Jacques Renault

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Jacques Renault


“I’m not a follower of dubstep but I’ve been trying to pick up on it!” he chuckles. “It’s just spread from coast to coast, it’s huge, enormous! It’s almost stadium style stuff now. I get stuff like Boyz Noise and electro, but I’m still trying to figure out dubstep – it’s just one of those perfect examples of a style that I wish I knew more about! I still love my Chicago house, even though I like to joke about it. It’s just that when you listen to the old stuff, you have this idea of where they were coming from, and you can tell they were creating an entirely new genre of music but they didn’t know it at the time or how huge it would be! It was all by chance, and sometimes you really get a sense of that the further back you go! It doesn’t seem intentional and that’s what I like about it! It’s just like all those old disco records too. Crappy Chicago house has a uniqueness to it.”

He may be an expert at this particular genre these days, but once upon a time Renault claims he was a true blue hardcore kid in his hometown of Washington DC, moving from band to band in search of the perfect rock sound. How things change, he admits – one day it hit him like a brick that the only way to make the kind of music he loves is to become a DJ with complete control over his output. If you want it done right, sometimes you’ve got to do it yourself, and a one-man-band is what Renault found himself leaning more and more towards. “I first started DJing drum and bass,” he says of his beginnings. “Then one day I walked into a record shop inChicago, I was a drum and bass buyer by then, and I discovered disco and I started listening to those old house records. I fell in love with sampling – it was just insane, it was a very big change for me all of a sudden! I remember feeling it was one of those moments when you stumble onto something and you just think to yourself, ‘where have you been all my life!’ I kind of never went back after that. I still like and appreciate other styles, but it was something about disco and house that really got a hold on me. It was super easy to find the classic records in Chicago and New York 10 years ago. Maybe that had a lot to do with it too.”

As far as his current home of New York is concerned, Renault reckons it’s good to see the city starting to embrace electronic music for the first time in… Well, ever. Believe it or not, as Renault chuckles, contrary to popular belief, Americans do get dance music – just not on the mass scale of the Europeans. Baby-steps, though. “Actually, disco is one thing that I’ve noticed people in New York starting to respond to really well – sometimes the crowds respond to it even better than hip hop!” reveals Renault. “When I moved to New York, it was the year just after 9/11, so I came to a very different New York! It was an intense vibe, there was a real sense of uncertainty. That’s changed now, it feels more relaxed. New Yorkpeople are very unique, there’s definitely nobody else quite like them. When I play in the UK, for example, people over there are in a class of their own too – they love the big clubs, the brands, the whole thing is like a huge event. In New York, I like to joke that people almost want a bad sound! They won’t go to the big clubs, they want to go to the bad bars, they want to go to the shady Chinese restaurants, that’s special to them. There’s no interest in Pacha or stuff like that! New Yorkers are into vintage everything, they’re kind of wary of big superstar DJs.”