Interview with UK Band / RadioCilt | Edition XI

“Call it ghettopop, call it bongo dance, call it the tropical world clash showdown…” goes their MySpace page and its true – labelling Radioclit is like trying to nail a jelly to the wall. The duo have been making waves in London, their productions getting heavy rotation from such world renown DJ’s as Erol Alkan, Feadz, Annie Mac, Pete Tong, Brodinski and producing for the likes of Trim (Roll Deep) , Santogold, M.I.A, Buraka Som Sistema, Soko, TV On The Radio, Ears, TTC, Yo Majesty, Bonde Do Role… They may not be a household name at the moment but watch this space. I caught up Etienne Tron (one half of Radioclit with Johan Karlberg) as he got back from Radioclit’s recent tour of the USA…

Convention Magazine: How the tour go?
Etienne Tron: I’m soooo jetlagged. It was awesome. We opened for Crystal Castles a few times, they’re totally amazing live and we met all our ghetto heroes in all those cities

Your ghetto heroes?
A lot of dudes we were fans of came to see us at clubs DJ Gant-Man in Chicago, a legendary ghetto house dude Scottie B and Blaqstarr in Baltimore DJ craze in Miami, I don’t know if you know the dudes they’re hot! Touring with Frankie Chan and Drop the Lime was awesome really cool guys. We hooked up with Santogold in NYC too. So yeah tour was awesome.

Yeah I know about those guys haha. Set any collaborations up?
I released a single from Gant-Man on my label already. [I] would love to do stuff with Blaqstarr we’re big fans.

Sounds great, see any new producers you can see doing well in the future?
in general you mean? There’s two young dudes who remixed our last song ‘Secousse’ for our new single they’re called Qoso and Mumdance and I really like what they did to it – I’m supporting those guys to the fullest. Qoso is from France, he’s in a rap crew called butter bullets and Mumdance is a Brighton based DJ and party promoter that is slowly becoming a hot beatmaker too otherwise there’s so many people man, music is so exciting right now. I’m feeling African producers the most these days. I put this single out on my label it’s [by] Bablee, a dude from Ivory Coast, he’s big in the coupe decale scene over there. He remixed ‘Secousse’ too and is even shooting a video for our single with some friends in Africa at the moment in a festival in a small village called ” the tropical warriors of the rainforest” haha it sounds corny but it’s all true – i can’t wait to see the video

From the sounds of it neither can I…
Check his music its fuckin awesome

I will do.
dude is a legend and totally unknown in the western world. I’m trying to change that but it’s hard because no DJ would dare to play that these days, I’m struggling to push the single.To be honest I can see it getting some fans, the drums in particular are very nice i think its future music but a bit too future right now haha

You worked with Trim on Soulfood Vol. 3, how did that come about?
yeah we been working with trim for a long time we put him on a remix we did of Jamaican guy Turbulence ‘Notorious’ first – he killed it. He’s our favourite rapper in UK took us a year to establish a proper relationship and get him to come to our studio but now we’re tight, it’s great. He’s super big in the street here [London] all the kids know him, shame no label want to give him a deal, they’re too scared. I’ve tried for a long time to get him signed we could do such a crazy album with him. It’s hard for a grime artist to get signed though, unless they want the R’n’B hooks and collaborations with Craig David… I can’t see trim doing that Yeah but trim has a massive fanbase. His album wouldn’t cost much and would sell at least 20 or 40 000 copies easily. If I was a label I would do it straight away, He’s a legend in UK, way ahead of the game, he’s so much more than a grime dude and he’s a fuckin poet haha.

I grew up in the same area as trim and many others within that ‘scene’ why do you think London is such a fertile breeding ground for innovative music?
I think the black community in London is amazing, that whole Caribbean vibe. There’s always been very good stuff coming out of UK. i heard dub music was made only for UK market and never had much love in Jamaica that says a lot people love music here! That’s why I moved here in the first place. i came to work for big dada records cause i was a massive fan of Roots Manuva.

Who isn’t? Haha
Yeah he’s legend too. I can’t wait for him to be like 50 years old, I think his best records could be a bit later in his life when he starts being a crooner haha. Man I just saw the best fashion exhibition ever, Victor and Rolf at the barbican – genius.

Really? What was it like?
Like 2 dudes who managed to kill it and reinvent fashion in all their collection over ten years and they’re still fuckin young. Go see it its crazy. Super conceptual and still awesome quality work too and very critical of the fashion world

Sounds good, I’ll try and check it out. Now a few quick(ish) questions, if that’s cool… Who or what has influenced your music the most?
Haha wow. OK, that’s a hard one. I could tell u what blew me away as a kid… Me and Johan [Karlberg, The other half of Radioclit] come from slightly different backgrounds but it’s a haaaard one. We get influenced every fuckin day. I used to be the biggest guns and roses fan and I used to fuckin love Wu Tang [Clan] and Snoop [Dogg], still do. I would say our influences were always a mixture of hip hop, rock and dance music and then we started getting heavily into world music and ghetto music culture. That’s about it. Obviously as a French guy my life changed with Daft Punk

Why has Daft Punk been such an influence on you?
Because they’re fuckin awesome man, I can’t tell you much else, I was hooked from the start and even their last album which was weirdly recieved by people at the beginning, I loved it from the start. They just have the best sound; I don’t know how they do [it]. They’re immense artists and the biggest technicians / sound nerds, so that combination is pretty deadly.

Is that combination how you see you and Johan?
Haha yes we’re on our way. Johan is the best beatmaker / sound engineer and I’m the best DJ, so yeah great combination too. Human wise, as well, we’re very different and that brings something when we record someone in studio. Johan is the nicest guy ever, he connects with anybody and I’m the perfectionist who pushes people to do their best.

Underground music going mainstream – good or bad?
I don’t think this makes sense really – there’s only good and bad music for me and up and coming/established artists. I stopped asking myself questions about the underground a long time ago. At the end of the day underground and mainstream is 99 per cent shit, it’s all about the good stuff. Some music is more commercial than other but that’s another question. I want to make music I love, so asking myself too much question about how commercial my shit is not such a good idea I think. We are big pop fans in Radioclit, that’s for sure. I would say there’s more good music in iTunes top ten than in any underground scene top ten in general. I believe music customers are always right, and if a record sells millions there’s something good about it for sure, regardless of how much cash the label put in to promote it and I don’t think there’s great musicians who never get to be famous talent gets across, not always with money rewards but with the love of a fanbase, get me? Even that dude Bo Diddley who just died and said he invented rock n roll and never got what he deserved, I’m sure he had a sweet life he can be happy with. You don’t need billions of cash for happiness; everybody loved and respected that dude…

You could see what an impact he had just by seeing the respects paid on countless blogs and websites…
Exactly. Man if when I’m 70, [if] I get that much love I don’t care how my bank account is I will know I made the impact I was hoping for.
Now, tell us an interesting fact about yourself or about you and Johan as Radioclit Mmm… We’re massive nature / wild life lovers. We got our name watching a documentary about monkeys’ sex life in the jungle somewhere as far as we remember. We use a lot of nature sounds during our DJ sets these days, we’re like hippies in a way! Haha. I’m totally obsessed with sharks…

What is it about them?
It’s more to do with great white to be honest, even though I saw some baby sharks in Miami two days ago and that was awesome too. I think I like them because they’re such perfect creatures but I don’t know really, they just fascinate me.

Alright last one now, my life philosophy is…
…embrace the nerd in you, cause nerds are the future. Haha that’s so lame. I’m having a hard time embracing my inner nerdiness.

How so?
I don’t always have the best feeling with machines in general, I’m more into feelings / emotions than electronics, sort of. A lot of musicians around me just love that shit to death, manual work, electronics and shit, not me. But I just love nerds I think they’re the coolest. You’ve got to be nerdy about something to make an impact on it, to change it… unless you’re an absolute genius like Mozart, if he really was the way he’s shown in the movie Amadeus…