Bob Sinclar Talks French Touch, Reggae, and Good Vibes

Last week we previewed the upcoming February 11 performance by French superstar DJ-producer Bob Sinclar at SET.

And if you thought we were kidding about this guy being the Jesus of dance music, just wait until you get a load of this interview, where he waxes mystical about spreading the gospel of peace, love, and happiness through his dance beats!

All jokes aside, Mr. Sinclar seems to be genuinely in it for the music, and doesn't let the trappings of commercialism get in the way of his passion and the positive message of his tunes.

Read for yourself after the jump.  

Crossfade: You've produced acid-jazz as the Mighty Bop, world music with the Africanism ensemble, and even your house productions fuse eclectic ethnic sounds. How do you typically approach your songwriting and studio production?   

Bob Sinclar: I try to mix sounds from different background to find the right combination between happiness and intense emotion. My Sound is a mix between fusion of beats, hooks and emotions. Something just to dance to and not intellectualize. I have always worked by making first the harmonies of the song. Then, I think about the artistic way I am gonna take to find out the singer I'll work with, as music for me is all about sharing good vibes with talented artists. I am used to making music in my studio in Paris and then I am moving on through different countries to record the best singers.

You crossed paths early on with Thomas Banglater of Daft Punk. What can you tell us about that collaboration?

I met him in the late '90s and our collaboration marked a turning point in my life as DJ, 'cause it lead to my first hit "Gym Tonic" with Daft Punk, and certainly still one of my
biggest nowadays! He is a genius and it was a great opportunity for me at that time to do something with him.

France wasn't always on the popular music map, but you guys hit it big with house in the '90s and have remained at the forefront ever since. What is it about France that made it such a hotbed for EDM these last 20 years?

It's all about 'French touch', when rave parties went out from England to come to France. French artists like Laurent Garnier discovered this phenomenon and were the first to mix these sounds. Now French DJs have never been so powerful through the quality of their mixes, their sales and their glamor. They are the one whose songs are sold the best in the world.

What can you tell us about 2010's
Made in Jamaica remix album?

This opus is a best-of -- a side project that I did in Jamaica with the legendary reggae producers Sly & Robbie, who worked with all the best artists in the world for 40 years, from U2 to Grace Jones, Quincy Jones, Nina Simone and Serge Gainsbourg. I had in mind to make this project with all my hits, totally remixed in original roots reggae. The album contains 12 songs -- 10 classics from "Love Generation" to "I Feel For You" and 2 unreleased tracks "I Wanna" and "Rainbow of Life" featuring Shaggy and Ben Onono.

You seem to be drawn to Jamaican music in general, having collaborated with vocalists Gary Pine of the Wailers, and more recently Sean Paul. Where does this affectation for Jamaican music come from?   

The first time I have been in Kingston with Gary Pine who sing on "Love Generation" has been a revelation. So many talented artists -- music is everywhere. Local people are warm and welcome. It's a cure of happiness and this is what Made in Jamaica is all about. I wanted to send to my people a post card or a pill of good vibes.

Which other artists and sounds do you find inspiring?

I started to build my culture in original reggae music, listening to artists like Toots, Gregory Issac and music from the label Studio One. A music just full of peace and love. I love all kinds of black music of any continent and every genre. I try always to get inspired by color of music, but not especially by one artist. I always want to surprise people when I am playing as a DJ.

Having written a few international mega-hits, what would you say is the formula for a global club anthem?

Truth and sincerity are the keys for a club anthem. You can't lie to people. Music is all the emotions of life and if you do music just for money or to be famous, you are empty of emotions. My goal is to move people very deep inside, with heart.

Where do you see electronic dance music going in the next decade?

This kind of music has totally generalized for a few years. Dance music is turning into today's pop -- even Lady Gaga is considered a dance artist and I am proud of it. There are many young talented artists who succeed and smash hits all around the world, it makes pressure! I am passionate by this dance music, whatever it is: electro, house or hip hop. But nowadays, music is so electronic, formatted, and I always like to surprise people!

So you think the hybridization of different genres is the way of the future?

I am passionate of black music from all around the world. From Africa to Brazil and from Caribbean to soul. I have always been excited to mix these many influences into my dance music. The groove is a common thing between all the songs I did. I just discovered with "Love Generation" that emotion, melodies and words were the key to creating the music I love. I took time to arrive at that moment of happiness.

How do Grammy nominations and Billboard number ones sit with you when compared to other rewards of your music career? Are industry accolades and sales the benchmarks of success for you, or you derive greater satisfaction from making and playing the music itself?  

It is a great honor. I am very proud to play in the category of reggae 'cause it's a project that came from all my heart. I put all my emotions, and believe in this album. I try not to be influenced by all the hits I did. Of course I created my style but behind there's a real message. I try to maintain creativity and I continue my exploration of sounds. I just want to spread love and give some good feelings with my music.

What's the status of your Yellow label this year? Any forthcoming projects or releases?

Yellow label is producing the talented DJ Michael Calfan for his first album, expected this year. After the success of his single "Ching Choing" featuring Kaye Styles, I truly believe in his creativity!

What else do you have in store for 2011?

I am still working on my new album, which will be released this year. I am also planning a worldwide tour this summer, starting in Latin America! You can check all the information on my website.

What can Miami expect during your upcoming performance at SET? Will there be a combination sounds from your different projects, or strictly EDM?

You can expect the best -- a mix of emotions, sounds and magic!

Bob Sinclar. Friday, February 11. SET, 320 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach. The party starts at 11 p.m. Call 305-531-2800 or visit

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Sean Levisman