When Canblaster, Myd, Sam Tiba, and Panteros666 came together in 2009, they wanted to build a space where genres could blend, complement one another, or simply disappear. They first met as students in Lille, France and bonded over a shared love of music and an itch to innovate.
They each pursued successful solo careers, but continued to kick samples, styles, and sounds back and forth between one another, producing their own collaborative strain of music.
Flash forward to 2016, and the quartet has released their first “group” album, Discipline, under the Club cheval moniker, and are about to embark on their North American tour. We caught up with them to talk about their origins, debut album, and more.
Jukely: Club cheval started in 2009 as a record label and represented each of you as individual talents. At what point did you decide to collaborate?
Club cheval: In 2009, we were all studying in different domains, from Political Science to Cinema, in our hometown, Lille. In addition to our studies, we were all working on music: Sam was making baile funk mixtapes; Canblaster was creating music for Japanese dance games; Panteros and Myd were playing in a dance-punk band.
In Lille, most musicians are at acquaintance-level with one another. With us, it was different. We immediately clicked and decided to spend all of our time together. At that time, Club cheval wasn’t exactly a label. It was less official than that. In 2009, Club cheval was four friends who wanted to spend time together to talk about music, share new tracks, and brainstorm on how to create a new, innovative sound in electronic music.
J: Let’s talk about the Discipline album. It not only achieves (we think) an amalgamation of all your sounds but also provides individual interludes as well. How long did it take to write the album, and what was the process of finding one sound that captured all of your specific styles?
Cc: It’s really important, especially for a first album, to find the sound of the album. It took us almost one year to go through all the demos and figure out what we wanted to express. Because of our solo careers, we didn’t want the album to be an extension of all our sounds; we needed to find the Club cheval sound. For this album, we chose to work under the frame of late ‘90s R&B. It was really exciting for us to dig in and refresh a style we find highly creative. We are also big fans of the producers from that period, like Timbaland and The Neptunes.
After finding the style, it was time to build an album. We needed the perfect team to create the songs we had in our heads. We teamed up with the biggest hip-hop and pop producer from France, DJ Kore. He introduced us to a singer from Miami, Rudy, who used to be a topliner for big artists like The Weeknd and Chris Brown. We spent 3 years in the studio, traveling from Paris to LA, to create Discipline.
J: You’ve described the album as “designed for home listening, on the streets, or in your car.” How does this translate into a live performance? What elements of the live show would you say differ from the at-home or on-the-go experience of Discipline?
Cc: The album is the kind of album you can listen to anywhere. We grew up in the discman generation, where you carried one album with you everywhere for months. We all are DJs, and we feel the need to make people dance when we do a show. For the Club cheval live experience, it’s as if we composed a whole new album, then totally reworked the tracks to make them danceable and more energetic. For some tracks of the album, it’s just reworking the drums and for others it’s a total remix!
J: Maybe you’ve gotten this one a lot — what is the meaning behind the album art for Discipline?
Cc: It is challenging to make an album with four musicians/DJs and maintain one vision. We chose to name the album Discipline to illustrate the importance of taking the process seriously and having a unified direction for the album. When we worked with Etudes Studio to create our artistic direction, they had the idea of representing Discipline with an army of Eurasian clones. However, they added that discipline, especially in Club cheval, is not as interesting if you don’t have a bit of the opposite, that bit of disorder and uninhibitedness that creates happy accidents. That’s why we included the lone, refractory man on the cover.
J: After your North American tour, what’s next? Will we see more albums together interspersed with solo sets?
Cc: We’ll stay for a bit in Los Angeles to start some new Club cheval tracks and get a change of pace from the Parisian vibe. We are also working on solo tracks that might be out this fall. We might take short holidays, because the last year was really intense!
Get to know these spirited musicians while they’re on the rise, and see if they’re coming to a city near you. Tour dates for Club cheval: live are below.
July 21, 2016 – The Velvet Underground – Toronto, Ontario – Tickets
July 23, 2016 – The Marlin Room at Webster Hall – New York, NY – Tickets
July 27, 2016 – U Street Music Hall – Washington D.C – Tickets
July 28, 2016 – Coda – Philadelphia, PA – Tickets
July 29, 2016 – Union – Los Angeles, CA – Tickets
July 30, 2016 – Mezzanine – San Francisco, CA – Tickets