Youcef Elaid might not be a name many immediately recognise, but those in the know, will quickly tell you he’s someone you should definitely check out. Take his new single Backstage, a groovy little house number with catchy vocals, a rolling groove and bags of character. No wonder Stacey Pullen signed him up to Blackflag.
The world is now his oyster, and things will only get better for this plucky Frenchman with the midas touch. Reporter Karen Brown sat down with Youcef to find out a little more about the single, signing to Blackflag and having the support of your peers.
Firstly, thank you Youcef for giving us your time! We imagine you’ve had an extremely busy few months awaiting the release of your new EP. Tell us how your summer has been?
Yes it’s finally here, as you know I’m really excited for this release, it’s been now more than a year waiting but patience doesn’t mean absence of action. This summer was rather pleasant in term of show gigs, I have had just a few local party around the mediterranean sea which allowed me to play music as that idea in my head there are some places where I can experiment.
I really like the south of France especially Marseille. These moments, since it became the capital european of culture in 2013 many places are now active and the music is flowing. The last gig that closed my summer was a debut gig in Montreal and I decided to spend two weeks digging the local music shops from there to Toronto and up to Detroit.
We would love to hear your own take on ‘Backstage’, where did you start with this track and how did you find the production of it?
The first idea came from when I was living in London, I had been trying to remix Stacey Pullen’s ’Sweat’ for a remix contest by Beatport which I found really cool. I wanted to have look more into how Detroit artists do music. The remix ended up like this.
A week later I was still on that vibe of making the remix so I started something completely new and I kept the flow, leading me to build the beat adding the vocal until finishing the track. It didn’t take me too long, it just seemed to flow!
Your relationship with Stacey Pullen and the Blackflag label seems pretty solid. How did this all come about?
I’m feel really blessed and honoured to have a mentor like Stacey Pullen. The first approach I had with Stacey was back in 2012 when I produced my track ‘Step Snapper’ released on Monique Musique.
Stacey really liked the production and gave good feedback, I didn’t believe that I could be heard by big legend like him, that’s was my beginning time on the music industry and I didn’t know anything about how it worked. I wanted just to release music see how people reacted to it.
Finally, I met Stacey in Barcelona during Sonar festival and got his email. I started sending some stuff and now you see I produced a full EP on his record label. I’ve also opened the first Blackflag label night in Brooklyn at Verboten which was a really big moment again for me.
We understand you used to live in London, but relocated to France. Can you talk us through your studio set up and whether there were any problems moving everything to the UK?
Yes, thats right, I’m not in London anymore. From there I moved to Berlin and I stayed for 20 months. I enjoyed Berlin, and I didn’t find it necessary to spend hours and hours behind the laptop to find music. Everything was outside and cheap, sometimes even free! Now I’m back in France in Marseille City. As I mentioned before, since it became the capital of European culture many places are active and the music it back again.
As you will know, it is really difficult to move everything when you are travelling, so I decided to bring only the computers with me and set up some of my favourite emulator like Roland SH 101, Roland SH 2 , Roland Promars Jupiter. I’m using Ableton Live 9 as sequencer and arranger, and I recently bought a new Novation Controller as it is easy to carry and everything is auto mapped. So you don’t have to spend time writing automation lines you’ve just got it flowing.
There is also an interesting program called ‘Max For Live’ where you can use many instruments and MIDI and audio effects made by artists like Alex Kid and Skinnerbox.
Most producers have a favourite piece of kit or go to item in their studio. What would yours be, and why?
Probably the Martion Audio speakers. They have the highest quality audio. When I was in Berlin I used to go listening to music very often in a place called ‘Club Der Visionäre’, every time the feeling was good and I loved the vibe. I would often forget myself till the late morning. One day I saw an article talking about the speakers of the club and they were of course using Martion Audio speakers and I knew that’s why it was so good!
Lastly, is there anything you’d like to add about the ‘Backstage’ EP prior to it’s release?
I’m really excited to see how people will react to it, I have had a some great support like Gel Abril playing it at his show in at Spartacus Club in France. Thank you for giving attention to this essential release for me!