It's been interesting to observe the nature by which Dj Deep and Roman Poncet have channeled wider influences through the collaborative project Sergie Rezza. From hip hop to jazz, ambient soundscapes to house the pair host a world of experience within the breadth of electronic music and beyond - both are crucially established names in their own right. For many years they have been using the project as an outlet for experimentation and new beginnings, reinventing the wheel time and time again. It's been glorious to watch and their latest EP has a similarly abstract feel. We invited them to talk through their partnership and what lies at the root of the concept...
DJ DEEP: Hi Roman! Being active as a DJ and being in the studio all the time, do you feel that both feed off each other?
ROMAN PONCET: Yes absolutely, both are complementary! Nowadays, people are mainly touring because of the music they produce, and this is my case. So first, let’s say that the studio work does feed into the DJ side. I’m also playing a lot of my edits or unreleased tracks in my set - another instance where the studio is literally feeding the DJ act.
On the other hand, touring gives you a lot of inspiration and ideas, even just when you’re listening to the previous or the next DJ. Also, listening music in club is a totally different feeling to listening to music in your studio or at home, you can notice some problems or benefits in a song you don’t realise are present when you’re at home. So this brings us to the other complementary situation: the DJ act can also feeds the studio process. For me it’s a balance, I need both.
ROMAN PONCET : How do you combine being a daddy and a working DJ and producer/label owner?
DJ DEEP: Ahah it's funny you ask, as it's a bit challenging time-wise! But my son is definitely at the center of my life and a constant source of inspiration! He loves music and plays guitar, and he has a great ear!
For instance, once when I was digging through my records I pulled out my original copy of the Blues Brothers OST. I gave it to him he loved it, we watched the movie together, and now he's really into Aretha Franklin, John Lee Hooker, Ray Charles etc. But I have to say, giving him the original copy of the LP with some personal drawings that I added for him, and seeing him play it all the time is something very special! I'm waiting for the moment this happens with my original Transmat and B12 records! :)
DJ DEEP: I think Sergie Rezza is something very special in both our hearts and for different and various reasons, I always thought it was very intimate and personal music made by two very different people, do you feel this way as well?
ROMAN PONCET: Yes it is for sure! I think that first of all, even before creating our first Sergie Rezza track, the project was already super important for us, at least the name of it - the way you created a imaginary friend called Sergie (Rezza) brought such a special and unique vibe around it. Also the way we come together on the same ideas for the music and the project in general, but with different and variable inspirations.
ROMAN PONCET: I know you are digging through your record collection at the moment, what's coming out of it?
DJ DEEP: Yes, in April I started digging through my records, shelf by shelf as if i was in a store, and listening to each record (even those that I usually pass by thinking “yeah yeah, I remember this one”, and I actually didn't sometimes 30 years after! It's also been overwhelming as I am discovering so many inspiring tracks, and reminiscing about so many good times!
I have the feeling that 2018 will probably be the year of my life that I’ll end up buy more records than ever before, it's simply insane. I can't keep up with it all: Jazz, Soul, Funk and Avant Garde, news releases and represses, as well as House, Techno and Hip Hop. However, I’m definitely mostly excited by the huge flow of amazing and inspiring new records from up-and-coming artists.
I somehow feel today there could almost be two worlds in House and Techno: the touring DJs / producers and the ‘headliners’ on one side, and the music loving, record diggers on the other side. Of course in reality, things are not so radical and both worlds sometimes meet, but not always!
I currently try and prepare compilations, and I am also digitising everything I (re)listen to, so the process takes much more time than I initially thought, but is very refreshing, and now today I get to hear 30 years of record collection with my ears today.
DJ DEEP: With the success you have with Traumer, Roman Poncet and other various projects such as Sergie Rezza, and all the travels and way of life that goes with it how do you find a way to keep a life balance that suits you?
ROMAN PONCET: Well, again, I try not to think about it too much - I’m not saying I always want to be ‘feather-brained’ but taking it easy is sometimes the good way for a balanced state of mind.
Still, there are some tricky things that I have to handle with all the projects, for example, dealing with all the records for all the differently oriented projects. I have to admit that I’m sometimes lost with this duty: searching, sorting and preparing the music for all the different monikers - especially when I have 3 shows with 3 aliases in one single weekend for example!
ROMAN PONCET: You have seen hundred of clubs and dance floors, after 25 years of DJing, what is you're feeling about the clubs and party nowadays? Are you still exited before playing in Club or a Festival?
DJ DEEP: I think there are many inspiring parties and festivals nowadays, and I’m attracted by music ‘mélanges’!!! I mean going from Beatrice Dillon to Actress, Joe Claussell to Jeff Mills, Call Super to Acting Press, Sergie Rezza to Vakula, Alex from Tokyo to Volcov, Stanislav Tolkachev to St Germain etc...
As a result, I’m always very excited about curating nights in some really inspiring clubs, we are currently talking to a few amazing places to do parties such as Blitz in Munich, Fabric, and a few other places in Paris etc...
DJ DEEP: Working with you, I know how good you are with computers and DAW, but I also feel you have a ‘sense’ or a ‘feeling’ for Machines. Like you treat plug ins like instruments, and sometimes compose mainly with one of them as if it was a real machine for a certain period of time, then switch to something else. Do you realize this?
I would be very curious to see you work in a studio without computer - I mean without Ableton, or Logic or such DAW - I think you would still come up with something very special!
ROMAN PONCET: I did not realise that hehe. If you’re saying it then I guess so! :)
Sure, I would love to try the experience; even if does scare me a little. Like you said, I’m a computer guy let’s say. I think I would feel ‘naked’ or ‘useless’ without a computer! It’s like if you took a guitar away from a guitarist, obviously, he will probably manage to play something with some other instruments, but he won’t be at his best. Let’s try anyway!
ROMAN PONCET: I noticed you have been more and more into the production thing the past 3 years. Of course, I witnessed this evolution, but still I believe you're really into it - I remember you telling me recently "I really need to produce etc". Can you tell me more about this?
DJ DEEP: To be honest, I was really frustrated with not being able to finish tracks or do anything that felt good enough to finish many years ago, which is I started Deeply Rooted in 2003 to release music from talented friends and/or mentor's music. But after releasing your music, Romain, we got to meet and when you invited me to your studio to try and jam I just really didn't believe in it at first to be honest, and thought once again I’d be useless... I am very thankful for all of your help and patience there.
I love thinking about Music. I’m not a musician who can play, or feels an urge or a need to express melodies or such, but I’m obsessed with concept of tracks, and trying and think on how to build and tell those little stories.
ROMAN PONCET: A lot of people think of you as a house DJ, who has been essential to the development of the house scene in France its early years. You’ve turned your sound (as a DJ act) into something for techno over the last few years, why not come back to your first love for your show as DJ ?
DJ DEEP : Well it's funny, we're so close and I thought I told you the story so many times ! But this gives me a good opportunity to explain again…. In the late 80's whilst I was a young music lover discovering Electronic Music, I equally loved De la Soul, Todd Terry or Derrick May.
Of course I was aware and got to investigate and learn about the different styles through the years, and in my early days of learning I was mixing house and techno, it was one family.
Then with the early rave days, I got to play a lot of techno sets, but I have to say I had a really bad experience in (then) East Germany in the mid 90's and got into this really hard rave where dancers wanted only super hard techno. I felt coming for a few months, that the super hard no soul no vibe techno thing really put me off from it all. You see I never took the super hard Jeff Mills or Robert Hood or UR sound literally, I always imagined those guys were inventing the soundtrack of a sci-fi movie with a catastrophic or futuristic scenario. I loved it because it was on the edge and still somehow funky.
I then decided to focus on the house side of things, at a time when NY's house sound was so inspiring: The deep New Jersey sound, the amazing Masters at Work remixes, Kerri Chandler, Jovonn etc. During the mid 90's I remember opening for Laurent Garnier's Wake Up parties, starting with all those new US deep or House tracks, and then going into Chicago Acid and Detroit Techno. Later on in the early 2000's the Respect is Burning Crew gave me an opportunity to record a mix CD for them where I was able to showcase my love for this house sound.
But as I’ve always said, I see my job as being a ‘filter’. You know me, I am in the record stores everyday even when we have studio sessions! So I absorb as much good music as I can and try to transmit it in the most faithful way to my beloved audience. So when there is an amazing flow of techno from Berlin, I tend to play more of this sound, or when the UK's Call Super and Beatrice Dillon, and labels like Whities create what I perceive as futuristic forward thinking house, that's what I want to showcase!
DJ DEEP: How do you personally approach your different alliases, and at what stage are you 100% sure a project will be Traumer, Roman Poncet, Marion Poncet, etc.
ROMAN PONCET: Basically I do not think too much before the creating process. Of course sometimes I have to work on a specific project for a specific reason, and in that case I simply turn my mind into the project relevant project - it’s a kind of ‘switch’ so to speak.
When I want to work in a free way I just start something, and naturally my desires and feelings at the moment will lead the creating process. It can also happen that I am thinking that I’m starting to work on something dedicated to the Traumer project, and then the flow smoothly drifts to another vibe and atmosphere, and therefore into another project. Thanks!
Buy the new release HERE.