On The Record With Le Sous Sol

As techno music, the French scene is exploding since a while now. Leaded by some collectives easily identifiable, Parisians techno-heads are living an era of profusion. But, nowadays, some party promoters are using the image that young people have of what a rave was, or has to be, and regularly forget about a rave is not necessarily a DJ at an abandoned industrial area. We talked about the current situation with guys from Le Sous Sol (Foundation/ basement), one of this Parisian collectives, who are trying to create a community, for techno connoisseurs, around the collaboration.

Can you tell me how your collective was born?

“So the Name « Le sous sol » (basement) comes from the basement of one guy of the collective, where we learned to play records. In the beginning, it was a party that I curated alone. Once a year. The idea was to invite all the guys I’ve met during the past year and with whom I had a good feeling. After two events (Pigallion and Glaz’art), so it was two years ago, we decided to become a collective. At that time, in Paris, everyone, was fighting amongst themselves, then we decided that our collective will be one to help the other. Not only by booking each other, but a real mutual support like sharing materials, advice, studio…

The idea behind Le sous-Sol is that we do not work to want with people with are not friend with firstly. It means that any person joining the collective or a group of person who is working with us, have been friend of us for a while. Of course we do meet people we didn’t know before, & starts project, but we try to do a party or two together & see if it matches !

We were only 3 at the beginning & now we’ve 10 friends working together as a family. We see each other almost every week & talk to each other every day. You need skills but also friendship to make such a thing works out!”

Can you tell me more about this idea of mutual support?

“Well, it’s a little corny and obvious, but it’s like all this sharing and collaborative economy. We’re not here to make money, we are focused on making great events for a little community of connoisseurs.

If you want an example, we’ve met Leonard Wanderlust, great friends now, they wanted specific artists for their festival, we had the contact, so helped them out with that !

Sometimes we simply let some dj’s to come to our float to record their podcasts, anything we can do to help, we’re happy to do so!”

You’re some kind of trade-union?

“Yes, sort of. We call it the network. They already are 10 collectives inside, with guy from Bordeaux, Lilles, Rennes, Le Havres, Reims.

It is not that we spit on the system, That’s good that techno artist are booked more and more, but it is not what we look for, we do our thing , and we create our small community. We don’t try to have 5000 persons at our events, we had the possibility of making events on Friday or Saturdays, or playing in other clubs, but that’s not what we are looking for. We prefer our small community, where we can (touch) a small public. May be we’ll do it later, but right now it is not that that we want. We prefer to solidify our connoisseurs’ community & offer them great parties!”

About the others collectives, is it easy to persuade them to join your community ?

“Well sometimes is a little bit hard to explain them how it works. They’re used to work with people who’re more like ‘If you don’t bring me anything, no need to work with you’ instead of ‘let’s help each other’ “

Some people have probably been suspicious.

“Even worse than that, you’ve no idea, ahaha! But we rather focus on the good people, no need to talk about the other one!”

And what about your artistic approach?
Today, the trends is to book big headliners, so we decided to take some risks, by booking only artists that haven’t been to France before. So we premiered Antonio de Angelis, Drug Culture, Stave, Keepsakes, and in august we will premiere Violent, a polish who’s going to burn down a few dancefloors.

At the event of Keepsakes, we’ve seen that we’ve made a good choice. He has just released his first vinyl, and a lot of facebook groups were talking about him and we sold out. When you know, that on his own country he is playing in front of 40 people, and for his first time in France the club was sold out. He was so fucking happy !

He was the reason the party was a success, so to thanks him, we sent his contact to some other people to help him get new gigs across Europe.

Let’s see if it worked for him in a couple of weeks!”

You were talking about Facebook groups, what’s your opinion about this new trend?

“You can not make otherwise, nowadays this is the way people think , whether it is victims of the fashion, or really specialized guys. that allows to know the opinion of the public very easily, instead of going to every concert, and to every DJ set. After that it’s hard to believe that, especially for the events, sometimes no one attends the Facebook event but the real one i ssold out, or in the contrary, a lot of people join on facebook, and no one comes to the club

As for myself I believe that it goes beyond Facebook, for Paris, it’s now three or four years years which that begins to be fashion, and approximately 2 years, that that is really a hit. Now, the problems, it is that there is a lot of people which are interested only in the money. There are collectives who make big line up, who walk on the wave of the fashion with a public who knows nothing, and who go to techno event because it is trendy.

And now, we have a badly educated public, Djsnot paid, and in the end the connoisseurs are lost, they don’t know where to go anymore. The world of the club which was separated from the techno sphere of influence 5 years ago, which since merged, is precisely the reason why we find ourselves with the same problems as we had a few years ago in club.

Two years ago that was burgeoning in every sense, but now, there are only three or four big collectives who have the monopoly without risk-taking.”

Who are you talking about? Weather Festival?
I don’t want to give any names, but no, not Weather Festival. They’ve taken a lot of risks before, and when you see that there is 70% of french artists on the line up, that’s really great. So even if they have headliners, they’re still taking risks.”

Indeed, and scheduled Venetian Snares at the peak time was a risk too. So who are the collectives who desevres to be more supported?

“The guys of Sonotown take a lot of risks sometimes. Berlinons Paris always try to do something different than the others. The guys from De Base are really good promoters & Tripalium with their Acid Avengers parties make it great !

There also some collectivescollectives there who try to change things as Peripate, who had squatted of the former public restroom. Or champs libre
 They really have a different way of partying, with cheap drinks, and unknown DJs who are going to burn down the club.”

A different way of partying, as a return of 90’s rave spirit?
“Kind of but not really. 90’s rave where different by the music & the public. The big promoters uses that as a marketing thing, « we are rave, we are underground, we do warehouse » “

No but more rave spirit in the sense where you don’t know which djs you’re going to see, As astropolis do this year without any facebook events or communication about the line up?

“Oh yes, more like that even if for Astro it’s different, they’re here since the beginning, so they don’t have the approach.”

What place in France, you perceive the scene as the best for you?
“Definitely, Paris

It’s our third times in Brittany, so we can say that’s a good place to come
 Lyon is good too, but we’re not really involved there.”

 Yeah in Lyon, there is BFDM with J-zbel who recently put out there live on tape
“J-Zbl, it is typically the live which we wanted to book, but the Rex booked them before. Moreover Abramovic, from Bordeaux, and his Retribution events .”
 Abramovic, is more or less the same team as Carlton or Alton Belton from BRST

“Yeah I think so, I also saw this guys on facebook, but I don’t really know them.”

Anything to add about your collective?

“If you want to understand “Le sous sol”, you have to come and see what’s happens, and you’ll understand our spirit.

During our events, there is no scenography, one vj (deep dawn), and techno. Security guards are not allowed on the dancefloor. At Glaz’art we’ve ended with so many people on stage that we can’t see the public anymore. We don’t share the pictures taken during the events, not to be a Berghain like, but that’s our way to see the party. You wanna know ? Come down !”

Any word to describe the collective?

“Only techno, who we are does not matter. “Le sous sol” is the public, the community who is important”

So what’s next for Le sous sol?

“Now we have an “open platine” at Parc de la villette on “A la folie”, not on battle mode, more in a workshop style. And that brings a lot of people because they know they will make contacts and meet great people. And as I said our next event, on august 4,with Violent, Lunar Convoy from Norite, Colas from Leonard. After that, we’ll see ! We’re always open to new projects so, come on guys, let us know what you have in mind!”

About On The Record

Techno is machine-made music. But to get sounds of these machines, there’s the necessity of human input. This kind of unavoidable element gets us to the point of these series of articles. On The Record will deliver you articles of various kinds like interviews, event reports and more.. always with the involvement of at least one artist to get an idea of what’s going around in the current business of techno. On The Record files insights, pieces of music and whatnot, to broaden your idea on techno.