After covering 70's synth enigma William Onyeabor and Neil Young, Joakim continues to radiate heat with his new album Tropics of Love. Set for release on Tigersushi on May 26th, it features collaborations with The Rapture's Luke Jenner and Akwetey and finds the French New York transplant pulling from a broad stroke of styles. The traces of this are compounded into his less clubbier than usual but absolutely brilliant 'Inspirations' mixtape. Hit play and read on as we discuss Neil Young, the Parisian creative community and the trials of running a record label.
Tell us about your album. How long did it take to come together? Where did you produce it?
I made it 90% in New York, in a small bedroom since I moved from Paris to New York a little more than a year ago. So it was back to basics for me, like for my first album, I brought only a few machines with me at home, compared to the infinite possibilities I had in my Paris studio. 2 samplers, a few synths and a mic. That was actually quite fun and it made me go much faster, like it took about 6 months to finish the album, including the mixing in a "real" studio in NYC.
It's been proceeded by a cover of Neil Young's 'On The Beach', which was a nice surprise. Do you listen to much folk rock? Are you a fan of 'Trans', his electronic record that all the Neil Young purists hate?
Yes, I listen to everything, including folk rock, and Neil Young is clearly a hero for me. This song is so deep, I thought it would be nice to cover it to try to bring it somewhere else. I also like his 'Trans' record, I hate purists, they are basically narrow minded idiots haha. But I don't think that's his best record either.
Speaking of covers - the record sleeve has a fun elegance to it. Which artist is behind it?
Camille Henrot did the artworks, from photos I took of her. It's part of a series she's doing called 'Tropics of Love', hence the album title. She's one of the most talented artists of her generation, if not the best. We collaborate together a lot and I'm very proud of that.
The album seems primed as a summer soundtrack. What do you look forward to most in a Parisian summer?
Parisian summer is cool when Parisians are away, which is less and less the case. When you can walk around the city, have a drink at café's terraces and go to nice restaurants without having to book anywhere.
Who in Paris' creative scene is really exciting you at the moment?
Walter Mecca, Crackboy, Low Jack, Sound Pellegrino, Sam Tiba, Canblaster and Panteros (individually more than together as Club Cheval).
Running a label is tough business and you've been sticking it out for 14 years. Over this time, what's changed for the better and what's changed for the worse?
Well, now I think I know better how to manage a non-profitable business. I'm more relaxed about that and I think we have a healthier relationship with artists too as they finally understood what this is about. When we started it was still possible to sell thousands of copies of very underground 12inches for instance, so we had to learn how to deal with the never ending sales drop. I'm happy we're still there and that Tigersushi still has a strong attraction power considering the amount of demos I get everyday!
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