“I would like to make something remarkable that people hold in high regard. I don’t just want it to sell well, but I also want it to be respected; both for the music and the artwork, which is why we’re really making an effort to make something different”

French producer Acumen has been a consistent source of excellent house and techno records for some time now, chiefly through his ‘Time Has Changed’ imprint. All good things, however, must come to an end, and while Acumen isn’t quite waving goodbye to his home label just yet, he is concentrating his efforts on a new one; the immediately auspicious ‘Thrill Of It’ imprint. Having kicked off earlier this month with an EP by the man himself, this one looks set to be every bit as exciting as Acumen’s musical career to date – especially if stunning remixes from the likes of Villanova and Danton Eeprom can be compounded on. So what’s the idea behind the label? And what’s next in line for the main man?

What’s the idea behind the new label?
Well, Time Has Changed, as I’m sure you know, is mainly tech-house oriented. I love this music, but I also want to explore other musical spectrums. So as THC already has a pretty busy release schedule, I decided to launch a new structure dedicated to different sounds. It is the baby of my new wife and I. So…new life, new wife … new project.

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When did you first become interested in electronic music? Has it always been a dream of yours to run your own label?
My first steps into electronic music was as a clubber when I was student. 10 or 12 years ago Montpellier was a super place to listen to electronic music. We discovered a lot of artists there. And I was like furniture at all these establishments, that’s how much I was there! But my studies weren’t progressing at all, so I had to finish with the scene momentarily. And I decided to stay involved in electronic music with THC. I had no particular goal at all – except to discover and release some music I loved.

What excites you most about running a label?
I think the most exciting thing is to receive demos from an unknown person. Releasing their music, building a project around that. Sending the promos to the DJs and checking the reaction. And, of course, if the release is a success or not is also very important. There is some stress, but it’s mostly joy around each release.

So, you have a new label, Thrill Of It, that’s just kicked off. What are your hopes and dreams for it? Are you the kind of guy who sets goals?
I would like to make something remarkable that people hold in high regard. I don’t just want it to sell well, but I also want it to be respected; both for the music and the artwork, which is why we’re really making an effort to make something different.

But yes, in general I have goals in life – it is what drives me forward. With Thrill Of It, the only thing I would like is to never be bored and for it to never be boring for our listeners. Hopefully that’ll be the case with each release.

So what will make Thrill Of It a success in your eyes? Sales? Respect? Charts? Etc?
Maybe a bit of everything you mentioned. The respect is super important. Maybe the most important factor for me. But when you run a label, if you have the respect, in most cases the sales and charts will follow. You can have good sales sometimes, but few labels demand an incredible respect.

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How excited are you about modern music? Does it still fascinate you like it always has?
Oh yes, I am still fascinated by this genre. But I don’t only listen to electronic music. I like a lot of different genres. I am quite open-minded like that. I think we are in a good period musically, and there has been never so much quality music out there.It is a very good thing for the production. The only problem is that it is difficult to find sometimes. You can listen to promos for hours and find nothing you’re into.

Your new EP, ‘Crush’ is out soon on Thrill of It. Is it a step away from the normal Acumen sound in your opinion?
I don’t know…it is very difficult for me to talk about my own music. I am not so proud of my music, and I’m actually rather shy about it. So it is hard for me to tell you if there is an “Acumen” sound. I don’t know… I just hope that people could recognize the tunes I am making and that I have my own style.

Are you still learning with your productions then?
Oh yes, I am always learning. There are also so many tools today for making music. So many synthtisizers, controllers etc. We have to be really aware of all new tools etc. and it is very exciting. But I have also this full time job of pharmacist. So sometimes it is embarrassing for me because I have a serious lack of time to be in the studio.

And will you still be involved with Time Has Changed alongside Timid Boy?
Absolutely, I’ll still be in charge of the A&R, but Damien (Timid Boy), my partner will be even more heavily involved in that department. But we make every decision together so it’s all good.

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Who else will be involved with Thrill of It? And what’s their level of participation?
I founded the label with my new wife. So we’re involved at the same level. We are both involved with the A&R for example. She’s involved with all the artworks and visuals too, so it’s a common motivation of ours to tell you the truth.

What should somebody do if they’re looking to get their music signed to the label?
He has to do music with heart and soul. And not only think about making a floorfiller, but also a track that people remember the next day after a party. There are many tech house tools that ignite the dancefloor fo sho! But who can remember and sing any part of it?!!

Where do you see Acumen and the new label in 5 years time?
I see myself in the same place, in the south of France, my country. The province gives me all I need; the sunshine, the beauty, the calm, the inspiration. And I hope I will continue to produce music and pass that love down to my children…!

Acumen’s Crush EP – with remixes from Villanova and Danton Eeprom – is out now on Thrill of It Records.

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