Interview with Molly: ‘I must have very lucky stars above my head!’
The house and techno scene in Paris is on fire at the moment. So many of the city’s artists are really making an impression on the world stage, the club scene is getting better and better and the city even hosted its first ever electronic music-based festivals earlier this year.
One of the most popular and influential clubs in Paris is Rex Club, which celebrated 25 years in the business this year. I spoke to resident DJ and Head of Communications at Rex, Molly – one of a new generation of artists from the French capital who has really began to make a name for herself. With residencies at Rex and Concrete, plus gigs at seminal clubs like Panorama Bar and Robert Johnson in Germany and releases on labels such as Rekids, she’s been one to watch.
How’s the Rex 25th Anniversary been going?
It’s been intense, five days of partying every week. It was full every night, 1,000+ people, it’s been really really busy. I’ve been looking after the communications aspect of every party, making sure everything was working smoothly before, during and after every party, all the promotion was done, organising all the social networks with my assistants, and arranging radio interviews, plus looking after the artists every night.
I read that you got into electronic music through visiting the UK?
Yes exactly, I went there for the summer with a friend and she took me to The End. Erol Alkan was playing. I was into rock and pop music at the time – he started playing electro and I was like, ‘Wow, what is this?!’. That’s how I discovered electronic music. The only electronic music we had in my home town in the south of France was cheesy, commercial stuff like David Guetta. There was Daft Punk as well of course, but nothing else really.
From that first experience of hearing it, how did you begin to explore electronic music and who were the first people you were into?
Well, it was around the time of electroclash so I was listening to Ellen Allien, Felix Da Housecat, Miss Kittin – they were the people I discovered first. Then I started to delve deeper on my own, discovering more and more people and exploring the origins of this music and, after that, my job at Rex helped me to discover many more artists.
How did you end up working at Rex Club? Had you always dreamed of working in music?
No, no. Absolutely not. I finished my studies and had to do an internship in Paris, as I was into rock music I wanted to work at a label. But in the end I saw an ad for an internship at a club I had never heard of before, all my friends told me, ‘You should go for it! It’s a really cool club.’ That was Le Triptyque, which is now Social Club. So I went for it, and got the internship. When that was finished, I went to work at Rex – it was not really my plan to work in electronic music but I was happy to get the position, everything has gone really well from the very start up until now.
Likewise with DJing; I didn’t plan to become a DJ or anything, I just did it for fun, I loved to buy records. I got started playing at one bar, then another bar booked me and another club… At the Rex I didn’t book myself, it was Remi the programmer who started booking me. I only started my residency two years ago, I could have had it from the beginning but I didn’t want to push things too much. Because, as I said, it wasn’t the plan, I just did it for fun.
Where did you grow up? Is there much happening there?
In a town near Toulouse – Albi. No, nothing there at all, that’s why I came to Paris. I started playing in my home town, but after two bars and three clubs I’d done pretty much everything – plus they were playing this commercial dance music which wasn’t what I was into. It’s sad to see that so many cities in France host great underground parties, but Toulouse seems to be late compared to the others. I’m sure there are some young people there who are really motivated, into the music and want to organise something… hopefully something will happen soon.
Yeah I’ve noticed that things have really been going well in France.
Yes, I’ve had the chance to travel around France a lot this year and you can find a lot of great parties, with good crowds – it’s been great to see this happening. I heard good things about a club called Spartacus in the south of France, and there’s Sucre in Lyon. We just had a Rex party there with Jus-Ed and Nina Kraviz, it was an afternoon party which started at 3pm and finished at 10 and it was packed! [...] Eight hundred people, which is really good for a city outside Paris and a Sunday afternoon in particular.
And Paris is strong, too.
Yes, three years ago things were a bit quiet in Paris but at the moment we can’t complain. There are so many parties happening every week, the line-ups are strong and the scene around the clubs is also great. There are so many new artists that are developing and will hopefully become better known abroad over the next few years, it’s crazy. I really love Paris, we have so much fun – everyone who goes out is really motivated to find out about underground music and their knowledge is so deep. I didn’t have this kind of knowledge at their age, so I’m quite jealous!
So from your residency at Rex, how did you progress to picking up gigs at places outside of France like Panorama Bar?
I think I have some very lucky stars above my head! I was playing at Rex and other places in Paris then, later on, I started playing at Concrete. I guess it was a case of playing the right sets at the right places – I started to play in Berlin around four years ago, at a few places… With Panorama Bar, we’d put on a Rex party there and I had the chance to play with some of the Panorama Bar residents, after that first time I got booked to play there several times. I feel privileged to have been invited to play so many great clubs.
Had you been partying at Panorama Bar before you played there?
Yes, a lot! I went to Berlin quite often and every time we went there I’d be saying to friends, ‘Imagine if one day I was there playing behind the decks’. But it was a dream for me that I never thought would happen. I still remember the first time I played there, all my friends came from Paris – we had a crew of about 30 people in the room, I remember looking up and seeing all my friends in front of me and thinking, ‘Am I in Paris or Berlin?!’. It felt like I’d hired Panorama Bar just for me and my friends, just for one night!
When did you make the decision to start making your own music, too?
I always had Ableton on my computer but I was really lazy… I had a quiet period at one point, where I had the chance to explore the software. One day I sent Spencer Parker a couple of my productions that hadn’t been released, and he really liked them – he was putting together a remix compilation for Rekids and he asked me to contribute. I said, ‘Are you sure?!’, and he said to me, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah. I trust you and, if I don’t like it, no problem.’ It was a big kick up the a*** for me, so I got to work and tried my best, and it worked. After that I had other remix requests, so I had to push myself to learn a lot more about Ableton. My job takes up a lot of my time, so I needed something to push me to produce… but now I’m working on my own EP.
How long did it take you to get confident in your music?
I’m never confident. I always ask other artists what point do they get to when they think, ‘Ok, this is done now.’ I have a really good friend who has a good ear and I sometimes ask for his advice.
Did you learn from online tutorials, or did a friend help you or did you learn everything alone?
I had a friend who taught me, Ben Vedren, he does music and teaches Ableton Live in Paris. I also work with friends, who have shown me a lot – it’s always helpful to watch other people and see how they work. I’ve also been doing a lot of exploring on my own. I’ve had many times where I’ve been doing things and people ask me, ‘How did you do that?’ and I’m like, ‘I don’t know!’ I just try things and sometimes they sound good, so…
Apart from the solo EP, do you have any firm plans for 2014?
I don’t really have plans. I just want to continue to do my music, I want to finish my EP and to continue having fun with my gigs. That’s all – I’m not planning to be a ’successful DJ’, I just want to carry on enjoying it.
What do your family think about your career?
They don’t really understand it. When I show them all the press clippings they think it’s cool, so they’re starting to get their heads around it. Next week I’m playing in Rome and they’re going to meet me there. Maybe I’ll get them to come to the club too, let’s see! (Laughs). It could be fun.
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