Award-winning techno and trance DJ/producer Joris Delacroix started out making music at a very young age, growing up in the south of France and surrounded by the classic French Touch sound so popular in the late 90s and early 2000s.
Last year he debuted what he calls the ‘SuperSet project’, a live show with both DJ and live performance elements, which he premiered at Viertel in Basel and the Electroday Festival. He has produced two solo albums and recently released the track Stay on the Hungry Music label.
“I’m just a humble guy from the south of France and I do music just because I enjoy doing it,” he says. “I can’t really say why it became successful, it’s probably a combination of a bit of talent and a lot of luck.”
Time for 15 questions, and to hear about Joris’ possible ‘farming’ diversification ambitions…
1. What would you say is your overall philosophy or approach when it comes to music?
“I guess my main philosophy is simply to have fun doing it and enjoy sharing it with people. I don’t need to intellectualise what I do, I’m just happy if my music can make you forget about your problems and have some good times.”
2. When did you get into using a computer to produce music?
“I started to listen to electronic music when I was 10. I wondered how this music was made and realised it was mainly with computers and expensive machines, two things my parents didn’t have at that time. When I was 18, we finally got an acceptable computer and most importantly, a good internet connection (I lived in a small village so it took time before the internet properly arrived).
"When we got this, I was finally able to download tracks to get inspired and software to put my ideas into practice, and I’ve been doing it ever since. Luckily I’ve been allowed to earn money with this so now I can legally buy my software and tracks.”
3. Tell us a little about the gear that’s in your studio?
“I have a lot of hardware synths, but I don’t use them all the time. I always try to find a balance between the hardware, which is fun to use and offers a solid sound (when you know how to use it properly), and the software which is easier to use and allows you to do more and different things.”
4. That’s a good philosophy to have; so it’s all about balance?
“To be honest, having a lot of gear is cool and allows you to shine with other producers, but as time goes by, the more I am starting to think that gear is not really so important. The only important thing is what your sound does to people. It doesn’t matter if it’s made with fancy hardware or not.”
5. What are your favourite five plugins?
“It’s very difficult for me to pick only five, but let’s say: U-he Diva is my favourite synth plugin at the moment. It has a very good sound engine which very successfully simulates different hardware synths. I can produce a lot of different sounds with it including basses, leads and brasses.
“I also like Valhalla’s Reverbs and Delay because these are very creative effects which can reveal any sound or completely twist it to get something different.”
“Spectrasonic Omnisphere is perfect to find organic sounds, textures and cinematic effects. I sometimes use it for leads – it’s pretty easy to use as well.”
“I use Cableguys ShaperBox 2 for side-chains, remix effects, panning, filters, LFO etc.”
“Finally, Fabfilter’s ProQ is almost the only equaliser I use, because of its sound quality and practical workflow.”
6. How do you tend to produce and arrange a track?
“I don’t really like to reason that way, because if I begin a track using the same process every time, I become afraid that all my tracks will sound exactly the same. So for every track, I say to myself ‘OK, how do you want to bring this idea to life? What do you want to express?’ And that’s all that matters. Of course, there will be some methods that I use to construct a track that I repeat, but each time I also really try to get away from those and try something different.”
7. Do you have any particular production tricks that you employ?
“More and more I find my main melodies when I’m at the piano. It generally starts with a suite of chords which I decompose to find a proper melody and groove. That’s what happened for my last track Stay.
"The little trick with the main melody of that track is that I put the chords in an arpeggiator which doesn’t reset at every chord. And also that it’s three notes on a 4/4 structure; the fact that the arpeggio rhythm continues and makes the melody sound a little different each time.
"However, it’s exactly the same notes, and that’s what creates the difference in the track. It wouldn’t be the same if the exact same rhythm kept on repeating every 16 times.”
8. Is there anything on your wish-list studio gear-wise?
“Nothing! Right now I feel like I have everything I need.”
9. That’s possibly the first time we’ve had anyone completely happy with their studio setup…
“Actually I’m tired of feeling beholden to Apple, spending thousands of euros for computers that, in my opinion, are less and less fitting with electronic music production (I know, we can also do it on PC, but I’m definitely not a PC guy).”
10. So what would you like to see developed in terms of studio technology and why?
“It would be really cool if there was some kind of standalone solution dedicated to making music, for example like Akai started to with the Force. I can imagine a complete standalone solution made by Ableton for using Live, or by Steinberg for Cubase etc. It’s probably a little utopian but then again we are still allowed to dream after all!”
11. What advice have you picked up from playing live?
“Always watch the crowd when you play. Try to interact with them and adapt to their reactions. Don’t be in this dumb mood I see sometimes when the guy says, ‘I don’t care about people, I play for myself’. If you want to play for yourself, just stay in your bedroom.”
12. And from working in the studio?
“There is one important thing that I learned in my studio when I sometimes don’t have any ideas for making new tracks. For a long time, I was torturing myself with this, thinking I have to force myself to get new ideas, before realising it’s totally useless. Creativity is not something constant or something you can control. If you accept this and learn to know that today creativity might not be with you, then just do something else, like cleaning, paperwork, or something you like, whatever allows you to empty your head. Usually, creativity comes back over the following few days.”
13. And from working in and around the music industry?
“Be careful who you’re working with, and as an artist, don’t think that the music industry is always your friend.”
14. Tell us about your latest release, Stay?
“I can’t explain the track’s story exactly but the inspiration is simple and positive. The spirit is all about sharing, as I let the public decide what the theme means to them. Just go and listen, maybe it will make your life easier for five minutes.”
15. What else do you have coming up?
“It’s difficult to talk about touring because with the crisis nobody has been touring, so maybe I’ve decided to sell all my stuff, buy a farm and start a cannabis culture in order to earn money, waiting for the virus to disappear.”