Acumen Interview

French producer Acumen has resided over a period in house music where both minimal, tech-house and more recently, straight up house music were the norm. As such, the Time Has Changed owner if well qualified to chat about the perils of modern day dance music and the state it finds itself in.

And as it happens, he’s quite optimistic about where it’s all going – which is no real great surprise when we consider the wealth of brilliant music that both he and his two labels (the  other being Thrill of It) have summoned up in recent times.

Considering all of this, we settled down with him recently for a quick chat to discuss his new EP, life in France and his raving roots…

We’d like to start by asking about your label. Why did you form the label?

I was really into the electronic scene between 2000 and 2007. A perfect nightclubber. Every weekend. But at the same time I had to finish my studies as a pharmacist. So I decided to stop all my parties and kept an eye on the dancefloor by founding a label.

What did you feel was missing from the scene when you started the label? And when did you notice that the label was beginning to get recognized?

I did not feel that antyhing was missing. But I felt that I had to make other projects. Going to other feelings and emotions. It is very exciting to begin something totally new. Considering I wasn’t in Paris but in the south of France, I felt a bit disconnected by the scene. I was only studying. So it was a hard job to make the label well known month after month. But I when I want something I can be a workaholic.

What do you see as the future of Time Has Changed? How has the label’s sound changed or altered over the years?

The sound is really oriented for the dancefloor now. It is a label for the clubs. We release high quality tech house and deep house.

We now have a nice collection of fans following the label. I think we have to continue in the same way because people are waiting for that. I hope that we found “our sound” as it is important for a structure.

The artwork of THC and Thrill of It records are always very noticeable. Do you think people pay as much attention to the art these days?

I think they do, yes. Every famous label has a very particular artwork that’s very much their own. It is very important and also, you can remember each release you loved by the artwork. So for me, it is also a very important part of a label. We tried to have a unity for each label. Thrill of it is a particular case because each release is made by a painter and has that typical “Michelangello” hands artwork. I really like it.

I gather France was hugely influential to you also? Where did you go clubbing when you were younger?

I was a student in Montpellier like I said earlier. And I was really lucky to be there because Montpellier is certainly the cradle of electronic music in France with the first rave parties, like Borealis.

But also the famous and biggest afterhours in France called the Barlive. It was a positive education for electronic music.

How would you describe the mood of the city around that time?

The mood was absolutely incredible. The people, around 2000 of them, could be in that club until 12am with an incredible energy! I felt that the power wasn’t the same after that. Maybe because of the minimalistic music fashion – Minus and company. It was not a super period for the dancefloor I suppose. Producers were more obsessed by the quality of their kick-drum and production rather than ideas and melodies. But I think we are in a super period now, festivals are sold out all over the world… and underground music is in super form.

So do you reckon the Internet is a good or bad thing for electronic music? Or maybe a bit of both?

Both. For example, it is super hard to work on a label now due to the Internet. The sales economy is super hard, sales are very low. But at the same time you can broadcast your music everywhere and in a really easy way. That wasn’t the case with vinyl. I really believe that there is more quality and more mediocrity nowadays.

Where are you living right now? What’s it like? What are your favourite and least favourite things about the city?

I’ve lived in Avignon for a long time now. It is like a jewel in the south of France. The province is such a nice place. There is a beautiful landscape and always sunny weather. We are not far from all, mountains or the sea. It is my preferred place without any doubt. I am more into nature than urban spaces, so I don’t know if I could live in Paris or berlin. But I like to travel and being in big cities for a few days.

You’ve got Sven Tasnadi doing a remix on your latest. Have you been a fan of Sven’s for some time now? What did you think of his remix?

I haven’t known his work for that long but I definitely appreciate lot his recent productions. It is class; very well produced. And Sven is a very gentle guy. So it was a real pleasure to have him on the EP. His remix is so good that I did not release the original track! That’s a sign no?! Honestly I like the track a lot. The baslline is absolutely terrific, and the synth melody just enters into your mind without releasing you. Perfect!

So have the likes of Poker Flat been very influential on your sound?

Oh yes, I don’t know if you can recognize that in my sound. But Pokerflat and, of course, Steve Bug have always made serious influences on me. Steve’s first album was a masterpiece, and people like Robag Wruhme, Martini Bros, Martin Landsky and more are a great source of inspiration.

Aside from music, what do you get up to in your spare time?

I don’t actually really have that much spare time, as music in just a fashion for me. I am also a pharmacist and run my own business and manage 7 people. I also have 2 kids, so I’m a pretty busy guy!

If you were stuck on a desert island and you could only bring 5 albums, what would they be?

Easy. I’d bring my kids and we’d try to make music together!

Acumen’s Patience is out now on Time Has Changed

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