Jacques Renault Talks Disco, NYC, and His On The Prowl Label

Disco is back in a major way.

Hotly-tipped international labels like DFA, Running Back, and Permanent Vacation are championing that exuberant vintage four-on-the-floor funk sound as more and more EDM snobs dare to cut loose and get their Saturday Night Fever on.

At the forefront of this disco revival is DJ-producer Jacques Renault, a Washington D.C. native now living in the birthplace of disco, New York City, where he's gotten signed by DFA Records, paired up with producer Marcos Cabral for edgy deep house project Runaway, and launched his own On The Prowl imprint.

Crossfade caught up with Jacques Renault ahead of his performance at Bardot with Nightdrive Miami this Friday. 

Crossfade: You were originally a post-punk who studied viola and ended up in the drum 'n' bass scene. How did you make the leap to becoming a DJ-producer?

Jacques Renault: I feel lucky to have grown up in the D.C. area. I was into the music that was coming out and did everything from classical to jazz to punk. I discovered dance music in '97. And after being in a bunch of bands, I saw DJing and producing as a creative outlet that I could do on my own. Now I continue to work with groups and often on my own. It's been a good run so far.

How did you first hook up with the DFA label?

When I first got to NYC, I was just getting to know a few people in the DFA family. My good friend Justin Miller and I started a weekly party at the now legendary 205 Club around the same time Marcos Cabral and I started our Runaway project. I was always sharing new tunes and Justin gave our "Brooklyn Club Jam" track to James Murphy and that's how we ended up doing a dual DFA release with Rekids.

So how did Runaway first come about? And what's the status of the project these days?

Marcos and I met at the Sonic Groove record store years ago. We were friends for a few years before we started making music together. I had recently switched from using Pro Tools to Ableton Live and I knew he was familiar with the program. We worked on a few tunes together and our first 12-inch on Wurst was born. We've been working together ever since and now have our own record label, On The Prowl Records. We're still working on a lot of music and releasing tracks from friends.

What prompted you to launch On The Prowl? And what's been going on with the label lately?

Marcos and I started On The Prowl for fun, to have our own brand and release our music as well as our friends'. It's a lot of work and we're having a lot of fun with it. Upcoming we have a new Runaway EP with four new tracks and then after that we have remixes from Tensnake, DJ Kaos, and 2 Dogs in a House.

Disco got a lot of hate back in the day -- what with Chicago's infamous Disco Demolition Night in 1979. Why do you think so many people are back on the disco bandwagon in 2011?

The reality is disco never went away. It's like anything in music, things evolve and just turn into something else. We're just referencing the good, old stuff. And it sounds new again, doesn't it?

Do you think the nu-disco fever will last much longer though? Where do you see dance music going next?

I don't think it will really go away. [Along] the lines that I mentioned earlier, it's going to just add to what's next.

What can you tell us about your process in the studio?

I start where I get grabbed first. I usually hear a break or sound that I want to mess with and take it from there.

New York City never seems to lose its late-night appeal, and you must know a thing or two about that. Although you've played as far away as Tokyo., is NYC your favorite party city? What are some other favorite spots around the world?

NYC is one of my favorite places, for sure. I love living here. I don't want to leave any other place out of my list, so I'll say just one place I like to play -- Lisbon, Portugal. Amazing city with one of the best vibes ever!

What have you been up to in 2011? And what do you have going on for the rest of the year?

I've just finished up a few remixes, including ones for Breakbot on Ed Banger and Kaine with Kathy Diamond for Defected. I have some upcoming dates in Europe for the month of July and then off to Australia for August. [I've] got a few other things I'm working on now solo and with a few others, but [it's] a little too soon to share.

Jacques Renault. Friday, June 18. Bardot, 3456 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The party starts at 9 p.m. Call 305-576-7750 or visit

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Sean Levisman