French Express Label's Chris Malinchak Talks Crate Digging, Tropical Beats, and Good Vibes

The Dallas, Texas blog-turned-label French Express can do no wrong right now. Hotly-tipped artists on the young roster, like Jonas Rathsman, Perseus and Moon Boots, are stirring up a nu-disco storm in clubland.

But the label's undisputed star is Chris Malinchak, an NYC-based producer with a gift for retro-futurist disco hooks that would make Giorgio Moroder proud.

With several auspicious EPs under his belt, word is definitely out about Malinchak. And whether you're a techno head or old-school house lover, we doubt you can resist the serotonin-spiking dancefloor exuberance of his sound.

Maybe you had the chance to boogie with Malinchak at Bardot last Thursday. But if you didn't, you'll get the chance to catch him along with Perseus at the Shore Club on Sunday.

Crossfade: Your sound is retro, yet modern or even futurist. What would you say are your main musical influences past and present?

Chris Malinchak: I endlessly enjoy collecting and combing though vinyl. And being around NY offers so many opportunities to find good collections. You never know what you'll find until you get there. Once you bring it home, it's time to listen! Before I put a record down, I get a twinge of excitement, of anticipation: what will come pouring through over the speakers? The experience of listening to so much music, this knowledge, this familiarity, combined with inspiration and ideas, leads me to new places.
When did you first begin producing and how did you develop your sound? What is your creative process in the studio?
I started playing piano very early on. I began messing with music software and sequencing in grade school. This continued right through high school, and I never looked back. Writing, or really just thinking about music, is continuous. There is always something "playing". I don't have any particular path in the studio. Sometimes I walk in with everything finished in my head and I just need to lay down the parts. 

Other times I'll walk in, randomly choose a synth and a patch, put my hand down and just see what happens. Or start with a particularly awesome sample, or put down a vocal melody, and build from there. Or pick up the guitar or bass -- you see what I mean. Ahead of all of this is inspiration. It is a fascinating thing. An exciting idea seemingly leaps out of nowhere. Suddenly it is real. This joy, and the pleasure of building is indescribable.   

How did you first hook up with the French Express label and what are your thoughts on the type of sound you are collectively releasing now?
Leon [Oziel] and I met a couple of years ago. He is a fan of some of my other work, and actually tracked me down for a specific reason. This is great -- he had downloaded a song of mine and was going nuts over this little glitchy noise that appeared in the high-end. He just loved the song and wanted a pristine copy. The usual download sites weren't able to help him, so he eventually found my number and gave me a call.  

We would catch up every now and then after this, and as we became friends he told me about his plans to start a label. I was always struck by his upbeat energy, his excitement and positivity. I had ended all of my music relationships, and was looking for something new and fresh. I was looking for the right "home" to build from -- this was it! So our relationship officially began with my Renaissance EP. From there you know the story
What has been going on with you so far this year and what do you have in store for the rest of the year?
I've been so focused on making records, and that certainly isn't going to change. Lots more music on the way, and shows. The performances are really starting to pick up. In fact, the moment I finish my set at the Shore Club, I'm catching a flight back to NY to play Le Bain.

You played a set at Bardot last week. How has your experience in Miami been so far? What are your impressions of our fair city, good and bad?
Bardot was fantastic. And I'm not just saying that! [Laughs] The people were right there with me, just so into the set, into the vibe. That good energy spills everywhere. I also got a chance to wander and enjoy Art Walk before the show, so fantastic. I have been to Miami before, it is always special.  

So what can Miami expect during your performance at Shore Club with Perseus?
A little tropical, a little housey, a couple of surprises thrown in. It's going to be a good time. Perseus and I will have to catch up right before though. He was joking about it the other day. He plays so many of my songs in his set that we have to decide who plays what. I often open my sets with a tune or two of his, but this Sunday I'm going to start off with a debut spin of my new release "Beside Me". Can't wait!

Chris Malinchak and Perseus. With Troy Kurtz and Laura (of Miami). Sunday, July 22. Shore Club, 1901 Collins Ave, Miami Beach. The party starts at noon. Call 305-695-3100 or visit shoreclub.com.

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