D-R-U-N-K's Blistering Techno Darkens France’s Dance Floors
Seeking to inject some dance-fuelled darkness into the current French electronic scene, producer Oly Grasset has been busy forging obscenely raw, fuzzy techno under his new alias: D-R-U-N-K.
Formerly one half of ballsy electro act MOTOR, Grasset “wanted to do something a lot darker than MOTOR, with more techno.” Cue D-R-U-N-K, whose ruffed-up, electronic plunges certainly fulfil both those criteria.
Grasset’s first release under D-R-U-N-K, the G-H-E-T-T-O EP was a hedonistic mix of industrial beats and shreded synths, purposefully abrasive, but with a dance pulse weaved in. “D-R-U-N-K is kind of hard, but it’s mainly made for clubs”, confirms Grasset.
But it seems that not all of Grasset’s home audience are quite ready for this level of musical debauchery: “I did one live show in Paris, supporting Christophe Monier, from The Micronauts, and I think it was too hard for the Parisians,” he says.
This, says Grasset, is perhaps down to his production style in this project. “It’s about being spontaneous,” he explains. “When I do a D-R-U-N-K track I don’t spend much time on it, maybe three or four days. If it feels good after then, I know it’s a winner, if it doesn’t I trash it and start another. It’s that quick, and that’s why it sounds a bit rough and too hard for some people.”
The second EP, D-R-U-N-K with Marseille, released in quick succession after the first, sees Grasset taking an equally upfront approach but also expanding his sound, which is tempered by the added musicality of Russian producer Marseille (a protégé of Russian techno demon Proxy).
The pair bounced ideas off each other, creating tracks by adding their own layer in turn, then sending it across to the other for feedback and further input. It’s rugged, futuristic club music, with Grasset’s twisted techno and Marseille’s sharp electro colliding to great effect, as on the winding hypnotic stomp of “Syn-Tax-Error” or the robotic mind-melt techno of “Botjob.” Brilliantly grimy, the lot.
Grasset is one of a new wave of French producers who are making harder, darker dance music than the country has seen in recent years – artists like Gesaffelstein, Brodinski, Canblaster/Club Cheval, etc. Why does Grasset think that French electro and techno have taken this grittier turn? “Because French electro was becoming really cheesy and happy. Not many artists in France were going for that dark thing – [French audiences] are scared of it. The only guy I know who did it before everybody else was Terence Fixmer.”
Surely, then, this must give Grasset’s music an underground edge, of sorts? “Yeah, I like it,” he confirms, “because it’s got that dangerous thing, which I like and which is important in a project. I love that edginess. You don’t hear enough of that dark stuff, which comes across from Holland or Germany. I think it’s gonna come to France in a couple of years.”
If Grasset’s fearsome production skills have anything to do with it, it certainly will. Here’s hoping.
D-R-U-N-K with Marseille is out now on Police Records.