Since their jawdropping performance at this year’s Coachella festival, C2C has exploded on the electronic scene as its newest fast-rising stars. In a landscape that has been plagued by push-play-and-strike-a-Jesus-pose DJs, these four Frenchmen have been an old-school breath of fresh air with turntablist skills that are equal parts artistic and accessible.
I recently had a chance to chat with C2C member DJ Atom about the group’s debut album, live shows, and future plans.
C2C was formed in 1996 but just recently released a debut album, 2012′s Tetra. Can you walk me through the history of the group in between those years?
We met in high school in 1997 and started to make music together just for fun. Some of us were already producing hip-hop beats and were then all introduced to turntablism one after the other. As we were scratching together every day, we started to create tracks from improvisations and finally decided to create a battle crew: C2C ["Coups de Cross" in French].
Tetra features elements of hip hop, breakbeat, jazz, turntablism, and many, many other genres, yet the album somehow manages to sound very cohesive. Was it difficult to produce tracks with that much variety that still flow well with one another?
We wanted to express and share our many influences with this project and not feel stuck in only one musical genre. We decided to produce whatever we felt like and not force ourselves to have some kind of “label” put on our music. We feel that this album is really eclectic but coherent at the same time.
Tell me more about your hometown, Nantes. What’s the music scene like there?
Nantes is actually one of the biggest French towns. There is a big cultural thing going on over there and many cool bands, a lot of them being friends of ours. The city is doing a whole lot to help artists, and we should be hearing more and more about them soon.
You guys make good use out of guest vocalists for your tracks. How did you go about finding them and do you write their lyrics?
We were really looking for very strong and personal voices. That’s how we came to find such talented artists as Olivier Daysoul, Eva Moongaï, Gush, or Derek Martin. We wrote some of the album lyrics, but on some tracks, it was a collaboration as we recorded nearly all the vocals in our studio in Nantes.
Are there any tracks on the album you’re particularly fond of?
Sorry, too hard to say! I would say it really depends on my actual mood.
C2C’s 4-year winning streak at the DMC World Team DJ Championships is what put your name on the map. In those competitions, you guys demonstrated true technical talent in a live setting that, as of recent, has no longer been the norm for electronic musicians. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that.
That’s really were we’re from. We met in the ’90s, and at that time we all were listening to a lot of hip-hop music. Turntables and scratching were part of that. Now despite all the very advanced MIDI controlling technology, we are still performing with vinyl and turntables because, to us, that’s still the best way to preserve a kind of “organic” feel in electronic and digitally sequenced music.
I had the pleasure of catching your set at Coachella, and you guys were phenomenal! What was that experience like for you?
Thanks! That was actually quite crazy for us as well. We loved the place and the crowd!
Compared to some of the other acts in the Sahara Tent, your visual setup was on the more minimal side. I actually preferred that because it allowed me to focus on the music and what you guys were doing on stage, but I’m curious if that was a conscious decision.
Not really. The scenography we showed at Coachella was actually the first version of the set, which fits better in little venues. In Europe, for bigger venues and festivals, we have a bigger version of the show with other screens and musicians and guests on stage. For a first tour in the US, we couldn’t afford to bring the big show, but maybe next time!
We actually had to stop our other projects for a while to focus 100 percent on C2C. It’s already been 3 years since we’ve focused fully on C2C, but we might come back to our other projects in a few months/years. It’s hard to say when.
What are your thoughts on Los Angeles?
Biiiiiig city!! We love it!
What’s next for C2C?
Lots of festivals in Europe, Canada, and Asia this summer, then we’re touring larger venues in France with the big show this autumn. We might come back to the US after that!
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