French electronic group and art collective, Club Cheval, have an upcoming show at the Mezzanine on July 30 in support of their debut album Discipline, released earlier this year on Bromance Records, run by fellow countryman, Brodinski.
The group hails from Paris and consist of Sam Tiba, Victor Watel (Panteros666), Cédric Steffens (Canblaster) and Quentin Lepoutre (Myd). Their sound is a unique blend of various genres like house, R&B, and electro. Club Cheval is not deep into the fashion world, their approach to music has a strong artistic bend to it, and they did recently play an after party for Dior Homme (the store of fashion mega-brand, Christian Dior, for those also not into fashion).
To preview their SF show on Saturday, we spoke to Sam Tiba about the group’s upbringing, their musical collaborations, and their next album in the works.
What did you study in Lille, France and how did you decide to pursue music professionally?
Half of Club Cheval was studying sound engineering–Myd and Canblaster. Bezaros and I were studying political science. We met at the end of our masters’ programs. A friend of ours who knew each member of Club Cheval told us we should try to do something together. At first, it was not a band but a crew of people hanging out, talking about music, making music, and throwing parties together. We decided to actually put together a band maybe three years after the creation of Club Cheval.
People think we’re called Club Cheval because of club music–but not at all. It was more like a private club of friends. A secret community. From the beginning, we always said there will never be a fifth member or a new member.
Back in 2010, you released two EPs with Bromance Records. How were you able to get on Brodinski’s label?
We share the same manager. Our manager is called Manu. He manages us, Brodinski, Gessalfestein, and many more. We met Brodinski because we kind of did some cross-promotion with him for a while. And then Myd was the main person doing the production for Brodinski. We got along and got to know each other. When he created the label, it was really normal for us to just release new music on a family label.
Who would you say are your artistic inspirations?
That’s a hard question because we all come from different music backgrounds. Personally, I used to listen to a lot of rap. Canblaster was more into jazz and IDM. Panteros (Panteros666) was listening to metal a lot. Myd was listening to house. The main influences I think would be people like Timbaland, The Neptunes, Daft Punk obviously, Cassius, and recently people like, not really musically or style-wise but more about the way they think about music, would be people like Jamie XX, Toro Y Moi, and James Blake of course. He’s dope.
Which member of Club Cheval changes their hair style the most frequently?
I think that would be Myd or Panteros. Panteros changes his color a lot. Myd is always doing crazy new hair cuts. He is always going to those barber shops with crazy pictures on the windows. He chooses crazy patterns and stuff.
What are some of your travel essentials?
I think we don’t have many “essentials”. We produce a lot on the road, so we need computers. I started producing on an iPad. Myd produces a lot on his iPhone. Crazy outfits too–definitely. We’re not the type of people to bring out huge luggage cases, but we all need crazy outfits. We also have a fetish with sparkling water. That’s what we drink during the day and alcohol during the night. Obviously. We’re not really demanding in terms of what we need. We just need to be together and have fun.
Your debut album, Discipline, you released earlier this year points to resisting vices in life. Why did you choose this theme?
It’s more about fighting your inner weaknesses. We realized when we started doing that album, when you have four people working together, it can really be a mess. It can go every possible way, especially since we have different backgrounds and we realized that when you don’t discipline, your ideas don’t work. Discipline that can bring you freedom–like when you’re in school and you do your homework before the due date…then you have free time, thanks to this, you know?
How did you link up with Miami-based vocalist Rudy?
We met him through a guy called DJ Kore, who co-realized our album. He made a lot of rap hits in France. We met him and decided to ask him for help with things like structures, vocals, radio edits, and stuff. At first, the whole album was like this but with only vocal samples. We asked him if he knew someone who was an R&B singer from America. He said ‘yeah, I know this dude called Rudy, he is doing ghostwriting for Chris Brown, The Weeknd, and Jason Derulo.
We sent Rudy a few instrumentals and he did a perfect job. We flew him to Paris, he stayed a month, and we recorded the whole album. He was really open-minded.
What have you accomplished so far for your upcoming sophomore album?
We are starting right now actually. We always want to do new stuff and it’s definitely not going to be an electro R&B album like the first one. We haven’t decided quite yet what kind of music we want to do, but we’ve decided how we want to do it. We decided to create the album very organically. Each person can play instruments, we’ll just jam and when we like something, it can become a track–that’s how we’re going to make this second album.
What is your favorite memory from recently performing in Hong Kong at the official after-party for Dior Homme?
To be honest man, I was freaking out. You know when you first go play in Hong Kong at a Dior show, if you’re not Disclosure, people don’t really know you and they don’t come to see you. It’s more for the whole show of it all. The setup was beautiful. There was a huge LED screen that was going up to the ceiling and we were behind the screen. It was kind of cold for the first ten minutes, and then it got crazy and people really loved it.
My favorite memory from this is that most of the models, who were like seventeen or eighteen years old, were vibing out in front of the stage, during the whole show. That really pleased the Dior people and management. There was a lot of old fashion people, young models…and us. We love crazy outfits, but we’re not into the fashion world. We like it, but we’re not deep in it. That was a good experience with a wide mix of different people–cosmic alignment is the right way to put it.
What do you enjoy most about visiting San Francisco?
I played here twice. We played once like four years ago as DJs at 1015 Folsom. I played there years ago at Mezzanine, with Myd. It was amazing. Actually, I got my ear pierced in San Francisco. I will always have that memory of San Francisco…I got my ear pierced in the Castro, with naked dudes walking down the street, and I loved it.