Pont Neuf Records is a prominent record label in the French house scene that has made a significant impact since its establishment in 2016. With 40 releases in just 7 years, the label has showcased exceptional artists such as Tour-Maubourg, Oden & Fatzo, Mira Ló, THEOS, Cosmonection, Vitess, and more.
In celebration of their 7th anniversary, Pont Neuf Records presents the latest installment of their renowned yearly compilation series, ‘Hexagonal Club’. This compilation exemplifies the label’s essence, featuring both established and emerging artists who define the new wave of French house music. From familiar names like Tour-Maubourg, Cosmonection, and Mira Ló to guest artists like Flabaire, bendrik, Maison Blanche, Groove Boys Project, EG, and Tatie, this compilation captures the dynamic energy and creativity that has been thriving in France for years.
“This new volume of our Hexagonal Club compilations brings together some of the talented artists who are driving the evolution of the French house scene. It serves as a musical photo novel, documenting this incredibly creative period that I am fortunate to experience as a label manager, having crossed paths with many exceptionally talented artists along the way.” – Thomas Prunier (Pont Neuf’s founder and label manager)
WWD: Hey, Thomas. Altogether we’ve got fourteen supreme talents on this compilation. Why have you brought them all together?
The label’s very first release was a compilation that brought together the artists and people close to Pont Neuf at the time, to showcase the label’s house DNA. Over time it became the perfect format for celebrating the label’s anniversaries. And beyond that, it was also a way of showcasing the label’s historic artists, our new signings and also some of the people I’ve met over the years. It’s a really great format for me to work on, because it’s a kind of great co-construction, and I’m really proud of this latest volume.
WWD: What environment do you envision this fantastic compilation to be played in ?
In a club, of course! That’s really the direction we wanted these compilations to take and that’s what we wanted to reflect in the name ‘Hexagonal Club’ (Hexagonal refers to the shape and nickname of France) and obviously in the music.
WWD: Do you get a kick out of creating a platform for talented people via your record label ?
Of course, that’s literally why I set up Pont Neuf seven years ago. And beyond a platform, it’s also and above all a feeling of family that has been created with many artists. It’s a bit of a mouthful to say it like that, but it’s really a human adventure above all, working hand in hand with the artists for many months on each release. I’ve known some of them for over ten years now, and I’m thirty, so it’s obviously a very important part of my personal life too. Each of the label’s stories with these artists is unique, whether they are old friends or more recent.
WWD: You talk about a “French house evolution”. Can you expand on this?
I launched the label in 2016 at a time when house and techno were making a strong comeback in France, in Paris in particular thanks to Concrete among others. It was a period when there was a real passionate interest in this music on the part of a young public, of which we were a part. Out of this passion began to emerge a whole host of new producers and labels who, over time, formed this new house scene in France. And it’s taken root quite well over time, with artists like Folamour and Bellaire now appealing to a very wide audience for example. There are also plenty of labels working to keep this scene alive, like D.KO, Happiness Therapy, House of Underground, De La Groove, Frappé, Friendsome and many others. And of course a host of talented artists who deserve nothing more than the spotlight.
WWD: We’d say Pont Neuf is all about taking elements of sounds and the past and thrusting them into the future. How do you believe these artists have done just that?
I don’t know if it’s unique to Pont Neuf to be honest. Everyone draws part of their inspiration from something that necessarily dates from the past, with varying degrees of desire to remain faithful to a particular sound. For the label, it’s mainly a DNA created by the artists we work with. This year, for example, we’ve released an album heavily influenced by nu-jazz by Tour-Maubourg, a new EP by Berzingue with a deep-house feel, DJ Psychiatre with a trip-hop feel, Mira Lo with a nu-disco feel and Shore closer to an electronica universe. The whole thing is still rooted in house music, but no sub-genre is off-limits. Personally, it’s this diversity of sound that interests me, from one release to the next, each with its own universe and stories.
WWD: Who are some of the forefathers of French house that you’ve always admired? If you could create a compilation of any French house producers from the 90 and 00s, who would they be? Why?
Easy: all of them (laughs)! St Germain, Motorbass then Etienne de Crécy on one side and Cassius on the other, Laurent Garnier, Air, Daft Punk, there are so many who have inspired us enormously. And we’re lucky enough to have grown up around the time of Ed Banger, who have kept electronic music alive on a huge scale. I think there’s bound to be a candid part of us that wants to repeat the feat (laughs).
WWD: What’s your favourite classic song from that era?
There are so many to choose from, it’s hard to make a choice! When I was younger I used to listen to Da Funk over and over again, or the other ‘hits’ from that era like Lady, Music Sounds Better With You or Starlight. These days I’d probably say Acid Eiffel, which is a track whose subtleties I’ve come to appreciate over time.