‘I love clubs and I love making people dance: I’m a DJ.’
With his new compilation Night & Day, the man who was proclaimed as ‘Prince of Lounge’ when he arrived on the scene to rave reviews in 1999, finally showed us the two sides to his talent. With five platinum and fourteen gold discs, along with five million album sales worldwide, Stephane Pompougnac has made his mark on the music scene.
Pompougnac represents a vision that is both more personal and more wide-ranging, displaying a palette of sounds that reach beyond the average producer. For this new musical mastermind there follows above all his long-held desire to work on a ‘club’ project that reflects the music he has been playing since 1986.
We won’t go into the well-known story about his beginnings as a DJ at the Diable des Lombards and at Les Bains, and how he then met Claude Challe and Jean-Louis Costes. No need to mention his 1999 remix of Madonna’s What It Feels Like For A Girl or his residencies in famous clubs such as the Lotus in New York. The main reason Pompougnac has set the benchmark for compilations is because he is an inventor of musical atmospheres and here he creates two worlds, both very dear to him; Night & Day can be seen as a return to his roots and his musical influences.
At the age of seven, Stéphane discovered not only Kraftwerk’s Trans-Europe Express but also La Messe Pour un Temps present composed for Maurice Béjart’s ballet of the same name. His early days as a DJ in Bordeaux in 1986 were greatly influenced by new wave, electro and the house that was pouring out of Chicago and Detroit.
On the “Day” version, he lets his taste for acoustic take over. It sounds far more indie, with its eclectic selection and a less electronic approach to production. This stylish and elegant sensibility is his hallmark and he continues in the same streak using distortion to give the music a more live sound. A definition?, we ask. “It’s a compilation of my 80s influences and alternative electro-pop.” It contains a hotchpotch of 80s new wave with guest appearances by Peter Kingsberry and Catherine Ringer, the reggae sounds of Patrice, and some more rock moments with The Hundred in the Hands and Boys Noize’s remix of Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Still, the real gem on this double album is the virtual EP that has worked its way onto this compilation. There are five original compositions produced by his label, Stéphane Pompougnac Productions such as Experience, the supremely catchy and clubby instrumental, Take Her By The Hand featuring Lady Linn on the “Night” version, and on the “Day” side a fairly electro-lounge feature by the magical Peter Kingsberry. But above all there is Morning Flow by Malik Alary, the first artist Pompougnac signed up to his label.
In 2003 he released his debut album Living On The Edge which included celebrated artists such as Michael Stipe from REM on the track Clumsy. Then in 2007 came his second album Hello Mademoiselle featuring artists such as Noémi, the singer from Zimpala, who is the sweet voice on Ghosts & Roses, the warm voice of Anthony Bambury makes an appearance on Hello Mademoiselle, the hip-hop slam Mondes Parallèles is sung by the newcomer Ného and, as a special guest, Alain Chamfort offers his voice to the song Ingrate.
Whereas until now he has always written everything he releases, he confesses that today he’s more interested in samples and music with a diversity of sounds as he works on his third album. He has already produced a premium album for the famous Heaven’s Floor club, which was launched during the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. At the same time, he has put together La Musique du Faubourg with Malik Alary, a sort of jukebox offering tailor-made music packages for hotels and restaurants. Whatever he chooses to do, Stéphane Pompougnac is an all-round artist and, after 25 years in the business, he is cementing his reputation as a composer, producer and DJ.