London based artist Hardt Antoine has a name to homage his colourful ancestry. The DJ, Producer and promotor of French and West Indian decent, continuously channels his hugely colourful and eclectic taste in music through his productions, events and label. With his latest releases on Cin Cin and his own Recultured imprint already turning heads, we invited him along for a chat and a guest mix on the radio show with Just Her.
Hey Antoine, welcome to CC 🙂 Firstly, what is your background and how did you get into music?
I’ve been a music lover from my earliest memories and from pre-teen age years ‘DJ’ is all I wanted to do. Luckily enough from leaving school until to just a couple years ago club resident DJ-ing was my main job. I’d play several nights each week with different genres at different parties and venues. I stepped back from this in 2017, the same year I started Reculture, because although this was my dream job – after almost a decade It felt monotonous and I was feeling very musically unsatisfied. That said, although I was so keen to move away from the open-format, old-school nightclub style of playing – this is my 100% my DJ background and a big part of creating me as an Artist today.
Where are you based and how has your home country or town influenced your music & career?
I’ve lived in London my whole life and have been running the parties here for a few years. The electronic music scene here is known for it’s musical diversity and it’s musically educated crowd. It’s funny, you know my music doesn’t have the classic rave or Dub touches UK music is ‘supposed’ to have – it schools more from European House and Detroit techno. But the diversity and for want of a better word – sophistication – is what I think makes it truthfully represent my city.
How would you describe your sound – do you think your music falls into a particular genre?
I actually really struggle with this. I hate the concept of standardised sub- genres but sometimes you need them for marketing sake. I like to say ‘House, Techno and beyond’ but that’s vague and unhelpful. Let’s say this: it’s groovy, it’s analogue, energetic, usually dark, sometimes sexy and often melodic.
Your latest EP ‘Tonight/Are You There’ on your own imprint Reculture is a current favourite at Constant Circles HQ – how did you approach the EP and what was the idea behind it?
Glad you like the record! I made this early into the first lockdown here. I was digging through some vinyls from my teenage years – tracks I learned to mix with kind of thing. Recorded them into the sampler and laid the backbone for about 10 tracks. I made that digital 80s bass patch oh my Nord Lead for another track but had the drums and vocals and knew that’s where this needed to go. I defiantly didn’t have Reculture in mind with this EP – at the time a had a scheduled catalogue of heavier club tracks ready but these of have been put on hold until we can rave again. I had that eureka moment in the summer when I realised these super-personal records with super- personal samples should come out on my own label.
What is your production process – is each project or track different? And what are your key pieces of studio kit?
I don’t have a set conventional process. I get best results when I get to the studio with I musical idea, new sample to play, or quirky workflow to experiment with. Elektron Analogue RYTM, Sequential Prophet 6, Moog Minitaur and the Nord Lead are my go-to’s and you here them on everything. Also NI Maschine gets a lot of love for sampling. If these all become preoccupied I’ll then go into the DAW and Load some plugins. 9 times out of 10 I’ll later decide whatever VST sounds too ‘computery’ and re create it with the Prophet.
Reculture is also an event brand as well as an underground record label – Can you tell us bit about this, do you have an ethos and a particular sound policy?
Sure. The events have been around for a couple years now. We made noise by booking quality acts and curating lineups with artists you may not usually see on the same billing. We also completely ignore sub genres, hype and trends and book acts we find quality and authentic. I keep the same mentality with the label – sub genre – crossing electronic music inspired by the events. At least that was the pre-pandemic view. The rules are so different now and the pandemic is changing, growing and evolving all of us. I’m not afraid to let Reculture grow, change and adapt too. I never planned to release music like this on here but I have but I’m glad I did – somehow it makes sense. Also, it’s not necessary a Reculture requirement, but me as the main A&R – I like ‘machine music’ and raw analogue sounds so naturally that’s what gets my attention.
Back to you and digging a little deeper – what is your deepest darkest secret?
I don’t really have any… cue the coughing and avoiding eye contact.
What is the coolest, wildest or worst gig you have ever played and why?
In my resident DJ days I had a long-term residency with a circus themed nightclub. I used to travel around to clubs in Europe and Asia with a crew of performers doing circus themed parties. With circus parties you can probably imagine we had some incredible wild and wonderful experiences, but also a fair share of painfully awakened and uncomfortable ones! It was definitely an adventure filled period of my life.
What do you have coming up in terms of releases and gigs (or live streams)?
In terms of release I’ve got more coming on Reculture. I’ve also just agreed something on one of my favourite labels but I won’t say what or where yet until the dates are in stone. Gigs are of course a depressing topic right now. I’m starting a mixtape series with more expressive music – just oh my channels. I’ll hide the views, comments etc so It doesn’t become about people pleasing. A personal mini- project.
How did you put together your guest mix for the radio show & what have you included – any exclusives or surprises?
I knew I was in a high energy but downtempo kinda-mood. I can’t plan mixes too much so I through some tracks I was feeling in a playlist, a mix of stuff already around this tempo and things to be pitched down, and had a jam for an hour. All with CDJs this time, although I have of course included some vinyl rips. The intro is an unreleased, abstract track of mine and I’ve worked both tracks from The EP in there.
Check out Hardt Antoine’s guest mix on Constant Circles Radio with Just Her: