In Conversation with Bellaire
Written by James Zaremba on 14th June 2018
At just 19 years of age, Bellaire has quickly proven that the internet is an independent musician’s most powerful tool. Making beats in his bedroom, with only a laptop and saxophone to hand, the French producer has found near-immediate online fame – amassing hundreds of thousands of listens on Soundcloud and YouTube over the past 12-months.
His jazz-infused, sample-heavy style of house has stood out on platforms like Houseum, an online music redistribution service that offers guaranteed killer track premiers surrounding a niche scene of house and disco edits. His most popular track to date, ‘Paris City Jazz’, has clocked up just under 2 million views on YouTube since its release last year. An immediate sell-out upon its vinyl issue back in January – and with a much anticipated repress on the way – Bellaire’s debut EP has elegantly jumped onto dancefloors around the world.
With all this under his belt in just the past year, Melodic Distraction caught up with Bellaire to find out more about his past year, his experiences of club culture at such a young age and what his plans are for the future.
With a summer full of international tour dates lined-up, and such a buzz around your debut release, ‘Paris City Jazz’, how’s life treating you right now?
Things are going so well! I’m so happy I can finally share my love for music with more and more people everyday. I love to travel, meet people to talk about music and make them dance.
You have a very Parisian vibe running through your productions – what influence do you take from French and more specifically Parisian music?
There are a lot of talented artists in Paris, especially a lot of crews that have amazing rosters. I’m thinking of D.KO Records or Pont Neuf Records that have a very special vibe, it all sounds very Parisian! I think Paris has always had a jazzy spirit, with lots of places to listen to jazz. I love it.
I’ve seen a few comparisons between yourself and St. Germain floating about online recently. How do you deal with this parallel; do you take this as a compliment or would you rather be seen as an artist with their own musical identity?
St. Germain is one of my favourite artists because he was, and still is, one of the leaders of house music in France. What I love most about him is his ability to mix all kinds of genres of music with perfection; inviting African, Indian players to his productions which all subsequently have such a unique vibe. I take it as a compliment of course, but no one can be compared to him really, haha!
What have you been listening to at home lately? I feel a lot of influence emanating from soul, jazz, hip hop in your music – would this assumption be correct?
I think it’s very important to listen to a bit of everything, and not just house, to take influences from everything you like in each genre. I listen to a lot of jazz, soul, blues, and hip hop at home. I take every bit of what I like and try to make it mine by mixing it with house music.
What’s your home set-up? How much of your production is sample-based and how much do you programme yourself with hardware or live instrumentation?
My home set-up is very, very simple. I use mostly my computer, my mouse and my head! I use FL Studio on the software side of things to create all the melodies I use, and sometimes I also sample tiny bits from jazz tracks that I love, or hiphop vocals. I play the sax parts in my tracks, but everything else is created on my laptop.
Given your age, what’s your experience of club culture so far?
It’s very funny, because I’ve never really loved going to nightclubs in France. I think it’s very stressful and not that full of happiness…I hate not having place to dance. But I think house music is a great way to change this, because it promotes a culture that encourages more respect between people – more places to dance to the best sound systems! I’ve started to love playing in clubs thanks to amazing crews that are full of joy and passion.
Have your DJ sets changed since you started playing internationally? Do you find that different audiences have specific relationships with different genres and sounds around Europe?
It has been so great to see people from different countries dancing to the same music. And yes, you can find very different audiences from country to country, but also from city to city within the same country. For example in France, there’s a lot of differences regarding how people react to different genres, in every city. It’s great for me because I always try to adapt the tracks I play to the dance floor I’m presented with.
What’s on the horizon for the Bellaire project? Can we expect to see a full length release coming out anytime soon?
I have my next EP ready, it’s going to be released in September on my own label, AOC Records. I truly can’t wait to show it to everyone. I would love to make an LP, but it takes a long time; I want to involve real musicians to make it sound the very best it can…so, maybe in a year or so, I hope!