We sit down with one of the rising stars of Paris’ music scene.
Sam Tiba is a French DJ and producer who’s been making waves as part of the collective and label Bromance. He’s a member of the Electronic supergroup Club cheval and also a rising solo artist. Based in Paris, he has co-produced with Kanye West for Theolophius London (who you may remember from an infectious feature on Travis Scott’s ‘Dancing on the Moon’) and works extensively with extremely influential DJ and Bromance boss, Louis Brodinski: watch out for an upcoming “rap project” between Sam and Brodinski that Tiba has cagily mentioned recently.
As part of Bromance, one of Sam’s best releases from last year was ‘Déguisement’ a seething and at moments even sinister track with a moody and atmospheric video by Nick and Chloé (who have also produced visuals for big names like Nike and Kenzo). In fact, it was around this time that Sam compiled a little playlist for us – check it out. So, we were understandably hyped to hear his new single ‘Sunshine Pulse’ from his upcoming EP, Not Dead Yet; it’s a soulful, upbeat track with an addictive vocal sample that is infectiously dance-inducing. If the rest of the EP – an homage to the producer’s Hip-Hop, Urban and Electronic influences – is anything like ‘Sunshine Pulse’ we can’t wait to get downloading soon. We got the chance to talk to Sam about why it’s great writing lyrics in English, the joys of live performance, and his hometown.
What was the inspiration behind your new EP “Not Dead”?
I wanted to celebrate the fact that I’m still here. Sometimes you can feel like you kind of disappear from your own life. This was intended to be the soundtrack of me coming back to myself. Kind of a rebirth.
You’re part of Bromance, tell us about that.
Bromance is my family, my label, my workplace, everything. Since Brodinski started this label a few years ago, we released more than twenty collections, from hard techno to experimental music, and we all feel very proud of what has been accomplished so far. We also tour together around the world, and there is no better way to build a close relationship.
It feels like the best is yet to come.
Tell us about your work with the group Club cheval and how that came about?
We created Club cheval five years ago with the idea of gathering general ideas about music and art. It was, at first, more like a think tank or a collective that would help us with our solo careers. Later, we decided to actually start making music together, and four years later, we have an album ready to be released (in early 2016) and have managed to create a really sick live show (no turntables, only instruments). We are so excited about showing the world what we have been cooking for years.
You’re French but often the lyrics in your songs are English, what made you make this decision?
As weird as it can seem, I think French is the best language for written poetry and for literature, but there’s something about it that makes it less musical than some other languages. I love French rap, but outside of that, I think French is such a weird language that it’s hard to express some emotions without seeming like you’re rewriting a weak version of a classic Baudelaire book.
I use English because that’s the language I listen to the most. It’s super musical, super flexible (way more than French), and it’s easy for me to write in English. I wish I could start working in other languages though, nothing is eternal and my love for English in songs might fade away one day.
What is the most rewarding thing about making music?
I have to say that having people thank you for what you brought them with your music is super rewarding, as well as seeing great fans travelling the world to see you in super random places. But I think the most rewarding thing in music is the pride that you feel when you hear something you made and your only question is, “how the fuck did I manage to do that”? I could never do it again”. It happens to me a lot.
What are your main musical influences?
Rap, r&b, dancehall, classical music, soul, and of course every electronic genre that has been around on the surface of earth since 1980.
How do you feel when you perform live?
I feel alive. I really do. It’s hard to describe but there’s no point for me of making this music if I can’t actually see the effect on actual people in a club, or in a concert hall. Nothing makes me happier than this.
Your early loves musically are French classic rap, roots and dancehall reggae. Do you think this has influenced how you make club music?
Oh yeah, it definitely did. I don’t need a 130 bpm beat and a techno vibe to feel like dancing. I can dance to the slowest sex dancehall track ever and feel like it could be dope in a club. What I have learned with these styles is that there really is a million ways of making people feel like dancing. Every music genre is linkable to the club.
You grew up in Roubaix which is a small city in France, how has your life changed since then?
I lived there from birth to 22 years old.
Roubaix is not that small, and it’s a problem cause when you live in a village you aim for the big town next to your village, but when you live in a town with 150 000 people, it’s different. My town was my only reality.
Roubaix is one of the poorest towns in France. It’s super poor and dangerous, but it made me what I am today. I would have never been the same person if I had grown up in Paris. I learnt how to have fun in the most boring environment you can imagine. This is the definition of a grey town. But this gave me two things; humility and the ambition of going further. Now that I live in Paris and that I live from my art, I kind of look back and feel proud of what I have accomplished.
Not Dead Yet is now out on Bromance Records.