Along with the likes of Anthony Collins, and Dan Ghenacia, Olivier Ducreux AKA Shonky has been leading the charge for French deep house and techno. The Parisian producer, now living in Berlin, took time out of his busy schedule to put together a mix for Pulse and also speaks to Olivier Massey about giving the German techno scene some French je ne sais qu oi.

Download Pulse.052 – Shonky here

Bonjour Monsieur Shonky, thanks for taking the time to talk to us here at Pulse. How are you today? Hello, I’m feeling great today, just came back from an amazing weekend. I was in the Ukraine and Austria Friday and yesterday, and ended playing Panoramabar with my mates Dan Ghenacia and Dyed Soundorom for Cassy´s birthday. She invited the three of us for a massive back to back session that was more than 10 hours long! One of the best parties this year! We closed the club Monday morning at 7am – I’m doing this job for moments like that.

Tell us a little about yourself, for those who do not know what it is you do. Where are you from and what do you do? I’m a DJ and producer from Paris. I have been releasing for many years on labels such as Freak n’Chic, Contexterrior, Real Tone or Spectral. I moved to Berlin four years ago.

I read you grew up in Paris, how did your surroundings affect you growing up musically? What really influenced me was the times when I used to go to the amazing afterparties at Batofar called Kwality. Dan Ghenacia was the resident there and he was playing deep house from San Francisco. Really psychedelic and druggy. I fell in love with this music and I guess this changed a lot of my perspective on electronic music.

What sort of music did you listen to when growing up and what was your first point of contact with electronic music? I was listening a lot of different stuffs,– punk, soul, rock, dub etc… When it’s good, it’s good right? Whatever the style you are listening to. My first real experience with electronic music was when I was 15 and decided with friends to go to a rave party. It was fucking crazy and since then time I started to go out all the time.

I also read you are a bit of a maths whizz kid, was there ever a point where you thought of putting down the turntable and picking up a calculator? It was more the opposite! I was studying statistics and mathematics for five years, but during this time I was thinking about putting down the calculator. I finally graduated and decided then to try music.

With the winter now definitely here, have you got any highlights from the past few months you care to share with us? Go anywhere nice on Holiday? Without any hesitation the party we did at DC10 for Circo Loco with most of the Lola-Ed crew in September. It was one of our best parties, there was such a good vibe and so many Frenchies came out to Ibiza for the party. I can’t wait for next summer and I hope we’ll have the same kind of fun.

How would you describe the “Shonky” sound and who would you say are your influences when producing? I always try to keep the club feeling, I’m a party guy and I spend a lot of time in clubs so this is what I like and I guess I’m doing music in this direction. It can be techno, acid or deep, I like to try all directions.

It seems to me that your earlier productions were slightly more minimal where as now they are on a deep house tip with a clear Chicago feel to them. Was this a natural progression or something you set out to do from the offset? You get influenced by your surroundings and music is changing a lot and also really fast. I guess it was a natural progression and I’m glad because I now produce what I was more into when I start playing electronic music. I’m going more and more towards deep house.

Your discography spans a wide range of top labels (Mobillee, Real Tone, Culprit, Cecille…) over the course of just a few years. What would be your stand out track from your own personal discography that you are particularly happy with?Or a track that you can’t help but drop in most of your sets.

Well I think the one I love the most is the one that I did for Real Tone last year called Le Velour. The good news is they will re-release the EP with remixes. I cannot tell you about the remixers yet, but what I can say is that I’ve never been so happy to be remixed. It’s a good surprise!

On the topic of releases and labels, do you have any upcoming releases, collaborations we should be looking out for? Perhaps another LP in pipeline? Well my next release will be the one on Apollonia, my new label venture with Dan Ghenacia and Dyed Soundorom. My EP will be the first release for the label and it will be out at the end of January. Regarding an album, nothing has been planned yet. I just need to feel comfortable with the gear that I bought lately, I have upgraded my studio equipment.

Any exciting remixes we should look out for? My remix for Micha Klang on Adult Only which might be out at the end of this month.I have been working with an MPC 3000 and a SH101 lately and this is the first track where I used that gear.

Can you tell us a little bit about Apollonia? Well we were fed up of sending music to the labels and waiting so long to get a positive answer. Apollonia is our big new project to launch a label with Dan and Dyed. Also Dyed and I have always wanted to start our own label and when Freak n’Chic shut down it allowed us to do it with Dan. Obviously, we’ve got common roots, the same tastes and the same musical vision. It’s inevitable that we would do something altogether sooner or later. We mainly aim to release our music and of course some more from the producers we all enjoy.

You have DJd in all the big clubs worth their salt, any particular cities you enjoy playing? Berlin is still my favourite city to play but places like London and Paris are always the bomb too. I’ve also learnt that it’s better not to have any expectations about the places you go. You can be always surprised in a good way.

What is your general set up when you DJ? Are you still using vinyl or are you making the digital switch?  I’m using vinyl and CD. Sometimes more vinyl, sometimes more CD, it just depends on the set up and the way it sounds in the club. I love to go to record shops and I have to say that I have two of the best record shops close to my house in Berlin – Hardwax and Spacehall.

Now you have put together an exclusive mix for us here at Pulse. Tell us how it was recorded and what your idea behind it was. Is it representative of what you may play out? Well I wanted to drop records I have played for a long time, I want the mix to be good or as good as possible for the next few years. I don’t like to play only new or promo’s in my DJ sets, I like to use my background especially from San Francisco. It’s deep and it’s house. [Laughs]

Are there any particular artists or DJs that you really think are going places at the moment or that you feel we should keep our beady eyes on? Djebali for sure. He started his own imprint (djebali) a few months ago and I think is the next ‘one to watch’. He is only working with analogue gears so the quality of the sound is amazing and the creativity even better.

Where do you think underground dance music is headed next year?  Hard to say cause it’s moving really fast all the time. In the meantime it’s pretty exiting cause I don’t like the idea that things stay static. I like change and new challenges, it’s nice when you need to renew yourself all the time.

Now I ask this question to everyone I interview, and I am interested to see what you will choose. If you could program your ideal club night over two rooms with any artists or producers (alive or dead). Who would you chose?
a. Room 1:Michael Jackson, Prince and George Clinton
b. Room 2:Sade, Grace Jones and Jimi Hendrix

Now, being a Frenchman, if you had to pick one of the following:
a. PSG or OM? I will say PSG cause I’m from Paris, but I was the first one to be proud when OM won the European Cup back in the day
b. Vin Rouge or Vin Blanc? Rouge for sure
c. Camembert or Gruyere? Gruyere. Camembert is probably the only cheese I dislike
d. Provence or Bretagne? Provence. I used to go there a lot during my childhood

When you are not producing or DJing, how do you relax?  Well I spent a lot of time doing this, if not I’m partying I’m waiting for a plane.

Finally, any parting words of wisdom you care to share with our readers? Keep the faith and be confident .

Thanks for your time, hope you have a splendid end of year!

Listen to Shonky on Pulse Radio