When you are a young artist with the backing and support of artists such as Kerri Chandler and Chez Damier, you pretty much have the equivalence of a global passport to music enthusiasts. Allow us to introduce you to jazz house wunderkind Paul Cut with his exclusive mix and interview.
Paul can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I started playing the piano when I was 5 years old, classical music at first but then went to jazz when I was 12, and that’s when it all really started for me. I’ve had a couple of funk and jazz bands with friends, and then got into producing electronic music when I was 18.
I was really glad to see that I could apply all these jazz piano skills to house, and it helped me to get to work with Joss Moog and Around7 for my first releases. After that I first joined Popcorn Records, and then D.KO records, through Secret Value Orchestra, the label’s live band. I’m also really glad to say that I’m now part of the H2H project with Chez Damier and Ben Vedren, as well as a duo with Flabaire from D.KO called Lou Chang.
Being as young as you are, what exposed you to the sounds of both jazz and the house music from the ’90s?
I have a big brother 10 years older than me, and he was buying a lot of cds, which I got to listen to. He introduced me to the house music I still love today, especially with a record called “Respect to DJ Deep” from the “Respect is burning” series, with tracks featuring Olivier Portal from Playin’ 4 The City, Kerri Chandler, Needs and Lil’ Louis. It gave me access to loads of hip-hop, but he was into French touch and Chicago house as well.
As for the jazz part, it started by listening to Stevie Wonder, The Crusaders, Jamiroquai and more with my parents, and it quickly became crucial to me to dig deeper. Funk, soul, hip-hop, house, I love them all the same for the kind of musicality it seeks.
How did you end up connecting with Chez Damier and Kerri Chandler, and tell me about your experience with both of these gentlemen?
The first time I met Kerri was quite special! I was with a few friends and we really wanted to see him play, so we went to the club. Not 5 minutes later, a friend of mine was telling him I was a jazz pianist working with Joss Moog, and he simply said “Great, you’re on for the next track!” I found myself onstage next to Kerri with my coat tied around my waist and there we were.
I then got to play a few more times with him, simply coming to parties he would play at. Each time as soon as he would see me he invited me to play with him, it was insane. Probably the guy with the best attitude in the whole game.
As for Chez, I got to meet him through Siler, Popcorn Records’ founder. We were at his place for his birthday, and then Chez Damier comes in. I felt very impressed, but in the end we spoke a lot, and since he heard one of my previous records, he wanted me to come with him and Ben Vedren in the studio to see what we could do. It worked out great!
Since then we’ve had a lot of studio sessions, pretty much every time Chez comes to Paris, and I also got to tour with him a couple times. He is incredibly generous, and takes DJing very very seriously, it feels great to learn so much just by spending some time with him.
I’d say that what both of these gentlemen teach us the best, is humility. I mean, if those guys are the humblest persons I’ve ever met while being legends, it then seems really awkward when you see anyone showing off or acting like a diva!
Do you see yourself being attracted to other forms of electronic music further down the line or is house your main love?
I’m really into house music for sure, but I’m really open to the different aesthetics you can find in electronic music, and mostly combining those to get something new. I feel that’s how music has been growing for a little while now, by mixing different influences together in order to create rather than duplicate. I feel lucky for being able to explore different styles of electronic music through the different projects we have. Secret Value Orchestra gets us from soul house to acid house with a little bit of jungle. With H2H we have been exploring a lot and recording loads of live musicians. With Lou Chang we are trying to go towards something a bit darker. House for life, but not only!
Where have you been playing lately and what are your future plans in terms of dates and production?
Recently I got to play in Tunis, Lisbon, at the Kater Blau in Berlin, and mostly gigs in Paris or in France. I was especially honored to play with Matthew Herbert for my last residency party in Badaboum Club, after great guests such as Marshall Jefferson, Joe Smooth, Akufen, Urulu, Flabaire, Mad Rey.
I am currently finishing two records, one for Silver Network Records and the other one for D.KO, a bit different from what I’ve been doing before, and they should be released within the next few months.
Tell us a little about this mix you have for us?
For this podcast I chose tracks that represent the old school, the new school, the U.S. and France. It is a little trip into a few different aspects of house, featuring Mr. G, Mad Rey, Le Loup, and I’ve also played a track from my last EP on Balance, hope you enjoy!