Family Piknik, the brain child of Tom Pooks and Joy Kitikonti, had an impressive 2019 with regular releases on their label, ‘Family Piknik Music’, and another excellently curated sell out music festival in their hometown, Montpellier.
DJ and electronic music producer Sebass kicked of Family Piknik’s 2020 with ‘Constellation’, a combination of deep down grooves, mind-blowing lead synths and smooth percussions. We caught up with him to talk a bit more about the release.
How did you link with Family Piknik Music?
I’m a good friend of Tom Pooks, the man behind Family Piknik festival. 9 years ago, when the festival started, I gave him all my support because we’ve been in touch for all these years, helping each other on many things. Tom has followed my musical path since the beginning. He often came to see me mixing in the 90s when I was a resident DJ in the south of France. Last year, he came to my studio and I pitched him my new live set up and played him my latest studio tracks. He picked up one track (‘The Sphere’) to be part of a multi-artists EP on Family Piknik Music and he challenged me to be ready for summer 2019 as he wanted me to act on the festival’s main stage next to Marc Romboy, Agoria, Johannes Brecht, Matador and Anna… I worked hard and it happened. It was a wonderful experience, especially since all the tracks I played during that Live were fresh and never shared in public.
What does the label and brand mean to the scene?
Family Piknik grew up a lot, it’s now hard to ignore it within the international electronic scene. The festival’s concept, the brand and the music label are very well respected and the team makes everything with care and high quality. I appreciate the fact that Tom and his colleagues have a good experience in terms of musical production, strategy and artist management. Their knowledge gives them credit and I’m glad to be the first artist to release on their label this year. 2020 will be a turning point, a bigger step for them, even if they – as a festival – already booked many living legends (Carl Cox, Sven Väth, Solomun, Richie Hawtin or Josh Wink, to name a few…). Family Piknik now contributes a lot to the underground revival in France, with a different way of promoting our culture. I am proud to be part of this adventure!
Tell us what inspired your new tunes on their label?
I have been a DJ & producer since 1989. I have gone through all styles of music but I am a musician before being a studio geek. My roots are House & Techno but I sometimes take other directions and open to deep-house, melodic techno, progressive and even trance sometimes. The 4 tracks I’ve compiled on my Constellation EP are studio reworks of the tracks I played Live on stage last summer. In terms of inspirations, the source can be a vocal, a sample, a beat, a sound or a synth riff. I have no rules, it flows naturally according to my emotions when I’m in the studio. When I compose music, my first goal is to lift my emotions up through harmonies and structures.
How did you link with Robert Owens? What was it like having him on your tune?
I wish I shared the studio with him in real, but it didn’t happen. I have loved Robert Owen’s voice for always, played his tracks a lot in the 90s, such as his anthem ‘I’ll be your friend’. I’ve dreamt of making a track with his voice for many years. One day, I found a vocal sample among a free sound library he uploaded on the internet. And I started to play with it. It turned out pretty well and this is how his voice was added to my track ’Time’…
Should dance music lyrics mean something and have a social or political conscious?
Globally, there are more and more meanings in dance music. In my opinion, it is now more interesting and important to spread a message without going into politics or social considerations. I think that electronic music is not made for revendications. It is not how I define it. I think that we should rather make people dream with the music itself, sometimes with a few lyrics, but always in order to allow people forgetting about their daily life. Dancefloors are not the right place for opinions, it must remain a place of communion.
What else have you got coming up?
I’ve got many other productions in the pipeline. My next track is named ‘Organic’. It will be released in the new multi-artists EP coming out March on Family Piknik Music.
What would you like to achieve in 2020?
Apart from deejaying, I wish I could perform my live act on a few festivals’s stages. I’m willing to make more collaborations and remixes, too.
Sebass dropping ‘The Sphere’ Live @ Family Piknik 2019 :