WMC Preview: Q&A with Para One

While 2008 was a quiet year for Jean-Baptiste de Laubier -- better known as Para One -- 2009 promises to be a busy one for the DJ/producer. Laubier will be in town during Winter Music Conference to celebrate that label that pushed him to the forefront of the French-house craze, Insititubes. Check him out Wednesday, March 25, at Louis along side Surkin, Das Glow, Orgasmic, Bobmo, Curses!, Calvin Harris and Don Rimini, as well as Friday, March 27, at Day 1 of Ultra Music Festival.

New Times: What influence do you think Institubes has had on shaping the current wave of French dance music?

Para One: I think, amongst others like Ed Banger or Kitsuné, we pretty much started this wave. We came from rap so we had our own approach, we started to put out songs that weren't progressive at all, because we were bored with the music that we could hear in clubs at the time. We wanted it to be extreme, yet pop, and to have an instant impact on the dancefloor.

NT: You've been with the label since Tacteel founded it in 2003. How do you feel the label has progressed over the years?

It has changed a lot, because we've always been a bit edgy. We try to re-invent ourselves all the time, and we don't want to apply the same formula over and over. It started as an electronica label, then became a house music label, and now we're even releasing rock and roll. Anything that keeps us excited. We always think about the future and we try to modify it all the time. We have our "signature", which is moving forward. It can be confusing from time to time, but people that really follow what we do, should get the logic behind it.

NT: There is no denying that your 2006 release "Dudun-Dun" was a huge, and probably your biggest, crossover hit to date. Why do you think it appealed to such a wide spectrum of listeners?

I started composing the song by whistling it on the streets on my way home. That's always a good sign when you have something brand new that keeps going in your head, so I kind of knew that it would catch people's ears. But I was still surprised that it went so big, actually, because I didn't think that people would be ready for such roughness. The contrast between this harsh intro and the sudden emotional, poppy part is maybe the key.

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NT: In 2008, you were quiet music-wise, not releasing a lot material or remixes. Is there are reason why? What can we expect from you in 2009?

I was 1/3 touring; 1/3 working on my first feature movie; and 1/3 producing my new project, Slice & Soda, featuring San Serac. The album is almost ready and is going be out this year. I got a bit fed up by the club scene so I didn't want to produce over-distorted remixes over and over.  I try not to be a follower and to achieve that, you have to take time to think the music.

NT: During the Wednesday night WMC party at Louis, Institubes is celebrating six years. Do you have anything special planned to commemorate the milestone?

It's time for the kids of the label to lose their virginities. We may hire cherry poppers hookers for that purpose but wait, do you have the right to print that?

NT: What do you have say about the other acts your sharing the bill with Wednesday night: Surkin, Das Glow, Orgasmic, Bobmo, Curses!, Calvin Harris and Don Rimini?

They're a bunch of hyperactive nerds but when it comes to partying, don't try them. We all get along very well together and it should be an amazing night.

NT: You are also scheduled to play the first day of Ultra Music Festival. What can we expect from that performance? Do approach it any differently than performing at a nightclub?

It's very different because it's a live set, and I get more involved in the visual aspect of it. Don't be surprised if you see me drumming and stage diving at the same time.

NT: What are some of your favorite tracks to spin right now?

I've obsessed, lately, with The Juan Maclean's "Happy House." But generally I like to mix pop songs with club tools from the old techno and house days, like Sneak and Joey Beltram to name a few.

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