Interview / Krikor Kouchian / L.I.E.S.

Lone Star celebrates the new year, with a Shinen-Kai, at Bonobothis Saturday (January 6th). Krikor Kouchian will be our very special guest. 

Krikor Pacific Alley

Where are you from?

I’m originally from a middle size city in the south of France. But I left it when I was 19, so I`ve spent more time in Paris than anywhere else.

Where are you based?

Right now I live in the east part of the city.

When did you start DJing? What or who inspired you to start DJing?

I started DJing in 1996. But I was producing tracks before I started DJing. When I arrived in Paris I was working with a label called What’s Up Mix. The owner who was also doing programming for the so called What’s Up bBar asked me to DJ. I was already buying vinyl.

When did you start making music? Who or what inspired you to start making music?

I started making music in 1993. I starting working with machines in 1996. The first was a Akai S900, and an tascam 8 tracks tape machine.

Your first productions were associated with “The French Touch” – that wave of young, French House producers. Can you tell me more about the scene? Were you all friends? Was the scene focussed around any particular record shops or clubs?

Actually my first record was not so much French Touch orientated. It was more of a Break Beat and Techno Dub. But following this I made two E.P.s that were closer to the French Touch “Filter Style”. To be honest, these are not my best productions, far from it (laughs). I was part of a label really orientated towards that sound, but I never really felt connected to this scene. Most of the people making this music at the time came from a very different background to mine. It was this thing, with Versaille people, and I was not close to those people. But I met them. It was a small Parisian scene. You needed money to buy the gear to make those records. Most of those people were from rich backgrounds, and I didn’t have money. Someone lent me an ASR10 sampler. I made everything with this machine at the time. I still think it is one of the best machine for this.

Record-wise I never really stuck to one style. I was buying a lot of different records. I used to go to a few record stores. BPM, Techno Import, Rough Trade, Patate Records…

When I first arrived in Paris, I was going out a lot to The Queen, The Rex Club and to the Dub Action parties in Elysée Montmartre. Then came Pulp in the late `90s.

Were there any DJs, producers, or records that – in particular – inspired The French Touch`s soulful, smokey, dubbed-out sound?

In France, Motorbass was really a game changer. The firs Daft Punk E.P. Then I discovered more of the music from Detroit and Chicago…I was listening to a lot of Dub at the time too. But I don’t think it was relevant to the French Touch scene. Except for a few outsiders like I-Cube.

Your music seemed to develop a darker edge. Can you tell me how your taste music has changed / evolved over the years? What brought about the change?

I can be mellow, but I don’t really think I make dark music. I always move music-wise. Always making the same music is boring, even though it less commercially sustainable. I hate to get bored (laughs).

You later released music on Tigersushi / Kill The DJ. How did you meet Joakim and become involved with the label?

Paris is a small city. We had common musical interests. We became friends. I first did this split Acid E.P. with the Weatherall remix of MBV on one side, then we joined forces for my album in 2009. Joakim also released some of my House stuff under the Crackboy alias on Crowdspacer and Tigersushi.

Can you tell me more about Krikor & The Dead Hillbillies? What was the idea / concept behind the group? Who else was in the band? Can we expect any more Krikor & The Dead Hillbillies music?

There was no band. The concept was to make a fake band. That’s the way the music felt. It could have been played by a band. So I made up one. It seemed like a funny idea, but actually it was a mess for the live bookings, because people were expecting a band, and a few gigs didn’t happened because of that. I recorded some Garage Psycho tracks with a friends of mine after the 2009 album. I wanted to make a short Dead Hillbillies record but It never happened, and the Dead hillbillies record will not happen because they are cold dead.

You produced Ron Morelli`s A Gathering Together album. How that come about? How did you meet Ron?

I met Ron through his wife, and common friends Low Jack and DK. He is a close friend now. We like to drink some nice wine and talk shit together. All about the jokes. French style! We have a lot of common tastes and influences. We`re of the same age, so grew up at the same time. Working together came naturally. He played me some of the music for the album, I liked it and he asked me to work on it. It was fun and we will do it again this year!

Can you tell me more about your new LP, Pacific Alley? I`d describe it as a raw, overdriven, distorted, subverted take on 80s Electro-Boogie. Like a seriously roughed up Moon B, Benedek, or Uku Kuut. Between what they do and New Beat or EBM. With some similarities to Luke Wyatt`s Torn Hawk releases on L.I.E.S. Do you know Luke?

I met Luke once. He is a funny, talented guy. I guess we share a lot of the same influences. That might be the reason. I think he is doing some Techno project now but I haven’t heard it yet.

Pacific alley is record that was composed really fast. I tried to keep myself in a specific state of mind, with specific images. This is what made the record. The idea of a hot sweaty city under the rain.

Having been a part of The French Touch, and having recently collaborated with Red Axes and Moscoman, do you feel that you are currently part of a scene of likeminded artists? Do you know for example, DJ Sundae and the I`m A Cliche crew?

Cosmo and Sundae are friends. I like their musical tastes. We used to have a radio show together, but I left as I just didn’t have the time for it. Benjamin released a few records of mine, under aliases, the last one was Docteur Satan, quite Belgium orientated. The track we made with the Red Axes and Moscoman was done when I went to play in Tel Aviv. It was fun to hang out and get some nice food and drinks. They are nice guys. I don’t think I’m part of the same scene, I play a very different music.

Do you currently have any DJ residencies? Does DJing frequently take you abroad?

I don’t have any residency, at the moment. I`ve been in the studio a lot, but I’m gonna be playing more next year. Doing some new improvised live sets with my beloved modified Casio RZ1. I also plan to bend my 707 and do some sets with it.

You`re DJing with us at Bonobo on Saturday. Will this be your first time in Japan?

It’s my third time and I’m super thrilled to come back. I played at Unit more than 10 years ago, and the last time I came to Japan I was in Osaka, and Kyoto at Metro. Those are great memories, even though they are a bit faded in choshu.

Can you give me 5 records that we might hear you play on Saturday night?

I`m not sure what I`ll play, but maybe….

Mix O Rap – Spitting Game 

Chip E – Time To Jack

Ice Formula Riddim – Low Jack

Metro – Straphanger

Ron Hardy – Hardy Drums

Ron Hardy - Hardy Drums

LS_2018_01Jan_Main_22 copy

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