Martin Joseph Léonard Bresso, better known by his stage name Tchami, came into widespread recognition after releasing a remix of Go Deep by Janet Jackson, and has since completed several supporting tours with fellow electronic artists such as Skrillex, Diplo, and DJ Snake. Regarded as a true pioneer of the future house genre, Tchami first started using the term as a tag on his SoundCloud posts - something that the music industry simply couldn’t ignore. Here, the French record producer and DJ discusses how his spectacular debut album, Year Zero - released via his own label Confession - came together.
What have you been doing to keep yourself busy and productive this last year?
T: Well this year has been one of a kind. I undoubtedly spent more time in my studio making music. Sure, the first weeks were tough with all the uncertainty around Covid-19, plus my tour was cut in half. I’ve been working on the ‘Elevation Tour’ quite a bit since it was supposed to introduce my first album Year Zero to my fans. The album was supposed to air before summer 2020 but we decided to push it back to get a little more perspective on what was going on in the world and in what context it would land. I’m still very happy with the way it came out. Like every album or piece of music, it’s a product of its time and it only makes sense to experience it at its given moment.
Had these songs been in the pipeline for a while or were they created during the pandemic?
T: I never believed that I could do an album to begin with. Then a few years into this Tchami project, I realised that I had a lot of demos on my computer. When I start a track, it can end in a totally different ballpark - both genre and BPM wise. I also realised that I could expand my sonic horizon only if I did a longer project that would allow myself into certain musical digressions. I decided to run with it and it was super exciting to have that challenge to complete.
What kind of approach did you take from a writing, production and recording standpoint?
T: It’s really a matter of exploration. There is a direction so to speak, but I never try to place too many guidelines. For a song to be special and unique, I think it comes with a sense of freedom in the first place. I learned a lot about songwriting and how every songwriter has their own style of coming up with words and melodies. Most of my life, I have been the guy in the corner that makes the beats and wasn’t involved much in the writing process, so it was a breath of fresh air for me.