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Q&A: Klingande

The French musician opens about his love for all things Swedish and explains why he isn't a tropical house DJ

  • Mixmag Asia Staff
  • 2 September 2015
Q&A: Klingande

Klingande first stepped into our lives when his single Punga found its way onto SoundCloud. He made the track in his bedroom and uploaded it when suddenly a label approached him to release it. That’s the stuff that dreams are made off. Then came more summertime sounding hits like Jubel plus some momentous remix work on tracks like by Wyclef Jean and Avicii’s Divine Sorrow.

Now exotic remixes and tropical sounding melodies are what defines the musician, which is largely in part due to his incorporation of a live saxophone player layered upon feel-good house music in his live sets. With another Asia tour on the horizon, we thought it was the perfect time to get some music from the artist and get to know him a little better.

Where does the name Klingande come from?

Klingande comes from a Swedish word which mean little tint. I came to this name because I came into electronic music and DJing listening to Swedish House Mafia, Avicii, Prydz…and I love Sweden, globally.

Where do you call home?

I live in Lille, in North of France. That’s where I’m hiding between shows.

What’s one thing you can only get in your hometown?

Hmmm I think calmness, rest and sleep. And also a Welsh, which is a food speciality here made of cheese, ham and beer. And I love that!!

What’s been the hardest lesson you’ve learned since that fateful day that you threw Punga up on Soundcloud?

That success is not a gift, you have to work really hard.

What were you doing in your life for work before that?

I was working in marketing, finishing school and working at an internship in a French company. I was behind a desk all day and I knew this wasn’t my life.

I read that when you were younger you listened to artists like Avicii and then you went to London and that quickly changed to deep house. Was it a natural evolution or was the change done in haste?

It was really natural. I just discovered a lot of music and expanded my musical spectrum. I really developed my musical culture and that opened me to a lot of stuff, including deep house and tech house.

You have a clear penchant for deep and what people today are calling tropical house. Why is that and can you describe what it means?

I don’t really like to be categorized as tropical as what I do is really different from artists like Kygo or Thomas Jack for instance. I prefer to speak about melodic house, as truly I’m not doing deep house. I would offend some people if I’d say that my music is deep house. It’s trans-genre, we are merging different influences in music now and there are some pop influences with electronic music, acoustic instruments. I love this kind of music, actually because we are merging different universes in it. And with Jubel and Punga it was the perfect way to express happiness and this summer vibe. My next tracks will stay with this idea of mixing genres and expressing feelings.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Ahah I don’t know, I have a lot of fun on tour with my team and I just got back. Certainly something my tour manager did but I can’t tell you here.

How does your formal music training fit into the music you produce and play today?

I’m not sure it fits into the music I produce and play. I just learnt a bunch of stuff and I’m still learning production tweaks everyday. It’s just that the more you know and the more technical you are, the more ideas you can develop in your music.

What artists blow your mind and inspire you to make music the way they do?

No hesitation, Flume is blowing my mind – one of the best producers right now. Not that I want to make music like him, I just think he is one of the best producers at the moment.

I also have a huge respect for Kygo, whose melodies and work are so impressive.

What is your biggest dream outside of music?

I never thought about a life outside of music. I want to create my own label, stay in a studio and work with musicians, producers, having fun… It’s my universe and I don’t know what I would do outside of it.

Usually when you DJ you are known to sometimes be accompanied by someone playing a live sax. What sort of element does it add to the show?

The live sax brings power and energy to the show. People love it because it’s more than a DJ set. We work a lot together to prepare the show. This is really important and that’s why I try to also bring new instruments like a violin, drums and a harmonica into my music.

Do you think there is a distinct difference in the crowd’s response to you between when you have a live musician and when you don’t?

I almost never play without a musician, so I don’t really know. My manager says that without it would be quite similar as people love the music and are here for that. But I really think that people love the show we propose together, and it’s important for the crowd to give them more energy and happiness.

What saxophone player should everyone go and YouTube?

There are so many great sax players like Stan Getz, Sidney Bechet or Miles Davis.. You just need to listen to these guys to understand that sax is all about emotions.

Live instruments, or instruments at all, are surprisingly not that popular over electronic music. Why do you think that is?

I just think they are only just coming into electronic music now. It’s just because electronic music is mostly computer music and most of the young producers don’t have the stuff needed to properly record instruments and most of the sample packs were really bad. Now you can find very good samples and you can record stuff so easily. Everything is moving to more and more acoustic instruments in electronic music. This really brings electronic music to another level for me.

What song got you out of bed this morning?

All Cried Outfrom Blonde.

Opposite of what is the norm, you were producing long before you were DJing. What were some of the difficult ways you had to adapt from your bedroom to the stage?

I started DJing before producing. I don’t think it’s about adapting yourself from your bedroom to the stage, you have to learn how to behave on stage, find the energy, find a way to give this energy. This is all about experience.

What’s in the cards for the next 12 months?

I’m working on a lot of tracks now, so an EP or an album for sure and a single release in the next few months. I am also working on my live band show, with more than one musician on stage. I’ll have a world tour at the end of the year. Actually that’s a lot and we are working hard with my team on this. This will be a crazy year.

You’ve been to Asia before, what amazed you the most about the region?

I think actually a lot of things are amazing, the landscapes, the people, the smiles, the hospitality…I really like when I’m invited to Asia, and I can’t wait to be back in November!

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