An interview with I:Cube

If one word can describe the music scene in 2012 it’s expansive. Our ears are inundated with releases, which is great so far as exposure to new sounds goes, but there is a pretty serious downside, with seemingly ever-shorter shelf lives becoming a forget-the-title-after-two-weeks reality.

Not so in the case of I:Cube‘s fifth solo album though, M Megamix, which arrived recently (read our review of the LP here). Less contemporary and more timeless, it’s a meld of original music delivered in an often staccato, frequently surprising format that manages to create a coherent, logical whole. Touching on house, techno, electro, and all manner of engaging electronic noises from in between the three- exemplary of the notion that excitement, integrity and truly interesting tracks are not mutually exclusive. With this in mind, and said CD still spinning, we decided to ask the multi-faceted, multi-talented man, AKA Nicolas Chaix, a few questions to discuss his most recent gift to the masses. Here’s how it went down.

Hi Nicolas, hope all’s well today. Really enjoyed the album, it seems like a lot of planning must have gone into it- how did the process start? 

Hello, thanks very much. Over the last two years I’ve been making lots of music and was really fed up with the usual dance music album; that’s the reason why I didn’t release an album for such a long time. I wanted to go back to something more simple and naive in a way. You can call it retro, but with today’s edge. I had all these bits of music, and thought why not present it as it is, a collection of short tracks all put together as a mixtape, but nothing too perfect.”

In terms of the track running order at times things feel logical but random; was it a case of producing tunes then putting them together or producing tunes that would work in a pre-determined order? 

The final order was done in five minutes, really instinctively. It’s a good thing because it stays simple and rough and I like that element of randomness. After the selection it took some time to redo the mix of most of these tracks to make the whole thing more consistent.

Compared with most house music mixes there are far more styles inherent here- do you find most DJ compilations boring? 

“M Megamix is not really a DJ mix, it’s more like a kind of hip hop beatmakers mixtape. I like diversity, I like to be suprised when I listen to a DJ mix, and I prefer DJs who take some risks and create a reaction.

After finishing the album and releasing, is there much you’d change about it? 

Perhaps a few little mistakes with the length and tracklist, but I’m very happy as it is. I could have squeezed even more tunes in there too, but then I suppose it would be almost unlistenable.

Another one of your projects, Chateau Flight, what’s happening there at the moment? 

We are just releasing a new E.P. called Kounka with two remixes by Steve Moore- expect some hypnotic stellar afro trance. And we are also planning to work together again in the studio.

French house music, or French dance music, seems to be in quite a healthy place at the moment overall- what’s your take on that? 

It’s strange because I don’t really relate music with a specific country but you’re right, there’s some good stuff. New producers, new labels, and a lot of enthusiasm.

And in terms of the global house music scene- do you think it’s healthier now, compared with say 1996? 

It’s obviously totally different, if not healthier, it’s surely even more crazy to follow than back then. I think nowdays there is a huge amount of good new music, but then you have to go to some effort to find it.

Finally, what’s coming up over the summer? 

I’m planning to perform live in various locations through Europe. It won’t be exactly like the album, some unreleased material, some stretched and different versions. A combination of harware machines and software. Besides that, I’ll be DJing as always too.