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Actualites Electroniques

You will find in this category each week, an interview or a biograhpy of a Dj or artist which is breaking the news. All styles are on the “menu” of this category: minimal, house, electro, techno or even trance in some cases.

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Lifelike - Interview

Lifelike, whose real name is Laurent Ash is a French composer and producer of house music. He began his career in 2001 on the Parisian label 20000ST, managed by Demon, with his first single "The Soul of My Love" featuring the soul singer from New York, Mandel Turner. The single reached the fifth place of the French dance charts, thanks to the support of Radio FG and DJs like Alex Gopher. His second single "Black Chess" was released on 2002 and had been notably playlisted by Thomas Bangalter and DJ Falcon for several months during their tour "Together 2002". Today, we are truly honored to offer you an exclusive interview with one of the best producers of house music. It followed the interviews of other French artists such as Muttonheads, Rodriguez Jr. or Paul Nazca. So first, I wanted to thank Lifelike who answered our questions.

"Hello Laurent,

First of all, I would like to let you know that it's a real honor to interview you because you are for me with no doubt one of the finest French producers with Thomas Bangalter, Fred Falke and Alan Braxe. I heard almost all of your tracks and it is rare for me to mix a set without some of your productions. I really wanted to congratulate you for your exemplary career that had a new breath at the end of 2010 with your fantastic EP « Love emulator ».

A few days ago you released your new song "Heatwave" on your new label ComputerScience. Is there a specific story behind this track? I think there is some kind of a Donna Summer "I Feel Love" spirit...
> Hello, I’m always happy to hear that the DJs are playing my songs. So for "Heatwave" indeed there is a history, a bit special because it's more of a rework of an old track of the 80s, than a 100% original composition. It turns out that Kris (Menace) and I, listened to the original track a long time ago, on a day of travel, and we found it massive, but we only have it as an mp3 and we had no idea of the author, as it was on a compilation that Kris had copied from a friend.
The years have passed and I stumbled by chance upon the track browsing on an old hard drive where I store backups of some of my productions.
When I played it I thought, "Shit, why we didn’t remix this thing." So, I called my manager who reached to clear the samples. In the end, I had the original composer on the phone, to whom I sent my demo/remix, but he said "hey it's not sampling it’s a theft, you've taken everything" I actually laughed and told him the objective was not to steal from him the original but just to produce a remix. We had several conversations and finally he said “you know nobody want this track, work on it as you want, but we must share the rights and royalties, but you can use your name if you want". It was an agreement of exclusive use, but I had to cite the original work: B.W.H. "Stop" and it was done. Once the track produced, I decided to release on my own label ComputerScience as a one-shot, with no remixes.

What will be your next track? I saw that you released some days ago remixes of Moby "The Day", Visitor "Coming Home" and Chromeo "When The Night Falls".
> You know I rarely know 3 months in advance what I'm going to release, if we're talking about my personal productions. I decide only a few weeks before the release, because sometimes we focus on one, we decided to release it and finally the day of release, we say “oh it’s not terrible”. Since then, I no longer decide 6 months in advance what I'll do with my own prods. /-)))

By cons, on ComputerScience at the end of May, we will release the new EP of an Australian group &« Those Usual Suspects », with a featuring of the Swedish singer Yota (the one who made the vocals on 'Love Emulator'), and an upcoming track of Lifelike for mid-June, that's for sure.
Concerning the remixes, as you’ve said, I’ve done recently some for Moby, Visitor and Voltaire Twins.

If you look back to 2010, what can you say about it? What is your vision?
> Not so good at a business level, it was the worst year since I've been in that environment, we had a lot of trouble getting paid by the labels, and the second half of the year was a disaster, a huge drop in overall applications for bookings. It was definitely not a good year, at least not for me. Nevertheless, 2011 starts very very good!

For 2011, what can we expect from you? New tracks of course? A compilation perhaps? An album?
> We are currently working on a compilation of my remixes for September/end of the year, in partnership with a major label. Concerning the album, I don’t know, you know I always work on a piecemeal basis. I find that given the circumstances and the low record sales, record an album right now is very very risky. You expose yourself to relatively violent criticism not only of journalists but you also gonna take a big flop of level sale, even if your album is a killer, all my friends have failed with their recent album that has been released. I do not think that is the right solution at the moment. I prefer to continue to release one-shot EP and play as a DJ. The album, that's not really my cup of tea.
Right now, if you produce a crap track, you will sell records, so there is no interest into making an album that nobody will buy!

After we gave this little introduction about your music to our readers, we wanted to get back to your origins. Could you please tell us in a few words, how did you become an iconic producer of the electronic music scene in France?
> Well in fact, it’s more about the connections Imade over time. I released some vinyl EPs under the name of Ferris Bueller in the late 90’s, totally aligned with the French touch, which were half-filtered house on side B and the side A had a very 80’s sound. Then I wanted to create my own Stardust with the track featuring Mandel Turner "The Soul of My Love," which Pliable Records didn’t accept at that time. I worked at la FNAC and one of my friends I had there (CRUSZ), had just signed on Demon’s label, 20000ST. He sent my demo to the guys of the label and they signed me for 3 EPs. Well, after that I made many mock-up, I met Kris Menace and we produced "Discopolis", that we sent to Delphine Queme (the sister of DJ Falcon!) which dealt with the label Vulture. We know her a little with Kris. It was our start…..

At the beginning of your career, did your family understand what you wanted to do? And now are they proud of what you achieved along the years?
> My family always supported me, nevertheless I struggled for years before taking off, even at the time of 20000ST, as soon as we got money we spent it on hardware and disks, we were super financial managers (haha). It was very different from today, even if it's only 10 years ago, it was very difficult to get a great sound without a lot of equipment, a sampler, the basic tool for me, and a good sampler was between 20 000 and 30 000Frs (around 4000Euros), such as a Mac that cost a fortune, with compressors, effects racks, mixer, DAT recorder… etc… Today, with a PC of 400 euros you can produce a track that sounds excellent, if you know how to you use the software.

Your first name, if I'm not mistaken, was Ferris Bueller under which you released 2 EPs, including your first release ever « Digitalement Votre EP ». You remember that time?
> Oh yes, everything was produced on a Casio FZ-1 sampler and a Roland W-30 with an old Mac that did work with a midi sync (haha). It was a great time, I have kept great memories of all that, when we had to save ram memory for the sampler if not you did not record the bass sound... etc now it doesn’t exist anymore. "Digitalement Votre" was largely inspired by Rythmes Digitales, Stuart Price aka Jacques Lu Cont, such a genius!
It was also the period of the Daft Punk and the French Touch, it was great for all French who release tracks and the world press was so excited, the French guys finally had their own place in this world with our music. The fête de la musique in June 1998 left me an amazing souvenir when they all the DJs played our tracks through the streets, everyone, everywhere, that was so good, Vertigo rec, Roulé Records etc…

Then you changed nickname to become Lifelike. Could you please explain us why this change and more especially why Lifelike?
> First Ferris Bueller, was not usable, as it is the name of a guy in a 80’s cult film "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", my favorite character, a huge layabout who achieved everything he wants. A cliché.
Lifelike, I started with it, when I signed on 20000ST. We think with the guys from the label to a name and in the end we thought it was better to change it, as Ferris Bueller was a bit too second degree.

You became well-known to a wider audience with your single "Discopolis" produced with Kris Menace, who I interviewed a few days ago. The track was released on legendary imprint of Alan Braxe "Vulture Music" and quickly became a musical anthem in Ibiza notably. Do you think people will always see you through this track, even if you have done other productions like “Love Emulator”, “So electric” or your many remixes? Is not it too difficult to change attitudes, or do you think it's positive?
> Of course people will always see me through "Discopolis", at least until I make one that works better (haha). This Discopolis mania was something incredible. At the end of the summer our mail boxes were full of requests for bookings and remixes, even if the day of the release we wondered if it would work, because it seemed rather risky to broadcast something so retro. It's very positive to create something and especially to see people enjoying it.
It was the most popular thing I've done, basically I don’t like to do commercial stuffs, my approach is rather something I love and if it works fine it’s great but if it doesn’t, I will not adapt it for the market. I'm more on an artistic side rather than a commercial one. With "Discopolis" we had both, and "So Electric" also worked very well, rather in the U.S. than Europe.

A few days ago we had an interview with one of your old friends Kris Menace. He told us that despite the little misunderstanding that there was among you a few years ago, you will probably work together again for a new track. What about it?
 > Indeed, now we speak regularly together, at the time of "Discopolis" we were so out of money, so and we argue for small things, nothing very important, the usual stuffs when you pass from the semi-unknown status to some notoriety. With time I think we have the ideas clearer and we could discuss it. We will book a studio session in June at my home and will work on a new track, I think it'll be cool, he us a great producer and I think we will have something concrete to come out in September, for sure.

Laurent, in 2010 you founded your own label ComputerScience under which has been released "Love Emulator", your first single, acclaimed by the Anglo-Saxon newspapers. Honestly “Love Emulator" was in my top 10 of 2010. Really massive. Why did you create your own label after more than 10 years of career? You think already to your future? Will there be soon some releases of artists you would have signed under it recently?
> Very good question, actually yes and no, since 10 years, things have evolved in the music business, you can now release track in digital, without pressing any CDs or vinyl. Everything is digital today, so there is no need to have a structure of 15 people to manage a small label.
I decided to do everything myself, over time I accumulated contacts, and I know where to go for a good promo, so I find it very easy to put a track on line and to release it through a small promo DJ. There is no longer a need of external label, at least for my productions. In that way I keep control of what I do and nobody will bother me or anything else inherent of a label you need to deal with. And they are significant things, all the money you earned is for you, there are more reasons to do everything yourself. It does not take much time and I like taking care of my business, it very informative, you learn stuff, I learned the job, I am a self-taught (to paraphrase Ferris Bueller), so managing everything myself is ok for me.

In addition, we need not to forget that in addition besides own productions you're an excellent remixer. We owe you a lot like the remixes for Chromeo, Demon, Shapeshifters, Joachim Garraud, Alyoa, Sia, DK7 and more recently Vitalic. What do you prefer: to produce your own tracks or remix the tracks of the others?
> I like both, but inevitably I have a slight preference for my own things, I like to see where the track goes, who will play it and so on, and take risks by saying, "hey I'm doing this and or this"...
Besides music, what are your hobbies?
> Video games! I have 3 consoles, old computers. I play lots of different stuff. Cinema, sports (yes it's true), the normal stuff…

Before concluding this interview, is there something you would like to add?
> Thanks for your interview, it was really cool, go buy our records guys, do not copy them!


Lifelike, to conclude this interview, we still have a few more questions for you to better know you. Sometimes one word is enough!

The track you advice us to listen in your discography?
> All of them but not Discopolis lol)

An artist you would like to work with one day?
> Giorgio Moroder

3 words to define your music?
> Disco, hypnotic, sexy?

MP3 or vinyl for your mixes?
> WAV. Or AIFF, MP3 has a lousy sound !!

The software you use to produce?
> Cubase 5 / Ableton Live 8 / Akai MPC 5000

One privilege, being DJ, gives you access to?
> I don’t work on Monday!

Your favorite track right now?
> RETROGRADE "Reset" under Deconstruction Record, you can’t get tired of it!

A few words about the site I manage: Actualités Electroniques?
> I know  your website as I visited it when I needed article in French on Lifelike for the realization of my U.S. work visa, very nice site!

Laurent, thank you very much for the time you devoted to Actualités Electroniques and especially for this interview. We look forward to your next productions and I hope to see you in France for a session, as I never had the opportunity and that's a shame. And congratulations for all your songs, I will not stop play them on my turntables...
> Thank you, thank you, thank you and see you soon! "

Dj Aroy


Written by Dj Aroy
Article en Francais       
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