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ZooL [Interview]

20 min read

Emerging in 2011, French producer ZooL gained recognition with a string of releases via his D&B Records imprint. The Bergues resident would go on to quickly establish himself within the French electronic scene, producing a brand of deep musical house nicely geared for the dancefloor. Although relatively quiet across the next decade, 2023 would see ZooL re-emerge with a fresh organic style that has found a home on Bekool Records and Cafe De Anatolia. Now, continuing to establish himself as 2024 begins, ZooL makes his Musique de Lune debut with a three-track showcase entitled 'Safaga'.

Progressive Astronaut caught up with ZooL to learn more about the release of ‘Safaga’, his background, nightlife in France, studio process, DJing, and more. Enjoy.

Hi ZooL, thanks for joining us. What is your current mood and what was the last piece of music you listened to?

The last song I listened to was Bahía Blanca by Morning Elegance released on a Lost Miracle.

What’s a piece of music (not your own) from 2023 that had the biggest impact on you, and what makes it outstanding for you?

The song that struck me the most in 2023 is 'Losing My Religion' by Samantha Loveridge because they managed to give a second life to this fabulous R.E.M title.

What was the music genre you discovered first before you turned to electronic music, and what made you continue with the latter?

Having studied music, very early on I listened to classical music but I very quickly loved electronic music because when I was a child it was the peak period of trance music and I was very surprised that we can combine classical music (beautiful melody) and do something danceable

Take us through a typical day when you’re not travelling, what does a day in your life look like?

Often at night I think about a new production and from the start of the day I try to produce, I also like to cook, and I have a dog, an Australian shepherd that I take out in the afternoon.

France is known for a wealth of electronic music talent. Tell us how living there has impacted the music you make, and your career path into the industry.

Indeed, France is one of the cradles of electronic music but in addition I live in the north of France right next to Belgium which is also known for this musical richness. I lived next to the mega dance halls of Belgium, there were a lot of evenings with big names from the electronic scene, I even remember that there were broadcasts of disco evenings on the radio all night on local radios.

If you were a tour-guide for nightlife in France, what would be the clubs you’d take the people to see and what local DJs do they need to hear?

For my part, I rarely went out clubbing in France. In Lille there was the magazine club which was very nice with a very good guest program. I was able to see artists like Tales of Us or Green Velvet for example, but on the other hand I would take them to Belgium even if many clubs have disappeared, there are still some very famous ones like "le Fuse"; “Lagoa”; or even “the Bush”

You began as more of a progressive house producer but of late you’ve developed more of an organic quality to your music, tell us how this shift began to happen and where do you see going?

Totally, I did a lot of progressive production ten years ago, I have always appreciated this type of electronic music because it is very melodic, but recently I find that this style has lost its soul, in the organic house I found this lost soul there.

You have a new EP ‘Safaga’ which has just come out on Musique de Lune, tell us about the EP and how it represents your current sound.

 The Title Safaga was composed when I returned from vacation in Egypt, hence its Arabic influences. Paluche is a little more groovy, mixing melodic house and organic house and EzO-TeRiQuEs contains beautiful pads and a very beautiful guitar melody, quite simply everything I like at the moment: vocals, real instruments, percussion, and beautiful melody

Let our readers inside your studio for a moment, what is your current setup and what studio tools are featured heavily in your recent productions and more specifically on ‘Safaga’ EP.

I use Ableton Live as a sequencer, and monitoring KRK Rockit 6, I also have a Korg Minilogue and I use a lot of plug-ins like the Arturia collection, Spire, or Massive from Native Instrument

I use Izotope Ozone for mastering

in Safaga EP we can hear synths from DX7 or even Mini V from Arturia

This is your first appearance on Musique de Lune, tell us why the label was an attractive spot to release this EP?

Yes, it’s my first appearance on Musique de lune

I turned towards this label because it turns out that as a DJ I play a lot of tracks from this one

I find that he produces outsider artists from the organic house scene: Molac, Ilias Katelanos, Kokiyo and I wanted to be part of this family

You’ve recorded a few podcast sets of late which people can listen to on your soundcloud, so please tell us your approach to DJing, and how your podcast sets might differ from playing a big festival or a club.

When I do a podcast my goal is to tell an hour-long story

The choice of music for my podcasts is not exclusively focused on clubing, what is interesting is being able to play more melodic titles without having to worry about the dancing aspect.

I play songs in my podcasts that I would never play in a club.

When you first started playing in clubs around France, how did the art of DJing influence or change your view of music as a producer?

If we observe the audience carefully during a show we realize what they like, then in the studio I try to transfer into my production what I was able to observe (FX, Drop etc...)

Where do you source the majority of music for your gigs? Is it primarily from producer friends or promo mailouts at this point?

I have some promos, I use Beatport a lot and I listen to a lot of podcasts or live performances from different artists on the scene, I mix these three things

How much prep do you put into the sets you play, or are they spontaneous for the most part?

I organize my music well, rather melodic, rather groovy, rather vocal, then the choices are spontaneous according to the reactions of the public, I don't like to prepare a ready-made set

If you could set up an event with a line-up of five artists of your choice, who would you book and what set times would you ascribe to the artists?

 If I have to do a program I would say that I would definitely invite Sebastien Leger as a Guest Star because I have been a fan for almost 20 years and his work is exceptional at the moment, for the others I will certainly think of Amonita, Lee Burridge, Tim Green, Double touch

Current top five tracks in your sets?

Currently the 5 best titles are

Mama Look Crew - Oh No No No (Makebo & Amonita Remix)

Sebastien Leger - KissShower (Original Mix)

M.O.S & Krasa Rosa – Acunama (Original Mix)

Logic Of Sound – Balearico (Original 12)

Veytik – Hp Over Mp (Greg Ochman Extended Remix)

If you were not a DJ/Producer what do you think you’d be doing with your life? (Something not music related.)

To tell the truth, for the moment I have a job that has nothing to do with music because I am a petrochemical technician.

What’s something we do not know about you?

 I'm not hiding anything ;-)

What are some of your favourite TV series? Both all time and recently, what have you been enjoying lately?

 I really liked the Dark series on Netflix. I liked the soundtrack of this series so much that I made an unofficial remix of the Apparat - Joel title that we often hear in this series and we can hear it below. Most recently I watched Berlin on Netflix.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

My family

What does 2024 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

I'm working on a new EP. I have a Remix to do for an artist from the Label Cafe de Anatolia, and I'm working on Edit on a classic trance title that I want to adapt into organic house that I will certainly offer as a free download.

'Safaga' is available now via Musique de Lune: http://tinyurl.com/umjv777p

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