Interview Lazare Hoche's Conquest

A conversation with the Parisian DJ trawling through 2016 on top, taking his tight unit with him.

Photo by Carlos Carrillo

Photo by Carlos Carrillo

‘Quick-thinking, stern, and ruthless...a general of real talent whose early death was a loss to France’ was how historian Richard Holmes remembered 18th Century French soldier Lazare Hoche. It’s a big legacy to fulfill for Charlie Naffah, the youthful Parisian producer that nabbed the hero’s name for his DJ alias, but not improbable. Naffah has regained interest in the Hoche name, launching Lazare Hoche Records in 2012: official host to productions from him and his compadres. Projects include the playful I Don't Sync So collaborative series (that melds House's poppier influences with close friend Malin Genie) and Mandar, his three man project with Genie and S.A.M. that could close out 2016 with their debut. Assembling his own team of tight Parisian producers has helped Hoche build a reputation distinctive enough that you would earn scowls if his name didn’t ring bells.

Last year the label reached a new with Access, Lazare Hoche’s first compilation and release with only him on the cover, signifying a label ready to make music with a bold figure leading the charge. With veterans like Point G and Terrence also in, Naffah's formed a burly team. Now, as he tours Europe and stashes records along the way, Lazare dropped by for an update from the battlefield.

Lazare Hoche: 'Access' (Lazare Hoche)

By Reuben Tasker

You built a home studio in Paris to record first, how did you find moving on to a more global setting to record new music?

It was like a natural evolution. The first money I earned from music was redirected to buying some musical gear, I didn't waste it on alcohol and restaurants. In Paris, we have a lot of studios, lots of producers from different periods and different musical genres, so we have a huge gear turnover. You can easily find anything, you can trade, buy it. Then, if you like it, you keep it and if you don't, you sell it again so you don't lose. You ask some older guy ‘what was the best reverb for 80's early hip hop?’, ‘on which machine did Teddy Riley program beats for Michael Jackson's Dangerous?’, ‘what was that Sandy Rivera snare on some early K.O.T. records and how did he process it?’ and so on. Reading the whole manual of everything ‘till you get it, I always have tons of questions and I'm always looking forward to more stories and studio anecdotes.

So then I started to have a nice studio and always looked to improve things, I started to nerd on monitoring, channel strips, patch bays and stuff like this. I have a super limited space to do it, because I live there also. I live in a recording studio with a bed actually, that's it. I used to live with my girlfriend in a 20 square meters apartment full of wires, records, modular synths, keyboards and drum machines for three years. I never looked for a basement to have a more comfy workstation and to remove all the music shit from my place. I want to work where I live, I want to have some windows to see what's up in the street, and being aware of the rare moments of sun we have in Paris.

You’ve dodged releasing a full length under your name so far, why?

I'm not hysterical about releasing everything I'm making. In fact, I have a lot of finished unreleased music sitting here that I'm playing in clubs. I want to keep it this way for a while actually. I like having fresh material for the clubs, it's cool to play what people call ‘gems’, both secret weapons or classics. But the idea of having a stack of unreleased tracks, fresh loops that you can drop any moment is super motivating while you are building DJ sets. Of course I'm gonna release some at some point but I'm not in a rush at all. Over the last year the Mandar album process was very time consuming music-wise also.

A lot of artists don’t get attached to their official record label, preferring to release on different imprints continuously, how do you feel about producing strictly on your own label?

I feel pretty good, thank you. I mean how cool is it to decide your release date, your artwork, your mastering? It's the ultimate freedom. If our scene is still a bit authentic I think it's a lot to do with the fact that no major companies are involved in it. I mean running a label is great, as long as you don't lose money that's for sure.But look, you will never have to feel a huge economic pressure on your shoulder, there aren’t industrial issues. Then you are able to take risks, highlight young guys that no one has heard from yet. Sending music to someone is a whole other process, I did it once for the Concrete Music label, because I know them very well, it's down here in Paris.

What are the most exciting future projects you have coming up this year?

Mandar album is gonna drop, before summer I hope. It’s a very complete package, it took a year and half in preparation, so I can't hear those tracks anymore, but I hope you'll like it. We did our best (laughs) and a cool Lazare Hoche solo EP on Oscillat, a lot of nice things for the summer.