Étienne de Crécy still has the French Touch.
Two decades ago, the Lyon native was instrumental in advancing the funk-infused sound that helped inspire contemporary artists like Madeon and Oliver through his releases as Motorbass (with Philippe Zdar of Cassius) and solo material.
In 1995, de Crécy established his seminal Super Discount concept with a fictitious compilation featuring mostly his own material ascribed to a slew of different artist aliases, as well as collaborations with Air and Alex Gopher. The second edition dropped in 2004, showcasing a blistering electro-influenced sound with the likes of the late DJ Mehdi and Julien Delfaud featured.
Released Jan. 19 on Ultra Music, his third installment Super Discount 3 is a sultry assortment of modern French Touch takes with featured singers like Pos & Dav (De La Soul), Tom Burke (Citizens!) and Madeline Follin (Cults).
Billboard caught up with de Crécy prior to his gig at Brooklyn’s Verboten on Jan. 12 to find out more about the French veteran’s new album and approach.
What was your creative workflow and approach on Super Discount 3?
As with all the Super Discounts, I made the music very fast without thinking too much about what I was doing. The idea was to stay funky but powerful so I can play the tracks at my DJ sets. Actually, “Night” and “Hashtag My Ass” were originally meant to just be an EP, but when I finished I thought they sounded exactly as a Super Discount 3 should sound. I realized at the end of the production that Super Discount 3 sounds as the sum or junction of the two first ones. That was not intentional.
How did the album’s creation differ from the previous two?
I made the first one using only samples, then the second using only synthesizers and rhythm boxes. I used both samples and synths on this one. It took 20 years before I realize how to work properly, but the biggest difference is that I worked with singers on this album. I only collaborated with electronic music producers before and the creative process is totally different to make songs.
Any good stories from the studio?
The album was actually way far from done when I released the first single “Night (Cut the Crap).” I only had six tracks. That’s my method: to make the music very fast, giving the release date before having the music is done. I was able to make it this way thanks to the name of Super Discount, and fortunately people were really enthusiastic about the idea of a third volume.
Talk a bit about the growing popularity of funky house and nu disco in America. What do you attribute it to?
I think the American audience has been brutalized for long years with EDM, so I’m not surprised that people need groove and sweetness. But I think it’s all about cycles. In two years people will get bored with groove and sweetness and they’ll ask for brutality again. I’ve already lived this kind of cycle.
Who are some new artists or influences that you’re high on these days?
Sharam Jey, Amine Edge & Dance, Kolombo, Boston Bun, Shamir and, of course, Kilo Kish. I also love the Growlers, though they aren’t new anymore! I’m also obsessed with The Dø ‘s last album Shake Shook Shaken.
What can we expect next from you?
I’m touring with the Super Discount show next year. I’ll play with Alex Gopher & Julien Delfaud using only analog and vintage stuff and a big Super Discount sign on stage.
The show is really funky and I hope I’ll be able to bring it to the US soon!
Upcoming Tour Dates:
Feb 12 – Verboten, Brooklyn NY
Feb 13 – Area 51, Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 14 – Spy Bar, Chicago, IL
Feb 18 – No Filter, Los Angeles, CA
Feb 20 – Mezzanine, San Francisco, CA
Feb 21 – Candybar, Boston, MA
Feb 22 – Bardot, Miami, FL