Romain FX marks debut EP with cosmic Q&A session
We spoke to the effervescent man behind Hong Kong based Fauve Radio to find out a little more about his forthcoming record and musical influences, and discovered some potentially explosive information about his possibly reptilian previous incarnation.
This really is a grand effort from Romain FX. The brand new Fauve Records label launches with his debut EP of originally composed work, following on from some carefully constructed edits put out earlier in the year.
Each of the four synth-heavy tracks on offer are bold, energetic and vibrant. Our pick of a virile bunch is ‘Ke Ai’, which we wanted to play you here. Driving bass is warmly embraced by lush pads, as the dynamic top-line canters on purposefully. The track builds and drops throughout, as heart-warming synth layers interplay, pulsate and intoxicate.
This confident and impressive debut is sure to turn more than a few heads, and we’re sure it marks only the begining for Fauve Records. Onward, then, to our lively conversation with Mr. FX, who seems to us to be bubbly, down to earth, and refreshingly honest.
Can you tell us a little about your musical journey - was there a particular point in your life or song/album/artist you heard that particularly inspired you to create music, or was it more of a gradual development?
For my part, it was a gradual development. My parents loved music but were never that much into it, so on that front, I can’t be like some producers who say “My dad had a collection of 10,000 records…”
But, as I got more and more into the music, I actually realised that this was an asset. Having grown up in places like Tennessee, Nashville, Taipei and Hong Kong mainly, changing local schools where I didn’t speak the language at first, I feel that I have never got influenced that much when it comes to music. I realised that even more when I moved to France for the first time - there was this whole idea of trend, as people were so into music so you would hear who was the ‘next best things’ through friends a lot of the time, and I feel this didn’t give you the chance to really create your own identity. I’ll let you in on a little secret: the first time I heard about George Michael was when he passed away… so, yeah.
RIP George, that man really had soul. We’d like to talk about Fauve Radio. how long has the station been running, how did it come to life and what are your plans for its future?
We are going to celebrate our 2nd anniversary on the 7th of December at the same time as Mahka’s 3rd anniversary (The shop that hosts us). The idea came into my head actually 4 years ago, but it took me some time to find the motivation to start a project of this scale - finding the right people to help out, save money to sponsor it, and find the best venue to do it in. But as the years past, our team of passionate pro-bono people is growing bigger and bigger. The idea for the next step is to really create an ego-free and good vibe hub of people and to grow from there.
We just bought new streaming equipment for a more mobile set up so we’re are going to start doing more and more live streams all around Asia to showcase as much as possible the local talents to the world. And of course, this month we have the pleasure to announce the launch of Fauve Radio’s brother Fauve Records, with the first release being my first original EP you’re highlighting here. I know a lot of you might be thinking “he’s releasing his first EP on his own label that sounds a bit much”, but for me, it made the most sense, and look at MCDE, he did the same. Anyways through the label, the same mindset will be involved, it’s going to be here to really connect the Asian scene with the international scene, with collaborative EPs and international remixes and original musical influences from Asia.
Sounds very exciting, man. Can you tell us a little about your musical process for the new record (did you work fast, or carry-on for days and nights on end for example)?
Funny enough I realised that the tracks I’m usually most happy with are actually the tracks I produce the quickest. I don’t know sometimes there is just the flow of ideas that comes into your mind and all the different elements are falling into place so nicely. I think if you’re too much in your head then the music doesn’t come out like it’s supposed to be, it’s supposed to come out from your heart before anything else, and for fuck’s sake have fun making music! Don’t see it as a job or having to prove anything to anyone.
The record has a synth-heavy 80s feel, did you have any particular inspiration or influences that contributed to this?
I can definitely name two persons that inspired me for this release, Lauer and Skatebard. They have a way of catching the best part of the 80’s - with hooky melodies that on there own would sound cheesy, but for some reason with the whole composition works. I realised I didn’t want to release for the underground scene or for the commercial scene, I really want to catch that middle ground and I feel both Lauer and Skatebard are the ones that do it the best at the moment. And of course another thing is this funky side that I love, I like to create tracks that are not boring, that surprise you, that switches up, as before being a producer I’m a DJ, and I think that shows in my production. Well, I hope haha.
We definitely hear shades of Lauer in this record! Can you tell us anything about your studio set up, any exciting kit or gizmos you couldn't live without?
Ah yes, the studio, a whirlwind of cables, headaches and holes in your wallet.
On my end, since I don’t have the money to buy most of the synth I love, I try to find the cheapest solutions. The best buy I did was definitely the DX7, and the others on my list next are the Korg M1 and the Kurzweil K2000. I also have a Korg 770 that makes that thick analogue bassline sounds that I love, and a copy of an 808 called Yocto because I don’t have the money to buy a real one. But yeah, most of the main elements are done through analog, then I use VSTs - and I’m not ashamed to admit it because, in the end, it’s not what you use but the outcome, and I’ve always believed in that. You can buy the fanciest synth, but if you don’t really feel them and discover them, you won’t release anything.
What would be the perfect setting to listen to your music?
Imagine a world that had one huge island that took all the best part of every city, their cultures, their mindsets, their creativity and everyone lived in harmony on this Island. I would hope that my music would be the theme song to this fantasy.
This sounds like some kind of awesome utopia. If you ever find it, let us know so we can pack up our belongings and migrate there! Now, what artists from any point in time would you love to collaborate with, and why?
Woah, such a tough question… So many… But if I had to choose, for me I would love to collaborate with Kuniyuki Takahashi, go to his studio in the mountain in Sapporo and learn from the situ. He has an approach to music I’ve never seen before, would create melodies, atmosphere with the most random sounds and tweak it to create his universe. I’m also working at the moment with a tambour musician from Iran called Farzan to create a mini album with middle eastern-influenced, and it’s such a joy to work with someone with such a big heart and passion about music.
We can’t wait to hear it. So, what was the first record you ever bought?
Funnily enough, it was a record from a recent indie band called Syd Matters, the album was called ‘Brotherocean’. I went to see their live performance and fell in love with their world, and all the musicians were multi-instrumentalist and were exchanging instruments throughout the whole show, so I thought I had to support them as it was really impressive. I only started properly collecting records when I was 19years old - so quite late - and, like I said, I never really had influences except when I moved to France. So my first record is not as interesting as some can be hehe.
Is there a particularly guilty pleasure hidden in your record collection that you are happy to share with us?
Hmmmm… I would say Supermen Lovers - Starlight for sure. I grew up watching the clip over and over when I was a kid and it’s probably the only track that I can say I grew up with.
That’s not too embarrassing, there’s also a cheeky Derek Carter mix of that you know. Now, do you have a dream venue for a gig?
I don’t really care so much about venues and the hypes behind them to be honest. I prefer a small room, intimate settings in general so I can connect with the crowd. If the sound system is fucked up or the booth is flimsy I feel it gives an extra challenge and a certain charm to the night and also the performance experience as a DJ. So, make me play in a meat market and I’ll be happy.
If your music were an ice cream/ gelato/ sorbet flavour, what would it be?
Anything exciting on the horizon?
Lot’s of exciting things, some stuff I can’t really talk about just yet but yeah, speeding up the machine for sure and making the most of the journey and getting the same vibe people on board on this journey!
And finally, is there anything completely unrelated to music you'd like to tell us about?
I can tremble my eyes like as fast as a rattle snake’s tail and I can squirt saliva from the bottom of my tong… I think I was a snake in a previous life
You nasty, Romain. But thanks so much for talking to us, and very best of luck with the release and future projects.
The release date is late October, and you can find the record in all good stores. Check out the whole release here