Marseille’s Fontène bagged a dream release on The Yellowhead’s Reload Records last year. We were pretty impressed with the Frenchman’s techno so duly asked him to record a podcast for our C-U Presents series.
Tell us about you.
Fontène: My name is Valentin Fontaine aka Fontène, I am based in Marseille in the south of France. I started to produce and mix 5/6 years ago and I produce mostly Techno under the name Fontène for 3 years
Can you remember your first gig and did you rock it?
Fontène: I remember it was 3 years ago, it was the first time that I mixed in front of an public. We decided to organise a Techno party in a very little “club”, and this “club” had never made a techno party before. Only one person could enter the DJ booth and the turntables had just returned… I was stressed like never before in case no one came or people did not join the music. But in the end the “club” was full, the boss had never seen so many people in his place. The system was spitting, it was so hot the walls dripping and people were crazy, I loved playing in this atmosphere until the boss (a rather fishy guy), while the evening ends, do not want no longer let us go and want to take a microphone to sing on our tracks. He then throws us his club in less than 5 minutes … An evening rich in emotion but a very good memory.
How difficult was is it to start producing and how long did it take for you to get to the standard you are now?
Fontène: I think we should not stand and take his time, have fun. For my part I really took my time before finding my style. I produced a lot of different styles in order to explore and learn the basic techniques and develop my imagination. After a while I felt that my productions sounded as I wanted, and especially that the result I really like. It took me about 3 years to be proud of my tracks and to dare to play them in public.
Talk to us about your latest release and the inspiration behind it.
Fontène: My first EP was a little darker and in a more industrial style. With the EP “Climate” I really wanted to do some things more dancefloor, more melodic, that I could play in the evening. I really like repetitive loops, in this ep I was less raw and more progressive is a way of doing that I appreciate at the moment.
How did you meet or get to know the Yellowheads?
Fontène: When I created this ep I really had the idea to sign home, I often played their tracks in my mix or in the evening. I like the style of Reload Records and their state of mind, when I finished the ep I sent them in demo and they hung, the contact is done like that.
What’s been your biggest achievement this year or the release you’re most proud of?
Fontène: For last year, I think it is this release of which I am the most proud (“Climate EP”), I worked a lot on it to be able to reach my goal and to be able to be signed on a good label. For the coming year I have also signed on other big labels and I am very proud of it.
Talk to us about the music scene like where you’re based plus how often are you playing?
Fontène: Marseille’s scene has been really waking up for a few years, some very good clubs have been opened lately (One Again Club) and a lot of collective / label organizes a very good event. There is also Cave Carli Radio which is a web radio Marseille which is a pillar for the musical culture Marseille.
I was lucky that I got to perform with some very good artists (with Boryana Baby Club, Electric Rescue at Cabaret Aléatoire, Enrico Sangiuliano, Dusty kid, Secret Cinema for Gem night at the Spartacus club).
After there was a really house turn I think and I was often criticised for being too techno (laugh). With my label (Caisson Gauche Records) we decided to organize our own parties to make known the techno we love and appreciate. It gave rise to beautiful evenings and big galley too, but we could come and play with S-file, Djedjotronic, 2000andOne.
At the moment I’m really focused on production but dates are already coming for 2018.
Tell us about your DJ setup when you’re performing
Fontène: I am quite versatile and I adapt on most materials (Usb / vinyl). I am a great vinyl collector but I prefer to do my sets on CDJ and pioneer table. I like to have effects in my mix, it adds a little more than I like a lot.
How difficult has it been in getting people in the industry to take you seriously and what strategies did you use to get people’s attention
Fontène: I think the music speaks for itself in general. If you create music with seriousness and passion it becomes infectious. Certainly in this environment relations play a lot but the music remains in the foreground and it is on this that it must focus.
What new stuff can we expect from you soon
Fontène: I have produced quite a lot lately, and I am going to have several releases in early 2018 on different labels that I love so I am very happy and impatient for what will happen.