Le Loup is a French producer known for his diverse and ever evolving sound. His productions have moved from deeper house through to slick minimal and angular microhouse, and has released on labels like Slow Town and Concrete 7am, Eklo and Hold Youth (which he co-runs and is also the name of a duo he works in with Seuil). He is also a well regarded and diverse DJ who has played all over the world since breaking through nearly a decade ago.
Now though, he’s started a new label with his partner Pura called Shadow Play, a home for his latest productions and a range of other music that inspires him and oft goes beyond the dance floor. Here we speak to him about how it came about, what it will relate, the role of Pura and much more besides.
“We just want to make something we love and express ourselves in the most sincere way we can.”
You have started a new label Shadow Play, right? What made you do that?
The idea came for the label popped during summer 2015. We were at home and having a conversation like we always do about music and the scene. Pura my partner has this thing where she will always push me to see things with another perspective… on any topic.
Suddenly she brought to the table the fact that I wasn’t running my own label yet. And actually I was surprised, I literally stopped for a second to think about it. Indeed I had thought my commitment with Hold Youth was enough and maybe my own label was not a priority for me right at that moment but after she asked me that question everything changed. I felt like the time had come, as Pura suggested it and it made so much sense. So after that night we knew we were about to create a new chapter with this project because it was obvious to both of us that we needed to express our passion and love for music on a new platform.
What’s the theme – what informed it? Where does it come from?
Our passion for music goes beyond electronic music, we are always listening all kinds of styles. But all our inspiration comes from Jazz music. That’s the main reason the name is from a Jazz LP from my own collection, by L.A. Express, that Pura and I always listen to at home. It really means a lot to the two of us, a very significant album.
How important will art, format, and developing artists be? Or is it just about 12” singles?
So our approach to the aesthetics mirrors that which you find in a lot of Jazz releases – especially in the design. Pura already had a vision in her mind and that included working with Edurne Lutz.
They are close friends but Pura had this belief that Edurne was the perfect match for us to express our identity as we really admire her work. (see MOJ label) We want to involve people that inspire us and elevate us in this project so that’s why she became part of it. We decided to set up a vinyl-only label, we are just old school. So for us it’s a sacred object and there is no doubt this format is the one for us. Music is the most important thing for sure and, for us, vinyl complements the music better than any other format.
What do you hope will be the identity of the label? What do you hope makes it stand out?
We have very different tastes in music and we want to express that. It will not be a simple electronic label, we want to go further and mix genres. We like the kind of music that has no particular classification. No matter if it’s something for the DJ or something more attuned to home listening, we want to release the music we feel deeply and stuff that we really believe in.
How many releases are lined up? Do you take demos or is it just music from you and friends?
Demos are always welcome but its true that we favour friends and artists that have an impact on us.
For the moment two records have already been released; ‘Ancient Way’s by myself and then a collab called ‘Technical Failure’ with my friend Chris Carrier. We have two more scheduled to drop in the coming months, it’s great because we don’t have any pressure with release schedules, we do what we feel.
The next one is from Scott Edward, a UK producer who released mostly during the 90s, his name totally disappeared from the scene and I was trying to find out what happened to him. I finally succeeded in finding him last year and managed to get in contact him. I was so happy to make this happened because his music fits perfectly to the label’s ethos. He really succeeded in defying genre boundaries and produced hybrid music mixing jazz and electronic influences. It’s exactly the type of music we want to support with Shadow Play.
Tell me about your girlfriend – how long have you been together, is she involved in music?
We’ve known each other for a long time but we started our relationship in 2015. She’s not a producer or a DJ but she has a really good understanding of the scene thanks to her past experience living in Ibiza, working as a DJ tour manager and also working at a booking Agency. She has really good ear and great taste because of her curiosity and sensitivity.
She is involved with this new label right? What’s it like working with her?
It’s a real collaboration between us two. She knows music and I take her opinion very seriously, and she mine. We always make decisions together and talk a lot about our plans, thoughts and opinions. It’s always good to have a different point of view in the process of creating and exchanging ideas. She has great vision so it helps me to grow as an artist.
What is her background? Same or different from you, musically?
She has always been into all kinds of music but she’s definitely a girl from the 90s. Like me she has early RnB and hip hop roots but also an appreciation of Latin music. She held dance classes that were based around a mix of Jazz and hip hop for a few years. Music and dance have a significant place in her life.
Any labels you really admire you hope you might be able to replicate in terms of style or success?
We don’t want to replicate any label really. Of course there are a lot of labels we admire and love but we are not imitating anything. We just want to make something we love and express ourselves in the most sincere way we can.
What are the key things to get right for a label in order to survive and stand out do you think?
I think one of the key things to survive nowadays is to build an identity that is strong and true to yourself, not trying to be like someone else. Even if it’s not really working initially, you have to keep in mind this is a long process. You need to show through every release what is really representing you. Be true to who you are, stick to what you believe.