After three years of relative silence, feel-good electro-pop duo Classixx returned with an electric groove so sweet, it was fit for a fallen hero.
“Love Me No More” takes influence from the French touch style to honor Philippe Zdar, one-half of Cassius and beloved producer of popular Phoenix and Two Door Cinema Club albums who died suddenly after an accident in June. The single served as Classixx’s first original since the release of its sophomore album, Faraway Reach, in 2016.
Today, “Love Me No More” gets a live video performance. The duo’s Michael David and Tyler Blake are joined by a few guest musicians. The full-band performance brings new dimensions to Classixx’s disco-fresh sound. We caught up with David to hear what inspired the clip and what might be coming in the future.
We’re sharing the live rendition of “Love Me No More.” You dedicated the song to Philippe Zdar. As far as I know, you didn’t work with him, but I know he was a big influence and you’ve called him a hero. I’d love to hear what his music means to you and what maybe it’s taught you about making music.
Oh man, yeah, that’s a really good question. I think mosty the diversity of the acts that he worked with affected us deeply. In high school, we were such big Astralwerks and Phoenixs fans. He worked with Pheonix later in the career but throughout the process he was establishing Cassius, connected to Daft Punk and just forming the French touch sound, which is this combination of samples that pay homage to music of different eras and recontextualizing them for the dance floor, typically distilling them down to like a four-bar phrase and then just creating this propulsive rhtyhm track beneath them.
That sort of confluence of influences and production techniques while still being respectful to the source sample and the musicians that created these compositions. Also he was such a brilliant engineer and we would always reference his mixes. Even beyond all of that, I would just always hear a story about how he was such a charming person to be around and also how he really struck an amazing balance between work and life. I heard rumors he would go to Ibiza in the summer and apparently turn his phone off for three months, just hang with his family. He was kind of a legend, and obviously some of it’s mythologized, but musically, he was always been a huge influence.
Did you actually make this song after you found out about his passing?
Yeah. It felt different than recent death I’d heard about, and I don’t know why, but but I was spending a lot of time at home around that time, just playing with different songs and recordings that we’ve been wrestling with. I can’t say that it was like “Oh, Philippe dies and I have to make something in his honor.” I think it was just on my mind.
It’s a beautiful tribute because it’s a great song.You brought up the French touch use of samples, so what what is this one you guys worked?
It’s funny. I don’t know exactly the process that those guys took to clear their samples, but we’ve always had a lot of trouble when there’s been a lot of clerical work. It’s been really taxing, so this is is not a sample. It’s cut up vocals and guitar parts and small samples of recordings that we’ve done with live musicians and vocalists over the years. It’s treated like a traditional sample, but it’s done in the modern version of trying to be a little bit more scrupulous about the way that we’ve produced music to not get bogged down with a bunch of samples and the trouble in clearing them.
So what’s the story behind the video? What inspired you guys to do a live session like this, and who are you with?
Honestly, in Los Angeles over the past few years, I’ve just been fortunate enough to meet such incredible musicians who are playing on such a high level, and who come from almost a conservatory background. This is a bit of a tangent, but I think we’re in a unique moment specifically in music in Los Angeles, where there’s this convergence of really elite musicians making interesting music. I’m no music historian, but often very elite and proficient musicians tend to be hobbled by their technique and end up making music that is a little bit less imaginative. So musicians like Jacob Man who’s on keys and Sam Wilkes, who’s playing the synth bass, are these guys who are just very incredible musicians who are also making such beautiful stuff. I suggest people check out their original material.
What inspired this live session with them?
We’ve done love shows, but it’s always been kind of a live, electronically-sequenced thing. Tyler and I play but we’ve never had a full band, and I just wanted to hear that song come to life. I thought it was an interesting opportunity to try to make that happen in a day. We didn’t get a chance to rehearse. It says “take 10” at the beginning if you listen closely. It’s the 10th run through.
Is that something you’re keen to experiment with further, this fleshed-out band experience?
I think at the very least, I will definitely be thinking about it often when informing the production process. so many cool things happen when you have musicians working together, and it’s way more expensive to make music that way than just sitting in a room with Tyler going through these things, but there’s just no way you can recreate it single-handedly. I don’t think we’ll try to replicate it on the road any time soon, but I’l definitely try to recreate that environment for upcoming records.
Speaking of which, this single coming out was a big welcome back to the world. I think it was your first original tune since Faraway Reach in 2016, but I heard there’s more coming.
On the Classixx front, we’re working on something really fun that hopefully will come out on Valentine’s Day. And then we’ve been working on a tune with this guy, Roosevelt. We’re huge fans, and that seems to be closing in on a final draft of that song. Just a bunch of singles hopefully from us over the next year, and a steady stream of them.