Over the past decade-plus, Teki Latex has consistently done more than almost anyone else, building a venerable solo career, seemingly expanding into new formats, platforms and arenas on a near-weekly basis, and imprinting his uniquely open curatorial lens on a huge assortment of projects. Nowadays, you’ll find Teki, born Julien Pradeyrol, at the helm of the insistently current Sound Pellegrino label (run in tandem with longtime creative partners Orgasmic and Emile Shahidi), hosting and curating the “2-hour long weekly DJ television program” Overdrive Infinity, and touring the globe, playing everything from A Club Called Rhonda here in Los Angeles to FWD in London and Cakeshop in Seoul. Inspired by contemporary ballroom legends like MikeQ and Vjuan Allue, Teki is also a member of Paris’ House of Ninja and has become active in the city’s ballroom culture, playing regularly at and supporting balls across the city and even putting on a vogue-focused Boiler Room earlier this year. In short, if you haven’t caught at least a few of Teki’s movements over the past few years you’re not looking in the right places and are almost certainly missing out. After all, the borders between Teki’s many projects are flimsy at best it’s no surprise when an artist contributes a song to a SND.PE compilation, appears on Overdrive Infinity and plays b2b with Teki himself at a world famous London club as Loom has done over the past few months.
For our 100th Astral Plane mix, we wanted to bring in an artist with longevity, sprawling creativity and an unabashed community spirit and I think we’d be hard pressed to find anyone better for that roll than Teki Latex. We spoke with Pradeyrol about his roll as a polyglot and how that effects his bookings and professional perception, his roll with TTC and Eurocrunk’s continuous influence on contemporary crossover forms, and the next wave of French artists and parties he’s in constant dialogue with. His mix is a rambling three deck affair that runs through eras and genres with a reckless flair that only a DJ as skilled as Teki can maintain. 2014’s Deconstructed Trance Reconstructed mix is still one of our favorite mixes of all time and Teki’s work on Astral Plane Mix 100 only expands that affection we feel for the Parisian legend, effortlessly walking the line between the most affective, self-serious modes of club music and its most gregarious, silly fringe. Few artists work as hard as Pradeyrol and even fewer seem to have anywhere near as much fun as he does while doing it. Hit the jump below for our extensive (and wonderful) talk with Teki and a track list (you’ll need it) and the bottom of the article. Enjoy.
Hi Julien, how are you? Where are you answering these questions from?
Hey I’m great thanks! Answering live from my apartment, sitting in this little room i like to call “the computer room” where we used to practice and record the Sound Pellegrino podcast, and where my old CDJ 1000s are currently collecting dust.
What’s the best meal and best show you’ve eaten/played recently?
Meal was some incredible ramen in Tokyo… I wanna talk about an insane pasta + beef tail meal I ate in Rome but that was already last October… I had some amazing barbecue in Texas recently too. And best show… must have been Cakeshop in Seoul – Or FWD in London where I played back to back with Loom. Two very unique and great places.
The SND.PE compilation series has grown into one of the most formidable entities in contemporary club music as you’ve brought in artists from huge range of backgrounds, geographies and sonic styles. Has your goal always been to represent a huge cross-section of the dance music world? It certainly seems that way!
That is a very nice observation and yeah we’re sort of obsessed with creating links between scenes and operating at the crossroads. That was the idea behind the whole “crossover series” too. There’s no real specific French-born local music scene (arguably) so this is kind of what the French trademark has become. A sound, an aesthetic that’s blending different sensibilities together. I’m still fascinated by how Feadz, Orgasmic, Koyote or Kazey would blend rap tracks with techno and ghettotech or bmore when I started clubbing in the early 2000s and I wanna believe it’s part of our collective french club DNA now. I love the idea of having Truncate, Vjuan Allure and Loom together side by side on the same compilation.
Your mixes often feature music from a huge array of different eras, genres and cultures and it’s my impression that a lot people discover new artists or scenes through your work. That could be a techno person finding out about French rap or someone who only listens to synth pop finding out about Wiley’s devil mixes or something like that. Who do you see as your main audience and are you comfortable being thought of as a sort of polyglot or a totally omnivorous DJ?
Again, I’ve accepted it but sometimes it’s a bit of a burden. I’ve met amazing open-minded DJs who have told me their number of bookings have tripled since they decided to focus on a narrower spectrum of music. They still play music they love but since they’ve narrowed it down to a specific style, they became easier to identify, people know what to expect from them, and so they get tons of bookings. I’m happy with the number of bookings I have but you know, i still feel kind of slept on by a lot of promoters and music press. I feel like when Ludacris was complaining that he was never in anyone’s top 5 MCs lists because he was too eccentric and hard to pigeonhole. I should just stick to one thing, but it’s hard, don’t have what it takes to do that because my personality is not like that, I don’t know how to explain it, i’m all over the place and so it’s hard to figure out who my audience is, except people who are used to expecting the unexpected from me. I’m built like that and the synapses in my brain refuse to connect certain things when it comes to musical genres. I’ll listen to a hard ass metallic industrial techno track and I’ll hear a ballroom beat in it. I always put things in the wrong genre and make weird connections that only seem obvious to me, and then after a while i suppose it becomes “my style” of mixing or whatever. To be honest my biggest dream would be, like you said, for someone who’s only into synthpop to listen to a mix of mine and find out about Wiley’s Devil mixes – that would be fantastic – but i don’t know if many strictly synthpop heads listen to my stuff.
You’ve spoken about your fondness for and involvement in the Eurocrunk sound of the early 2000s. Do you see any remnants of it in contemporary music? In either the hip hop or electronic worlds? Obviously trap became a huge commercial entity, but I feel like Eurocrunk was something else entirely.
First of all I’m always amazed when people bring up this forgotten little episode in French electronic music we called (or didn’t really call) Eurocrunk. Re: remnants in today’s electronic music, absolutely. The acceptance and sampling of Hardstyle and Trance are a remnant of that in a way. We were mixing hardstyle records into our sets and Orgasmic was chopping them up to make Cuizinier beats in 2006 back when it wasn’t a cool thing to do, like at all. And now a lot of new producers embrace those styles and it’s become way more acceptable than it was back then, whether it is in a big EDM Trap festival context or in an underground experimental woke soundcloud producer context. There’s remnants of Eurocrunk everywhere, simply what certain people like Teeth (who used to be in a Finnish rap group, rapping over half time minimal dub techno beats back in those days) or Orgasmic and Feadz are still doing now… Or the L.A / Glasgow / Montreal beat scene thing that came up around the same time in the mid 2000s, you can find some Eurocrunk influences there too. A lot of it comes from Modeselektor, who were part of the whole Eurocrunk thing. What Radioclit did as far as digging for global dance music goes and putting it through the filter of futuristic electro and techno, that’s also very present now obviously. I meet a lot of producers and DJs in today’s scene, from Mokona to DJ Haus, who tell me about Eurocrunk or old TTC records… L-Vis and Bok Bok used to come to TTC shows, That stuff carries some sort of legacy and not only in France
Which young artists in the Paris scene, or French electronic world at large, do you see making a splash over the next few years? There’s obviously a fervent culture for producers working on the fringe of club sounds and you’re doing an excellent job with Overdrive Infinity and Sound Pellegrino to put on artists who otherwise might not get any attention.
There’s tons of new producers in Paris who are making moves, off the top of my head I’ll cite Doline, Le Dom, Sunareht, Sylvère, Club Kelly from Bordeaux.. Martel Ferdan from Aix… there’s a new scene coming up and people are starting to connect and realize that they are collectively creating the French sound of now. We’re actually all meeting up regularly to discuss the matter of the French sound, is there one? How can one develop organically? There’s a lot of stuff going on in Paris right now but again a lot of it is a french interpretation and mash ups of dance music genres that were created elsewhere. I think we all need to go further and find the french sound of 2016 and beyond.
Similarly, what parties (besides your own) do you enjoy when you’re home in Paris?
Betty’s Bonus Stage party is definitely the one. The ReSources party ran by Tommy Kid always has a good vibe… Rinse France’s Club Phantom parties with the secret line ups were dope last year, I hope they’re bringing them back this year. I go to a lot of Vogue Balls, (vogueing competitions). There’s a strong scene in Paris and the vibe there is incredible. I became close to that scene recently and it’s been super fun. On a more retro tip La Mona is amazing if you want to see excellent dancers do their thing to the more old school aspects of voguing and waacking culture, more house, disco… but still exciting and entertaining.
You’ve mentioned that you have something of an obsession with television and fantasy in previous interviews. What are your wildest dreams for Overdrive Infinity? You’ve more or less mastered the live streaming DJ set at this point and extended it to other platforms like Boiler Room so how do you see it progressing and what can we expect from OI in the next few years?
I can’t really say much yet because it’s not 100% official but there should be some interesting moves for Overdrive Infinity happening this year. My wildest dream is to do another Overdrive Infinity Summer House like we did in 2014 with Oneman, Murlo, Scratcha DVA, Martelo and all the french crew, in the South of France, in a crazy villa with a swimming pool. That was probably the best 3 days of my adult life. Like going to summer camp with all of my favorite people in the world + some of my heroes. Hopefully we can find sponsors who can help us make it happen again someday, in an even bigger and better way. As far as the medium of web TV and DJ streaming shows in general goes, of course I wanna see it progress in a totally high tech, multi camera, virtual reality way and I guess were almost there, it’s a matter of a couple of years…
Who are some of your dream guests for the show?
I don’t want to jinx it! Eventually I’m confident that I’ll get all the people on my wish list one day or another.
Tell us about the mix you put together. What mindset were you in while you were recording? Are there any important themes or topics you bring up in the mix?
I knew I wanted to do something different from my recent Boiler Room session which was very dance-oriented because there were a lot of dancers from the Ballroom and Waacking scenes in attendance that night, so I was happy to play for them and install more of a party mood. With the Astral Plane mix obviously it wasn’t recorded in front of an audience so it’s less of a dance thing. It’s more of an experiment, it’s the dark side to the BR mix, and it’s more about dropping new tracks i wouldn’t necessarily play in clubs, older tracks that have influenced me, and weird stuff in between. As usual it’s all over the place genre-wise and Luke from 2 Live Crew sits next to Gescom, Fiedel, Tarquin & Jean Michel Jarre in the tracklisting. It’s recorded live with 3 CDJs and it’s a lot of long blends and collages and not a lot of times when you’ll hear only one track by itself without another track (or two) superimposed on top. Just the way I like it. I guess now that the mix is done you could say that the themes of loneliness and togetherness emerge from it sort of, but it wasn’t really done on purpose. I just knew I wanted to start with that Bronski Beat extended version and finish with Kid 606 which is my go-to end track at the moment, everything in between is just me thinking “oh this would go well with that”
What medium that you haven’t worked in yet would you like to/plan on working in?
I wish people would give me the opportunity to design clothes more often. I don’t want to have my own brand or anything, i just want to collaborate with people who know what they are doing and just bring in ideas and colorways and details, just because I love outerwear and shoes. We just did a collaboration with Japanese brand Phenomenon but unfortunately that’s not going to production besides the 4 samples they made for us.
Where do you generate the most trash, either physically or digitally?
Physically, I don’t know I guess in the kitchen? Digitally, in the pictures section of my phone, there’s a lot of outtakes and failed selfies and terrible pics of my dj friends who ask me to shoot them while they play in dark clubs. Also I tend to persuade myself i should go back to writing raps, then type a few punchlines in the notebook app, only to delete them on the next day after finding out they were absolute trash and it was a very bad idea to begin with. This question feels like an ongoing experiment.
Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy
Tarquin – Brass Tax
Gage – Hyphema
Fiedel – Sloth Moth
??? – ???
Byrell the Great – NY to UK feat. Neana on the trak
Bleaker – Rhymez V3
Hrdvsion – Disappearing Act
Gescom – Key Nell 3
Tarquin – Mc Nulty
Luke – I Wanna Rock
Slackk – Pigeons
Bohagon – Diamond & Princess from Crime Mob & Fabo – Wuz Up
Glacci – Reflector II
Le Dom – Bayern
T_A_M – Watty
Jean Michel Jarre – Zoolook
Lloyd SB – Tuesday Night Bubble07
Loom – Hardest in the Year
Kid 606 – Catstep/My Kitten/Catnap (Vatstep Dsp Remix)