French DJ and producer Paul Cut released his ‘Le Bal des Douaniers’ album earlier this year, a feast of precisely executed deep house, disco-flecked dance floor jams and more. We got Paul to talk us through the album track by track.
As an intro for the album, I thought it would be interesting to mimic an orchestra getting in tune before a concert. The version on the album was actually supposed to be a quick draft, to show to Siler, Popcorn Records’ boss what I had in mind. But then I realized I had what I wanted! The addition of non-classical chords was my little personal touch.
This track was actually the last one that was made, shortly after I settled in Portugal. Its name is a mix between Costa da Caparica, where I live, and paradise, because that’s what it is to me! I was inspired by the place, where the summer and the days never seem to end. The repetition you can find in the track is a way to transmit this feeling of stillness in time and peace. As for the influences, I would have to name Dego & Kaidi, their work has had a huge influence on mine.
This is one of my favourite tracks of the album, mostly because of the variety of vibes it carries. I wanted to make a bridge between some micro house and funky house, a real trip in a track!
The way it was composed was building step by step to another mood, and the idea of switching the vibe came when I found out that I could use some different chords on the sub bassline, it was then fun to change that as well, towards something more acoustic and funky!
This track is maybe the deepest of the album, trying to set something a bit more mysterious, with a bassline acting like a lead part. Fun fact about the exotic bird noises in the background: I actually recorded those myself, in a bar in Portugal. I got in there and it felt like I was in the middle of the rainforest, there were actually some birdcages right outside, so I took my phone out immediately and recorded it! This one was probably influenced by Playin’ 4 the City’s work.
Les Gars Si
Here comes the fast side of the album! I was happy to include some tracks around 140 bpm (along with the one right after), something I find harder to do on EPs, but there should be more in the next releases!
This song was initiated a few years ago and then put one side. I came back to it when I got my MPC 2000XL, which I love. It allowed me to give much more punch to the track, and that MPC feeling for those who know it. As for the influences, it’s mainly my amazing brother Mad Rey, and probably a bit of Mr G as well!
Still on the fast side, but a bit more melancholic than the previous one. I love how some pads and melodies can completely soften a nasty drums and bass duo. You can hear the MPC 2000XL in there too. The intention was to create a good track to play when it’s going fast in a DJ set, but allowing you to calm things down for a while, before going back to some faster stuff! Easter egg: PPSB stands for ‘Pauvres petits sans bière’. Go have a drink kids!
This track is an hommage to two producers I respect a lot, Flytronix and Hoax. I enjoyed their stuff so much that I had to go for it myself. I almost forgot about this track though, because I started it 3 years ago, and then my laptop fell down the stairs at that time, and I lost all the files I recorded in there. Stumbled upon a demo of it in my iTunes while I was in the process of making the album, and thought it belonged there, so I started the track back from scratch! The solo wasn’t planned at first, but while searching for something to add to the track on my MicroKorg, this lead felt just right. Shout out to my friend and great singer Léa Swan, doing the subtle vocal parts on the breaks. Thanks again to her!
This track was based on the flute sample, from Chocolate Milk’s ‘America‘, I thought it would really fit with a Latin vibe, meeting with downtempo electronic music. I really love to play those piano Montunos riffs, but don’t get to do it much… Here was my chance! The drums are 808 sounds, to give that electronic feeling, but a full acoustic Bossa version with Portuguese singing is also on the way!
This track, first of the two digital bonuses, is a wink towards the label, Popcorn. Its founder, Siler, gave me the opportunity to make my first vinyl release on this label, making it my home as well. The hip hop drum sample is exactly the same one I used on the A1 of the first vinyl, ‘Basement Jam’, and I mostly used my Yamaha Reface CP for the Rhodes and Clavi sounds. I can’t thank Popcorn Records enough, showing me so much support from that first release until this first solo album, and still going strong!
And finally, ‘Perc It’. Huge influence from Jazzanova, geniuses beyond anything. I recorded most of the parts with my good old Juno D-i, first synth I ever got but still useful! I had most of the track there, but there was still some space for one more element, so I put the percs kit on the Juno, and jammed over the whole track, first take was it! Maybe there’s a few mistakes here and there, but at least it’s authentic.