Clement Bazin is a man of many talents. A celebrated producer and steelpan expert (he teaches the instrument at the Conservatoire in Paris, no less), his recent releases on French electronic imprint Nowadays Records have earned him plenty of plays and plaudits.
Clement Bazin’s latest EP, US, showcases his finely tuned skills and features his first collaborative efforts, with Canada’s LIA and Bristolian rapper ThisisDA both doing their thing over his fine future beats. We decided to get in touch to see what inspires his music-making and why he’s so in love with Paris…
Hi Clément, how are you?
Clement Bazin: Hey I’m good thanks, on the way back home after a few concerts.
Your music encompasses several different genres. Can you tell us what sort of music were you exposed to when you were growing up?
Mainly hip hop, I grew up in the ’90s and in school everyone listened to French hip hop and American hip hop. At that time it was about The Fugees, NTM, IAM, Beastie Boys, Lauryn Hill… Also as I started playing steelpan around 11 years old a lot of steelband music and Caribbean music like calypso, soca, compas… it was only at around 20 that I started listening to a lot of electronic music.
When did you start making your own music and what was it like?
My first attempt to do electronic music was me trying to replicate a music scene that I fell in love with at that time called Broken Beat. It was mainly from West London I guess and it was a mix of electronic synth sounds, hip hop and jazz chords and licks, and heavy syncopated grooves, everything that I love in music. But I quickly went away from that and tried to develop my sound.
What equipment do you use now?
A few Dave Smith synths, my 2 beloved steelpans, logic pro, a simple microphone, a good pair of monitors and loads of plugins and synth software. It’s quite simple in the end, I’m not a huge synth/gear geek.
We’ve been listening to your most recent EP ‘Us’ non-stop in the office. How did you link up with British rapper ThisisDA?
Oh nice man well glad u enjoyed! Simply through soundcloud listening and discovering new artists. Then I sent him messages and music, it happened quite naturally.
Where do you think would be the perfect place to listen to your music?
Well I make music for you to enjoy anywhere I hope, I don’t want to do strictly club music or chilling at home music. So I don’t know where would be the best spot to listen to it but my intention is that it will take you to a nice sweet place when you listen and connect to it…
What fuels your creativity?
Life really, simple stuff like exchanging ideas with friends and people you don’t know. Walking around or travelling and also of course listening to music, reading or going to an exhibition. Then taking time to dig in and see what it makes me feel like and what I have to express.
What do you think the future of music is going to be like?
Ahaha deep question, I have no idea really but everything is going through cycles and phases so I guess we will re-invent something from the past. Also hip hop music is what has been influencing a lot of music nowadays, I think it will last again for quite some time but it will be a huge change when another type of music takes this main role of leading the way.
Does Paris influence the music you make – if so, how?
Of course it influences what I do and the way I live, Paris is really rich in its diversity of culture and people and I love how you can switch between and discover new things so quickly as it’s not so big for a capital. How it influences me is hard for me to say. I’ve never lived anywhere else, maybe if I move from Paris one day I’ll discover how it affected my music…
Who’s your biggest local musical influence, past and/or present?
Tough question I can’t answer!
For someone who’s never been to Paris, what should they go and see/do?
Walk, walk and more walking. Take the Metro all around the north, north east and south as well, also check the suburbs which are all really unique and different, each neighbourhood around Paris has their own identity! There is so much stuff to see apart from the main old monuments and old Paris as we can see in tour guides. The best thing is that just walking around will take you to amazing places. Man I love this city so much ahahhahaha!
What is the biggest challenge facing musicians in France?
Same as everywhere I guess. Finding a place to create and rehearse. Staying focused and inspired despite the struggle. Searching for good people and a partner to work with who you can rely on and trust.
What are the best music venues and record shops in Paris?
Best music venues would be ne La Cigale, Le Bataclan and also La Maroquinerie and Point FMR and la Gaîté Lyrique also. Record shopping at Betino’s!
Where in the world would you most like to perform?
What’s your favourite album of all time?
D’Angelo ‘Voodoo’ all day everyday!!!
What’s your favourite track of 2017 so far?
Might be Goldlink ‘Roll Call’ or ‘Herside Story’ or any track from Gabriel Garzon Montano’s ‘Jardin’.