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Alan Braxe - The New Braxe

Author: Cyclone
Monday, 27 October 2008

French producer Alan Braxe is probably best known as the co-writer of Music Sounds Better With You, alongside Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter under the alias Stardust. However, as 3D’s Cyclone discovers, there’s a whole other side to the man.

Alan Braxe doesn’t have the high media profile of other post-‘French touch’ figures, such as Ed Banger’s Busy P, but his influence is no less significant.

However, in 2008, Braxe is keen to transcend the underground – and dance music, per se. “I’m interested in music heavily, so I’m interested in working with a lot of people in different styles – not only in club music,” he says.

The Parisian Braxe, real name Alain Quême, discovered house, techno and club culture at the onset of the ’90s, having grown up listening to hip hop, electro and new wave. Later he ventured into production.

Braxe came to the attention of dance trainspotters with his single Vertigo on Thomas Bangalter’s Roule Music. The DJ then co-wrote Stardust’s euphoric Music Sounds Better With You, something he’s since downplayed. At the time, Braxe says, he was a novice. Still, thanks to Bangalter, Braxe was sufficiently encouraged to introduce an imprint, Vulture, in 2000.

The newcomer consolidated a partnership with bassist Fred Falke, whom he met in the army when fulfilling his French national service. Their Intro launched Vulture. They also won kudos remixing Death From Above 1979’s Black History Month.

Today the pals are no longer a unit, Falke’s living in Toulouse, in France’s south, too great an impediment to collaboration. “We stopped doing music together one year ago,” Braxe explains. “Fred is doing his own stuff – and the same for me.”

Though Braxe can lay a small claim to the rise of the French touch, these days he’s better known for a techno-driven style – his music closer to Ivan Smagghe’s death disco than Daft Punk.

Braxe isn’t anti-pop. He’s remixed Britney Spears and Annie’s Heartbeat. It was widely reported that he would contribute to Annie’s (delayed) second album, Don’t Stop, along with Richard X, but Braxe maintains that, despite exchanging emails with the Norwegian pop star, it never amounted to anything.

He’s keeping busy. Braxe’s Nightwatcher, a favourite with Radio One’s Pete Tong, is out on Island in the UK. “I’m producing rock for an artist called Killa Kela. He’s a very well known beatboxer. He’s working on his album and I’m producing a few tracks for him.”

Braxe will again concentrate on his solo music in 2009. Possibly then he’ll consider an album (2005’s The Upper Cuts was strictly a compilation). The Rubicon producer is embracing old school studio values. “When I started to make music, I had a very small studio with just a few machines. In a way, I regret this because now I have a big computer with thousands of sounds – and I’m not that excited with the new technology. So what I’m trying to do now is just forget about all the plug-ins and the computer and go back to the basics. I’m doing simple music.”

Braxe visited Australia last year with another pal, Kris Menace. He’s anticipating his return. And Braxe has a musical connection to Australia, remixing Van She’s early Kelly.

“I think you have a very strong music scene now,” he says. “There is this band called Midnight Juggernauts who are fantastic – Van She are really good as well, The Presets... Your music scene is really creative.”

WHO: Alan Braxe
WHAT: Plays French Kiss at Yu
WHEN: Saturday 1 November
MORE: frenchkiss.net.au

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