For those of you who like your crate diggers to have really gone the extra mile when it comes to spinning records; to have searched every nook and cranny for that impossible to ignore beat then look no further than Paris. OK, the city of romance is not exactly round the corner but if Eurostar isn’t an option then check out the collective that is Paris DJs for some of the finest and rarest funk, jazz, hip hop, salsa and reggae podcasts on the web.

As well as an awe inspiring musical education of a back catlaogue of Podcasts to download (and stream live) there are also virtual releases and reggae remixes of old and modern classics from the likes of Ty, Roots Manuva and Q-Tip (one of my favourites being Grant Phabaos reworking of Erykah Badu’s “Honey“).

Covert recently shot the breeze with Paris DJs head honcho, blogger, DJ, TIMEC record  label manager and all round multi-tasker extraordinaire DJouls.


Covert: What got you started in music?

DJouls: Music became a passion as a teen. The T.I.M.E.C. label started many years ago, at the beginning of the 90s. I needed to “label” the creative output of my crew of friends and myself. Mid-90s, after maths and business studies, I knew I would be working in music, I took a job in a used CDs record shop and in 1996 started doing my own music web pages. I launched my first website DJOULS.COM in 1999. It was a way for me to publish reviews of what i call “Music you don’t hear on the radio”, and commented discographies of what I thought were influential and innovative artists who didn’t get much exposure in the media, such as Funkadelic/Parliament, Frank Zappa, Phish, Medeski Martin & Wood, Tim Buckley, or labels such as Ninja Tune, Mo’ Wax, Warp…

Covert: What was your big breakthrough?

DJouls: I got a webmaster/artistic director job at Universal Music France and left after two years when I realized I was working on Star Academy (french Pop Idol TV thing). We then started taking the label thing seriously with Grant Phabao, and released simultaneously 4 thematic albums in 2004 (Downtempo, Electrolatino, Christmas, Reggae). That was one hell of a big breakthrough for me since those were our first official, non-promotionnal, non-mixtape records to be released. 500 copies limited edition with unique packaging and hand-numbered, following examples of labels like Factory of Mo’ Wax.


Covert: What have you sacrificed for your art?

DJouls: The illusion of comfort of a monthly salary working full time in some non-creative field.

Covert: DJ, promoter, record label, podcaster, music reviewer. How many job titles have you got?

DJouls: (Laughs out loud) If a DJ is someone who has records to play, as my friend Ark would say, then I’m a DJ. I’m rather a selector, always have been. I did more than 50 mixtapes and more than 50 mix CDs before launching (yes, with full tracklists and an original artwork for each). I started doing websites and writing about music in 96, because I felt music was going to happen on the net somehow. I had to learn it all: graphic design, development, integration, servers, etc.

Covert: 4 years since you started, 200 mixes downloaded one million times, more than 35 virtual releases downloaded 100.000 times, more than 4000 music entries in the blog. Whats next for Paris DJs?

DJouls: We did a few Paris DJs parties in a bar a the beginning of the year, and organized our first live party this summer with an all-star line up of Ghanean, Nigerian, German and American musicans. Those include the famous Poets of Rhythm. Their MySpace page has a discography links which points to one of my sites. We’re trying to help them get a spot in Paris for their next tour and Stones Throw Records release. Fela’s guitarist in Afrika 70 was on that stage too. Paris DJs founder Loik Dury is currently producing his new album. Antibalas/Ocote Soul Sounds’ Martin Perna visited us this summer and played on this Kologobo album at Loik’s studio. He’ll be remixing Grant Phabao and Grant Phabao is doing remixes of Ocote Soul Sounds, who are heavily featured in our mixes. Martin also did a track with our friend Doctor L that time. So you see, production, touring, promotion, networking, distribution, sales, etc., it’s all a big synergic thing and you never know what will happen. With the TIMEC label’s growing catalog, with the Paris DJS media huge numbers and growing b2b opportunities, and with the concept store/distributor/reissue label SUPERFLY RECORDS happening very soon, we already have investors knocking at the door.


Covert: Do you suffer for your art?

DJouls: It’s more my friends and family who suffer, I’d say. I can’t complain for something I’ve chosen to do.

Covert: What music would feature on the soundtrack to your life?

DJouls: In chronological order: some pop, some classic rock, classic and free jazz, Zappa, Phish and a few jambands, funk, hip hop, reggae, latin, afro… and a bit of balakanese stuff in there too. It would necessarily be eclectic.

Covert: Desert Island Podcast. You are stranded on a desert island and your Ipod can only hold one Paris DJs podcast. Which one would you go for?

DJouls: Definitively not one I did myself, which would obviously contain a lot fo music I’ve heard many times already. I guess after a hundred of listens I would run out of battery, so maybe “Tropical Funk 45s” by Manu Boubli. It might be appropriate – where is your island?

Covert: What advice would you give an aspiring DJ?

DJouls: Everytime I deejay someone asks me for a Michael Jackson track. A few months ago I would have said “Buy a few MJ records and some cool MJ or Jackson 5 covers to bung in your bag/in your DJ folder on your hard drive”. More seriously, I’d say check the current software and hardware for deejaying, cos’ there are many amazing tools available now, and if everyone’s got access to everything, everyone’s a DJ, so you gotta make a difference somewhere. Find softs and hardware you have fun mixing with, that’s the point.


Covert: When are you coming over to England to play?

DJouls: Nothing’s scheduled yet. With 3 new albums to release, I might tour with Grant Phabao to promote those. We really want to do some Paris DJs parties (or guesting at parties) outside of France. With the collector’s shop opening very soon we should have more opportunities…

Covert: Whats your favourite club in Paris?

DJouls: La Bellevilloise and La Maroquinerie (next to each other) are my favorites because they’re quite cool with many groovy parties and five minutes walk from my place

Covert: And finally. Who is Paris DJs’ number 1 DJ?

DJousl: I don’t want to hurt anyone’s ego. What’s the criteria? If it’s height, I think Professor Oz’s the greatest.

So people, do your Ipod (other MP3 players are of course available) a favour and get over to