"Oh my dick got a mind of its own," declares Miami-based guest vocalist Rudy with a chortle, his honeyed vocals oozing over a swaggering bassline and alien choir of vocodered "oohs" on Scream"—one of the catchiest songs on Club cheval's Discipline. (Listen to a live version of the track below.) Out March 4 on Bromance/Parlophone/Warner Bros, the Paris-based supergroup's long-awaited debut LP follows from a string of EPs and singles, like the epic trance banger "Now U Realize," a track that hasn't lost its punch since it took over dancefloors in 2012.
Club cheval, which is comprised of Panteros666, Sam Tiba, Myd, and Canblaster, has always had a knack for club-ready hits packed with pop hooks, but Discipline is their most polished work to date. Recorded over the course of four years, it nods towards the sleek R&B stylings of early Timbaland—who the group cites as a major influence, along with Daft Punk, Frank Ocean, and Soulwax. On a chilly fall afternoon in late October, while Club cheval was making a pit stop in New York to play a party at Le Bain, we met up with Sam Tiba and Myd at the VICE HQ in Brooklyn to talk about their devotion to the French Touch scene, and why this album is their most emotional yet.
THUMP: How would you describe this album with one word?
Sam Tiba: I think the main word would be emotions, like it's a really emotional album—not in an "emo" way, more in a human way. Sadness and happiness and hope, everything. It's super French, in a way, musically.
Myd: We really want to express what we feel. We don't stop because it's too emotional or sometimes maybe cheesy. There is no limit for emotions and for melodies.
Tiba: We're making French music because I think we've been mad influenced by French or Dutch [music], like Daft Punk of course, Cassius, Justice... they are like the big brothers from the generation before. I think deep inside we are really influenced by this wave of projects.
Speaking of Daft Punk, did you see that movie Eden, which is about the whole French Touch scene that they came up in?
Tiba: No I haven't seen it. Actually, I'm super scared of seeing it. Because you tend to kind of idealize some things, and in a way we are frustrated to be a bit too young, so we didn't know the "peak-time" of French Touch. But at the same time, it's cool because you can use your imagination, and actually listen to only the music without knowing the story behind it. I think that doing a movie about [French Touch] is kind of killing the legend somehow. It becomes really concrete and "Oh that's how it happened." I don't want to know how it happened. Did you like it?
The soundtrack is killer. In terms of the movie, I think it could have used an editor to just go in and cut it in half because there's so many moments when—no offense—it goes on forever without a real point and is very French in that way, you know?
Myd: It needs an American editor!
Tiba: We agree on that. I think I would have seen it if it was made by an American guy, actually.
Well an American director made that Zac Efron EDM movie, We Are Your Friends, which came out around the same time but is completely different.
Myd: As Club cheval, we are more excited about We Are Your Friends than Eden.
Tiba: I'm super excited about We Are Your Friends. I haven't seen it. But I'm so scared of it...
Going back to the album, would you say that it's a departure from the kind of club-focused EPs that you guys have put out before on labels like Top Billin and Bromance?
Tiba: I like the word departure, but more in the sense that we had been preparing a long journey for like four years, and the journey is about to start now. We're not getting away from what we were, but we're achieving what we want to be—we hope. Musically it's gonna be a departure for the listeners. It's different for us because we know the process, but for fans of Club cheval until now, it's different.
Myd: There are more vocals. It's songs [that are] produced in a pop way. We spent more time working on the music. We felt that our fans would be a bit like, "wow." But it's natural, getting new fans, especially here [in the US]. So yeah, it's a continuation.
Where do you see as the ideal location, environment, or context to be listening to this album?
Tiba: In a club, with the DJ playing, but you got headphones on your head, and you're listening to the album in the club. There's a track for every phase of your life on this album, like when you're down, when you're getting up, when you're sad, and then there's hope. So there's no ideal set-up. I think it's made for every human being and that's why I'm happy about this album.
Myd: What we are really happy about with the album is that it's not one in 12 tracks, it's a journey between the styles, and you can listen to it at home, you can listen to it going to work.
Tiba: And actually you can hate half of it and love the other half. Which is amazing to me. Everybody can find something for themselves now in the album.
Club cheval's Discipline is out March 4 on Bromance/Parlophone/WBR. Get it here.
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