WORDS BY IAN HOWLING
Over the last few years, French imprint TIME HAS CHANGED has quickly risen to become one of the country’s foremost purveyors of quality house and techno. Much of the label’s success lies with the A&R talents of label chief ACUMEN; a man who undoubtedly knows a tune when he hears one. His latest endeavour is an even more personal project, as he takes a momentary step back from THC to launch a new label, THRILL OF IT. As expected, the early signs for the new label are most encouraging, with Acumen’s Crush EP (which also comes with remixes from Villanova and Danton Eeprom), one that’s still making an impression round our way. So how do the labels differ? And what else has Acumen got up his sleeve? We checked in with the main man himself recently to find out.
What was the last record you bought? And why? Joyce Muniz’s latest EP on 2020 Vision. I love the grooves in Joyce’s music and the EP is pretty much perfect for any DJ set.
You’ve just set up your new label, Thrill of It. Are you looking for new thrills then? Yes! Generally in life, I cannot stop looking for new sensations, which might possibly be a bit tiring for people who live with me! But I am constantly exploring new things, playing new sports, activities, traveling to new places etc. Maybe it’s because we only live once.
Did it get to a stage where you felt you brought Time Has Changed as far as you could? Absolutely not. I think Time Has Changed is one of the biggest French house labels and I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved at the label over the apst few years. Many labels appear and disappear, and running a label these days isn’t easy. We continue to work hard to release excellent music. Time has changed has a big future for sure. Trust me on that.
So will you still be involved with Time Has Changed releases? Yes, and I am still the chief A&R at the label. Of course my partner, Damien (Timid Boy), also helps in that regard too, but we pretty much make every decision together.
When you set up Time Has Changed, what were your goals? How did they change over the years? I’ve been a huge fan of electronic music for some time now, and spent years hanging around at the clubs, and with the DJ at the afterhours. But there came a time when I had to choose between music and my studies. So I figured I’d stay in the scene by starting a label. I had absolutely no goals when I did that. I was just trying to release some interesting music and make some nice discoveries.
In regard to your new label, Thrill of It, what labels, DJs and producers influenced you to start it? I take a lot of inspiration from various different places. As I’m 36 now, I was really inspired over the years by German touché – especially between 2002 and 2005 – with labels like Perlon, Sender, Bpitch, Kompakt etc. I pretty much grew up musically with all this stuff in my mind. But there is so much music today – and so much quality music too. But the problem is that it’s fucking hard to find it as there is so many labels, so many producers today. Much more than it the vinyl period of old.
So I gather this is a very exciting time in your life by the sound of things? Yes, and it’s a very exciting time for multiple reasons. I am a father of two wonderful kids and have an exciting full time job of pharmacist. So I can’t complain. In addition of this exciting project, my life is fast and full of other surprises.
I noticed some really cool artwork with the first release. How important do you think the visual aspect of a label is? I think it is super important – or at least, it should be really important – for any label. Look, the image of a label is very important and I can remember most of the vinyl I’ve bought in the past due to the artwork. So we decided to put a lot of effort into the project artwork wise. In any case, Thrill Of It is a mixture of art and music. My wife is a painter and managed to perfectly capture the music through her paintings.
Are you an art lover in general then? What else inspires you to make music? Yes, I’ve liked art and painting from a very young age. My grandpa was a collector of modern painting and I went to a lot of auction rooms when I was young. And I even bought it my first painting at the age of 7. So I think it is very inspiring for me. It is very interesting to have a woman artist because we motivate one another. Thrill of it will differ in a certain way because of that, and we’ll also be presenting each artist with the cover as an actual painting, which I felt would make for a nice touch.
You have Villanova and Danton Eeprom on board for remixes already. Were those guys easy choices? What did you make of their efforts? I’ve been in contact with Villanova for a few months now. I think they’re one of the best French duos around at the minute. They have a unique style mixing weird sounds, weird edits etc. I totally dig what they are doing. It is kind of the same with Danton as we’ve spoken a long time over the phone. It’s easy when you are from the same country and have some common friends. And I am super proud that Danton made that remix. Not just because it’s a great remix, but also because he’s making a great comeback right now.
Crush is a really cool EP. Is there a story behind the title track at all? How did it come about? What hardware and software were you using? Not really…I just like the word to be honest! Production wise, I used a mixture of hardware (like minimoog voyage, novation bass station roland SH101 etc), and a lot of VST synths. I’m a huge fan of all these toys…especially the Native instruments stuff!
What more can we look forward to from Acumen and Thrill of It over the next while? I’ve a few remixes released now. I will release a new EP on Time Has Changed with my friend Ranacat from Mobilee, and that’ll feature a Gorge remix too. A big release for the summer. I will also release some new stuff soon. Going to be a big year!
Acumen’s Crush with remixes by Villanova and Danton Eeprom is out now on Thrill of It Records