Maybe the sounds, maybe the choice of image, Tchami is, apparently, enigmatic and, at times, obscure. Yet, you can discover its most hidden features, the most delicate ones, the ones that can barely reveal themselves. The guiding thread, however, is undoubtedly the one that sees music as the central protagonist, which seems to be able to make Tchami express at best, representing it in its entirety. So this seems to be the mission of the French producer in the world: to unite us all under the great sign of music. And then Tchami also teaches us one thing: clothes doesn’t define who we are.
What is the story behind the Tchami pseudonym?
A little less than 10 years ago, my best friend took me on vacation to Cameroon to visit his relatives. We had a great time there and were met with the warmest welcome. When we settled in a bit more with his family, one of my friend’s aunt started to call me by the name Tchami. It was her family name and doing that is a big sign of appreciation. Back in France a few months later, Tchami was still sticking with me so when I had to search for a name for my new project, I honestly didn’t have to look too far. It felt natural and with my friend’s family stamp of approval, I kept Tchami as my stage name. I’m proud to say that everything in the Tchami project comes from a real place since day one.
How has your life and career changed after “Promesses”? And after “After Life”? Are there other works that you feel have changed your career?
“Adieu” was also a turning point from the fans perspective. The progression has been smooth for me. I think I integrate things quickly and that makes me always on the lookout for the next challenge.
What about events? What was the festival or concert that most impressed you?
Big festivals are always super impressive to play. I’m also having a lot of fun doing clubs. You never know what you’re going to get and if the crowd will sync with your music. So far, one of the best experiences for me was my first tour bus, the Prophecy Tour. When people buy tickets to come hear you and see you, the vibe is always incredible. They know what they are coming for.
Let’s talk about influences… we all know that the electronic music scene in France, and especially in Paris, is particularly vivid and sparkling. What are the influences you received at the beginning of your career?
A lot of funk and soul music to begin with. Then a bit of French and American hip-hop. Every weekend, I would go to Paris looking for vinyls that would end up on mixtapes. I was first using a Tascam 4 tracks recorder and then moved quickly to a desktop computer. Good old Pentium 3 with ACID Pro 4 + Sound Forge. That was the magic combo for me at that time.
When traveling around the world, who are the artists you have known and who have given you inspiration to work on ideas?
To name a few, DJ Premier, DJ Mehdi, Daft Punk, Stevie Wonder.
Certainly, one of your characteristics that is most striking when you go on stage is your clothing… What is the spiritual connection you make with music?
Well, one must think that I like these priests outfits a lot. I do in the sense of its ultimate simplicity. I’m not so into the religious aspect of it, but it is definitely a part of the spiritual, positive message that I want to put out into the world.
What is your mission with music?
Express myself first. Spreading some positive energy in the world. Create special moments for people to remember, moments that they can carry with them into their lives long after. Like many other artists did before me.
It’s the same mission behind the creation of “Confession”?
Yes, It was essential. I wanted to bring a new platform for artists that weren’t heard at that time. Together, we shaped a sound that I am proud of today. We welcome everyone that has a forward-thinking mind when it comes to music creation. Pushing the envelope is the main aspect and sometimes, it means going back to something less produced, more primitive.
When you thought about your label, what features did you want it to have?
At first, it was about the music I wanted to play in my sets and then it evolved into a more mature approach. I never set any musical guidelines for the label. People sent what they were making and I released the ones that felt the best for Confession. As simple as that. I also didn’t want to tie any artist to the label. Confession is home for anyone who wants to be with us and we are glad to be a part of our artist’s journeys. It’s a tough world to navigate, but I believe we are here to help each other.
Can you tell us something about your future? What does 2020 hold for you?
I will release my first album which will be called Year Zero. I’ve also made music for the new Lady Gaga album, “Chromatica”. I will continue to be in the studio exploring new sounds and I can’t wait to be back on tour when it will be safer for everyone.