Rising producer Pyramid has the touch—the French touch that is. Over the last couple of years this young Lyon resident has been quietly releasing some of the tightest French house and electro around, with a style built on the legacy of countrymen like Alan Braxe, Kavinsky and of course, everyone's favorite robots.
Pyramid has cultivated an air of easygoing mystique and a reputation for unhurried patience that belies his few years as a producer. In lieu of gimmicky antics or an ambitious branding campaign, he chooses to express himself through his music—which is refreshing in today's oversaturated media sphere.
Like a younger, kinder, Frencher Voldemort, Pyramid has been hanging in the shadows, gathering strength and finalizing a solo EP for Kitsuné Maison, which is a pretty damn good place to find yourself as a young French producer. The Astral EP consistsof three original tracks and two remixes that touch on hard hitting Justice-esque electro and more playful, atmospheric grooves at different times—with a few added dashes of techno flavor. The sound here is diverse, fine-tuned and makes for one hell of a listen.
Sadly you will have to wait until January 27 to hear the entire release but luckily for all you impatient peoples out there we've got a dancefloor-ready Blende remix of the EP's title track "The Phoenix"—which also features some quality rap verses from MC Willy Wesly, who sounds like an electro house Nas. And as a double bonus for the THUMP fam we were able to lock down a Q&A session with Pyramid that will shine a light on this rising star.
Pyramid is releasing his first EP, The Phoenix_, out on January 27 via Kitsuné. Pre-order it now on iTunes._
THUMP: What were some of your earliest experiences with music growing up?
Pyramid: I guess, like a lot of kids, it was listening to the records my father used to play on his turntable—bands like Supertramp and Led Zeppelin. I can thank him for having good taste!
Can you tell me about your background as a producer and DJ? How long have you been doing it for?
I consider myself more of a producer than a DJ. I started making beats in my room four or five years ago, but they were mostly terrible demos. But after a few hazardous attmptes, I started to show some promise and eventually was able to create the sound that I wanted, more or less. Eventually I started getting offers to make tracks, or do some remixes, as some offers to do some DJ sets. I was scared as hell to mix for the first time because I'm a shy person—but I knew I had to do it because you have to start somewhere and you need to get yourself out there if you really want to get noticed.
Who are some of the DJ heroes that you looked up to and gained inspiration from? Doesn't have to just be French DJs!
It might sounds a bit obvious but I used to be a massive fan of Justice and I still love them. Also I'm a big fan of guys likeTrentemøller, Moby and the crazy German duo Modeselektor. My first real musical connections were with German techno and minimal artists like Stephan Bodzin and Oliver Huntemann. Those guys played a big part in shaping my career as well.
You're from Lyon, France correct? I hear there's an interesting electronic scene in the city, what is your take on that?
There is definitely something to say about the scene in the city. Some talents like DatA, Danger, Gesaffelstein, Agoria or the famous Jean Michel Jarre started their careers there. For the last three of four years, though, the city has been all about the deep house sound, which is not necessarily by favorite kind of music. It has really become the biggest part of the club life there. However, we also have an excellent festival out there called Les Nuits Sonores and every year it's the perfect way for me to discover DJs and artists.
What is a common misconception about French DJs and producers?
I guess we're sometimes stuck with the "French Touch" sound which is definitely not a bad thing as I grew up with that.
Can you recall your first DJ set? What was it like?
Like I said, I was really scared. And fifteen minutes into my set the guy who played before me wanted to unplug his laptop—and he unplugged mine at the same time, so the music stopped for like a minute. I was so stressed that I laughed really hard and people understood that the guy had made a mistake and I was able to play out the rest of my set.
Have you ever played in America? What is your opinion on the electronic music scene there?
It's hard for me to say because I've only been there once back in September to play the festival TomorrowWorld. I don't think I was able to get a complete picture of the electronic scene in the US from that experience but I'd love to play there again! I'm just waiting for the right moment to come back. It really seems like each state has its own sound and there are so many clubs to explore.
So many producers and DJs these days are extremely young. What type of challenges are there for being a young person and a DJ?
I guess the main risk of being young and a DJ is to be in too much of a rush. These days with social media and technology we're used to having everything instantly and in result we expect success to be very quick because we know there are more and more producers everyday and everyone wants their glory moment. But this is a dangerous thing, and is why I chose to finish my studies before starting anything too serious with my music. For now it works for me—but who knows, maybe in a couple of years people will be bored of my sound and I'll have to make something else. I hope not but, we have to be prepared for everything!
How did you come up with the name Pyramid?
Since I was a young kid I've been obsessed with symmetry. I wanted a name that could have the same numbers of letters on each side of the main letter and after some attempts it happened that the "A" from Pyramid could perfectly represent the shape of a Pyramid. It was perfect for me and it's also an international word which can be understood almost everywhere—which makes me really difficult to find on Google.
Your latest EP is being released on Kitsuné, which is a legendary French label. How did you get linked with those people and what does it mean to you to be releasing with them?
I entered a remix contest for Kitsuné's band Heartsrevolution which I ended up winning, so the label contacted me to tell me that I was about to be on their next compilation. I was really excited because I grew up with their compilations and discovered many artists because of them. The label's boss Gildas contacted me again to tell me he liked one of the tracks on my Soundcloud called "The Race" and wanted to put it on another compilation. I said yes and we kept in touch and began to work together on more things.
Who are some artists of the moment that you are loving right now?
I recently discovered Daniel Avery and Jon Hopkins and I fell in love with both of their albums. They both have kind of a rough sound but it is stil really precise and warm. It's often hard to describe but it's definitely a really personal style of music they and I love that feeling.
What were some of your highlights from 2013? What are your biggest goals and dreams for the upcoming year?
I guess the two biggest highlights from 2013 were my two international gigs. One was in Tokyo which is one of the best memories I have and the other one was in Atlanta, which was crazy—and not what my friend Crayon and I expected. My biggest goal for 2014 would be to see the EP well received and then hopefully to have enough offers so I can choose what I want to do [_laughs_]. But for the moment my dream would just be to continue making music and to earn enough money to live comfortably. I just want to be able to live off my music and that would be more than enough for me.
Tell me about this new EP.
For a whole year I put all my efforts into this release and probably worked on it for so long that I cannot form an opinion on what I think of it! But it's probably my biggest achievement so far, and Willy Wesly, the guy who raps on "The Phoenix" did a really good job. I'm happy we worked together and we'll probably do it again. For me this is a transition EP I guess—I tried new things and I wanted to evolve a bit, which is why I chose to start the EP start with "Astral," which has a really 2007-ish sound, filled with fat drums and heavy bass and some epic melodies. The EP finishes with "Lunar Ghosts" which is much more personal and has a bit more of a techno sound. This doesn't mean I'll stop making fat drums to produce only techno but more that I don't want to restrict myself to only one genre. For now lets just see how this EP is received and I'll take it from there!
David is the associate editor of THUMP. He's on Twitter. @DLGarber