Interview: Bob Sinclar

Jasmine Phull chats to the legendary superstar producer about his Playboy alter ego Bob Sinclar, why London is the world's dance capital, and making music that's about 'peace and love'.

Jayne Robinson

Date published: 31st Aug 2010

You don’t often hear a French super producer refer to his capital city as ‘dead’, but you don’t often talk to the highly lauded house producer Bob Sinclar. Well, at least I don’t.

Back in 1993 Sinclar, née Christophe Le Friant, started creating beats - only the major labels didn’t seem too interested. So in attempt to introduce the world to Bob Sinclar, his Hugh Hefner-esque persona, the DJ decided to do it DIY and distribute his own music.

Like a lot of solo artists his intention was not to become an aesthetically recognisable character but more so one of a purely sonic nature. In line with his 70’s dance music a playboy-esque alias was born. Bob Sinclar would represent sexual liberation and complete candidacy. Listening to his music is about indulging in ‘peace and love’ and general elation.

Adverse to isolation, the artist prefers to record in his studio indulging in good vibes and shared creativity and refers to London as the best city for dance music. Similar to fellow producers Diplo and Switch, Sinclar recently took a trip to Kingston, Jamaica to record project “Made in Jamaica” inspired by the original Reggae protagonists including Gregory Issac and Toots. But don’t call it a ‘Hit of the summer’ unless you actually mean it, he warns. 

First off where did your name come from?

Bob Sinclar come from a French movie called “Le Magnifique”. It’s a “James Bond à la Française” comedy. Very funny. I just loved the name which sounds for me like a very catchy 70’s disco superstar name.  

The biggest obstacle you’ve faced in the music industry?

When I started to produce my own beats in 1993, it was really difficult to propose something like this to a major company in France. And we never had any small indie labels of that kind of music, so I decided to create my own structure to manufacture and distribute my own records. 

Your Hugh Hefnor-esque persona is something people now recognise. Is this character an ironic way of staying anonymous?

Hugh Hefner is a superhero, he created a new lifestyle for modern man in creating his brand PLAYBOY. I am always very nostalgic about these periods of high creativity and of course I am addicted to playmates. When I created the character of Bob Sinclar I imagined a DJ who could have lived at the end of the 70’s. It’s also a good alter ego to live out my fantasy. 

Is your image an important part of Bob Sinclar?

Nowadays image is essential for any artists and especially in music. I think a lot of French artists during the first period of French Touch created a new strategy and concept around their image of DJs. When I started the Bob Sinclar project I didn’t want to put my real face for the promotion of the record, I imagined a persona. And then after the huge success of the first album I tried to live my dream with this new fun and sexy character and the fans loved it. 

What genre is your music?

I don’t like to put my music in a genre because I make music with melodies and words. The only difference between all genres of music is the way you produce it and the colours of your beat. I am a DJ so I want to play my music in every club of the planet that’s why my music is dance music but I try to create it with always passion, emotion and with a message involved. 

The best city for music?

London is the capital of the dance music and very often the key to your success in the world. You can go everywhere, every night something is happening with music in every genre. Ibiza is for the summer and Paris is DEAD. 

An artist you are listening to now?

Since I recorded this project called “Made in Jamaica” in Kingston with Sly & Robbie I started to build up my education in original reggae music by listening to artists like Toots, Gregory Isaac and music from the label Studio One. It’s music full of peace and love. 

Which artists do you believe to be your contemporaries?

I hope I have my own style for the people who listen to me but if you talk about DJs who are making music like me on the French scene I could say Martin Solveig or David Guetta are the closest. 

When you record do you isolate yourself and record in one particular place?

Music for me is about sharing good vibes with talented artists. I don’t really like to isolate myself. I make music in my studio in Paris and then I go to NY, Kingston or London to record the best singers. 

Do you like to have a little to drink to help you get inspired?

You know what? I never drink and I have never been drunk in my entire life. I know I am an alien. 

Your drink of choice?

Coca Cola zero. It’s the right combination of soft drink and no sugar. 

Worst promotional gift you have received?

Honestly I haven’t received any gifts for a long time because everything is happening on internet now but what I hate the most is that every label before the Summer is expecting to find the “Hit of the summer”. When they send promos they always say: “Here is the new hit of the summer” and every time it’s just shit. To me only the listeners decide.

Interview by: Jasmine Phull

Catch Bob Sinclar at Pacha, Ibiza on Saturday 25th September. 

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