With his debut four-song ‘Poney EP’, first released in late 2001, the Frenchman Pascal Arbez aka Vitalic tore through dancefloors across the world.
This year, he has released his long-awaited debut album, ’OK Cowboy’. Pascal describes the album as a mix of “dance music, experimental, organs and French music”.
A selection of musicians Pascal admires: Daft Punk, Sparks, Crash Course In Science, Valerie Dore, Giorgio Moroder, The White Stripes, Belgian composer Wim Mertens, Fad Gadget. He’s not a big record buyer and doesn’t know the names of lots of his favorite tracks. His first love, when he started making music as a teenager, was Belgian new beat.
His initial sporadic releases as Dima came out in 1996 and ’97 on the local Choice label. Within the underground dance scene he became good friends with Michel Amato, aka The Hacker, and befriended Amato’s Goodlife label crew in Grenoble. The Hacker suggested he send his new tracks to DJ Hell in Munich, which he did. Then Hell’s International Deejay Gigolos label released Pascal’s ‘Poney EP’ just as Fischerspooner fever and electroclash madness broke and it became one of their biggest-selling 12-inch, played as a searing peak-time anthem by everyone from Aphex Twin to Richie Hawtin to Erol Alkan to 2ManyDJs to Laurent Garnier to Tiga…
Since the ‘Poney EP’ there have been collaborations: with The Hacker a cover of Detroit techno standard ‘Shari Vari’; with local producer DJ Tonio; and, most notably, with New York singer and songwriter Linda Lamb, as The Silures, whose rousing goth-tinged ‘All You Can Eat EP’ from 2003 was the first time Pascal had worked with a vocalist.
Pascal works a lot with Brigitte as well. She’s a versatile speech synthesis program and will do anything he tells her to. That’s her voice all over ‘OK Cowboy’. Then there’s Dario, the subject of ‘My Friend Dario’, Pascal’s naughty alter ego who drinks when he drives and parties way too much. All the instruments Pascal uses are fake, in the sense that he meticulously generates everything from a synthesizer. The only thing Pascal can’t fake is the emotion that galvanizes his music.