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Wax Taylor - The Slippery Styles Of Wax Tailor

Author: Justin Levy
Friday, 14 December 2007
When you think of French hip hop – if you have, and if you’re not puzzled by the idea – chances are you’ll think of wax tailor. 3D’s Justin Levy asks the busy composer / DJ about his albums, old and new.

Wax, otherwise known as JC Le Saout, doesn’t mind me asking him what style he would like to be known for.

“I’ve had a lot of discussion with journalists most of the time about me being beyond hip hop, being trip hop – but personally I think it’s 100 percent hip hop,” he says slowly in his deep French accent. “I think it’s just a question of the definition of hip hop culture, and I personally think I began in this culture with my usual instrument, the sampler. And for me I don’t even think I could be able to work differently, even if I put different elements in my music – I still think it’s still coming from the hip hop culture,” he tells of his distinct sample-infused hip hop melodies.

Australia has been spoilt with an abundance of JC in 2007, with talk of a possible tour next year, and the release of both of his albums this year; the delayed 2005 album Tales of the Forgotten Melodies and the new, Hope and Sorrow. JC believes they are two very different projects.

“I think the first album was not so much telling a story, it was more melancholic and more instrumental. And for this new album, to produce it I knew I wanted something more vocal, and when I began to work on it, I realised it was more contracted than the first one.”

The Hope and Sorrow title is definitely trite, but when you hear him explain his reasoning it doesn’t seem as superficial – in fact it sounds surprisingly genuine.

“I think it’s sentimental. In everybody’s life you have moments when you have some hopes, and then you have some sorrows, and you’re walking on a line between these elements.” The title is a reflection of how seriously JC takes his musical work, and how the success or failure of his albums has a very personal effect on him. “When I talk about the bad aspects I mean the things that are happening behind the scenes: just about the fact that more and more people are discovering the music. It is a pleasure, and I think it’s like this because of the way I built the project, because I’m my own producer.”

JC has a reputation for using film samples in his music to build a dialogue or raise still important issues. For instance, his use of cuts from the classic Chaplin film, The Dictator, reflect the way he feels about French politics. He admits this is partly because he is a self-professed film buff, and has found a way to combine his two passions. He also uses the English language, with much of his samples being English or American, and not his native French. This is because of the universality of the English language and understanding, he explains.

“I think that the first reason I did it was reinvention, because I really wanted something from the story, and I thought another language would break the construction. The idea behind it was not really trying to make a story… It’s important for me to create an atmosphere and for people to create their own story about it,” he says.

“Some will say it’s very dark or it’s melancholic and you’ve got some hope in it. I think it’s just about the vision you get. I got a message from a guy and he just said he was listening to the album when he was making love to his wife. It explained quite correctly what I wanted to do – to open minds to people.”

WHO: Wax Tailor
WHAT: Tales of the Forgotten Melodies and Hope and Sorrow through Blend Corp
WHEN: Out now