Dancing, we don’t dance. But one thing is clear: these are not bad times for creating new music. Quite the contrary. So much confinement, time alone and restrictions have led many artists to find refuge in their production studios, having much more time than before for themselves, to think, reflect and set in motion those projects that always haunted their heads but never materialised (we were talking precisely about that obsession with the studio in times of quarantine a few months ago). Today we join three veterans of the French clubbing scene. They are Olivier Giacomotto, David Lecocq (together they form the duo Ohmme) and Damien Almira (known artistically as Timid Boy). Faithful to a very minimal deep sound, tech-like but “far from that cheesy tech-house you hear so much of nowadays”, they have decided to launch something they have been discussing since before the pandemic: a label of their own. This is how Sacré Coeur is born, a project that also counts on the know-how of Alban Piot, another veteran of this business, former tour manager of Luciano and sound engineer of projects such as Ushuaïa Ibiza or UNUM Festival.
I’m not used to interviewing 3 people at the same time. Let’s do one thing: I ask and you feel free to answer as you prefer. Finally launching this common project called Sacré Coeur Records. How do you feel about it?
Damien aka Timid Boy (TB): To make this idea that we had in February finally born in these “not easy” days makes me feel excited and proud.
Olivier Giacomotto from Ohmme (OG): We were talking about that label project for quite a long time, so I’m happy to finally run it. We have put up a great team around it, and I’m confident in our work for the future.
David Lecocq from Ohmme (DL): Yes, exactly, we have been talking about it since February, so I am also happy and excited to have been able to create this label with the current health crisis. We have come out with a wonderful passionate team.
Together you combine more than 50 years of experience in the industry. What would be your greatest learning?
TB: Focus on what you really wanna do, on your musical identity, and work on it. Don’t be disturbed by what’s happening around in the music business, what is in fashion or not, what is cool or not. In a musical career, you will be cool one day, not cool the day after. That should not affect your music purpose. So, stay focused!
DL: I would add to constantly renew oneself. To focus on your musical identity. Not to pay attention to what is happening in the music, and to do your own choice and also having your convictions, and above all, to work hard.
I imagine that you have taken many steps together along the way. How did you meet, why did you start working together and how did you end up deciding to create a label together?
OG: I met David first about 5 years ago in Paris thanks to a common friend. He used to come to my house for dinners and I used to go to his club for some fun. As we both love that minimal deep tech sound, we naturally decided to do music together. Once together as Ohmme, he introduced me to Alban when he was still tour managing Luciano and a few other big projects. I remember he introduced me to Damien in the DJ booth of Concrete while Seth Troxler was killing it at the decks on a Sunday night. A few weeks later, we had dinner and mentioned our common idea to build a new label. And here we are now.
You talked about Alban. Indeed, Sacré Coeur is born from the three of you and from a fourth component, the stage designer Alban Piot. What is your relationship with him and why did you want to include a vision like his in the project? Do you think he can bring something different or new?
DL: Beyond our great friendship and his great talent as a scenographer, Alban is a very involved person in the electronic music industry. He has worked and designed with this team many projects like Polaris Festival or UNUM Festival. Also, he was the technical director of the famous Ushuaïa Ibiza, where he is known for his outstanding quality of sound engineer. He was also working on the famous Cadenza label of his friend Luciano, which is why we offered him the Sacré Coeur project.
OG: And he is not only a hugely talented stage designer for many famous clubs and festivals, but he’s also got a lot of experience as a tour manager. He is super skilled with sound systems, labels and production brands. He has a vision for each project he’s involved with, he works super hard, he is highly skilled, relentless, picky, and a perfectionist. Exactly the kind of person you want to have in your team.
For someone who knows neither Timid Boy nor Ohmme: how would you present your sound, your journey to date and what lies ahead with the new label?
TB: I would say that Timid Boy is always about the groove. That’s the main purpose of my music. Then it can be expressed in either a softer or harder way. Closer to house or to techno, but never ‘cheesy’ or too ‘hard’. Sometimes melodic, sometimes more minimalist and focused on rhythm. Besides, I created a new project on my own name (Damien Almira) to express more micro, deep and electro stuff.
OG: Ohmme is essentially minimal deep tech-house orientated. As Damien mentioned, not that ‘cheesy’ tech-house we hear these days, but something sexy and groovy. Also, not too hard because we want to keep the girls on the dancefloor. As I always say: “Play for the girls and the boys will be there”. We have released music on labels such as Deeperfect and Moan and our last EP was on Diversion (Oxia’s and Nicolas Masseyeff’s label). On stage, we play a lot of tunes from those labels, and many others such as Sola, Kaluki, Solid Grooves and Repopulate Mars. We love to play tracks from artists such as Iglesias, Proudly People, Artslaves, Dimmish, Bassel Darwish, and many others.
And for someone who already knows you: how would you present the new project? Will you stay true to your sound or will we see changes?
TB: With Sacré Coeur, and for my Timid Boy releases, I will focus around a deep tech mood. I always like dark and melancholic stuff.
DL: We are going to keep the same guideline that we have been doing for a long time with Ohmme. There will also be surprises, it is obvious because that is also the magic of a label. But always with this groovy musical line that all of us love.
If I ask you what is the main motivation or purpose of Sacré Coeur, what would you say?
TB: To create a French deep tech pool & family.
OG: Damien said it all. With Sacré Coeur we share the same love for the music, and we will add artists, designers and performers who share the same vision.
DL: Yes, exactly. We want to create a big family around Sacré Coeur, and above all to be able to share the love for this music with as many artists as possible.
The label is born with a first release, the Ceremony EP by Timid Boy, formed by an original mix, a remix by Ohmme and another one by a classic guest like Matt Sassari. Have you already created the song thinking about the new label or is it a previous work that you have decided to take advantage of?
TB: I composed this track before the label and I didn’t really know what to do with it. But when we started to speak about the label, it became clear for me that this sound smashed perfectly with Sacré Coeur. “Ceremony” (which is an allusion to the track from Joy Division) has some rave melancholy, but with modern rhythm elements. The remixes by Ohmme & Matt Sassari were made especially for the EP & the label.
Will we see more of Matt’s music on the label? And what other artists will we be able to see on it?
OG: Matt has a specific sound we cannot deny or put on the side. It’s definitely a good pick for the first release and it may be also a good artist to invite for our label nights.
TB: Absolutely. And remember that we aim to build a deep tech family, so, yes, I guess we should see again Matt. We can already announce that we signed the very talented Rone White and Rowen Clark. We have some other artists in mind, and we really want to work with friends such as Oxia, Traumer, Nicolas Massayeff… But there’s nothing concrete for now!
DL: There are also some emerging artists that we will be working with. I’m thinking of Lawron now – we really like what he produces.
Many will think that this is not the best time to start a new business. In terms of gigs, how does your future look? When do you see the first Sacré Coeur gig with everything that’s going on in the world?
TB: We have in mind spring 2021 -not before- to start to make Sacré Coeur parties or label stages in festivals. But the issue is that we can’t be sure about what the authorities will do or if they will change their stupid way to manage the virus.
OG: You know, we decided not to let a dumb virus dictate our work. Sacré Coeur was a project we all had in mind before the sanitary crisis began. We simply adapted the strategy to reality. Right now, we build on the streaming and the radio side, but be sure that we will build our label nights as soon as clubs reopen. We already have a few options in mind.
DL: Think one thing: we wanted to create this label for a long time. And it was not this damn virus that was going to stop us. It takes time to make a label known. We will work a lot, prepare and be ready the day our scene is back.
Man, I hope that day arrives soon… What until then?
TB: Never stop dancing!
OG: Music will never die, so keep an eye and an ear on Sacré Coeur. We will be there!
DL: The music never stops. You always have to dance with the beat of your soul.