It’s no secret that the French electronic scene has always been a source of inspiration to the world for the last decade or so, themselves taking inspiration from a vast array of genres and sources, but always managing to give it that quintessentially French “je ne sais quoi” and make it their own. Undoubtably, Paris has been the nervous cortex of this movement, with many artists, labels and promoters stamping their imprint on the Hexagon’s bright and budding scene.
Part of this new wave of young French talent are Siler & Dima, a duo of DJ’s and producers who were brought together by a common passion for wax records and house music, which lead them to found their very own label, mix live for a Boiler Room session, and release records with some of their idols. We caught up with the dynamic Parisian duo for a quick chat, and here’s how it went down.
First off, how did you guys meet? And how did you begin mixing and producing as DJ’s?
It’s not a very original story to be honest… But we met in high school, Dima had a pair of turntables and his older brother’s vinyl collection to play around with and at around 15, 16 years old we really started getting into it… We had access to some old school House from Chicago and Detroit which really influenced us.
Siler & Dima came later on. We first started mixing and producing separately, as we both had different approaches to music. But it didn’t impede us from getting closer and completing each other musically…
How did you decide to launch your label Popcorn Records?
Popcorn Records is the continuation of the story, a logical next step, which came much later down the line, when we were already 23 or 24 years old. We wanted to produce other people’s stuff, we were already doing a few nights and liked the “team spirit” we found within certain labels… And also because the idea of being able to put out what we want, when we want, with the least amount of obligations possible was very appealing to us.
What were your major influences early on?
As we mentioned, we started with Chicago and Detroit music, so we would listen to a lot of Hip-Hop, Motown, FXHE or Mahogany, more so than Berlin Techno. We were so impressed with the music those guys were making over there… it was, in a way, the continuation from the likes of Gil Scott Heron, the kind of legends who fascinated us.
A lot of our influences come from the French scene at the moment, we really admired Daft Punk’s revolutionary take on sampling, but also Bob Sinclair’s first album, and the guys who surrounded him, like Julien Jabre (Paradise) who we still listen to nowadays… and of course the likes of Laurent Garnier, D’julz or Pacman amongst others. Were slightly less influenced by Techno, even though people like Aphex Twin for example really appeal to us musically.
What do you reckon was the turning point for your success?
There isn’t really any, each project we finish is a success that we value equally, without having to rate or class it.
How do you see the growth of Parisian crews like Cracki Records or La Mamie’s? And how do you differentiate from them?
We appreciate them a lot, may it be Cracki with whom we have been close for a while now, and La Mamie’s… we really like their independent and alternative ways to get things done. They are real forces to be reckoned with in Paris, like Improvist, D.KO, and Sundae before them…
What differentiates us? Not much in terms of the end goal, but with regards to the foundation, they started as collectives, and we as a label. With Cracki, the difference is also musical, their eclectic stamp is really unique to them. It’s great to be able to do Isaac Delusion and l’Imperatrice on one side, and Larcier or Voiron on the other! La Mamie’s are more of a collective of DJ’s, who are renowned for the quality of their selections. Both these teams, by the way, are joining forces this summer for a Music Festival, and that is a beautiful thing.
You recently released a new EP with Chez Damier (French Connection, Popcorn Records), how did you manage to convince him to release two tracks on it?
No need to convince him actually, because the idea came from him, he caught the remix we did for his Heart to Heart project wiht Ben Vedren, which is actually coming out in June. He liked our approach to the remix and the music as a whole, and so he offered to do another project, more peronal and complete this time. French Connection was born like that, we then added Thomas Zander, who really brought something to the table… he’s a super talented dude, and we wanted to have him onboard; the question was on which label it would be released. We managed to get the originals on Popcorn Records, and the remixes will come out via Balance. Chez enjoys teaching and pushing young talents, he’s a professor deep down… So we decided to start with the same base, and each of us would make an original track and a club mix to put into the record.
Are you planning on releasing another EP soon? What will be the next big name to sign tracks on Popcorn Records?
Yes, we will have a release on our sub-label Popcorn Limited, with a remix curtesy of Le Loup and the Argentine Leonel Castillo. We also have a track which is being released on Chez Damier’s label Balance… a repress that he’s doing to celebrate 20 years since the release of one of his most famous jams with Ron Trent.
Next big name? We like to keep our small secrets to ourselves, but doing big name releases has never been our leitmotive… we still have a few exciting projects coming, that’s for sure.
What would be your dream collaboration?
There are some many… Ron Trent, who we just mentionned, even working with Chez Damier was a dream come true. We admire so many people that it would be impossible to cite them all, but if you want a few names here we go: Moodymann, Andres, Omar S, Derrick Carter, Green Velvet, Boo Williams, DJ Qu, Pepe Bradock, Kyle Hall, Daniel Bell, Baby Ford, Pedro, Andy Scott, Motor City Drum Ensemble, or even people that are totally different from us, like the great Legowelt, or Francesco Tristano, those are people that the world would dream to collaborate with.
The French scene doesn’t lack talent, and it is a true source of inspiration… we are regularly blown away by people like Hold Youth, S3A, Lazare Hoche, Souleiman & Sydney, Vadim Svoboda, or even Concrete’s newest recruit Voiron.
Your 5 favourite tracks right now
Ron trent – Altered States
Daniel Bell – Deep down
Pepe Bradock – Life
Peter Jd & Andrew Soul – The World Behind (Franco Cinelli Remix)
Voiron – Ghetto Elegance
Much love to Siler & Dima for taking the time to chat to us, make sure you follow them on Facebook, Soundcloud, and be sure to go have a gander at what they’ve got going on over at Popcorn Records, because it’s truly worth a listen. Last but not least, big ups to Maxime Antonin for the snap.