of more collaborative work from the two of you in the future?
I was at a point in my career where I needed to work more on my own, and get everything exactly how I wanted it. I don't think we'll work together in the future. But you never know.
Your sound has a definite retro feel. It's equal parts '70s disco and '80s synth-pop nostalgia. Which classic artists or records would you say have most influenced your musical sensibilities as a producer?
"C'est Chic" by Chic was a huge influence with its synth sounds. As a production team, they were unbeatable. Nile Rodgers is incredible.
You're probably best known for your killer remixes, which often completely reinvent a song while keeping the essence of its vocal hook. How do you usually approach a remix?
It depends on the track. But I tend to focus on the vocals first, stripping everything out and approaching it from a pop standpoint. I build everything around the vocals. If the stuff I'm doing is aimed at a dancefloor, I'll still stick to a traditional verse/chorus arrangement.
This month you released your debut long-player Part IV. What can you tell us about the album and the creative process behind it?
It's been a long time coming. The album is almost like a retrospective, as it pieces together some old singles with some new tracks too. They were written over a long period of time, but they all fit together sonically. A lot of the tracks started in different ways, some are based on samples, like "Chicago." Some were recorded live, like "Omega Man."
Bardot's Living Room Sessions have earned a reputation for offering special intimate experiences between headliners and fans. What can Miami expect during your performance? Have you prepared a special set for this occasion?
Every set I do is different. For each set, I'm making new edits. And often, I will rarely play them again. I'll also be playing live bass.
Besides working on the album, what else have you been up to in 2011?
I've played a few dates in North and South America. Writing lots of music, and I'm still remixing all the time. I've done a lot of writing with lots of different artists too. It's been a very exciting year.
What does the future have in store for Fred Falke?
We're going to be releasing some edits and I'm also doing a remix album in the spring. Beyond that, there'll be more tours, and I'm busy writing more original tracks and working with different singers.
Fred Falke Live. Thursday, December 29. Bardot, 3456 N. Miami Ave.,
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