Melancholic Melodies And Organic Grooves: An Interview With Chic Miniature

in Bittles' Magazine/Menschen/Porträt & Interview

Music | Bittles’ Magazine: The music column from the end of the world

As a lover of electronic music it can get a bit overwhelming trying to keep up with the number of new releases coming out each week. For every Compro or Skylax House Explosion there are numerous functional house and techno records which are simply content to exist. This is why albums such as Ficción Futuro by Chic Miniature can seem like such a godsend. Formed of eight pieces of dance floor delight, the record manages to do a very rare thing these days, in that it works perfectly as a whole. By JOHN BITTLES

The duo of Ernesto Ferreyra and Guillaume Coutu Dumont first started working together back in 2003, with the sumptuous house grooves of the Conexión Califa EP being the first fruit of their labours to see the light of day. Since then a small but substantial series of releases on labels such as Raum…musik, Musique Risquée and Crosstown Rebels has helped cement their place in many a house lover’s hearts.

Chic_Miniature (c) Marc_Ducrest

This month sees Chic Miniature return to the highly respected Crosstown Rebels imprint with the melody-led lushness of their Ficción Futuro LP. Opener Adormecido sets the scene perfectly, a deep, dirty trip to a darkened room where the locals have been dancing for hours but still don’t want the fun to end. Next up, Miso Drunky is a squelch-filled mid-paced houser, its Blade Runner samples sending shivers up the spine. Further in, Tilt is a trance-tinged hardware jam, its synth sequences sounding like they are going to blast off at any time, Suki Ni is so gloriously deep that you can’t help but dive right in, while Let It Slide is a winning slice of sun-kissed Balearica. The whole album is a treat though, helping make Ficción Futuro a record which will sound just as good in a club, on headphones, or on the decks at home.

As the album has been eagerly tickling my taste buds these last few weeks I was keen to find out more. In the following interview Chic Miniature discuss the new album, melancholic melodies, working with Damian Lazarus‘ Crosstown Rebels, and lots more.

So, get yourself comfy, and let us begin…

For those who have never had the pleasure of hearing your music before, can you tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?
Chic Miniature is a duo project we (Guillaume Coutu Dumont and Ernesto Ferreyra) started around 2003-2004 in Montreal. With it, we toured for quite some time until 2009 and during that period we released three EPs (Conexión Califa on Raum…musik, Poco-A-Gogo on Musique Risquée and Escandalo on Crosstown Rebels) and a couple of remixes. Around the end of 2009 we needed to focus more on our solo projects, but even though we did, we kept making music as Chic Miniature. Obviously we couldn’t do it with the same intensity, but we made sure to keep it alive.

Your debut album Ficción Futuro came out on the 29th of June. Why do we all need this record in our lives?
It’s hard to talk about our own music and especially trying to convince people that they need our album in their life without sounding like we’re tooting our own horn. We think that for those who liked Chic Miniature before, it will sound like a continuation of our sonic work and for those who don’t know what we did, we hope it’ll be a good experience. We tried to tailor the album as a trip… The way so many albums used to be produced… like something you listen to from the beginning until the end. We hope people can find a way to enjoy it that way. We have the feeling that there is a definite Chic Miniature sound/touch to it. Whatever this might be.

The press notes say that Ficción Futuro was “Fourteen years in the making”. What took you so long?
The oldest track on the album was composed in a country house around Montreal in 2004. We always said that it would be an album track. Something that doesn’t need to fit into a dance floor context. We’ve been collecting some material over the years for a potential album. Most of them didn’t make the cut in the end, so it wasn’t really 14 years of active work. Let’s say that we always wanted to touch the album format because of the possibilities it offers to define a specific concept/sound/idea. Life got in the way, other projects, touring, family, moving cities, etc…

A few years ago we started to realise that we had quite a lot of material and that it would be nice to wrap up an album. The process of transforming raw material into an LP proposal was done in 2 years (which is still pretty slow). We also strongly feel that if you still want to release a track after 14 years of making it, it’s not a bad sign.

With the songs on the album having been recorded over such a long period of time what is the main thread, idea, or sound that unites them?
We realized very early, when we started working together, that we shared a taste for melancholic melodies and organic grooves. That was always clear for us, so even if the tracks were composed in different years the essence was there. We produced a ton of other tracks since all those years but they didn’t make the cut because we felt they didn’t have that little Chic Miniature touch.

Adormecido is gorgeously deep and trippy. What is it about this song which makes it a good introduction to the Chic Miniature sound?
Well… Maybe you can feel that little touch we just talked about. There is a little something in the melody of the pad that sets the tone of the album. It’s not easy to explain.

The fabulously heady Miso Drunky is one of the album’s stand outs for me, with it’s Blade Runner samples adding an air of mystique to the song’s mid-paced groove. What can a well-placed sample add to a song?
A sample often comes with its share of references. It helps to guide the listening experience into one direction or another.

Another of my faves is the Chicago-style deep house jam Let It Slide. Can you talk us through the creative process for this track?
That song was produced in our studio in Berlin around 2008 or 2009 (at that time we had 2 rooms next to one another). It wasn’t an easy time for both of us and to top it off, Berlin’s winter gloom was crushing everything on its passage. It wasn’t the most glorious of times. The track is quite melancholic but there is a kind of hopefulness in the groove. It’s going forward. “Oh god, it’s raining again. Let it slide”!

The record is released on Damian Lazarus‚ Crosstown Rebels label. How did you first hook up with the good people there?
We got to know Damian back around 2007. Just a bit before we had a release on Musique Risquée that Crosstown wanted to re-release along with a new cut. That’s when we did the Escandalo EP for them.

What’s the best thing about working with the label?
Damian has always been very very responsive with the music we sent his way (granted we didn’t do it very often in the past 10 years ;). It might sound like nothing, but nowadays it’s a rare thing.

Are you planning on touring the album?
We will be back on the road soon with a new Live act.

You have been working together for quite a while now. How did you first meet and what made you decide to create music as a team?
Ficcion FuturoWe met in Mexico through some common friends in 2003. At that time Ernesto was just about to move from D.F. to Montreal. We made plans to hook up in Montreal and start working on some music which we then proceeded to do just a few days after his arrival.

What five tracks are currently working for you in the clubs?

As a live act we play our own music but when Ernesto plays DJ lately he likes:

  • Alan CastroDiary of Reality (Meraki Music).
  • Bodeler-Ferreyra Summer of Cris (Loosen up 003).
  • Instinct 03Resistance (Instinct).
  • Vieux RenardGastro Gnome (Vis Rev Set).
  • SasseSoul Sounds Original Mix (Raum…musik).

Do you have any final words for our readers?
Enjoy the ride please

Ficción Futuro is available now from all good record shops and download stores including Phonica and Bleep. Do your bit for humanity and treat yourself to a copy today.

| JOHN BITTLES
| FOTO: MARC DUCREST