Piemont AKA Frederic Möring-Sack and Christian de Jonquieres (sound design students who have also worked as Phunklarique and Dejonka ) have been making electronic music for years. Their records to date have found their way into the record bags of DJs like Richie Hatwin, Dubfire and Carl Cox, probably because of the large array of influences which permeate the German pair’s work. Their debut album on My Best Friend, Strange World Beyond, saw them explore a deeper sound than their traditional techno explorations, with a deeper, more minimal edge. New album Sand Hill is another exploration of detailed sound from ambient to abstract electronica that works both on the dancefloor and in headphones given its mood, melodious soundscapes and non typical arrangements. We caught up with the pair to find out a bit more.
How did you guys come together and what is it that drew you to each other?
Our musical ambitions set off in Hamburg as guitarists and singers in various grunge/pop-punk bands about 10 years ago. We both found our way to electronic music in early days via French House-acts as for instance Daft Punk and Les Rythmes Digitales. At a later date we got inspired by a widespread range of different electronic genres. After having produced tunes under our alias Phunklarique and Dejonka for a couple of years, we felt it was about time to start a musical reorientation. The best way was simply to establish a new project which should enable us to combine our individual styles and present another side of our musical diversity. Ever since then Piemont has gradually changed to be our creative main focus.
How has your sound evolved over the years you have been producing? What have been the major influences and inspirations for you?
Our sound has definitely changed slightly during the last years, especially compared to our early Piemont-productions. On one hand the sound has become more organic, warmer and perhaps housier. On the other hand we do not focus our creativity on only one genre. In these days we try more and more to vary the style of our songs. The initial influences for Piemont have been the sound of labels like Playhouse, Poker Flat and Traumschallplatten.
Do you each do specific things or can you both do everything when it comes to producing? Who does what? How do you work?
The creative part is done by both of us. We produce the idea and arrange the tracks together. As we have small studios at home, we often look for track elements at home by ourselves and bring them to the studio the next day. Frederic takes care of the mixdown and final mastering.
So you have an album due soon – how did you find the process? Did you approach it differently to writing singles? Was there an overall plan when you started?
In comparison to our first album, we wanted to create more atmospheric and organic sounding tracks. For this reason we included many field-recordings (recorded by ourselves) and played and recorded some real instruments. Our 12s thus far have mostly been clearly structured tracks dedicated to the dancefloor. That’s what Piemont stands for. But we always had a preference for emotional techno and ambient and abstract electronica. The opportunity to release a full length album enabled us to combine these influences and present another side of our musical diversity.
Where and when was it written? Did that affect the music you were making?
The album was produced in our studio which we have had for 5 years, during autumn 2010. The season did definitely affect us as the winter was cold and annoying that time. Maybe one reason why the sound has become slightly deeper than our productions before.
How much effort went into programming and making the album sound like a body of music from start to end rather than collection of tracks? Was that important to you?
The biggest challenge during the production was to create many different kind of songs that are able to fit together. That’s why we produced more songs than necessary and decided at the end which one will make it on the album.
What are you main goals with the records on the album? Is it all for the dancefloor?
Most of the songs are undoubtedly dancefloor compatible. But this time, however, we tried to vary the arrangements and elements of each track with the result that every song got its own individual sound.
What is it about the sounds you make that you like so much? What draws you to them do you think?
As mentioned above we are a lot into warm, analog and “organic” sounds. That is why we often play and record real instruments, like guitars and percussions.
What are your goals when playing out? How much prep goes into each set?
Since we started Piemont we decided from the beginning that it has to become a live-act. According to our opinion a live set is the most interesting way of performing electronic music, especially for duo. A live set enables us to create spontaneous mash-ups and individual arrangements of each song. We have no fixed rules who does what, we decide it intuitively each time.
What else are you working on?
First of all we will release a remix-EP of our recent full length album “Sand Hills”. We have great remixers on board: Jay Haze, Hugo, Uner and Santé. After a short break we have also started working on new 12s. The next one will be a release on MBF together with a remix by Dirt Crew.