Stephane Pompougnac: 'I always play music that felt right'

By Zaki JufriEvents - 17 September 2014 12:00 AM | Updated 11:57 AM

Stephane Pompougnac: 'I always play music that felt right'

Ask around for a word to describe Stephane Pompougnac's music, and the words 'chill' or 'lounge' might crop up once or twice.

But the Frenchman, who is known for the best-selling 'Hotel Costes' series, is slowly inching away from his laidback sound into dancier and clubbier territory with his new album 'Bloody French'.

Pompougnac returns to Singapore this weekend to spin at the Podium Lounge on 19 September, and inSing caught up with him to shoot the breeze.

Hi Stephane! So tell us what’s new in your world?

I released 'Bloody French' a few months ago, which is a new, original album (not a compilation). Then I did an EP in July and I’m currently working on a new compilation, more DJ-focused than the loungier 'Hotel Costes' compilations. I’m of course still playing all around the world. 

Can you tell us more about your album ‘Bloody French’? What inspired you? 

I tried to focus more on dancier club music than chill out music. The idea was to do music that I can play in nightclubs rather than something only to play at home. 

This new sound — is it really new or is it just a logical extension of what you've been doing in the past two decades?

I have always wanted to do more deep-house music rather than lounge. This album is definitely an extension of what I have been playing lately in clubs.

Let’s start at the beginning, how did you come to be a DJ? Were there any DJs who inspired you? 

I began DJ-ing in the '90s, and was more inspired by the idea of playing tracks from Depeche Mode, Tears for Fears or Kraftwerk to name a few. I started close to my hometown in the city of Bordeaux, in southwest France. Then I moved to Paris and became the resident DJ of the mythic Les Bains Douches and then Hotel Costes. 

You’ve been involved in all facets of club culture for more than 25 years now. How do you keep yourself relevant and the ideas fresh?

I always play the music that I like and that feels right. And then I, of course, listen to a lot of new music from platforms like Soundcloud, Beatport, iTunes etc.

How do you keep yourself interested in dance music when it's your whole career? 

It’s my passion. I have never asked myself if I’d like to do something else!

One of the things people remember you by is the 'Hotel Costes' series. I remember buying it religiously. It introduced the likes of Gotan Project, Rinocerose, Flight Facilities, etc.; and is perhaps one of the reasons why I fell in love with the house and nu-jazz sound. I’m sure I’m not alone here. How do you feel about having influenced so many people? 

I’m of course happy to hear that, but some artists, like Nitin Sawhney, were quite famous before being included in the 'Hotel Costes' compilations. The whole 'Hotel Costes' series was built for listening pleasure and not to be another 'hit machine' compilation, so I had a lot of opportunities to feature new comers acts like Gotan Project, De Phazz, Flight Facilities, and many more! 

Electronic dance music now reaches more people globally than ever before. Of course the bulk of this is commercially driven, but not all. How do you feel you fit into this in 2014 and going forwards? 

I’m personnaly not too much into the EDM scene, but I’m happy to see new faces reaching the top. I’m more focused on the underground scene like Chus & Ceballos, Guy Gerber as well the new house/techno acts like Disclosure.

What are the two records that never leave your record bag? And why? 

Davina's 'Don't You Want It' because it’s a '90s house classic, played by the likes of Laurent Garnier; and of course my tune 'Hello Mademoiselle' (Balazko Remix). I love this remix (maybe even better than the original?). I have been playing that track in most of my shows for the last seven years.

What is your current weapon of choice (favourite tune), either to move a dance floor or to maybe change the direction of the music?

'My Girl' and 'Open Space' from my latest album always get good feedback from a crowd, whether in a nightclub or somewhere more chilled.

You play in places where people like to dance — what does that mean to you?

I love seeing a nice girl dancing to my music – I think this is why I have done this job for so many years! 

Besides DJ-ing and producing, what do you do for fun? 

I love to cook (I’m French remember?), and I’m big fan of driving pretty fast cars!

What is the greatest pleasure you get out of playing your music?

Seeing the reaction of the crowd – the better it works, the happier I am. 

What sort of night can we expect when you hit Singapore for Podium Lounge?

I’m sure excited about this performance (I love both Singapore and F1) but honestly it’s quite hard for me to say as each of my performances are different – I play different tracks everytime!

The Podium Lounge 2014

The Podium Lounge 2014

Date Sep 19, 2014 - Sep 21, 2014

VenueThe Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore

Ticket PriceS$188.00 - S$528.00
 (excludes booking fee)