How did you first get into music and who was the artist that inspired you to start producing music?
The story starts a long time ago, during my childhood. I think I got into music because of my parents. They actually were listening to a lot of different styles, and had a crazy collection of CDs. During the iPod era when I was a kid I was literally listening to thousands of songs all the time, which I believe has helped me shape a musical culture. At the time I remember going to one of my parents' best friends' house in Morocco where he had a setup of CDJ players / turntables and a mixer, and when I first saw this I didn't understand anything about it, but I was just amazed of how cool it was to be able to really touch the music, feel the music and control the music.
Later on during my high school times I used to play a lot of parties and then got to play my first clubs and festivals when I started making my own music. At this moment my music was very influenced by the Swedish and Dutch scenes, and as a French guy I was also a lot into Daft Punk, Justice, DJ Mehdi and so on. I have to say the guys who got me into electronic music include the likes of Avicii, Dada Life, David Guetta, Nicky Romero, Bob Sinclar, Axwell, Hardwell, Afrojack and more. Today I'm lucky enough to be working on a daily basis with some of them, tour the world and play in Europe, US, Africa, Asia, and even on the Great Wall of China.
Having released music on both Hexagon and Protocol, how would you describe your style and what are your main influences?
I am part of the Protocol and Hexagon artists since a little more than 2 years now, as well as recently Mix Feed, Darklight, and a few other prestigious labels that I cannot announce yet as stuff is on the way, but really blessed and grateful about it. It's really hard for me to put a name on the music I make as you might have noticed, I am releasing many different genres recently. I would range myself from electro to tech house, including both happy and dark vibes in my tracks. I am trying to make music as an experience rather than a specific genre. When making music I never ask myself shall I go Electro House, Future House or Progressive... I am not trying to chase any trend or invent new ones, but rather thinking is this thing that I am doing now something that I like or not, and does it fit my values, spirit and image. So if I had to define my musical identity, music-wise I wouldn't go as far as just electronic music. This way I can stay true to myself and you can even expect some unexpected kind of tracks, and who knows I might make some non-electronic music someday! As I was mentioning earlier, my energy comes from music and travels, and as big as the world is I believe this is the reason you can feel the diversity in the music that I make.
Your new song ‘You’re Not Mine’ nicely combines unique sound design and catchy vocals. What do you like the most about creating a track? Songwriting or producing?
Thanks for the kind words. Really happy about all this enthusiasm around this track. To be honest we have been working on this one with my friend Kamil Ghaouti from Morocco for almost a year, and I believe this really is the best one we've ever produced so far. We're also extremely happy with LauraBrown's work as I have rarely seen such amazing singers working this hard and this fast on music to deliver a really solid topline and unforgettable lyrics. I suggest you all to keep an eye on this Denmark export as you can expect some crazy masterpieces coming up on her side. You are talking about the catchiness of the track and uniqueness of its sound, which is a really interesting point. I must say as a creative-minded person that I am a lot more into the creation process than the technical side of music production, i.e. mixing and mastering plus everything that's about sound design, layering, dynamics and so on. I could talk about this for hours, but I also believe that in a way, if I had to choose between songwriting and producing, I would go for producing. It is somehow a way to explore infinite possibilities from things that already exists. During the songwriting process you are often sitting with a guitar or piano and looking for ideas to come out of your head. What I like about the producing process is that it works a complete opposite way, as instead of having ideas popping out of your head, you keep on searching for the right sound by tweaking synths, samples, vocals, drums and every possible element and you can somehow discover the music you are making without thinking about it before.
How do you feel about streaming live-sets instead of playing for real crowds? And does it make you play different music in those sets than what you would usually play at festivals?
It's sad to see with these tough pandemic times that all shows and gigs across the globe are being canceled one by one, but on the other side I am quite grateful about having time to work more on music, which is something I didn't have much time for before. Of course I do miss a lot the real shows and real crowds, touring, festivals and so on. But I am very excited about livestreams because it's a way to offer a completely different type of content. It also enables you to have a full control on your show, from the music to the visuals and the whole setup. The music I play during livestreams is obviously completely another kind of vibe, as I have much more freedom and I am besides that seeing new and different reactions from the online crowds. During lockdown times I have been able to livestream about 5 or 6 sets from my home in Marrakech, Morocco, and I am happy to have been involved in fundraising festivals to help out for a good cause.
What artist would you like to work with and which elements of your own production process would you like to put into this collaboration?
There are so many artists I'd love to work with, and I believe it is because of the universe they are offering with their music. I am a huge fan of names like Disclosure, Kaytranada, Duck Sauce, Oliver Heldens, Eric Prydz, AlunaGeorge, Sofi Tukker, Adriatique and many more. I think the elements of my own production process would basically come from my spirit as a DJ, meaning I believe have my own vision of how tracks might sound to the crowds and which directions we should take to reach expected perceptions. This goes by the use of the right samples, effective arrangements and some of my signature bass lines.
What are your thoughts on the current EDM scene compared to how it was when you started as an artist?
I see so many people criticizing EDM, from when I started to now, so let's talk about positive stuff. The EDM scene today might feel like an oversaturated market to a lot of artists, to me we are living such an amazing experience as you are able to make it with one hit overnight, and we are giving more and more chances and opportunities to young and upcoming talents. Before you had to be either a superstar to release on labels or invest a lot in your music to make it successful. Today anybody is able to produce music, reach a decent level fast thanks to the abundance of tutorials available on YouTube, and you can even distribute your music on all major platforms for peanuts. Moreover, you can promote your music for free everywhere, and sometimes get support from key opinion leaders easily on platforms that we not even existing two years ago like TikTok. And with all these things made easy, you can only foster creativity and see the emergence of many trends, genres, artists, styles you name it, so let's all be grateful! We are living in an amazing era that's full opportunities so never give up and you will see hard work and dedication does pay off!
Looking into the future what can we expect from Charles B?
Music, good music, and more music. I cannot announce this yet but if you want some hints, I am soon to join labels of very big artists including some that used to be #1 DJ in the world, and of course you can also expect some more tracks on labels I am already signed to. As you might have heard recently in their livesets, DJ Snake and Malaa supported an upcoming Charles B release with my French homie Frents, which also shows the darker side of my music project, including some heavy house and tech house bangers for the clubs. I will be releasing a lot of music every month till the end of the year, and I am already stacking releases till 2021. Besides that I am currently working since more than a year on a project to involve a lot of artists and friends on my side and I can only tell you that this will be a great adventure and that everyone is welcome to join the journey! To finish this interview on a high note, I will quote Ono's words often said by John Lennon : "A dream alone is a dream. A dream together is reality." So don't give up on your dreams, as they're meant to be lived! Many thanks to Chris, Lex, and The QR Network for having me.
Thank you to Charles B for taking the time to answer our interview questions! Check him out using the links below!
Lex Van den Wyngaert
Writer for The QR Network
D'Angello & Francis
High 'n' Rich
DJ Luane de Lima
DJ Natalia Moon
Tom & Jame