Child of the Sky
Globe-trotting DJ Bob Sinclar talks about his prolific collaborations, upcoming releases and love for music
It was the most talked about show on the Mumbai electronic music circuit last month but for being the person generating all the buzz, Christoper Le Friant, better known as Bob Sinclar, is surprisingly humble. And he’s quite taken aback by the attention he’s been getting on his first tour of India. “The people welcomed me like a king, though it was my first time,” he says in wonder, “and I love how they’re always smiling”
Sinclar broke into the EDM scene as ”˜Chris The French Kiss’ in 1986 spinning house and hip-hop grooves with. In the mid-Nineties he rode the French house music wave to the top with huge commercial hits ”˜Gym Tonic’ and ”˜I Feel for You’ under the stage name Bob Sinclar. But he cemented his position in the club-dance music scenario with crossover mega hits ”˜World Hold On’ and ”˜Rock This Party (Everybody Dance Now)’. He was also the creator of the Africanism project where he brought together artists to form an ensemble that dabbled in Latin, jazz and African tribal sounds.
15 years later Bob Sinclar continues creating new sounds, collaborating with artists and setting the dance floor ablaze with his tracks as he’s done yet again with his latest hit ”˜I Wanna’ with Shaggy. The guru of grooves made some time during his tour here for a tÃªte-Ã -tÃªte on his long spanning career, love for Jamaica and his mantra for mainstream hits.
Tell us about the transition from Christopher Le Friant to Bob Sinclair.
My goal was to create a character, a stage name. I took the name from a French movie titled Le Magnifique. It was directed by French director Philippe de Broca and big French actors like Jean-Paul Belmondo. The movie is about a character like James Bond and is very funny. It’s crazy. I liked the name. I used name Bob Sinclar just for one project when I started the label [Yellow Productions] in ”˜94. I basically wanted to start a new project with more jazz, hip-hop, house elements. I played as Bob Sinclar for one time and it became very big.
You have been collaborating with varied Jamaican artists for your latest album Made in Jamaica. Â How did that come about?
I always go to New York to record vocals. I met Gary Pine (from Jamaican band The Wailers) for ”˜Love Generation’ in New York in February 2005. He came and sang on the song. His vocals fit well on the track. In fact in 3 days I did 10 tracks and this was the only one that stayed. I started making the album from this track. His vocals on the tracks were exactly what I wanted. He told me to come to Jamaica. He said it was unbelievable. I said, “Is it cool for a white guy to come over?” He said, “Don’t worry, come over and I will introduce you to all the guys.” I went there and fell in love with the country. There is happiness everywhere. And a lot of talent. I decided to do my remixes in Jamaica. I’m passionate about dance music, but I wanted to try and open it up to a different style.
You also worked with reggae legends Robbie Shakespeare and Sly Dunbar on the album? What was that experience like?
Sly and Robbie, they were amazing. You know they have worked with Bob Dylan, Quincy Jones and all the best artists. They have worked with top pop artists and sold millions of records. They are very open minded. It was a great honour for me to be in their studio doing reggae music with them.
What other projects do you have lined up? Is there something up for release soon?
I was in Jamaica so Made in Jamaica is a best-of album I did. Then I worked on two unreleased tracks. One track with Shaggy called ”˜I Wanna’ and the other is called ”˜Rainbow of Life’ with Ben Onono who is a singer from UK. Both these tracks are going to be remixed for the club versions. ”˜I Wanna’ is released but the other track will be released soon. In the summer I did a track with Sean Paul which wil be the beginning of the new studio album in 2011. This new album will be very club-oriented.
Did you know about the booming house/hip-hop scene in India?
No. Not really. My only relation with India was when I did my first record, Indian Vibes, which had the sitar. That was back in 1994. I like Indian instruments and the track ”˜Born in 69’ from my new album features them. I don’t know any Indian artists but I am sure they are great.
Any advice to budding Indian DJs?
It would be great to have some original acoustic instruments on their tracks. You have so many good instruments in India. And you have the musicians to play. Nobody can do that. Also don’t try to copy or imitate European music. We have already done that. Try to be original, to be the first to make a mixture between your original vibe and the European vibe. It is about getting out the sounds from your country to the world. It is about creating the perfect track for everyone to notice.
So what is the art of making the ”˜perfect track’?
Music has all the emotions of life. For me an amazing track is that with emotions in the harmony. You can use those emotions and harmony to create a good club track. But I believe in creating a musical hook. That musical hook is what people notice first. Then the melody of the singer in the verse and chorus is very important. So it is a mixture of harmony, the hook and words of the singer. It’s a hard combination to find. Cause when you have these three things it should definitely work. Your track should be able to inspire people.