Nicknamed the ‘Voice Belgique’ (the Voice of Belgium), Quentin Mosimann is making a name for himself internationally as one of the few existing DJ-singers. Known for his use of various instruments and his wild and unpredictable performances, Quentin sat down with Joonbug at the Perry Hotel in South Beach to talk about his favorite names in music, his beginnings as a jazz singer, and his current international tour.
You’re probably best known for your success in the French reality TV show, Star Academy France. What were you doing before the show?
Quentin Mosimann: I was already a DJ/singer when I began to do this job. I was 18 I think when I began to play in Ibiza. There was a small tech house room and I was playing my tracks and singing as well.
What drew you originally to tech house?
Quentin Mosimann: I think it was the regular evolution of house music. We didn’t have dub step or electro; we just had disco, house, then tech house. We didn’t have this education of disco and house music, so I just wanted to do like the other DJs, and the main style was tech house at that moment.
You play a lot of electro now. What caused the shift?
Quentin Mosimann: I think its more compatible with my style of playing. I love to feel the energy. Normally, I’m totally laid back, but when I push the play button…you have to have something to keep the crowd’s hands in the air, and when you play electro music it only takes maybe 30 minutes [to get that].
What do you do if you lose that energy?
Quentin Mosimann: If you are in a mainstream club, it’s easy. You just take a hit track, like Levels for example, and everybody feels ok. But if you are in a club where the mainstream is not so accepted, you have to take something commercial but play it as a bootleg or a remix or something like that.
You’re part of a growing number of DJs who incorporate instruments when they perform. What do you think is the reason behind this trend?
Quentin Mosimann: I’m not the first; there’s Joachim Garroud, there’s Ron Carro—most of the time he sings, but he plays sometimes, there’s Sebastian Bennet, he’s a DJ but he makes percussion drums…there are a lot of band-like artists as well, like Justice. I think the audience now is expecting something more. Its kind of boring when there is a DJ just playing. I try to do something different.
You’ve played at Techno Parade in Paris, Lake Parade in Geneva, and the Huy Summer Festival in Belgium, to name a few. Do you prefer the festival setting to that of a club?
Quentin Mosimann: I prefer festivals because you can play what you want; it’s a better feeling. In a club you have to drop big hits sometimes, you have to constantly watch the crowd…if I’m not connected with my audience at a festival, I just jump into the crowd. I try to find a way to connect with the public.
Your first album, Duel, was primarily covers of ‘80’s hits. You’re latest album sounds completely electro. When did you know you wanted to pursue this genre?
Quentin Mosimann: When I was 19 I thought I wanted to do jazz and pop music and I wanted to test if it would work. I was one of the youngest artists to perform at the Olympia theatre in France but when I came onstage I just thought, “It’s not my place, it’s not for me,” because…well…I am a DJ. My second album was very electro pop…not electro yet, but electro pop. I changed my label—smaller, more specific, more electro—and now I’m working on my third album which is all electro.
Currently, who are you favorite players in the music scene?
Quentin Mosimann: I love this French guy, he’s one of my DJ friends—Sebastien Bennett. He’s a great guy, a great performer. I love Dabruck and Klein, I love Bingo Players. I think the best way to understand me and to feel my work is to go on iTunes and download my House Bless You podcast. Every week I sing something different in English…or at least, I try to.
Any aspirations in terms of your career as a DJ-singer?
Quentin Mosimann: I would love to play in Las Vegas. I know that in the last three to four years there has emerged a new electro scene in Las Vegas. I definitely have to go. LA as well, of course, and Hollywood—Dre’s Club… The biggest dream of my life is to play at Ultra Festival, of course.
You’re currently on an international tour. How do you prepare for performances in countries where the scene might be a little different?
Quentin Mosimann: I don’t have a list, I just have the crowd. I have to adapt my sets because if I play at a club in Spain or if I play [in the States], or even if I’m in the same town, if you don’t feel your dance floor it can be very dangerous for a DJ. It sounds a bit cliché but if you feel your music, it’s very easy and the crowd sees that you love your music and there is an exchange with the audience. This is what I aim for all the time.
Quentin’s podcast, House Bless You, is available for download on iTunes. To find out if Quentin is coming to a city near you, visit www.houseblessyou.com.