Exclusive mix 67: Weird pop and slow house with Strapontin

Besides being a dancer, performer and on-and-off “Madame pipi”, French-born, Brussels-based Strapontin is also a DJ and producer who’s next EP Pedigree, a mix of  sleazy pop, slow house and disco debauchery, is set for release tomorrow. And, to mark the occasion, we asked him to record an exclusive mix for us that, as he describes it: “has different chapters. It goes from weird pop songs to slow and heavy house tunes to club-oriented grooves. All these have something in common, something about tension and energy raised from melancholy.”

Can you describe yourself in a few words?

I’m a musician and performer in Brussels where I’ve been living for two years now. I studied art in France and I think it changed the way I’m producing music now. I’m really into cinema, performance and dance so my sound approach is about searching for the right atmosphere, with the right light, temperature, colours or wallpaper on the wall. To me, music is a space you fill (or not), like a theater stage.  I’m making it in my home-studio, recording sounds at my place or on the streets and I play with it to create the atmosphere I want, before even thinking of a beat. It allows me to define the space I want for the track, then I build it thinking of what kind of character would fit in this space. Logically I’m working now with dancers and choreographers and making music for them. It’s a very interesting thing to do. When I’m working on my own, I think of the vibe I want to create around people and if they will dance or not. But when it’s for choreographers I don’t even know if contemporary dancers will follow the rhythm (most of the time they hate doing that), so it’s totally different every time, which is a great challenge for me!

How did you first start making music?

I was lucky to grow up with parents that are into music, so I studied piano for 15 years and always considered music as a very important art, maybe too important actually. It was harder to assume my music than my drawings. I was studying contemporary art, making videos, drawings, sculptures, and at some point I realised that I was always talking about music in my projects: how a body reacts to sounds, the different ways people party or dance, how a space can define a musical identity, how a community can create a political thought through the use of music… I was also making scale-models of famous clubs like Robert Johnson, Rex or Panoramabar! I’m happy to consider it as a bigger part of my life now.

Is music a full-time thing for you at the moment?

I’m deejaying, and I’m active as a dancer/performer, working as Dame-pipi in few clubs like Recyclart, I’m teaching piano… So in one way or another, music is everywhere but not as a full-time thing. I’m also working in a small jewelry store in the center of Brussels.

Can you tell us about the exclusive track on the mix?

Pedigree is part of my latest release on La Belle Records, I made this track after hearing (and recording) people talking about what it is to be « manly », it was hilarious. I’m really interested in queer thoughts and how we can redefine our behaviours through this point of view. So this track isn’t properly politically « engaged » but it has something to deal with. I wanted the space to be completely full, like there’s no room for anything else even breathing. We are actually directing the video and it will surely contain these ideas.

When and where did you record it?

I recorded it in my small room under the roof of the fifth floor. A small window on my left. The sky was dark and heavy with grey and black clouds, it was raining, I was waiting for the night time to fall. Brussels at it’s best.

What’s your favourite track on the mix?

Let’s say there are two:
Idiot – James Holden
It’s a classic and every time I hear it I understand why, it has such a strong character and tension with so much simplicity and freedom! Fan.

To go to go to go – Saint Sadrill
To go to go to go is a beautiful song with a warm melancholic mood and a hot dark voice. When you think you understand how the song works it takes you somewhere else. It’s a really wise and honest song with strong feelings, playing with a pop format without totally using it.

What are your top 3 albums of the year so far and why?

Mr TC – Soundtrack for strangers (Optimo)
Four epic tracks with a raw vibe, he takes you somewhere in two seconds, you don’t know where but you want to stay. It’s like a soundtrack of a futuristic steampunk western.

Rodion – Generator (Nein)
The long-awaited album of Rodion is a big gift this year, so groovy, cosmic and magical. All tracks have something singular, but to me Bosphorus Hippies is a such a trippy beauty !

Building Lampshade – Saint Sadrill (Dur et Doux)
Don’t want to repeat myself but this EP is truly an intense experience. A soft and precise sound with an intimate voice flirting with R’n’B but created like a symphony. Obviously made with love.


What do you have coming up in the next few weeks?
I’m working on a performance, a new video and getting everything ready for my next release on Tablon Record next September, I also have some gigs in France, holidays and more gigs in Brussels next months.