Wolf Story is a French DJ/Producer who has travelled around the world many times showcasing his in-demand style of house & techno music. We caught up with him recently to discuss his recent tour of Asia, specifically South Korea and Japan, what’s the current state of the scene in his native France, and what he has planned for 2024…
Hey Wolf Story, how was 2023 been for you overall, both on personal and professional front?
It’s been great; quite busy with gigs. I played 33 shows, making it perhaps my busiest year ever. Very grateful for some quality gigs; I opened for Cosmic Gate last month in Paris, perhaps the most famous DJs I’ve ever played with. So yes, 2023 is a special year! Also, quite happy our collective, Au Fil Du Son, is picking up. We’ve played at some really nice venues and made new additions to our roster, such as Crys L, who’s been releasing very nice tunes.
What state is the French scene in right now, healthy and vibrant?
Every Saturday in Paris, you have roughly around 40 gigs available on Shotgun. Some are quality gigs with experienced DJs for the most part, while others feature beginners. You have to take the best out of it 😉 One thing for sure, if you like house & techno, you will get a lot of options.
Is it french artists and parties that first got you into electronic music? Which ones and why?
Twenty years ago, I went to a trance goa rave on a Saturday and kept going every Saturday for about a year. Then I discovered the free party movement with the Spiral Tribe, coming from the U.K. Thatcher kicked them out of England, so they came to France and made some serious noise.
I’m kinda proud I witnessed that movement from its early beginnings. Years later, my friend Alex (who’d become Popof) and I shared turntable decks in a cave in Paris, and I learned a lot from him. Alex and I were playing hard techno. Some years later, my next love for dance music was Drum n bass & breaks. I’ve hosted shows with The Freestylers at Rex Club and learned a lot from playing with Matt Cantor as well. Back to the French artists, Vitalic was a big inspiration. I bought a lot of his vinyl.
What is your sound, what is your signature, what’s the aim of the music you make and play?
I love house and techno. So, this is perhaps my strength and my weakness too; I can play both. I released a lot of Afro house as well while I lived in Miami, remixed Dennis Ferrer and Kerri Chandler for King Street Records. My latest EP is Human Life, with singer-songwriter Jinadu, so I guess you could say that’s my signature sound. It’s melodic techno, deep house. At the moment, I like Indie Dance a lot, Beatfreak, Phisica, Ausmusic, those labels…
You’ve recently come back from your second tour of Japan and Korea? How did it compare to your first and what were the highlights?
It was my first time playing in Seoul. A year ago, I was chatting with DJ Gregory (he’s a legend :). He told me Korea was a special place, so I made it a goal to play there in 2023. There’s one street in Itaewon (one of many quarters in Seoul) that features lots of clubs; walking there on Saturday night is totally crazy.
I played in this nice club called Paper; a very cool experience, and they have a rooftop with a view of the Seoul skyline. Next stop was Busan (2nd largest city in South Korea). On a Sunday night, Output Busan wasn’t as busy, but it was a lot of fun; I enjoyed playing a 2-hour set. Busan is slightly more relaxed than Seoul; a fun place. Next, I played in Fukuoka and Kyoto for the first time the following week, and I had a great time for those as well. I met really nice people along the way; Kyoto Metro is a staple for underground music in Japan; the owner was making sushi and tamagoyaki for us during sound check! That doesn’t happen in Europe!
Many artists say japan is the only place that is truly different than the rest of the world – do you agree?
Any Asian country is different from the rest of the world; I played in Shanghai many years ago. I had to keep the business card of the hotel as if my life depended on it so I could show it to the taxi driver to get back to my hotel – almost nobody spoke English I remember. There was no cell phone at the time… The first word that comes to my mind about Japan is “respect.” They respect the DJs; they respect everyone. It appears like there is no theft in Japan; the only ones you could be aware of would be the tourists; that’s it. Korea is similar in that aspect. Something that keeps striking me… I saw a lot of female DJs while playing in Japan, and they were very skilled. Hope Aiko breaks through next year; her energy behind the decks is something else!
What do you love about it? You have developed a great relationship I believe with DJs in Tokyo and Osaka in particular, why do you think that is?
I love playing over there because Japanese people will be curious about the music you play. Naturally, they are curious too because you won’t look Asian. So being a foreign DJ in Japan is a win-win situation. Also, it feels like they don’t like to be stuck in one genre only. In France, it’s whether you’re part of the techno family or the house family, and they rarely mix. It doesn’t feel that way in Japan. As for making connections, It started on my first trip to Tokyo; I met with Yuta, and he booked me for an extra gig while I was there. The following summer, here I was booking him for a show in Paris alongside Aiko. The same scenario occurred with Mia in Osaka. Next year I want to spend more time in Osaka; I was there only one night on this trip.
Obviously it’s a part of the world famed for its spectacular food and general cuisine. What would you say are 3 go to things not to miss out on on a trip over there?
In Osaka, Teppanyaki Steak Miyazakikan restaurant; went there 2 years in a row, expensive but you’re getting what you’re paying for, the best beef in Japan comes from the Myiazaki province.
Take an onsen bath in Takayama; I told my cousin about it, and she just went there, a lovely city in the mountains located 300km west of Tokyo.
In Tokyo, visit the fish market in Tsukiji; you’ll see giant crabs, fugu fish (try at your own risks…) and all kinds of fresh sashimi. If you don’t like raw fish, please don’t go to Japan!
I’ll add one more: visit the beautiful Shimogamo Jinja Shrine in Kyoto! Shrines are dedicated to Shinto religion (in contrast with temples for Buddhist). Go there in the morning; it’s considered to be the busiest place in the country.
What goals and dream do you have for 2024?
I want to release more of my own productions, perhaps on some labels I signed with before and new ones. Will be playing some gigs in America again, it’s been a long time, will be great to reconnect with my friends on the other side of the atlantic. As for my dream gig, playing alongside Laurent Garnier, why not?
What are you working on musically right now that you can share with our readers?
I’m in the process of reshaping my studio, trying to aim towards more organic sounds. Working on new demos for Get Physical; we’ll see if they like ’em. I have a few projects in the making; It’s a goal of mine to work with new singer songwriters as well. Perhaps making tracks with different languages than English and Spanish would be fun.