Stwo has been the leading force behind the French R&B revolution since he broke into North America in August of 2013; he's the big daddy, the founding father, les grand testicules. Over the past 12 months, the Parisian producer has gone from Internet phenomenon to month-long tours and for good reason. He puts a much-needed, original spin on R&B in a scene dominated by half-baked, slowed down Ciara edits (sorry Joe Kay), and I can say from personal experience that he puts on one hell of a party. The first time that we met IRL was in a grimy parkade in West Austin where we talked almost exclusively about food. From there we met up in Vancouver where, alongside Pomo, the two had sold out Fortune Sound Club in spectacular fashion. With his latest month-and a-half long tour at a close, we linked up with Stwo again to share some highlights from 2014.
We decided to start our interview where our last one left off: with food. Thinking that Canadian bacon, German sausages, Italian pizzas, and Greek counterfeit vodka would be standouts, it turns out that the best food Stwo ever had on tour was at a fried chicken restaurant in Sydney, Australia. "The promoters [Future Classic + BBE] took me there and told me that [Kaytranda] had loved it," he says, "so I thought 'well, if anyone knows his fried chicken it's Kay.' It was so much more than fried chicken, it was this whole… just wow."
Sydney stood out for more than just fried chicken though. His 15-day Australian tour took him to the famed Sydney Opera House, an experience Stwo describes as surreal. "It was crazy because promoters can't just rent the venue," he tells me, "you have to be selected so even some huge artists can't play there just because they want to. That was so humbling and amazing to me." As a whole the tour made a strong impression on him, partly because so many people on the opposite side of the world were engaged with his sound, and partly because of a close call in Christchurch, NZ. Stwo laughs as he tells me the story. "I was touring with Sango and Pomo at the time, and going into the night we knew that the crowd in Christchurch was a lot rowdier than others because they were mainly there just to drink. I started playing and people were rocking the DJ booth—my laptop nearly fell off! Sango gets on the mic and tells people to be respectful, and it only lasts for a few minutes. He got back on the mic and I've never seen him that mad, he went white. It was a close call with my laptop, but it was funny to see Sango like that."
Most surprising of all to Stwo has been his reception in Germany, a country he never expected to pick up on hip-hop and R&B. Admitting that he thought all the Germans listen to is techno, the Parisian plays more shows there than in his own country. In fact, he had just gotten back from a show in Hamburg last night. London it seems is also a huge favourite. Speaking on the recent sold out show with Kaytranada and Sango at KOKO, Stwo recounts the experience wistfully. "It was a homie party, you know? All of us were having fun on stage while Kaytranada was playing to this crowd of 2000+ people, and when we weren't playing shows we were in the studio together. I got to see how Kay works and how Sango works, and it was by far the most inspiring experience for me."
When it came to SXSW stories, there were too many to count. From playing showcases with Wiz Khalifa on the sidelines to meeting all the producers that he's known for months (or years) online, he has fond memories of the festival and his sights are set on returning. "America, South America, Asian—there are so many cities that I'll be playing soon or hope to play in the near future," he says with an air of excitement. For now though, he'll settle for relaxing at home and recovering from a month-and-a-half of cheeseburgers, whiskey, and airport terminals.
Ziad Ramley would like to take you out for a nice lobster dinner - @bluuuuueeeeeee
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