"Lots of people come up to me at gigs and start speaking to me in Swedish," says Cédric Steinmyller, the French producer who helped bring melodic house music to the forefront back in 2013. "But I'm like, 'no, sorry.' I don't understand anything they're saying."
The confusion is understandable. Both Klingande, Steinmyller's stage name, and "Jubel," the title track that launched his career, are both Swedish terms.
"I wanted to stay a little bit anonymous," says Steinmyller of his Swedish tags. "People weren't able to tell that I'm French. It was fun because my friends were listening to my song [Jubel], but they didn't know it was me. When I asked them 'what do you think about this song?' they thought it was someone else."
Yet, with three chart-topping feel good singles, a global tour, and 178,000 followers on SoundCloud, Steinmyller's identity couldn't stay hidden for long. Since the release of "Jubel," the 26th most Shazamed track of all time, the producer's career has been steadily skyrocketing.
"It was a big surprise," he tells THUMP. "I just made the song in my bedroom and the singer is a sister of a friend. I put the song on YouTube and SoundCloud, and I don't know why, but everything just happened.
With a full-length album, a new live show, and some Canadian tour dates fast approaching, Steinmyller sat down with THUMP over Skype to talk Klingande—past, present, and future.
THUMP: You'll be touching down in both Montreal and Calgary this September. What can your Canadian fans expect from your show that they haven't encountered before?
Klingande: I'm working on a show with a lot of musicians. Once my album is done, I would love to be on stage with maybe eight or 10 musicians and play my songs from scratch. I want to move from just a DJ set. I've been doing that for over two years, and I think it's really cool, but I would love to experience something else. It's more interesting to build a live show because you can do so much more.
Do you prefer to work by yourself or with others?
When I was working on "Riva," I wanted to do something new, not another song with the sax, so it took me a while to figure it out. I met this singer called Broken Back and it was a very different process because I was working with someone else and typically I'm always working alone. It was a good experience. I think now I would like to do more music and more collaborations. It's much faster to finish. I love when you can speak and share your ideas with someone. For a singer, I would love to work with a girl like [Florence from Florence and the Machine], that kind of voice. I would also love to someday work with a guy like Flume.
What can fans expect from the new album?
I'm still working on it. I have maybe four new songs finished. I would love it to be released the beginning of next year, but my main objective right now is to do a single for next month. After that, I'll finish the album. It will still be a lot of melodic house with a lot of light instrumentals. Saxophone, violin, harmonica will be the core of the album, but there will also be some more ballads, more easy-going stuff. It's what I like. There are elements that make you feel good. You have to smile when you're listening to my music.
You're frequently labelled as tropical house. Why do you think the genre's taken off as much as it has? Do you think it's a trend?
It's something that's very new. People have been listening to a lot of different big room music, but tropical house, it's a lot of melody and you can listen to it in a lot of new and different situations. I think everything's a trend, but I hope that it stays for a long time. The good thing is that a lot of artists coming up in this kind of music are making big hits. It's working right now. In Europe, a lot of songs are from the tropical house genre. But I don't categorize myself that much as tropical house. Tropical house is more like Thomas Jack, Kygo, and Matoma.
After the success of "Jubel" you left school to focus on your work as Klingande. Were people supportive of your decision?
At the beginning, not really, but now they are. When I left school, I really knew that I wanted to make melodic house music. People expected me to go to school and go straight into marketing or something. It's very difficult to be a DJ and my friends and family knew that. They thought I should focus more on my studies than on music. When I was young, [my parents] asked me to go into music and study the piano, but I didn't want to. In the end, I'm happy I did.
What's the dance scene like in Lille, France?
Dance music is big, especially deep house and techno. Growing up, I was not a huge fan of going to festivals, but I was listening to a lot of that kind of festival music. It festivals themselves just weren't my scene. I really love the music and I'm more open-minded. I can listen to so many different kinds of things now. I can understand why you'd go to a festival because you can see so many different artists.
What will your legacy be?
"Jubel" was one of the first songs of the genre. I think that "Jubel" helped to make this kind of music.
Is this something you'll do forever?
I hope. I'm working a lot to make a career out of it, but maybe it's not going to work, you never know. I'm really enjoying being in moment right now and if it's done, it's done. I think that if I ever have to leave DJing, I would love to run a label and work with other artists. I think you have to be a big name to run a label, but maybe in a few years.
Rebecca is on Twitter.