Interview Bob Sinclar

WHO: Bob Sinclar
WHEN: 30th Oct 2007
INTERVIEWED BY: Toni | Defected

The Interview Bob Sinclar

Bob Sinclar is the famous Parisian international DJ and producer who has scored numerous hits across the world with his own inimitable style of reggae tinged dance music. His hits 'Love Generation', 'World Hold On' and 'Sound of Freedom' have all reached the top of the charts across the world. He is a unique character -- sexy, stylish, mysterious and fun. He relentlessly travels the world entertaining thousands of clubbers across the globe every week. We catch up with him in LA, ironically a city where he thinks no one will recognise him. In this interview, he tells us why disco is far from dead, why he always has dreamt of the Playboy lifestyle and how there are clear parallels between himself and Hugh Hefner! His new album ‘Bob Sinclar Live at the Playboy Mansion’ truly reflects his eclectic taste in music.

What is your real name?
My real name is Christophe Le Friant…well that is what my mother calls me! Bob Sinclar is my alter-ego.

What news do you have for us from LA?
You know, it’s good to be in the sun – it’s good to relax. It’s because I have had three amazing years, with a lot of success, busy working in the studio and busy with DJs. This summer was just unbelievable because I did 30 international dates on the role, and it was very tiring. So, I wanted to take some rest where no one knows me at all and no one in LA knows who I am! Also believe me, at this side of the world there is no house music. I’ve been in a few clubs and it’s completely non-existent!

Is it all R’n’B & hip-hop?
It’s nothing! (Laughs). The DJs are crap and they don’t really mix the music together. There is no plan, no structure of mix, and I find that really strange. At the same time, there is no atmosphere and I am sure that is why there is no vibe because they are still playing “Put your hands up for Detroit” -- that’s the track at the moment!

So, they are a year behind?
Yes, but I’m going to be playing in Las Vegas very soon, and I’m sure it’s going to be better. But why not start something here? However, it’s not my plan. My plan will be to do a new album, with maybe an East Coast or West Coast vibe, but that is just an idea at the moment.

What was it about LA that attracted you to go there?
The quality of life is so good here and I have a lot of friends already here; one of my friends has a photo gallery. He has a Jean Baptiste Mondino exclusive. I have been here four days and I have already met Fergie (the pop artist), the guy from D-Squared and Jean Baptiste Mondino. It’s all about meeting new people. It’s almost like nothing has happened here with regards to dance music, but it’s the beginning of everything. Everybody who lives here and produces music generally does not do it for here, it’s all for Europe. With the exception of R’n’B and hip- hop, however, these are mainly about Miami and New York. It’s really strange; everybody comes here to buy a house and relax -- they work hard as well, yet everything is produced for Europe, so it’s a very strange atmosphere.

So they export everything they do?
Exactly! Yeah, it’s like when I went to Jamaica to shoot “Sound of Freedom,” a nice guy I met up with said to me “take the best of the reggae style and export it in your own country and it’s going to be big,” and he was right.

Well, hopefully you’ll make some fantastic connections. It already sounds like you are with Fergie.
Yeah, I have a lot of dreams and a lot of things have happened in my life. I’m really blessed, as I couldn’t have imagined reaching this level in producing. So, I think it’s a good time for me to look for something new.

You don’t have any aspirations to be a movie star, do you?
No, I don’t speak English very well. I have this awful French accent and I’m not made for that – I’m made for music... maybe I could do music for a movie. Anything could happen; it’s all about connections.

Let’s talk about the Playboy lifestyle -- was it always a fantasy of yours to get involved with that?
Yes, I’m a fan of the 70s and 80s. There were all these erotic kitsch stories. It’s completely different now. The entire erotic ethos - you don’t really get that anymore. So, I love the atmosphere from the 70s and 80s and Bob Sinclar is all about that. This is how I made my persona. I wanted to imagine a character from the 80s. I imagined this story in 1998 and created the Bob Sinclar character. So, I used another guy and took a photo of him, who looked like a Playboy from the 70s. This is what I based my image on. So Bob Sinclar at the beginning was all about this image. I have a big collection of Playboy. I always liked erotic magazines because the style is just amazing. I have reflected this in my character.

In your early inspirations, that styling was featured a lot in your artwork and we definitely saw that.
For me it all happened in between ‘73 and ’83. During these ten years, everything happened there. Every classic film for me is from that period. Most of my favourite records are also from that period. A lot of good things happened in that period, even for art -- for everything.

Now we can see you brought that all together. I guess the records you included on the mix were from that period?
Exactly. With these two CDs, I tried to do an evolution of the music I love from the period ‘73 to ‘93. We can also notice the changes in music with the development of drum machines and synthesizers.

Have you always aspired to be in Playboy magazine?
Yeah, it’s a dream, you know…I know that Sean Connery did it and James Bond. I like heroes and I like anti- heroes. I’m a fan of Mr. Bean and I am a fan of Roger Moore. I like heroes in general; I could be one of them in my music, so why not with Playboy; to do the cover with a beautiful girl, it’s really chic.

You probably don’t know this, but we’re already talking to Playboy to feature you in the magazine.
That’s good, for Playboy I will do anything! Hugh Hefner lives in LA, and there are three parties every year and the biggest one is on Halloween. I would love to play that party as a DJ. You know, it’s just the most amazing party, with all the amazing girls, guests and superstars. It is a very crazy and sexy party…paradise for me!

It would be great if you could actually find out if you could do that because I guess that would be the ultimate gig for you.
Yes, it would be amazing if we could shoot that and send it all over the world. Yeah, and I’m going to try and organise something.

Do you think you’ll ever get to meet Hugh Hefner?
I would like to meet him and I would also like to take his place!

What is it about Hugh Hefner that you admire so much?
It’s just about his life. It’s amazing how his built his life around sexy girls. His whole life is about sexiness, style and attitude. He is just amazing -- he lived with three girls and nobody cared. Everyone says he’s fantastic and he’s just a very smart gentleman.

And I think he is responsible for the iconic imagery that we use today. He’s very stylish.
Exactly, he has an amazing idea and he reached the top with it.

I would say there is a lot of similarity between Bob Sinclar the character and Hugh Hefner.
He has been a good inspiration and example to me (Laughs) about music and style, why not – we can say there is a similarity.

What do you think makes the perfect “ladies man” – what qualities do you think somebody needs to have to be a playboy?
Life is all about seduction, for women, men and everything. So, I would like to say I’m doing music for women and the gay community. It’s like, I know my feminine side and I like to use it for all my melodies, harmonies and I’m also looking for energy in the beat. My music is very emotional.

It’s great that you look to seduce people with your music?
Yeah, and now you see the DJ is an icon. He is the centre of the night. He’s preaching his music. So, his attitude is here to seduce the people and to attract the people towards him. In my case, I don’t like to force people to like my selections. I like to bring people into the music. So, it’s a kind of seduction, and of course the DJ attitude has to be very sexy and very smiley -- it’s my style and I think people like it.

Moving on to the album, what is it about the selection that makes it appealing to be a Playboy album?
I think that period of music was sexy. Why? Because it was all about going out, dancing and enjoying disco styles. I think it was the best period for that -- the golden period for clubbing, very chic, and it was the beginning of something. Dance music today is just recycled from that period, in a way. At that time, people wanted to go out with a certain kind of attitude and, of course, money was important to make people shine in the club. The themes of the songs at that time were all about dancing, meeting someone and making love. But it’s coming back. People saying disco is dead – disco will never be dead because it’s all about the feeling, and people want to go out every Friday and Saturday and they’re just here to enjoy the moment and forget their everyday problems. They want to feel good and I think that’s what disco brings.

Now, there’s quiet a lot of 80’s tracks on the album. Were you playing these records before in the 80s -- were they already in your collection?
You know, my evolution in music was a bit different. I started of listening to a lot of hip-hop. Then I discovered by going to New York that producers like Kenny Dope, Todd Terry, all the guys in New York were playing house and hip-hop in the same sets. After that, I started to discover all the DJs were sampling all the classics. So I looked into it and bought the original records that they sampled. From this, I got an understanding of how all these genres such as techno and house started. I looked into the history of all these genres. That is how I got the records. As I think to be a good producer you have to have a good knowledge of how the music was developed -- its history. It is important to understand the history of music so you can translate that into your own music. I love disco, so I originally looked into what I call “Roller Disco”. This started around ’73-‘75 and, of course, all these classics ‘Chic’, Cerrone all came about. After the 80s, disco arrived very strongly in Europe and guys like Alexander Robotnik came up with this “Italian disco” and they used a lot more drum machines and synthesizers, which gave it an electronic edge. So, I started to do a nice combination of this evolution of music. Maybe when people listen to the two CDs, they will think ‘Wow, this DJ was inspired from this track’.

Are you happy with the way it sounds now?
For me, I put in my best efforts to do this beautiful compilation. You know, I normally do not do compilations – never! So, this Playboy experience was very important to me, because it’s not only about music -- Playboy is about ‘lifestyle’. If you read the magazine, it always says it is for the ‘modern man’ -- this sentence was unbelievable. So it’s a philosophy, a way of thinking and living. The magazine makes you think of all these things. People want something more these days; the compilation has a beautiful package and a beautiful sleeve, as well as the music.

Sounds like you’ve put a whole philosophy to Playboy?
Yes, philosophy is really important, but I am not intellectualising the music. It’s just I have all these ideas in my head. This period was important for all types of music; you had Bob Marley in the late 70s (he died in 1980) who came out with all these reggae hits and, of course, it was not disco, so I find it really exciting how a lot of genres came out at this time.

Will we be seeing you DJ in the UK very soon or are going to be spending you time in America and elsewhere?
Well, as I said at the beginning, I need to rest a little bit, but while I’m resting I’m going to be thinking about music. In Europe, it’s all about dance music and I would like to do something with dance music. I’m just looking for inspiration somewhere else -- I also need sun! So, I need to escape Paris, as, like I said, the DJ has become an icon and everybody in the streets gets excited when they see a DJ. I am, however, really proud of that. But I want to concentrate on the future, as I’m always challenging myself. So, now I have a big formula to do music, but I have to update this formula. I cannot rest on my laurels. I just always want to do my best. I can’t imagine myself sticking to the same formula, just because it’s working for me at that particular moment.

Do you think you’ll have a change of direction now, musically?
Not really. I have new ideas at the moment. I have to think about it and that’s why I came here.

Well, I’m looking forward to seeing what you create on your next album.
I don’t want to feel under pressure. I just want to feel the vibe, the same sensation of when I made ‘Love Generation’ and so on. But I’m sure it will be a mix of clubbing-music melodies and I’m still going to be working with Steve Edwards, the singer on ‘Love Generation,’ because the way he wrote was amazing. So, I’ll be keeping the team but finding new atmosphere.

What do you love about this album?
What I love about this album is people will see how I have been influenced in music; they will see my background where I have made selections from disco, punk and electro. It is the good combination classic tracks. With this album, they will discover a lot of my musical tastes and realise that I’m not just about disco and sampling.

Interview by Toni | Defected

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