Vox Low: The ‘Shine A Light On’ Mix
Carcassonne, France, September 2015. In the surreal and beautiful setting of the Château Comtal (Count’s Castle) a couple of us here at R$N saw Vox Low perform one of their very first live sets, bathed in blue and red wash lights. We and most others came away saying it was aptly monumental and a highlight of what was an outstanding line up at Convenanza, the Andrew Weatherall Festival. The band are shortly to make their UK live debut at the Alfresco Festival in Tunbridge Wells, so we are delighted they have done an exclusive mix for us, and Jean-Christophe and Benoit told us a little of their story below:
For someone who’s been listening to your music for several years now, it seems pretty difficult to find out much about you! How did you guys get together, what’s the history of Vox Low?
It's been 10 years since we met. We had a previous band named "Think Twice" with Macdara Smith (Irish singer), we were signed in 2004 on F Communication (Laurent Garnier's label) and released a couple of EPs and 2 albums (the second in 2008 on Dialect recordings).
In 2012, Think Twice was set aside because of life, work, children, lack of money (you get the picture). We decided to make music again together (only the two of us), going more free, dark and psyche, without any expectations of the pleasure of making music together!
Has music always been a part of your lives?
Of course, and we think that people that haven't always have music in their life must be very sad and boring!
What was the last regular job you had?
We still have the same regular jobs for 10 years : Ben is working as sound engineer for Radio France Internationale and I (Jc) have been a sound engineer for UNESCO.
The Carcassonne performance was one of the best live shows I’d seen in a decade. How did that come about, and what was it like to be part of Bernie’s extravaganza?
First of all, thanks a lot … it was only our third gig and as you can imagine, we had quite a big pressure on our shoulders. I (Jc) came about it in a very simple way : we were contacted via Facebook by Bernie, he asked us if we had a live set ready and if we would love to play at Convenanza, as the Boss (Weatherall) loved our music! So we said yes, and it was unbelievable for us. The place, the staff, the audience, everything was perfect and so motivating!
Tell me about what the differences are for you between DJing and performing as a live act, which bits are fun, which bits not so much?!
It is quite different. If fun means easy and no pressure, without hesitations we can say that the DJ set is more fun. I (Jc) play tracks and Ben plays live bass on the music. Nothing is prepared, just going in a DJ way trying to feel the people and the best way to bring them with us. And of course the main purpose is to make them dance, even if our musical choices can be a bit weird! The live act asks more work and concentration, we are four musicians on stage and a lot to do! But is is still fun because we love it, and now that we've perfomed more that 10 times it is going easier and the spontaneous part is growing.
Onto the mix you’ve lovingly crafted for us…
Where was the mix recorded?
It was recording at friend's place (we don't have turntables at home anymore, well we only have one each – a Thorens TD165 for Ben and a Lenco L85 for Jc).
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
Well, we usually listen to mixes when we are on the road, so maybe in a car, bus, train …anywhere you do not have anything else to do!
What should we be wearing?
We used to be naked when we are on tour (in the Van mostly)…so, be our guest!
What would be your dream setting to record a mix?
Honestly, we don't give a shit to the format or system (so long as it works) even if we are collecting vinyl, we don't play them anymore outside our place (too heavy, too precious). If we could go back in time, maybe at the Hacienda or at David Mancuso's Loft…it looked like good fun!
Which track in the mix is your current favourite?
Hard question! We started with our good friend Orestt and his trippy Captures EP, it could be that one, but Cosmo's one is also really good. The Pitch remix by Tolouse Low Trax is fat! We also brought a new Vox Low in the mix (we will let you guess which one).
What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?
To be very honest we don't listen to many mixes, and we have a short and misty memory. The last time we went to a club was a couple of weeks ago to see our friends David Shaw and La Mverte and it was very, very good (and we were also quite high).
If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?
It has to be a nice guy if we have to spend several hours back to back with him or her. They have to love eclectic music and love to drink rum and Coke, so as we've met him, Andrew Weatherall could be the perfect one!
What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?
Ben never was a DJ, and I (Jc) started in 1991 after my first Rave in Mozinor (I just wanted to be THIS guy) with my father's turntables and a home made mixer.
What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?
Maybe the track you start on, it sets the basis and lets you guess from the people's reactions where you can go .
What were the first and last records you bought?
For Ben it was Scorpion playing live in Japan (it was a long long time a ago, as was his hair) and the last was Kelley Stoltz "In Triangle Time". For Jc it was CD III "Get Tough" (as he was doing the Smurf on a famous French TV show) and the last was The Moonlandingz.
If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?
Something cold and spicy … maybe a Cuba libre with tabasco.
If it was an animal what would it be?
The son (or daughter) of a sloth and a black panther.
One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything…
Well as the DJ, I think there is nothing you can't mix, but Ben made me discover the third YES album and, well, maybe that one!
What is exciting you in your lives?
That people keep on spreading our music and that is still not over after two years.
What is distressing you?
Expecting the moment when people won't fucking care about our music anymore!
What are you most looking forward to for Alfresco Festival? What do you know of Royal Tunbridge Wells?
Having a huge party. The line-up is impressive and as we know some of them personally, we are right now having an intensive headache training session. We don't know much of RTW, except the pictures that Mark and Nicky share regularly and we can't wait!
Who are you definitely going to see over that weekend?
We don't want any jealousy, so we'll try to see the maximum we can, we will be there from Friday to Sunday. We are not really campers, but we have a big van. If anyone has any camping tips feel free to share with us.
How’s your heads in the morning after a heavy night? Is music the answer?
In the morning we look like our fathers, so a good moisturizing cream and a beer is the best way. But three days longs … we need more training!
Finally, tell me about what’s going on right now.
Are you talking about Marvin Gaye?? He must be playing with Prince right now!
We are realising a new EP on EVRLST (Orestt's label) in limited 12" that will be available for Alfresco. A new EP to be released in July on Correspondant (working on a video with Marco Dos Santos). A remix for Paprika Kinski on HMS (David Shaw's label), a remix for The Rattler Proxy on Lurid Music and another EP for Hoga Nord records to be released soon. Oh, and we are working right now on a remix of Andrew Weatherall's "The Last Walk"!
Vox Low make their UK live debut and also play a DJ set at Alfresco Festival, Tunbridge Wells on 28th – 29th May 2016. Full info and tickets are HERE. Follow Vox Low on Facebook HERE. Photo credits to Marion Barat.