Interview: Fabrice Dayan

Voyeur Music label boss Fabrice Dayan shared some interesting words…

Tell us about how you got into dance music, where and when?

I was a hyperactive kid, born in the end of the analogic Era in the south of France, curious by nature, driven by drawing and painting most of times, and enclosed in the protective walls of my bedroom. I won’t lie, my parents were only listening to classical music. I received a strict education, and no one played Piano or Saxophone here. I just remember the first record I played on a turntable was the fascinating Ravel’s Bolero. Digging music really started at school.

I grew up and discovered US Hip Hop from the late 80’s, Graffiti art & and found my own interest in doing myself cassettes with everything I liked. From EPMD to Big Daddy Kane, From Beats International to Soul II Soul, from Joy Division, INXS, David Bowie, Depeche Mode : I picked up a lot of different things that talked to me, but I was mainly attracted by rebel artists, characters, and all stories behind their music. I had one hour and a half of public transportation to go to school, so imagine without a smartphone … You need your cassettes. In this period, sharing and discoverinjg new music was to copy what you like on those tapes, from the friends that bought the original records. As far my dad hated any kind of new music, I had to put my headphone all the times.

My bedroom became a shelter. But on Saturdays afternoons, I was in charge to find Hip Hop B-Sides with instrumentals for my band, and we started to try rap with what we wrote all week. It was our thing, and I was 13. Imagine how ridiculous it was. Later, some of my friends continues into it, and finally signed major deals (Fonky Family).

The real crush with House & Techno happened in the early nineties. My friend Marc told me about a party, not so far away from his parent’s house. At night, when they were sleeping, we jumped out the window to have a close look on the noisy music and green lights that rushed out that enormous Warehouse. We entered by the back of it, hoodies on. Dj Hell & Dave Clarke were playing. I remember Dave Clarke impressed me because he was playing with the same skills and energy from Hip Hop turntablism techniques, but with Techno and Breakbeat records. He really got me with his particular way of playing music. Then I started to dig deep into all kind of electronic, mainly in Detroit Techno and Chicago House.

In the mid 90’s, conventional clubs started to be empty, police began to be scared of those massive moves every week-ends, and some laws were created to stop Raves. That’s the moment I started to play in clubs. It was a really strange era for nightclubs, because the owners changed everything in a hurry to fit this revolution. That’s how it started. Residencies were also a good way to buy more music, because it was expensive, and rare to find. I took my independence really early, and I literally spent my whole free time to dig records and find the particular one who makes the difference.

From this experience, I guess I found my interest in converting people to Electronic Music, with the nightclubs. I remember also in that era, clubbers were more curious about the music, and open to what the dj plays. That’s also how I learned how to read a crowd. After playing in most of the clubs in the south of France, I finally moved out to Paris in 1996, and started to play as resident in clubs like Bains Douches, or Queen. It was the beginning of what some called “French Touch”.

What is your personal sound and style, what turns you on musically? What excites you? 

I mostly play from Deep House to Techy Beats. I like when it’s sexy, emotive or suggestive. My Style is to not use only one genre to build up a set. I guess my style is to know how to mix them together. I like to make it all coherent by feeling it. I still see myself more like a DJ than a real producer, maybe because I’m too respectful and fascinated by some of them.

From that long experience as a Club Dj, I learned two things : First, travelling through genres to build up a night and drive a crowd is important. Second, I was used to playing long sets, so I had always a lot of time to express myself, and to surprise with different things. That’s the thing that really turns me on: When the whole architecture of an entire set makes a sense.

When this summer EMF festival invited me to play, my slot was a one hour set. I felt honoured, but in the same I had to deal with something I was not used to: Playing a short set. It’s something I had to deal with, knowing I couldn’t create an athmosphere, it was something I had to rethink, and the Energy out of it is different from what i was comfortable with.

What excites me is continuing to play on other’s artists sets, respecting their personality, and then build up slowly my own thing. The unexpected and the communion side of a crowd is everything. I like to see electronic music as shapes and colours, and you can’t find all you need in one only genre. That’s the best thing in Electronic Music: You can find a lot of colours in it.

Tell us about your label Voyeur Music, what made you set it up, what inspired or influenced it?

The idea of my own label maybe started when I was a viynl record seller in Paris. Meanwhile, once a month I took a train to London to buy new records and dig the next ones to come, losing myself at Blackmarket, Rough Trade, Uptown Records or even Reckless Second hand stores. I learned a lot from the UK culture, and as a frenchman I was always jealous of their curiosity and open mind. They had press, radios, clubs. House and Techno was considered as Rock or Pop, and I liked that idea of a real Democracy in the music.

In the early 2000’s, a lot of friends were running independent labels like Roulé, Crydamoure, Brique Rouge etc … One of them was my best mates, born in the rave party Era. Fab G, started Blackjack & Riviera Records, and I learned a lot from it. Ten years after, with the Digital revolution, the problems of dead viynl stocks and production processes disappeared. This allows slowly more freedom to develop projects, an alternate vision of it without a major financial risk. Some said it was the worst era of the industry, but I only noticed the positive opportunities for the music.

From 2008, I started to receive a lot of exclusive demos. I’d always been a big record digger, but with the start of soundcloud, the process to discover new things changed, and this was a garden of creativity. Discovering productions meant to spend a lot of times to find the right gem between edits, reworks, and finally original tracks. First I did it to feed my dj sets, but I started to see slowly what all this could change. This was a new way of thinking a label, far from the constraints of major companies processes, or the waiting lines of independent ones.

Later in 2014, on the side, as Talent scout for Universal & Capitol, I found interesting projects but they were not fitting the major market and their silly radio needs. An example, when discovering “The Avener” with the track “Fade Out Lines”, I remember at the beginning no one wanted it, because the dance music market and radios were swimming deep & focused into that EDM thing. It took longer for them to understand it, and I started to think seriously about doing it myself with my own label. So, I guess Voyeur started naturally because of a frustration feeling, a need of freedom, and the envy of creating my own family in Music.

When you understand that shift between Major companies processes, the radios decisions, the Dj needs and what people want to listen (or ready to discover), that’s when the “Do It Yourself” appears. I had the right connections, and a real envy to do it. I don’t see Voyeur only as a Label. I imagine it as a state of mind, a brand, a party; it’s a collective thing were everybody is involved. Having collabs with graffiti artists & painters like Miguel Belin or Clement Mougel for the covers is a right example of every links that can be involved to it.

What are the best and worst things about running a label in 2017? What are the easiest and hardest things?

The best could be that particular satisfaction you get when you see major and respected artists playing what you smelled. I’m feeling happy for my artists when Solomun, Danny Tenaglia or Black Coffee plays our productions. It’s also cool to create synergies between artists, that’s why I’m happy to introduce artists from different scenes.

The worst thing for me could be time. Every time spent into every process of production and promotion, marketing and social network, is time I’m not doing music. But I think it will change in the future with a better organisation. You know, It’s mostly, also, a matter of costs. When independent, the goal is also to not lose money, doing maximum of things yourself, but in the same time, you have to deal with that new market face, where music is disposable faster.

The hardest thing to me, is that feeling of failure, when I deeply believe a record didn’t reach the right hands, in the right time, when deserved better. Hard thing also is i’m still waiting to hear more electronic productions on the Radio.

Tell us about the new compilation – how did you chose what tracks to include and why? What were you looking for?

After some tracks buzzed out like “Time – Not Alone” or “La Maza”, I received more and more demos from new producers and confirmed ones. Some projects I received had already a solid follow up, so I decided to take a part of each one, and create a Various Artists album. I’m not looking for anything in particular. Honestly, I take the same time listening to Tech-House demos, to people that send me crossover projects, like Wavy or Synth Pop productions. My nature is to be curious of everything, so I won’t be stuck to one genre in particular, and hype is not something I’m running after. History learns that trends are disappearing really fast, so I keep an eye on it, trying to have one step ahead.

I’m trying to find the best from artists of every country, and to combine from Deep House to techy beats, that can fit the set of the dj’s I like. When I discover music, I first try to figure out who can play it. For example, when Elias Tzikas sent me “Like a Flower”, I thought about Kevin Yost. When listening to George Dexx “regrooving” track, I first thought directly about Oscar G & Ralph Falcon from Murk (I’m an early big fan, I have to admit), then I see if I was right or not. Spending a lot of time in Ibiza, I felt surrounded by doing a Various Artist Album made for it, thinking about all the energies you can find there. That compilation also introduce tracks from upcoming EP’s to come later this year.

You have had big support from the likes of Solomun – how does that feel? Is that a mark of success for you?

Let’s be honnest, today beeing supported by Solomun, Marco Carola, Pete Tong or either respected artists with a big audience is something necessarry. Any productions, even the best ones, can’t exist without that help. But it is definitely not a mark of success. Success is when a talented artist finds his own way into that music jungle. When that kind of support, I’m tring to explain them it’s not a single goal, it just helps them to believe their works can find an echo somewhere, and it just helps them continuing in what they are working for, far away from any idea of fame. Work and devotion is the key, but I don’t know what is success really. I prefer to use the term satisfaction; to me it’s linked to some kind of happiness. Today more than ever, the “US” is more important than that selfish “I”.

I feel sad when listening underrated tracks. Even on other labels works. This is really sad to realise that some talents will stay hidden, without any mark of recognition. When your all time legends and the ones that involved you into it finally see your work, of course you feel blessed. When Danny Tenaglia supported my remix of Superman Lovers, it means a lot to me. I have to admit: That moment touched me, but everyday is another white page to write. I think about tomorrow.

Tell us about your remix of The Supermen Lovers on there. How did you approach it?

We are old friends with Guillaume Atlan from The Supermen Lovers. In june, we talked about his old track named “Rebirth”. I explained him why I loved so much that so-simple hypnotic 10 minutes bass loop. That track literally sticks your head and turns you on with an inner voyage. In the same time, i received a private Edit of it, from Antony Toga. Antony version first used parts of “Solitary Daze” from Maceo Plex, and it was a cool tool to play, but of course not something to get signed. Then I remembered Ricardo Villalobos playing it at Amnesia. Ricardo haves always that particular talent to chose risky tracks for the right moment, and the moment here was to lift up a big crowd after a long inner voyage. So I imagined 2 alternative versions, in the same situation.

We worked together with Anthony on a 5AM version, keeping a mysterious and suggestive mood using wavy keys and the original bass groove. Then I did mine, in a 10 minutes nasty version, made for late nights. I added a new acid bass, a wave synth, and re-warped a bit that funk bassline, always thinking about that big Lift up effect. I think the result is made for big sweating rooms. After the support of Solomun on it, we are now working on a Remix EP, with other interpretations, because that sample loop allows many things. It’s in the kitchen.

Are there rules about what you can and can’t do when it comes to a remix?

There are no rules. I do what I feel, what I want to play, or would like to see played. A long time ago I did that rework of Lana Del Rey’s Video Games. I turned it into Disco. It was just a Rework, I didn’t pretend it was a remix, but I was surprised of the many supports like the one from Dimitri From Paris. In the end it seems even Lana liked it, and I was surprised to hear it while she was here during Paris Fashion Week. I need to have fun when doing music. Music haves no rules. If I felt the need to follow rules, I’d better work at the bank.

And how differently do you approach them to remixes? Do you start and work in the same way?

I imagine a crowd, a situation, a club, and how to create an unexpected effect. I never start and work the same way, I just take my time to do them, and do not hesitate to redo things until what I have inside my head looks like the final work. Rebirth remix took me 3 weeks because I was always not satisfied with some details.

What’s next for you, what else are you working on?

I have personal tracks and remixes on the go, I actually work on the upcoming EP’s from the artists, and trying to clear that massive Antony Toga remix of “Teardrop” from Massive Attack. I’m still looking for new talents, keeping in mind upcoming Voyeur parties. This is something I want to do in the future, but I take my time for this, and I need the good team to do it. At the moment, I’m happy of everything that happens, it’s more than what I was expected, so I keep continuing my thing. I always did all this with passion, true soul and devotion, so Karma will tell if something bigger can happen from all those experiences. I have a lot to give.

Voyeur Music’s Ibiza Compilation is out on September 8th

Pre-Order it here –

Voyeur Ibiza 2017 – A Various Artists Album : (Out on Sept 8, on Beatport Exclusive, then on September 22 2017, everywhere)