Crédit: Camille Demouge
Zimmer is a producer who sets out to make music that’ll make you levitate. Bursting onto the scene nearly a decade ago with his ‘horizontal disco’ style, Zimmer has grown considerably since then -- taking his act beyond the DJ booth into a full-fledged live ensemble. Last year, Zimmer also came out with his debut album on Roche Musique, the Parisian imprint who has worked with the likes of FKJ, Darius, and Kartell. We were fortunate enough to catch up with Zimmer leading up to the release of his LP’s remix package on October 9th. We chat about his next record; the French music scene; and what it’s like being an artist during a pandemic. Check out the full interview below!
How’s everything going Zimmer? Having been a year since your debut album and your first live tour, what have you been doing with your downtime?
Hi! Everything’s good, the remixes of my album are coming out and I have remixes of my own out these pasts weeks, so that’s exciting. Well, the last dates of the live show were in February. I’ve been doing what I always do when there are no shows, I make music.
With the release of your upcoming remix EP set to hit stores next month, what can your listeners expect from the record?
They can expect a little bit of everything that moves me on the dancefloor! Some disco, some italo, some techno, some dreamy things. All from artists, I have a special connection within the real world (like You Man and Zombies in Miami) or artists I’ve been admiring for many years like Amtrac, Gerd Janson, Lauer, and Kendal.
Out of all the remixes, which feature edits from legendary House producers such as Gerd Janson and Lauer, what is your personal favorite and why?
I really love them all, can’t choose!
For those only getting acquainted with your music now, can you walk us through some of your humble beginnings as a nu-disco producer for labels such as Discotexas and Kitsune? What have been the biggest changes that you have noticed in yourself and the industry since that time?
Sure! I started producing in 2010, got my first release on Discotexas in 2011, and kept building from there, mostly making remixes and edits until 2014, when I joined Roche and started focusing more on original material. Since I’ve released several EPs and an album last year, I also started playing live, alongside DJing which remains very much my first love.
The main change I’ve seen is the fall of Soundcloud and the rise of paid streaming services. I think it’s changed the way people consume music. I miss the direct relationship you had with SoundCloud, where listeners would comment on the timeline. But Spotify and others are a blessing because it makes it possible to earn a living from music, while before it was mostly touring.
Also, I think things have changed with social media, you have to be constantly present, which is pretty distracting when you try to create.
Many of your contemporaries from the nu-disco scene in the early 2010s are some of the same people contributing to the underground house scene in the late 2010s. A few producers that come to mind are guys like Jad & The, Moullinex, and Munk -- who have transformed themselves and their labels to fit the sounds of today. Not to mention guys like Danny Ashenden (one-half of the C90s) running fantastic dance collectives like SlothBoogie.
Have you ever thought about taking the plunge into producing heavier dance tunes? Your latest single “Meteor” seems to give the impression that you’re dipping your toes at least.
Yeah, I think it’s more an idea of tastes evolving over time, and sometimes following what is « the sound of today » if there’s such a thing. I admire artists that follow what moves them over trends. That’s what I try to do. I don’t want to be stuck forever into this « horizontal disco » thing I was going for at the start of my musical journey. My tastes have changed since them, and they are going to keep on evolving.
I’ve definitely had an inclination for more dancefloor-friendly Italo disco tunes over the last years, and Meteor is an incarnation of that. I’ve got many more coming in that direction! Also, you can hear that from the remixes I’ve been making, like the ones for Mokado and Warner Case. It’s a shame clubs are closed right now haha!
How did you end up getting signed with Roche Musique in 2015? What has it been like working with them and interacting with their exceptionally talented roster?
It felt natural! I was friends with Jean (Cezaire) before he started Roche, and Kartell, Darius, Crayon. We would often play the same club nights at Social Club, Chez Moune, then Wanderlust, and hang out. Roche wasn’t what it is today when I signed, but that I look back I feel very fortunate to be part of such an adventure. I think the label has had a true impact of the french scene and that’s something rare.
There always appears to be a new crop of Parisian producers that manage to take the world by storm every few years. What makes Paris such a special place for artists to grow up and find their sound?
First of all, it’s a big city and I feel like most french young creatives eventually make their way to Paris. That’s the case with me, I didn’t grow up in Paris. It’s a shame but France is a very concentrated country, a lot is going on in Paris. And the city has a history of producing great artists in many different creative fields. It’s part of french culture.
Who are some artists from the next generation in Paris you think we should be paying attention to?
He’s not from Paris but Kendal has put out some amazing music recently. Also, check DeSaintex, he’s a fantastic pop singer.
As someone who makes a living as a performer and touring DJ, what has it been like being a musician during the coronavirus pandemic? What have been the biggest opportunities and challenges for you so far?
To be honest, it’s not an easy situation, I miss touring dearly, I miss playing music to people, connecting with them. All I do during the week is a means to get that real-life connection on the weekend through the medium of music. So yeah it’s a little difficult.
But I’ve been very fortunate to do this for the past 8 years, touring across the world. I’ve had fantastic moments, so I can’t complain personally.
What are some of your biggest plans when this pandemic once the pandemic is over? Do you have any new music in the works?
Yes, a lot! The plan is to release it and get back on the road, we were just getting started with the solar panel live show. Hopefully, I’ll get back playing DJ sets as well, I miss the freedom of being able to play anything.
If you had to pick 5 songs that inspire you the most at the moment, which would they be and why?
Michael Franks -- On My Way Home To you, “I love the delicacy and softness of this tune”
9th House -- Lyra (Dusky remix), “because the melody is magical”
Rex The Dog -- Vortex (Krystal Klear remix), “because it feels like an amazing club night”
Laurel -- Scream Drive Faster, “my favorite pop song so far this year”
You Man -- Altered States, “It makes me dance”