Exclusive Interview: dOP
dOP are possibly one of our favourite house music groups, their energy (especially lead singer Jaw) is electrifying, they command the stage, wherever they perform, with gusto, swigging from vodka bottles, cigarettes hanging from their mouths and blasting their audience with one fantastic tune after another. They are the epitome of rock n roll, something which our scene is sometimes lacking. They are true characters, but also immensely talented with skills to match their often outrageous behaviour. Their new video is absolutely brilliant (check it out below), and being such big fans we put in an interview request… here’s the result of that interview..
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Can you give me a brief insight into: a) Your individual histories in terms of music and b) how dOP was formed…
Clem: This is gonna be long, I should build a joint …
Damien: I’m the youngest member of the band. I’ve been doing music since a very young age. I learned saxophone and composition up to a high standard. I have a need to make music every day, it’s a long journey. We put our first band together 21 years ago, so dOP is just one of our projects together.
Jaw: We met when we were very young, more than 20 years ago, Our first band was formed when we were 13 years old. We’ve always been passionate about music, always been digging and looking for our way, and we’re still digging today.
I know you guys have been involved in making different forms of music along the way, when did electronic music start to become your main focus?
Jaw: When we met the Circus Company team ..2006.
Damien: Yep, Nico from Noze introduced us to house and techno.
Clem: Nico made us discover club music, the scene and it’s lifestyle …we instantly loved it! We used this music as a frame to make our own music, feeding into it all our different experiences and tastes of the moment.
Do you still work on “non-electronic” music as well? If so what kind of stuff?
Damien: Oh yes for sure, we have our French band called “Les Fils Du Calvaire”, which is based around French pop music. We also just finished the music for a documentary for cinema, the second one with the director Benjamin Marquet .You can dig around to find some information on him. We also did this project with the Tonhalle Orchestra from Zurich, we performed and wrote music with them, it will be out this autumn. It’s a meeting between dOP and some classical material.
Jaw: Yes, we still do real songs, as Damien said we just did a project with a symphonique orchestra in Zurich. The resulting music is coming out soon .
Clem: Sure, besides dOP and Les Fils Du Calvaire with Damien we compose music for a lot of different projects, sometimes really far removed from club music. We just composed for Jamaican reggae legends Horace Andy and Jonny Osbourne. We’re also composing a piece to perform with the silent movie “The Cabinet Of Doctor Caligari” with Theremin and cello …
What effect would you say the French music scene has had on your musical output?
Damien: If you’re speaking about contemporary stuff, not so much. I’ve not been living in France for more than 3 years. I just hear some of it.
Jaw: I guess on my side it’s the French accent.
Clem: The French cooking scene has a lot of influence on me.
The French scene seems to be stronger than ever right now, why do you think this is?
Damien: French electronic artists have been very strong in every genre for a while now, I don’t really know why this is. I guess France has always been attracted by all these underground music genres; jazz, reggae, hip hop, house..
Jaw: I don’t know, maybe because we have a special vision [laughs], maybe because we are right in the middle of the world.
Clem: Yes we’re looking good, but I think Brazil is strong and they’re playing at home. Germany is always strong too, Algeria could be a good surprise, let’s see. But I am confident with the Frenchies.
Can you tell us about any new French artists we may not have heard of that we should check out?
Damien: Clement and I have started to work with a new singer, a girl name Ilhem, she’s half french, you will hear about her more soon.
Jaw: do you know about “Les Fils Du Calvaire”?!
Clem: For me this is the big stuff in France right now. Jean Louis et Andre.
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What’s it like working in a group of three? Do you ever have difficulty working with each other?
Damien: Being a trio makes things balanced actually. We say in french “la vie n’est pas un long fleuve tranquille” – life is not a peacefull river. Magic happens when we’re connected, we’re kind of unique you know.
Jaw: I think it’s the magic number. Even if sometimes we have difficulty, we always find the way.
Clem: Yes we are three. It means a lot to me, I think it’s a chinese number. We’re like the YING & YANG …& YONG ..you know.
Can you explain what role each one of you plays in the dOP set up? Damien : in the live set up I play the keyboards.
Jaw: Clement is at the drums/computer; Damian at the keys & more , and I’m at the microphone.
Clem: And I order the room service …
In terms of playing live, have you guys formulated a set list or do you freestyle?
Damien: We just decide the first track one minute before starting.
Jaw: FREESTYLE ..
Clem: It’s true what the others say …but we’re also working on a more “set list version” for festivals at the moment . Sometimes we have to play just one hour in front of a crowd that is not necessarily only a club crowd. We want to be able to touch people with our songs in different conditions and still have the same fun and the same energy doing it.
I saw you at Space in Ibiza and Jaw’s energy in incredible – have you always been so energetic? Who has inspired you vocally and performance-wise?
Jaw: Jim Morrisson, James Brown, Prince, Michael Jackson.
Clem: Jaw is actually looking for a sponsorship deal with a big energy drink company…
For someone who has never witnessed your show before, can you explain what they can expect..?
Damien: The French Rolling Stones.
Jaw: Something wild, sexy, sweet… like making love.
Clem: For our new tour we have: fireworks, live sex, family pictures, confetti bombs, dOP condoms, a snow canon noise from Ibiza, a lot of costumes, a panties throwing contest, dancers and dead animals of course…
You guys have formed several collaborative projects with other artists, do you feel that this has helped you progress individually and as a group?
Jaw: Yes I think it’s always good to have other projects… It’s healthy for our band.
Clem: Yes of course! And it’s also a pleasure.
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What do you enjoy most about working with other people?
Damien: I like to mix our sound with other sensibilities, tones, instruments, grooves. Just like in life.
Jaw: That we have no limit… like “2 Unlimited”.
Clem: I am impassioned by human being and by music. Making music with people is the essence of me, in my perception and in my experience for good and bad moments. I am part of the band!!!
Which of your tracks/projects holds a really special place in your heart?
Damien: ‘Close Up’ right now.
Jaw: The Between Blues EP.
Clem: The track we are going to start tomorrow morning.
What other projects/artists are you involved with at the moment?
Damien: Many. As Clem mentioned earlier, we did some songs with Jamaican legends Horace Andy and Jonny Osbourne. Also we’re going to compose a new soundtrack for the german silent movie “The cabinet of Dr.Caligari” in a beautiful place created by Renate in Berlin call Else. We will invite the grandson of Leon Theremin to play with us the famous instrument of his grand father…a dream.
Jaw: The new band we created two years ago called “Les Fils Du Calvaire” is coming out very soon. And, personally, I did a project called ‘Midtown’ with 25 different producers. The first EP should be out by now.
Clem: We’re gonna use this interview to make the official announcement of our new project: “dOP a domicile”. From this summer we’re gonna go and do a concert in a fan’s house once a month. We’ll bring all the equipment, a few friends, the party shooters and give you a private concert! SO… follow the forthcoming instructions on our Facebook page and put the vodka in the freezer..
You seem to be more and more in demand these days, how does it feel to be making such good progress?
Damien: We’re not satisfied yet.
Jaw: We are super proud and happy to be still wanted by clubs all over the world. It’s an honour to be loved.
Clem: We’re lucky for all that we’ve had so far; all the travel, the experiences, the magic moments ..but musically and in terms of work we still have a lot to do, to perform and to learn; and that’s a great thing.
What are you working on at the moment? What does the future hold for dOP? Any album plans?
Damien: In the autumn we will deliver some new music before starting a new album for 2015!
Jaw: Yeah, a few tracks will come out then we will record the next album June 2015.
Clem: We have a clear vision musically for the next projects and the coming years. We are lucky enough to have got involved with and to develop a really really cool project… and it’s baking at the moment. I am super confident and happy about this. But I can’t tell you more, I’m sorry…