"English people are treated like children, everything closes at 2am or whenever and then they all have to go to bed. You also canít go and see porn movies in the UK. You are too young. Somebodyís decided Ďyou donít have the right to see porn moviesí. UK people are a little like children."
Chatting down the line from his Paris headquarters, Kitsune chief Gildas laughs as ponders the differences between the English and the French.
"The UK is like an Easyjet country, you have to go to the bar and ask for your drink, yourself and you have to collect your own plate. Thatís happening more and more in the UK, if you want something more you have to pay extra. And do everything yourself. There is no service."
The topicís arisen in response to a question about new illness Paris Syndrome, a condition which affects 20 odd Japanese tourist each year who become traumatised by rude shop assistants. As Gildas points out, shop assistants are rude to French people too, as are waiters, taxi drivers and anyone else involved in service industry jobs.
"People here donít understand this situation of being at peopleís service, even though they could make more money if they were servile," he says, "French people have this pride thing."
As well as chatting about cultural differences, Gildas is talking to Skrufff today to promote his labelís hugely hyped compilation Kitsune Maison 3, an unmixed selection of tracks from upcoming bands including Digitalism, Klaxons, Simian Mobile Disco, Fox N wolf and Gossip. Earning plaudits from DJ mag (Ďpainfully hipí), the Telegraph (Ďtruly hipí) and the BBC (Ďfiendishly hipí) the collection sits squarely on the new rave/ rock/ dance crossover of the moment, a place Gildas is delighted to occupy.
"Some people see commercial as bad and making money as not good, but thatís not my stance at all," he explains.
"I believe that you can be poppy and commercial and sell records while still doing quality projects. You donít need to wear a hood and stay in the cave and play music to five people to be talented."
That Gildas knows about poppy crossover quality projects is not in doubt, given his parallel career looking after Franceís greatest musical export ever, Daft Punk. Alongside Ed Bangerís Pedro Winter, he continues to manage their affairs some ten years after first hooked up with the then unknown reclusive duo. Today though, his focus is on Kitsune.
> Interview & Introduction : Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com) _ Photo : Munetaka Harada
Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff) : The new compilation is called Kitsune Maison, how much is that intended as a reference to house music?
Gildas: The Maison is more linked to the fact that we are working more and more towards becoming a proper label, to be like a home for proper artists. Kitsune started doing just compilation albums such as Kitsune Love then we did Kitsune Midnight which involved us licensing tracks from artists we loved. Then we gradually started asking artists to make us special tracks and step by step the CDs worked quite well so we started releasing vinyl. Then at one point we thought it would be fun to do a proper label and we were also more confident about doing it. Having a proper label involves signing bands and developing artists which is a full time job. You tell an artist Ďweíre going to take all your rights and weíre going to make youíre big so you sell records and make a living with your musicí, which is a big responsibility to take on.
Now the press start to know us more, we also believe in our taste, weíve seen works from some of the artists weíve had on earlier compilations such as Wolfmother and Hot Chip or Digitalism. Weíve gone for artists with more crossover potential in a way.
Skrufff : Is it just you choosing which records you release?
Gildas: Yes, just me.
Skrufff : How are you selecting them?
Gildas: There are many different reasons with the first ones being that I like the artists and I like their music. Thatís obvious of course, but after there are many factors. For Maison 3 for example the idea was to have a more, er, commercial, selection. For some people commercial is a bad word but for me, itís not. I wanted music that was more poppy with songs. Thatís what we were looking for- proper tracks.
Skrufff : Are you still producing music with Daft Punk?
Gildas: Iíve been working with Daft Punk for ten years and still do, I take care of their production company here in Paris and do a lot of day to day tasks for the company. Kitsune is a side project and is really my label.
Skrufff : Daft Punkís manager Pedro Winter talked about the difference in Kitsune `and Ed Banger in an interview with Stylus Magazine and said ĎI donít think weíre doing the same kind of music, Iím pushing new young French artists, Kitsune feeds the big clubs and sells lots of recordsí, seems quite a harsh quote, are you two in direct competition?
Gildas: Ah yes, thatís what I was talking about earlier, about people seeing commercial as bad, making money is not good. Thatís not my stance at all, I believe that you be poppy and commercial and sell records while still doing quality projects. You donít need to wear a hood and stay in the cave and play music to five people to be talented. Ed Banger are not like that anymore anyway, because theyíve got Justice (chuckling). Theyíve got people following them.
Skrufff : Are you still friends with Pedro?
Gildas: Yes of course, we are still working together on Daft Punk. We are not agreeing on everything but thatís fine. Ed Banger and Kitsune are two different views of things, which I think is interesting from the outside. Pedroís developing artists and trends whereas Iím tending to do more compilations and putting out one-off singles.
Skrufff : Is France going through a particularly creative period right now?
Gildas: No I donít I think so, I believe weíve always been in a creative period and two years ago I was reading an article in FACT magazine about how France was thriving, talking about the new French revolution and the new French sound. Then last April I read another article about the new French sound, I think thereís always been good music being produced here, itís just about media exposure at the end of the day, it seems like there are cyles, particularly in the UK, Six or seven years ago there was Britpop for example, which the majors were focused on but there were always good producers in France.
Skrufff : Why do you think France has never developed a mainstream club scene like the UK or Germany?
Gildas: Itís a pity but apart from Paris itís true that if you go to Montpelier or Toulouse or Nantes there arenít any big established clubs of the kind you find in Leeds or Liverpool or Frankfurt or Munich but I donít know why. I really donít know, Iíve often thought about it but have never come up with an explanation.
Skrufff : Do you find Kitsune music is more appreciated outside France?
Gildas: Weíre doing 95% of our business outside of France. And outside of Paris weíre not really selling any records.
Skrufff : Youíre not releasing any minimal records are you?
Gildas: No, I donít like minimal. Iíve never understood it and I think itís really quite boring but itís a question of personal taste. Iím not against anything as such. I think itís a cycle. I heard minimal is starting to work in the UK more and more. We like some tracks from time to time, thatís it.
Skrufff : A recent review of Switch suggested heís bringing back hip-house, do you see that as a new separate trend, or new rave?
Gildas: I think new rave is being driven by a new wave of kids who are 14 or 15 years old, who are discovering these old tracks from the 90s, such as the KLF or Belgium rave and I think itís good. I think itís definitely a scene though I canít see where itís going to go. The Klaxons are very interesting, theyíre mixing UK punk with UK happy hardcore and thatís a new style, though at the same time itís really poppy, with proper songs.
Skrufff : Of all the bands on the compilation, can any of them become as big as Daft Punk?
Gildas: The market is really difficult and different now. Maybe the Klaxons could be as big but maybe only in the UK.
Skrufff : What about Digitalism?
Gildas: Err, I hope so! Definitely. We also have to see whether their album has the same crossover potential that Daft Punk has got. One More Time is really a combination of different things. Also weíre in different times now, everything is moving so quickly so thereís less time to develop bands, itís much more difficult. But why not itís been a long time since there have been bands like the Chemical Brothers or Basement Jaxx emerging and weíve seen from the festivals that they want new electronic bands. Digitalism will be successful live for sure, because thereís a lot of demand from festivals who want new names on their electronic stages. Digitalism have already played some big festivals after releasing just two or three records, which would have been impossible before.
End of the interview