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When The Magic Happens: Guillaume and the Coutu Dumonts

House music of an organic nature has always been enigmatic.

The flat four heads have their reliability, whilst those dancing to diffused or more differentiable drums, albeit still within the same genre, feed on another constant; one of tempo changes and surprise arrangements.

If nothing else the latter accentuates all those strange similarities between electronic music and jazz, with examples of producers and DJs that seem to straddle both canons short but distinguished. As such no conversation on the subject would be near comprehensive without touching upon Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonts, a particularly fine purveyor of such sounds.

With a career spanning well over half a decade, collaboratively and as a solo practitioner, plenty of ears had heard the name before 2007's debut album Face À L'Est, or indeed his adoption of the one-man band ethic when it comes to studio and stage approach. An impressive record, it cemented a reputation that was built upon further three years later with the aptly titled Breaking the Fourth Wall.

Another stellar outing, from hereon in weighty expectations fell on everything Dumont touched, so his third LP, Twice Around the Sun, couldn't come soon enough. Arriving earlier this month, it showcased an even broader spectrum within the maestro's palette. Weaving a tapestry of floor-friendly sounds, nods to disco (traditional and cosmic), French experimental, house, rave and more are audible. Words can never substitute listening to something for yourself, though, and we'd recommend you do so soon. But just before that read on, as we invited the chap responsible in for a questioning on all things non-formulaic.

Your new album has arrived this month, how long have you been working on it?

Even before the release of last album in fact… because some of the music on Twice Around The Sun originated from sessions older than Breaking The Fourth Wall. I always work on music, and sometimes projects just sit in the hard drives before they actually start meaning something.

Was there a basic concept behind what you wanted to do with the release?

Yes, definitely. I can't say that the idea was there before the music but the seed was there. I just let the instinctive part drive the project. There were some themes I wanted to be present in there for sure.

It's not always easy because Dave Aju does most of the writing… but we talk, and he always tries to get inspired by the title I give the music, or at least the mood.

But as far as the themes go I wanted to show the difficulty in, and the importance of making your own decisions that affect your space and time continuum. Ya know… hehehe A sort of reflection on the future and what it's made of.

There are a host of collaborations featured- Dave Aju, Nicolas Boucher etc- would you ever consider working entirely on your own for a full-length release?

I must insist on the fact that I don't like the idea of inviting guests or collaboration just for the sake of selling more copies or having more people take interest in the album. All the collaborations I've been part of in my life happened in a much more organic way.

Sébastien Arcand Tourigny, who is now the sax player of The Side Effects (my live band project), has been playing with me since before the first album. I've been playing in a band with Nicolas Boucher (keyboards) since I was 14 or 15 years old.

Dave Aju became a friend before we actually started to collaborate… I think it's important. Those guys, and even the dOP guys are friends… and I like to share what I do with friends. As for your question about doing a record alone… I don't see why. I love saxophone for example and I don't know how to play… so…

Now the record is finished, what are your own thoughts on its contents?

Wow, it's going to take much more time for me to have a clear view on it. I think I really put a lot of effort and thoughts into this one and it's still too soon to know. Ask me in a few months. A funny thing is that reflecting on it now made me discover how coherent it is in its mood… for me at least.

Live music within a 'house context' is certainly rather en vogue right now- dOP, Nicolas Jaar etc- do you think people are becoming tired of standard DJs and production sets?

I think I always saw my live sets as DJ sets with my own music. I like to play for a dancefloor… It means putting the ego on the side and serving a purpose. Of course, I like it when there is reciprocity of sorts, meaning that the crowd will allow me to diverge a bit from the beaten paths.

I don't know about other people but personally I sometimes tire of half done things… DJ sets with a software that's synching everything or live sets done only with a laptop… I don't know man. If the music is very good, fine, but in reality that's not always the case.

As for having live musicians in a house format, maybe it's a good thing if it is “en vogue”. Let's bring back some players to the equation.

You're originally from Canada, which been claiming more of the electronic spotlight recently. Would you ever consider returning?

I absolutely love Montreal as does almost everybody I know who's been there. I don't think I have ever met anyone who told me “dude, Montreal suuuuuucks!”. It's a great city with great people.

I would love to be back there but it's still a bit far. I couldn't add up 12 hours of intercontinental flights every week at the moment you know. But I know I'll be back there at some point. I think my time isn't done in Berlin, which, by the way, is the first city I ever visited in the past where I said “hey, I could easily live here”.

This is the second album on Circus Company- presumably you now feel quite at home on the imprint?

Yes, second full length and I also have three EPs, some compilation material and remixes. I feel totally at home at the moment on the imprint. And Sety, the owner and manager, is one of my best friends. I almost exclusively work with friends to release my music. It's just better that way.

On stage is where your music belongs; do you ever feel apathy towards getting back into a more staid studio environment?

Nah… studio is the treat for me. As much as I love playing live… studio is the thing. It's not always easy as there is always a lot of questioning “harakiri” style, but it's where I can feel the magic happening. When it happens of course…

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