French electro-pop powerhouse, Myd, clearly takes a human approach to create his cosmic floor-fillers.
Emotion comes to the forefront on Myd’s debut LP, Born a Loser, where intimacy comes to the forefront in an album devoted to shamelessly embracing oneself. In light of his phenomenal release, Happy sat down for a chat and a laugh about artistic authenticity, sonic intimacy, and being proud of being a loser.
HAPPY: So, thank you so much for talking to us! How’ve you been?
MYD: I’m really really good! It’s been sunny in Paris, so it’s the small things that count now because I’m stuck in Paris for one year. I’m pretty happy!
HAPPY: Are you stuck in Paris because of COVID?
MYD: Yea, exactly. The restrictions in Paris are pretty strong, so I cannot even leave Paris. It’s a bit like ‘ahhh’ and it is getting long, but yeah I’m pretty excited about the release of my album. Fortunately, it was finished before COVID, so yeah!
HAPPY: (Laughs) So, can you tell us a little bit about Born a Loser, why is it called Born a Loser?
MYD: Yeah! It’s actually called Born a Loser because I started doing music when I was 14, 15? And, you know, I was alone in my room with my big computer, a few bad synths that a friend of my father gave me, and at that time I was listening to English electronic music like Fatboy Slim, Chemical Brothers, or French music like Daft Punk – the kings of sampling. I think during then, if I wanted to become a DJ or an artist, I would have to change myself, maybe to change my taste, and be someone different, because I thought I couldn’t succeed as ‘the loser in this room’. The more and more I’m growing up, the more and more I’m thinking like ‘oh, the music I’m doing now, and the adult I am now is really uh, looking like the kid I was when I was 15 or 14. I’m sampling, I’m still working a lot from home – I have a studio now, but I’m working a lot from home in underwear, just sitting around, and I’m like ‘ok!’. Because, before I had a band, we were like playing like DJ’s , wearing black and laying lots of techno music, I loved that, but I feel like now, being the loser I was, I feel way more comfortable and real!
HAPPY: Yeah! Well, from the single that I’ve heard this sounds like a really uplifting album – unless I’m just projecting. But, is that the vibe that this album’s gonna go with?
MYD: It is, it is yeah! The album is really positive, but Born a Loser is a positive message. The message i s not like ‘you have to change’, but more like ‘hey, you’re born a loser, and you’re cool! You can be a cool loser, and you can be an artist, and a good person, and your lsoer vibe, that’s what makes you different’. I’m pretty happy to be that outsider loser (laughs).
HAPPY: I think it’s interesting because being a loser is embodied in this album, but it’s also really empowering.
MYD: It’s important, because one of the big themes of the song, apart from the ‘loser’ side, the theme of the songs are about the community. I wrote most of the songs when I was on tour, and I wanted to talk about the community. It’s something that’s helped me a lot to write and finish this album, to have all of my fans around, and when I played clubs and did shows. I wanted to talk about that. It’s interesting because in the community, when you see it as a club, the crowd in front of the DJ, it’s so powerful and so good for your ego! It’s so good to share love also, but it also can give you an impression, and sometimes you can lose yourself in the crowd. When you’re into the crowd, you’re a bit ‘hey, who am I’, and that’s what most of the lyrics are talking about.
HAPPY: Yeah! I think it’s interesting, that idea of community. How’re you feeling about clubs and… everything being closed down across Europe now?
MYD: It’s horrible! Horrible for me! It’s not the life I chose. I really wanted since I was maybe 17 or 18 years old, to be a DJ, and now that I am a DJ I was DJ’ing every week, everywhere, and now I’m not able to do that. To meet some new people, to play some new music, and so I’m pretty sad about it. I miss clubs a lot, and that’s crazy because for me, it was one of the untouchable jobs in the world – what other thing could’ve stopped the DJ’s?
HAPPY: (Laughs) Alrighty, enough about the pandemic, it’s so sad. You’ve talked about French dudes in LA who want to be famous producers, that was one of the inspirations behind the Together We Stand music video. I guess, can you give us a bit more information about that? Are there people who’re actually like that?
MYD: Yeah of course! There is something like that. We all have in France a big fantasy about Los Angeles, you know, the cop cars, the movies, Hollywood, big studios when you’re a musician. I have to say that years before I did the video I spent time in LA trying to make it, but the difference between France and Los Angeles, is that in Paris, most of the musicians are in Paris. Paris is small, there is few clubs, all musicians, we know each other, and when you arrive in LA, you see that there is so much people like you. The ‘young cool guy in the city’ you know? And when you arrive and you’re not that famous, you’re in league with so much people like you. I saw other musicians, French or from other cities in the U.S or from anywhere in the world, like trying everything to get seen, or to get remarkable. sometimes it was a bit painful to watch how people change their style, change the way they act for people to see them. It’s totally contrary of what you have to do when you’re an artist, you have to be remarkable because you have your own style – you don’t have to change your own style to be remarkable. So for Together We Stand, It’s summed up in the choreography about this guy in all the really cliche Los Angeles places, trying to be seen.
HAPPY: Yeah. I think it’s really interesting that your success may come because of your authenticity to yourself.
MYD: Definitely, yes! That’s what the title of my album is about. I’ve never been as successful as when I’ve been myself, and not doing concessions about my music and my art. It sounds a bit cheesy, but that’s what’s real! For four years now, I do exactly the music I want, and it never has been that much on the radio for example – and people like warn me like ‘oh, be careful, you put your song in weird tapes to make the weird tape sound, and it’s too much’ and I’m like, ‘no, I like it like that!’ People follow me because the message I want to tell through my music, it’s like that, and if I change it it’s not my music anymore and the message is a bit like, changed so it’s not authentic. The first thing about music which is important, is music itself. Is it good? Do you feel emotions when you listen to it? It’s really cheesy when I’m saying it, but it’s really true! You have to know that I’ve realised that the more I’m talking about music and growing up, the more I’m saying cheesy stuff, because it’s really true!
MYD: But, it’s the same with art generally. You have to be really happy with your art, and it has to look like you!
HAPPY: Yeah I feel ya! Speaking of looking like you, I think the last time you were in Australia you got a tattoo, that says ‘Tattoo’?
MYD: Ahh, yes! (laughs while showing tattoo). It’s funny that you mention that because I knew that I was talking with you, and I knew we had to talk about this tattoo because it’s really important for me. It was my first international tour of my life. I was a really young producer and DJ, and I did a few remixes that were kinda big in Australia, and so at some point, a booker from Australia told me ‘hey we can do a tour in Australia’ just by myself. I think it was maybe 10 years ago, I was 22-years-old, like ‘aye, you will do a tour in Australia’, so, I had to remember that for my whole life, so that’s why we did this tattoo.
HAPPY: That’s gorgeous! But also fucking funny!
MYD: (Laughs) That’s the French irony!
HAPPY: Of course. I just wanna get into the technical side of your production, because when I’m listening to it, it feels like it’s being transmitted from a spaceship. You out it through tapes, you do things to it that other people aren’t doing. How are you creating this?
MYD: (laughs). What I like, what was really important at first was to make the perfect studio, to have the song that I want and the song that I have in mind. So, I started by removing all the gear I’m not using, because sometimes the studio can also be kind of a museum, and mine is not. So I removed all the stuff I’m not using, and I bought a few stuff that I really wanted for years, and that motivated me to get inspired. For example, I really wanted a mini-Moog for years, which is a legendary synth from the 70s, I bought it in Tokyo because I was like ‘Ok, I really need one for my album’. You don’t know why, but sometimes it gives you the inspiration, gives you the confidence. Buying a Moog, for example, you can do everything with plugins, but having it is like a 60-year-old dad buying an old Porsche (laughs). You’re like ‘oh yes, I got it now!’, and you have the confidence to ride, and to find a new wife!
MYD: It was more about confidence for the Moog, but what I really like, for example, I’m really excited about analogue because it mix perfectly with digital. I’m not one of those people whose totally stuck with one kind of media or one kind of quality, for me the importance is to mix the media and create a new field – can I say that, ‘Field’?
HAPPY: Yeah, yeah!
MYD: A special field that looks like me. Because, for example, I love to pass my synthesisers and vocals through a guitar amp. When you record anything through a guitar amp, you will hear the amp but you also the room you’re recording in, because it’s mic in front of amp so you have the room. What I love is, for example, if I record some birds with my iPhone outside, because I want to get that sunny vibe in some song for example in Let You Speak, I record my vocals through an amp, and the amp is in my bathroom, for example. I recorded this whole album mostly at home, I will get this special field that no one has, and that looks like me. You have this special vibe where it’s outside, but it’s also like you are stuck at home, thinking about your ex, because the song is about that. So, I wanted to field it like that, and I need the spaces to look like the song and fit the song. So, one thing to help me would be to record stuff through my iPhone, pass that through amps or guitar pedals. About the tapes one point which is really important for me when I’m working in the studio, is having ways of accidents, which is really important for me in creation. I don’t want to control everything, and I will want sometimes the accident, to create new emotions in my music – tape is something perfect for that because it will slow down a little bit, or have imperfections in it. Imperfections are life, and your music has to be your life!
HAPPY: Wow, that’s fucking gorgeous.
MYD: (laughs) thank you!
HAPPY: I guess that sorta wraps up my questions except for one, when do you know something is finished? What’s the ‘ah ha’ moment.
MYD: This is something I’ve been thinking about for years, and I love to talk about that. For a producer, the last ten per cent of finishing a song are the worst. You can stay on loop, in this ten per cent of mixing it, re-mixing it, changing the structure, it’s never perfect. How do I know? I think the most important part for me is when the emotion you had in mind, is in the song, is in the music, because emotions are the most important in a song. You will never get… or I never get the sound I have in mind, because, I don’t know, I never manage to be that precise or punchy, or that loud. So for me, when the emotion is here, I’m trying to not touch that much. Sometimes when you try to make it too perfect, you’re just getting further from the emotion, and more into the technical, big club song for example. So, when I’m starting to listen to it, and I’m like ‘oh shit, I’m leaving the emotion’ I’m stopping, and it’s finished.
HAPPY: Yeah fuck! Thank you so much for talking to me!
MYD: I really enjoyed it, thank you!