By Jesse Ship

Parisian producers Teki Latex (aka Julien Pradeyrol) and DJ Orgasmic (aka Cédric Caillol) first met decades ago while skiing the French alps. Over the years, they’ve continued their adventures together through various music undertakings like the seminal French electro-rap group TTC, the brash and sadly short-lived Institubes label, and their current Sound Pellegrino imprint, whose name—and its attendant Thermal Team live setup—cheekily riffs on the popular mineral water. With finely honed ears, they have been breaking under-the-radar artists Gucci Vump and Crystal while releasing tracks from other fellow countrymen Jean Nipon and Canblaster. Before the Sound Pellegrino Thermal Team hit Canada’s MEG Festival, we checked in with Teki Latex about the label’s new comp and why they love Montreal so much.

Tell us about the origins of your name. Has the bottled water company given you any grief over it?

Sound Pellegrino is a reference to the bottled water San Pellegrino. We wanted to evoke something bubbly and effervescent and at the same time, convey an idea of classicism. What’s better than an Italian thermal city with natural springs to convey that? The idea was to get everyone to think of our label when they order water at the restaurant. We think it works, but the downside is that when we tell people our name, they think it’s tied to the bottled water. In fact, San Pellegrino knows of us, and they let us be, so shout-out to them!

Awesome! So you met initially through your rap group TTC and then worked together on Institubes. How did your past experience prepare you for Sound Pellegrino?

We actually met on the ski slopes 20 years ago. But our past helped us learn from our errors. Institubes sadly closed in 2010. We’ve been through so many musical movements that we have a certain point of view given our industry experience, so we can determine if a musical trend is going to last or if it’s just going to be a one- or two-year thing. That definitely influences our choice of music to put out and artists to sign. We definitely have a better view of what’s going to last and what’s going to pass.

What are some emerging sounds right now?

There is definitely a trend in distorted industrial techno where people are going back to a very raw sound with the return of the warehouse rave in a context that is a big place with a very metallic sound, with labels like L.I.E.S. I see that being quite big for the rest of the year. It’s tricky to say, since things change so quickly, but one of the most enjoyable shows I saw recently was Lorenzo Senni at Sonar. It could be qualified as ambient, but technically it’s beatless or drumless trance—it’s trance patterns you could say. It’s very surreal. It’s great to listen to at home and it’s great to play in my sets when mixed with techno tools, so I decide which beat to put on top of these trance leads. It’s very interesting to play with. I guess trap is going to be big for another six months, too, and something else will replace it, but in Paris, American rap has never been bigger. The way it’s merging with electronic music can be a bit cheesy at times, but with any larger-than-life movement, it always announces a second wave of more challenging stuff.

Tell us about your new compilation, Sound Pellegrino Presents SND.PE Vol. 1.

We just wanted to have something that was a little more of a home listening experience than the EPs we have put out so far. Following the direction of the Matthias Zimmermann EPs, which are somewhat built for the club, but there’s a warmer and—dare I say—poppier and melodic aspect that can be enjoyed outside of the club. That is pretty much the direction we wanted to go in. It manifests most blatantly through the Eero Johannes track “Real Virtuality,” which is a futuristic take on a Rodney Jerkins production with a Scandinavian lo-fi punk vibe.

That’s great you have Modeselektor on the compilation as one of the larger names.

They definitely are the most known name on the compilation, and we’ve been doing stuff with them since the TTC days. The deal was to put out the digital version of the “Negativity” track and they would put out the vinyl and instrumental versions with the Bambounou versions on their own label, Monkeytown Records. We’re old friends. It’s great to be accepted as part of that German family.

You’ll be performing at the Montreal Electronic Groove Festival (MEG) on August 1. What are your thoughts on Quebec’s music scene?

Montreal was the best party scene for me for a good three to four years of my life. I think that Omnikrom definitely had an influence on the rap and electronic-music crossover coming out of Montreal, with guys like Lunice or Tommy Kruise. Even though they were a lot more pop-oriented, the fact that they were everywhere back in 2006-2008, along with TTC, definitely prepared the field and gave birth to an environment for young producers to merge electronic and rap. The Turbo Crunk parties definitely had something to do with it, but in a way, they were an evolution of Ghislain Poirier’s Bounce Le Gros parties. People forget that. I’m super-eager to return to this new scene that’s evolved so much since I’ve been gone.

You’ve been promoting the heck out of this new compilation with a massive and diverse audio assault of mixes and music videos. What are a few of those?

We did a number of mixes for the album, like the Diplo and Friends mixes, Lucky Me radio show on Rinse FM, a techno and grime mix for Discobelle, and a mix for Thump. There are also two videos, one for Nicolas Malinowski’s “Skateboarder” that he recorded himself and sampled noises from a skate park that’s very reminiscent of the old Hexstatic and Cold Cut videos. There’s also 3D video I recorded with a Japanese group we signed called Crystal. The song is called “Get It?!”



What’s it like working with the BBC’s Diplo & Friends show?

We always had a good relationship with Diplo. Myself and a friend promoted his first party in France 10 years ago at Le Triptych which eventually became The Social Club. We’ve been in touch with Mad Decent ever since and hit them up now because we felt it would be good timing with the new compilation release. We sent the mix and they add all the sound effects, air horns, and the sound bites. Along with the number of mixes to promote the new compilation, I recently did one for Tsugi magazine. It was an early-2000s Euro-crunk mix using tunes from European producers from labels like Institubes and Bpitch Control. It was distinctly European and the first time when electronic music and hip-hop would blend since the explosion of both genres. The style lasted four-five years until it was replaced by the second era of French touch. It’s interesting that all the producers from that era all became successful, only after using different names and groups, but they can all be traced back to that era.

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