SoundOf focuses on the DJs and producers who are making waves in the dance music underground
Each edition features an exclusive mix and interview with an artist who has been handpicked by the team at Ministry Magazine. This week we have one of the most exciting DJs in the Parisian deep house scene. Damien Roussel, like many of his countrymen was inspired to take up DJing by the French Touch scene that exploded across the dance music conscious at the tail end of the millennium.
In 2008 he began DJing in Paris's trendiest clubs, including a residency at underground favourite, Social Club. After four years on the DJ circuit, Damien decided to move into producing. The Mekanism was born and hasn't looked back since. In the intervening years, he's held a residency at Ushuaia, appeared on Boiler Room and toured the world. Listen to his mix below and don't miss out on your chance to see him in person when he plays Ministry of Sound on 18th October.
First of all thanks for doing an exclusive mix for us, what did you go for in the mix? Is this a representation of what you play out now or more what you listen to at home?
The mix I did for MOS is totally a representation of what I play in clubs. I wanted to show people who have never seen me play that what I produced was totally different than what I love to play and also show the energy I want to share with them. But you can also listen at home with some friends and beers!
For those who may be new to your music, how would you describe your sound?
My sound is just groovy and makes you want to dance, with a lot of funky Chicago vibes in the way that I play. I love doing some cuts and playing with tracks to create something special.
How did you first get in to music, when did you know you wanted to be a DJ?
I wanted to be a DJ when I was 15, then I bought my firsts technics and I began to play some hip hop music and later french touch and Chicago. I'm now 29 and it's always the same magic!
What have you got coming up on the horizon?
I will have a new remix out for "5 years of Needwant" in November. My production is moving towards more club sounds, more tech house vibes, this is what I play out and I want to produce tracks I will play in the clubs. My first tech house track will be a remix for my friend Marwan on Time has Changed Records".
What can the Ministry of Sound crowd expect from your set on Saturday 18th October?
Something catchy, with chicago vibes and a lot of passion!
What do you think of the state of dance music at the minute?
I think it's doing well. A lot of people play at home with digital sounds so it's more open than ever. EDM will be dead soon so we will see if “EDM lovers" will begin to listen to real electronic music!
You’re a resident at Paris’ Social Club, what is the Paris scene like at the moment, where are the best places to go for music?
I stopped my residency there after 2 years of great parties and moved it to Le Showcase which is a great club. In Paris you have "Le Zigzag" with has nice programming or the boat Concrete is now an institution for techno music, also Rex Club and Yoyo are cool places.
Who are the most exciting underground artists that our readers might not have heard of but who you think will be big names to come?
Djebali, Le loup, Sirus Hood, Mr Ks, Oli Furness, Okain and Lazare hoche.
Who are you biggest influences?
DJ Sneak, I learned about house music playing most of his records, for me its a big honour to play with him for this show! I listen to a lot of nujazz, soul and world music but not so much electronic music, it's important to open your ears and take in some new vibes for your productions.
What do you like to do on your day off, what’s a typical Sunday like for you?
I have no day off! I go to my studio almost all days, and my only real day off is on Sunday because I come back from a gig - bed, ice cream and movie.
How do you prepare for a gig?
Usually, I have like 40 vinyl's (I can't put any more in my DJ bag) and I have 2 USBs to play promos and if the decks don't work. I check the crowd and I try to get them to a high level.
Who are your dream collaborators, past or present?
The past collaborator was Mario Basanov, a huge producer. I did his remix “We Are Child Of Love" on Needwant and it was a great success for me, it definitely helped my career. In the future, I’d love to work with Apollonia, Richy Ahmed or The Martinez Brothers.
Tell us something we don’t know about The Mekanism?
I’m not patient at all!