“I met Romain in the lively exhilarating city of Hong Kong in the summer of 2016. The musical creativity flourished and it led to much Asia-Euro collaboration. It felt as though techno, house, minimal, afro beats and 80’s funk (just to name a few) were exploding onto the scene out there. After years of much hard work – it was starting to pay off. With festivals like Shi Fu Miz, Wonderfruit, Epizode, Quest and clubs such as Social Room, Savage and The Observatory making space for house and disco music, artists like Romain FX emerged changing the scene forever.
Romain FX is a dedicated artist going from strength to strength in the industry taking a full heart and distinctly open character with him wherever he goes. The French native is committed to his artistry, crate digging and bringing people together. From opening Roofest Hong Kong’s first rooftop party, creating his own imprint Fauve Records, working with labels Black Jukebox, Fantastic Voyage, Mamie’s Records, gaining recognition from the likes of Move D (who was also a guest on the Fauve radio show), The Blessed Madonna, Orpheu The Wizard and DJ Harvey, to curating energetic heartfelt Mixmag and Boiler Room mixes and co-founding Hong Kong record store “The Pharmacy”, Romain FX is definitely one to watch for 2020 and beyond!”
It seems we have come full circle. Don’t you just love the universe like that. It’s an honour to do your first full interview and I’m just going to go straight in and ask, how do you feel the current global situation has impacted your work and the music industry?
Unreal how powerful the universe can work its magic. Straight to the point is the best. I feel this whole situation is a gift in disguise. Of course, it is straight out of a movie and also sad on so many levels, but my hardcore positivity is taking over and I think the whole world was moving to fast for human’s sake. It’s good for everyone to be able to take time to re-think, reflect and evolve. Enjoy the day by day life as best as possible. It’s a strange feeling personally to move continents during all this madness, it is a big challenge, I’ve had so many gigs lined up for my 2 month Asia farewell tour, and also very important dates in Europe and Tel Aviv, which I can sadly still not talk about just yet. But in the end, I managed to spend priceless time with my parents and sister during tough times in Hong Kong as a family instead, and also took time to settle in France and spend quality time with the grandparents and friends, and it was worth the hassle. The last bit for me was the studio, and after 2 months delay, my record collection and studio has finally arrived, so now everything is all perfect, time to get busy making beats!
I have mad love for the energy you bring to your sets, having witnessed the uninhibited joy for myself it’s evident you have this way of bringing people together to have a truly memorable time, creating ego-free zones wherever you go. What beliefs and values do you hold dear which enable you to have this effect on others?
Thanks for those kind words, I try my best! I believe that the beauty of music, much like art, is this universal language. Being someone that has never grown up in his own birthplace and have moved around places a lot, going to local schools where I did not speak the local language at first. I was drawn to music, it speaks to me as a tool to unify the cultures, with borderless feelings. For me, there is just good music and bad music, good music for me can be bad music for some, and bad music for me can be amazing for some, no genres, no borders, it’s universal, it’s a feeling – that’s the magic. I also try to find balance as much as I can in my sets, I try to play as many styles of music possible usually as I know that I am usually playing for 50-300 people and all these people listen to different music, come from different social classes and have different tastes, so for me, it is important to make everyone happy so that they have a great time. I don’t want to be put in a “box” as a DJ, when people ask me what kind of music I play, I always tell them “everything”.
It seems as though the world is slowly waking up to the realities of a deep-rooted illness which plagues the human race. Racism against people of colour. It’s everywhere, especially in the entertainment industry. As a lover of afrobeats, disco, techno, jazz, acid house we hear you embrace black music in your work. How do you think producers like yourself can contribute to positive lasting change?
Coming back to what I said before, I feel it’s great that people, because of COVID 19, are having the opportunity to reflect on the past and revolt also, it will help the whole world to move forward. As much as it might not be the same as some people might consider “racism”, I have personally lived through a marginal life as a kid, being the only white kid with blond hair in a local Taiwanese school, or being the only kid that did not attend to Catholic studies in a Catholic school, I was often seen as the odd one out and was sometimes bullied emotionally, so I can somewhat relate to this feeling of segregation. It is a horrible feeling, and it should be frowned upon. I feel though, that the key solution to this is to break those “imaginary barriers” that society has incorporated in the language and mindset. And it’s starting by recognising everyone is equal and human. So, yes I am a lover of afrobeat, disco, but also bhangra, salsa etc… it’s all just a universal language that is music, all of them are different but all as beautiful, just like all human beings if raised well with the right notions of life and equality.
I’ve had the pleasure of listening to some of your unreleased music and it’s safe to say the next 6 months is going to be exciting! With so much going on so often, do you find it helpful to have a firm schedule in place for your year or are you more carefree, happy to see what happens attitude?
I tend to be quite an organised person. I used to always have a schedule for the past 10 years, and actually, since all this has happened, it’s the first time I do not hold a calendar, and it feels amazing I have to admit haha. But yes I think it’s only a matter of time before I take out the good old calendar again. It’s important to be structured in life, to be more efficient, but also important to let go sometimes. All about balance.
A Frenchman raised in the US, Hong Kong and Taiwan, you have undoubtedly soaked up many different cultures in your life, how do you think this contributes towards your craft?
Funny enough, I would say growing up in so many different countries has given me “carte blanch” as to what is good music to me. I was never really influenced that much with music as a kid, I would only stay a year sometimes in places, so I never really had time to get caught up in musical “trends”. Which I see as an asset musically speaking. I can decide what I really like deep down on an emotional level and less on a “because-it’s-cool” level.
What advise would you give to your younger self.
Don’t go to an expensive American University! Just don’t… you’ll regret it until you’re 47 years old, but also this helps you reach for the stars haha
Which record labels have you enjoyed working with so far on your journey and why?
I don’t like to talk favourites, to be honest, all labels have a different story behind them, and all came at different times in life. I do however have a true love for Fantastic Voyage who were the first ones to pull me out of my studio and pushed me to release my first edits EP. Since then it has just gone so fast. A special mention also to Black Jukebox who I’ve been following since I first started DJing, so to be able to release on their 30th edition, for my 30th Birthday, again… the universe haha
What was it that led you into the world of music production and djing?
Curiosity & endless possibilities. I love the DJing side of things to be able to create ephemeral stories of mixing genres and emotions on a dancefloor. I love the production side of things to start from scratch and build something, to dig deep in your gut and to express yourself through sound. My parents loved dancing, but we’re never big record collectors or anything, so I cannot say I was born surrounded by records and music. I’ve had to work harder to dig and dig and dig, but I’ve also now been able to pinpoint by myself my true love for music, and I never get tired of it and discovering more every day.
You were recently in Tunisia to play at a party. How was it to be back behind the decks after such a long time of club closures and lockdowns?
Pure bliss, of course, there was different energy I felt, more wild & carefree, maybe it was just Tunisia. Luckily I had a long set, so I had time to play so many different music, was very satisfying.
Lastly Romain, are there any projects happening that you would like to share with us?
I have a couple in place yes. There is definitely one I would like to highlight. I’m working on a live performance set. Thanks to so much financial support from all my friends and fans I was able to raise enough money for my 30th birthday to be able to buy equipment for a live performance in exchange for a year of free unreleased music from the studio. I have almost bought everything and will start working on it in the next months, to hopefully have something ready for next summer for a live tour around Europe and Asia. Also, I’m working on a new series on Fauve Records, called “西 WEST & 東 EAST” which will see collaborative EPs of producers from Asia and the west. 1 original track each and then each producer remixes the other’s track. This is the bridge I want to create to link up producers from Asia to the western world to break those barriers.
Ok, that wasn’t my last question after all. Top 5 albums. Go!
Not in any particular order, and of course if I could put 20 I would:
Universal Togetherness Band – Universal Togetherness Band
Babyman – Babyman 2 劉美君 – 赤裸感覺
Saâda Bonaire – Saâda Bonaire
U.N.C.L.E.22 – The Man From… Freestyle Affair