The more time he spends contributing to FatKidOnFire, the more I think Michael is becoming an integral part of the team. His latest post features one of my favourite musicians; the truly astounding talents of one Jérôme Meyer – otherwise known as Von D.
We’ve featured Jérôme before during the MIG x FKOF series, but we figured it was time for another chat in the run up to his slew of new releases as you’ll learn about below…
[Photo by Noor]
Hello there Jérôme, thanks for having us. How are things? Things are very good, thanks! I moved to London 2 months ago and I’m working a lot. Radio shows, studio, gigs, collabs. Von Dizzle is working hard!
What are you currently working on? Are there upcoming releases you want to tell us about? My latest release, the ‘Wicked Pharoah EP‘ (on Subfreq) is “Tune of the Month” in MixMag‘s latest issue. That’s quite good news for me and the label.
I also made one of my biggest tunes to date with Phephe called ‘Deeper’. This one is going be released in May on Get Darker with 2 other tracks – one is a collab with Riskotheque, and the other is a track called ‘Sunflower’.
I’ve also just finished a remix of a tune by the Ragga Twins and I’m working on an EP with 2 veteran Reggae singers from Jamaica (Ranking Joe and Johnny Osbourne). I’m also writing my second album at the moment… So there’s a lot to come!
I’ve always been curious; what does Von D mean? What does the D stand for? It all started as a joke. A good friend of mine started to call me that… He always found that I have a very metaphorical way of talking about things and life in general. He started calling me ‘Jean Claude Van Damme’ then he slowly turned it into ‘Von D’.
It always sounded good to me so I kept it. There’s also another reason why I like it: I have German and Spanish ancestors, as well as French – my last name is German, so ‘Von D’ sounded good! The final reason is that, as a big big fan of Valve Recordings, – the D’s in Dillinja and Lemon D also made perfect sense to me.
[Von D – Platform Party – Bulgaria]
Your roots are French , German , and Spanish. Could you tell us more about that? Were you raised by any relevant traditions? Well I was born and raised in the suburbs of Paris. My hometown (Cergy) is a very multicultural place, a lot of people from all over the world live there. Cergy is considered to be a ‘rough’ town and quite a poor one, but it’s basically almost countryside as well. I love my hometown.
I’m really a suburban guy and that’s my lifestyle. As Von D I’m very international, but this is where I come from and I’m proud of that. It’s very hard to get out of my town and shine somewhere else.
What would you describe as the most inspiring force besides music? Women and nature.
What are your thoughts on the changes dubstep is undergoing at the moment? I don’t really follow the changes, neither am I the one to jump into the ‘next hype’ thing. It’s really about the music. The only thing I really feel is that people are tired of all that noise and are going back to the more musical bass-led side of things.
How has this influenced your point of view? I can’t tell if it influenced my point of view. I’m very open minded and always will go with the flow. I don’t predict what I’m going to create, it just happens almost all of the time. When I listen back to some tracks, I’m sometimes surprised that I was the one who wrote that piece of music!
What’s the biggest challenge new producers face these days? What advice do you have? It’s all about having an original style and sound. At the end of the day, anyone can make a drum pattern and a wobble, but is that really special? To stand out you really have to come with something fresh and very personal. With certain producers I can tell who made the track within the first 5 seconds of the tune – that’s where the magic is at.
When I made a track like ‘Show Me‘ for example, it sounded like an RnB track to me, and that’s why people really were surprised. It was something unexpected, also to me as it went so big… Since then I’ve made many other tracks in many different styles, but I guess you can still hear it sounds like a ‘Von D’ track. That’s what is really important to me.
[Photo by Noor]
What do you consider to be your most memorable booking – and why? Even though I’ve toured the US, China and probably all the countries in Europe – I would immediately say it would be playing last set on one of the biggest stages at Outlook in 2011. Three days after that, I was playing at a festival in my hometown. It was the most unexpected experience because I wasn’t playing to any dubstep heads. My town is absolutely dead about any electronic music, so for once I was really wondering how it would go… I was suppose to play only an hour, but it ended up as a 3 hour set to a crazy crowd. That experience was really special, as many people there know me as Jérôme and had no clue about my Von D life and music.
Which are your 3 most favourite (VST) synthesizers? Hard to pick knowing I use a lot of different ones, but here we go: Kontakt, Massive (I use it to get some special sounds) and a very shitty VST I love called ‘Grenade’. It’s a very simple plug-in, but I know how to get some really special sounds out of it.
What separates outstanding DJs from good ones? DJs that have experience, good taste and especially play for the crowd – i.e. a set that is not pre-planned.
In your opinion, who are the producers to watch this year? There’s a good friend of mine, an upcoming producer. His name is Aeolho and he’s really sick. Also watch for new material from people like Quest, Silkie and Swindle.
Any shoutouts to conclude the interview? Yes, I want to send a massive big up and love to DJ Chefal, The Subfreq Crew, Swindle and everyone that has been supporting me from day one. Massive love to you!
Jérôme has kindly put together a short mix highlighting the forthcoming releases on Get Darker, along with his Ragga Twins remix and the Subfreq EP tunes. An astounding mix; considering it’s only 12m – worth a listen and a download!
Thanks to the Von Dizzle and, of course, Michael for the brilliant feature!
[Von D – Les Plages Electroniques Festival – France]
Click to DOWNLOAD
1. Von D – Everytime [SubFreq]
2. Von D ft. Phephe – Deeper [forthcoming Get Darker]
3. Von D & Jb – Kush [SubFreq]
4. Chef & Bluesy ft. The Ragga Twins – Ganja Party (Von D remix) [dub]
5. Von D – Wicked Pharoah [SubFreq]
6. Von D & Riskotheque – Eyes on You [forthcoming Get Darker]