By: Dream Chimney
The following interview was conducted July, 2023
Palavas release their stunning new album on Ravanelli Disco Club. The album is the epitome of Balearic, but it is firmly from the Med. Hailing from the sunny climes of South of France, named after a grand old duchess of a beach near Montpelier, Palavas have created some sun- drenched sonic beauties wrapped up in a candy- coloured long player that will blaze on summer boat parties and beyond. We sit down chimney side with the charming duo on the week of the release.
Thanks for talking to us at Dream Chimney. Where are you this moment and how are you spending your day?
Hello guys, I'm right now in my studio near by the sea in Marseille (France). We have spent the whole day making music and managing our label AZZUR.
Where are you guys based? Describe to us the town in which you live.
I'm (Guillaume) based in Marseille and my partner Guilhem is in Montpellier. Both cities are in the south of France near by the Mediterranean Sea. I like the idea that it has a big influence on our music.
How is the music scene there? What's going on scene right now?
The music scene in Marseille is blooming. There are so many parties going on. I have the luck to take care of bookings and music for one of the main place « La Cabane des Amis ». We have also the good fortune to have a lot of talented music producers notably our friends Anoraak and Mozambo. We often work and collaborate with each other. I don't think that there is competition here between people. It's very chill.
Who are the members of Palavas?
Palavas is composed of Guilhem and me Guillaume. We have met 10 years ago in Montpellier. We were making the same type of music and we decided to collaborate. We have a very healthy relationship and when something goes wrong we talk openly. Some days we can spend two or three hours on the phone together. Having a duo is a day- to- day challenge and communication is central. At some point in our journey, we had a third part involved and it unbalanced our relationship. We nearly stopped everything because of this. Now are back to the duo!
Tell us a little about the name Palavas.
Palavas comes from Palavas-les-Flots, a popular seaside resort near by Montpellier. We wanted a name that evokes holidays, the Mediterranean Sea and the sun.
Palavas-les-Flots is not like Saint Tropez or Mykonos. It’s a working-class sea resort that has been strongly marked by the 80’s. We do like the idea that our music is popular and vintage, same as the city!
If you had to three words to describe your sound, what would you say?
I would say that we create Mediterranean Disco Funk. We like music that shines and makes people smile. Our music is open and easy to listen to.
As DJ’s, what are some of the gigs you’ve been playing at?
We have been playing music for more than 15 years now, so we are quite experienced. Our favorite gigs were in Berlin at Sisyphos. We have spent some amazing times there behind the desk playing from 6am to 2pm. We like to play long sets, getting people into a certain mood and state. This really was where we have decided to create a duo. Recently we have celebrated the release of our new album with a boat party. It was a magical moment.
What kind of vibe might we hope to hear in a Palavas set?
We like to play funk to start, and progressively moving into disco and house music. It’s all about making people dance and smile. Our music is accessible to everyone. I also think that our music is very solar. We are good guys from the south of France, and I can tell you that if you come to see us you will understand. When we play, we are having fun, with smiles on our faces.
Are you both big record collectors? Who has the largest collection?
I think that I have (Guillaume) the biggest collection of both of us. I have collected vinyl for years every time I have travelled. I don’t like to buy music online. I like to go to shops, meeting people and buying records that have a travel memory behind them. Sadly, there are only a few places where you can play actually vinyl in good conditions, so I have slowed down. Now we are Bandcamp maniacs.
Who are the artists from the past that inspire the music that you are making today?
It’s really hard to say. We have listened to so much music over the year. Of course, we have been strongly influenced by the classics such as Chic, Kool and the Gang, Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder.
French classics from the 80’s is also a main influence. France Gall, Michel Berger, Cerrone… Music composition at this time was at the highest level.
We have been also really influenced by Maceo Plex, Wolf + Lamb, Soul Clap and Miguel Campbell. Those guys have opened a path to something new and fresh for the funk and disco world.
Who do you think is making great music right now that you watch?
We like and admire Wolf + Lamb, Soul Clap, Crazy P (Hot Toddy, Ron Basejam), Toys Tonics, Yuksek, Anoraak, Tuxedo, Elado, Krystal Klear, Todd Terje, Prins Thomas. We like producers that give a fresh cut to disco and funk. We also like artists that give a fresh point of view on funk and disco. We don’t like when the music is too vintage. We are not archaeologists! We like new ideas and modern music.
What’s the last new record you bought?
Krystal Klear - Piano Banana ! What a great dance floor weapon. I have been playing it quite a lot recently and it’s always making a huge effect.
What was your first release as Palavas?
Our first release with Palavas has been a vinyl album of edits that we have made together. It was composed of three edits and an original track with a vocal from Team Houston entitled « I Need Someone Tonight ». We sold vinyl 500 copies and gained the support of one or long-time idol Gilles Peterson, not bad for a first one no?
What do you think has been you most notable release?
I think that the most notable one was the release that we have had recently on Bon Entendeur Records. We met them during a festival and after few friendly meetings we decided to work together. Finally, we came up with « Don’t Deny » that has been released by their label Bon Entendeur Records. This track is also milestone because for the very first time Guilhem was singing on it.
How did you hook up with Ravanelli Disco Club?
I have met Romain B, the label boss, in Marseille. He has been very active here and at some point we met during a gig. We immediately had a great feeling. Romain has a huge musical culture, and we share a passion for electronic music. We often go to swim here together and talk about the old tracks that we love. Earlier this year, I told him that we had an album ready and that we were looking for a label to release it. Romain has accepted this challenge and here we are.
Tell us a little about the label?
Ravanelli Disco Club is label from Marseille that has released some amazing music lately from artist such as Jimpster, JKriv, DJ Yellow, Anoraak, Cody Currie, LTJ Xperience, Retromigration and more.
We like to work with people we can meet. With Romain, we see each other every week. It’s a real relationship, not just few emails changed. We aim to work with him on the long range.
Can you talk a little about the concept for your new album?
We wanted to create a real journey into the sound that we play during our sets. So, you can find some disco, funk and just pure club music. We wanted something easy to listen to. Something fun and solar that you can enjoy easily without falling into something cheesy. The tracks are made for radio format and all of them contain vocals. We are very proud of this first album.
To what extent are you performing on the tracks?
We are now proposing a hybrid Dj set. We still DJ but now Guilhem is singing over our own tracks. We have done the first gig not so long ago and it has been a huge success. People like to see Guilhem singing. He has an amazing communicative energy.
On all tracks of the album vocals have been done by Guilhem. Sometimes you can hear his wife in the background.
Is there a track on the album that you would highlight as one of your favourites?
We can’t pick up a favorite to be honest. For instance, my favourite to play is « Get Up ». It works so well on the dance floor. During our last gig, I was surprised that people started to sing it.
« One Night is not Enough » is my favorite when I want to listen to something chill at home. We have worked with Ryan Online on the vocal, such a talented vocalist.. We did this track three years ago…
You’ve also had a recent remix by Prins Thomas. Does this mean a remix album is coming?
Yes we are going to have an amazing album of remixes. I’m super happy about it. Until now we have confirmed Elado, Dicky Trisco, Pete Herbert, Jimpster, Ricky Razzu, Marc Bianco and much more to come.
We have also a remix by Kraak N Smaak coming in September for our track "Femme Mature ».
What else are you working on right now that you can share?
We have had a little production break but now we are working on something for next summer. We want to create a summer disco anthem. We have also two new tracks are nearly done, and a brand edit to release in October.
If there was a Palavas party where would the dream location be and what would be the dress code?
I think it would be another disco boat party and people would have to wear fancy disco dresses. Boat parties are kind of a trap for people. They come and have no escape possible. I like this so much… I want to do another one, first one was fantastic.
Best of luck with this incredible album & thank you for your valuable time.
Check out the latest release from Palavas