Raised to the sound of Pulp and Rex residents Jennifer Cardini and Ivan Smagghe, it didn’t take long for French producer Eliott Litrowski to move from the status of hopeful freshman to that of a safe bet for discerning club music lovers.
Both a deft, crafty jockey and inspired musician, having made a name for himself through a handful tasty releases for the likes of Popcorn, Cracki and Moustache Records, Litrowski has been filling spaces between catchy arpeggiated melodies, far-flung kosmische scopes and that all-out Chicagoan energy that keeps steering dancers into ecstasy decade after decade, short-lived trends seriatim.
Electro, house, italo… call it whatever you like, but Eliott Litrowski’s music sits unmatched when it comes to challenging dancers to a hustlin’ and bustlin’ contest of hi-NRG moves and swift octave-shifting skills, and his mix for IA showcases the breadth of his talents in absolute style. Close your eyes and let the feels flow.
Interview by Baptiste Girou
"I think less stress leads to better productivity"
Hey Eliott, thanks for that nifty retro-futuristic mix. Please tell us more about its making. When and how was it recorded?
Thanks for the opportunity. I’m really happy to participate to the IA MIX Series. I recorded the mix before Christmas at my place in Copenhagen, using 2 Technics turntables, 2 XDJ’s, a DJR 400 rotary mixer and a Boss Space Echo delay pedal. It’s a mix of records I used to listen long time ago with some new stuff I like to play now. I’ve also included some unreleased stuff.
For the readers who may not be familiar with your work yet, you’ve been making moves in the club scene for nearly a decade, releasing a trio of solo EPs on Popcorn Records, Cracki and Moustache over the years. What first attracted you into the world of electronic music?
Back then I was already going out, playing cheap D&B records in some bars in Paris but the first time I attended a Kompakt party at Elysée Montmartre was a big game changer for me. I went to almost all of their parties for years and got familiar with electronic music with them.
Seeing Jennifer Cardini charming a crowd barefoot with records all over the floor just blew my mind. Her movement was just unique and impressive. I wanted to do the same. I was following her quite a lot at that time. Being this annoying kid hanging around. Going out to Rex Club or Pulp Club on Thursdays to see Ivan Smagghe, Chloe… etc. They were all so inspiring to me and still are.
Michael Mayer’s Fabric 13 mix really got me into electronic music as well… I am still obsessed with this mix.
I started making music way after. Antoine from Popcorn asked me some tracks for his label. I wasn’t producing at that time and decided to try and really enjoyed the process. The Cracki Records guys also really pushed me to produce and were always listening to every demo.
I shaped my sound quite a lot during this process with them. I have been lucky to be surrounded with people caring of what I am doing, it gives me more self-confidence.
Moustache was a big step for me. I really trust David and his taste in music. I was proud when he decided to make the record. He also helped me with some production details. I am not a good engineer yet and I love to learn from others!
Your sound could be summed up a propulsive mix of paced-up electro, acid, Italo-Disco and atmospheric house. Did you naturally come up with this kind of euphoria-inducing signature from the beginning, or was it something you purposely developed along the way?
It came along the way. I am a big Chicago House fan and was mainly playing house and techno. I started DJing at bigger parties in Paris and was surrounded by very skilled DJ’s with different backgrounds playing different kinds of music. I guess it shaped my sound a bit.
Seeing people like David Vunk or IF had a big impact on how I play and selected music today. They like to make a real party out of their record and Italo and electro is a really good combination for that.
People like DMX Krew or Ceephax Acid also had a big impact on the sound I play today as well. They’re influenced by a lot of different genres which can have some really fun results. I like my sets to be just as diverse and colourful.
What’s coming for you this year? Any new releases on the horizon you can tell us about yet?
Yes! It’s been one of my most productive years so far. I have a new solo EP on ‘Something Happening, Somewhere‘, Nuno Dos Santos’ label from Ultrecht. I’m really happy about it. I love that label and it’s coming with a massive remix from one of my heroes.
I have a track in collaboration with Voiski coming on Cracki records in April and a few appearances in compilations on Bordello a Parigi and Permanent Vacation. I also started working with Laura from On Board for my bookings and I am already very happy about it.
Studio wise, what is your setup currently comprised of?
My studio set up is pretty simple, I work with Ableton as a sequencer. It’s my main tool. Most of my drum machine sounds, other than the TR707, come from samples. Then I have a Roland Alpha Juno 1 and a Juno 60 as polyphonic synthesizers.
For me, the most important elements in my set up are the monophonic synths. I use the Korg MS20, Arturia Microbute or the Eowave Domino a lot. They’re super fun and easy to use. I also use a lot of Plug-ins.
"I started DJing at bigger parties in Paris and was surrounded by very skilled DJ’s with different backgrounds playing different kinds of music. I guess it shaped my sound a bit"
What’s the one piece of gear you’d never get rid of, no matter what?
Definitely the Domino. I use it all the time for FX, leads and basslines. It’s small, sounds very good and it is easy to manipulate.
Aside from your musical endeavours, you are an architect by trade. How do each of these activities effect one another?
I could write a lot about this. I moved to Copenhagen because I wanted to be an architect and have more time to do music, which was very difficult in Paris. Even If I had interesting jobs and I love the city, I had no time for me. Now I have more free time and being in a creative environment most of the time helps me to be creative when I do music.
Being busy during the week also helps me to be more efficient in the studio. I always try to finish my projects because I don’t have all day to think about it. It can be bad as well, but I try to keep it as a driving force.
Also, having a day job that I love means I don’t have to worry about paying my rent from gigs alone. I think less stress leads to better productivity. Sometimes it’s difficult when I have a lot to do at the office and have to play gigs but I am used to it now.
In a way, when you know how to handle it they can complement one another. Playing a good gig on the weekend makes me really happy and that has a positive impact on my work, for sure. I also have a lot of support from the people I’m working with and also from my girlfriend. That gives me a lot of freedom and support!
Copenhagen is a city pulsating with lots of creative energy and a distinctive architectural character. What do you like most about it?
First of all, it’s next to the sea. Always being so close to the water is something I really enjoy. Coming from Paris, a very big city with a lot of movement, I found Copenhagen very relaxing. I bike everyday… It just feels great. I am surrounded by very creative people in many different fields. It’s inspiring and pushes me to be more creative myself.
The Danish music scene is small, sometimes quite intense but the people are really nice and open-minded, and some parties are really enjoyable. I just like it here.
What are your favourite spots to hang out in town?
One of my favourite spots to hang out is Gaarden & Gaden. It is a wine bar in Nørrebro, where I live. If I am here during the weekend, there’s a big chance you’ll find me at the bar! I also like to go to Dyrehaven in Vesterbro. They have nice food its cosy and not too pricey.
If I want to dance, I would go to Jolene or Ved Siden Af. This club is run by very motivated people and the line ups are great. Øen, a tiny place (50 people) in Nørrebro, is also great to go when they have live shows.
What was the last record store you visited and what did you bag there?
It was Mint Record in Copenhagen and I found ‘I House U‘ by Marco Passarani on Peacefrog Records and ‘Got You On My Mind’ by DMX Krew on Dance Arena Productions. It was a good catch to be honest.
What makes you happy?
A working vinyl set up with quality booth speakers and a good bottle of wine.
What never fails at pissing you off?
Hanging up laundry. Especially when the machine stops and you know this time is coming.
What can we wish you for 2020?
A lot of working vinyl set up with quality booth speakers and good bottles of wine.
Photography by Ed Gumuchian
1. Anthony Rother – Little Computer Men
2. Proxyan – Artificial Superstition
3. Richard Davis – In The Air (Further’s Acid Relapse Edit)
4. Bigeneric – Deltoid
5. Hiver – One more Snooze
6. Eliott Litrowski – Blind Pilot (forthcoming)
7. Voiron – Hyper Voiron (Unreleased)
8. Ceephax Acid Crew – Fossil Funk Piano Mix
9. Koga – A2 Survivor (M&M’s techno will survive mix) feat. Maurice
10. Reptant – The Raid
11. Luca Lozano – People person
12. Kumulus – Cloud Chaser
13. Acidwolf – Blue Morning Drive
Discover more about Eliott Litrowski on inverted Audio.