A bunch of things happened since French house producer Mancini first touched the decks over twenty years ago. From playing shows with some of the scene’s biggest act to launching his own label, the Parisian is now a well-established name in the industry. We caught with him to talk about how he envisions the upcoming year, his relationship with co-label head WLAD on hedZup records, and the importance of finding your own way of making music.
WWD: Hey Mancini, how are you, what’s good and bad with you personally right now?
I’m perfectly fine and in good health that is at the moment the most important thing right now! France is still in lockdown, so it’s a slow life that we’re living for more than one year, but it gives me a lot of time to improve myself on a professional and personal side. I consider that something good can come out in every bad situation. I have a lot of music releasing right now, I can’t wait to share what I have been able to create in this particular time.
WWD: How did you survive the last year, what did you learn about yourself?
Honestly it was OK, we were not in a war, but the consequences of this virus have affected our individual freedoms. It made me realize how essential freedom is for the proper development of the state of mind. I also learnt to be patient about my objectives and that nothing is acquired. I felt that I had to use this time efficiently to improve elements of my life. I definitely learnt that travelling was essential for me, this is what I missed the most!
WWD: What would you like to see change about the dance world once we all return?
I would say that too much emphasis is being placed on the social media presence of artists right now. I have the impression that we forget the very essence of an artist: his music. I would sum up with less hype, more authenticity. Let’s go back to the roots of our passion.
WWD: Tell us how you got to where you are – what has your musical journey been like?
It was a long process, I started DJing 20 years ago and producing 10 years ago. I also promoted electronic events in Paris in the 2000’s. I needed time to build myself those solid foundations. Music is a real passion, especially in our underground scene where you don’t do this for the money! Making mistakes is essential for your own experience, there is no better lesson. Meeting the right people is also essential in the journey. I worked hard to be where I am right now, and I feel like I am where I should be right now in my life.
WWD: What are the pros and cons of running a label right now when it comes to hedZup?
The pause of clubbing has affected the sales of the label as hedZup is based on a dancefloor-ready music. We also had a lot of showcases planned which had to be postponed. But on the other side, this period gave us time to improve the label a lot with a new visual identity, a fresh website, and most of all working on selecting the future releases! It’s been a prolific period for producers all around the world, we receive a lot of good music, it’s exciting!
WWD: How did you first meet WLAD and why did you come about to work together?
We met at the famous Parisian club, Rex Club in the DJ booth. We were both listening to Dyed Soundorom, who was playing there that night! We sympathized and he invited me to play at his new party entitled hedZup at Nouveau Casino, another important club of the electronic scene in Paris. At that time WLAD had just started the hedZup parties, and he asked me to join him in the adventure as he also had the idea to develop the label. We have very different characters, but that’s what makes us strong and balanced. We have the same passion and want to go in the same direction. The rest is a natural friendship that can’t be really explained!
WWD: You have lots of new tunes and EPs at the moment on the likes of Moan Recordings, Okain’s BallPark, and your own hedZup Records, which you run with WLAD – do they all come from different sessions or were all the EPs written together?
About the remix on Moan I made it recently in February in a short time. I felt inspired on this one and I’m really proud of the result. The BallPark EP and the track ‘A Merman‘ on hedZup were produced in 2020 during lockdown. It took me more time, as producing original tracks is more a personal process because this is 100% coming from yourself! I’m not the type of guy that can create a track in 3 hours! What you’ll listen is a mixture of new gear I bought recently and VST/samples from the computer.
WWD: Is it weird writing music without any club feedback or any event party experiences at the moment?
Honestly at the moment it is hard to find the inspiration because I’m someone that inspired a lot by going out in clubs, listening to other DJ’s sets… Listening to our music on a big soundsystem, and feeling your body vibrating to it is the best reward. When the music hits you, this is where I feel the most inspired but I’m trying to keep on writing music for the dancefloors and thinking of it for when it will be played for the imminent reopening.
WWD: What gear do you have in the studio? Hardware or software? Do you care about the tools you use?
I have a mix of gears and VSTs, the best of both worlds! About my analog setup, I have a TR909, TR8S, Korg Electribe ER1 for the drums, a SH101, Moog minitaur for the basses, a Minilogue, Ju06a, Mother 32 for the synths and a modular rack for weird ambiances… Everything is plugged in a Mackie mixer connected to my sound card.
I have to admit that I’m a big fan of the Moog and Roland sound for its warmness. I’m not the type of guy that will judge if you use rather this or that tool. Right now you can have the best of both worlds for a quite affordable price. For the listener, the most important is the result and not how it has been done. Some people are working only using VSTs and are able to make it sound as perfect as analog machines!
The best setup is the one that you’re the most comfortable with, some people prefer to do everything in the box and others prefers to touch physically the machines. It’s up to you… Just make it sound as fat and inspired as you can!
WWD: What else have you got coming up that you would like to share?
On hedZup, we have a lot of good things coming with showcases around the world as soon as we’ll end with this fucking virus and great EPs from talented artists! I also have a collab EP with Alex Ranerro on Djebali’s label in a few weeks, a remix on Key records and an EP on hedZup for the second part of the year. It’s gonna be a prolific year for me.
Let’s keep hope, we’ll soon be able to dance again all together, the light is at the end of the tunnel.
Mancini’s “Plait Time” Ep is out on Ball Park on Friday 30th April, order it here.
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