Blending musical imagination with technical expertise, Titonton Duvante is recognized for his distinctive yet enigmatic sound. While his career started in the early ’90s, the music has been a vital part of his life from the very beginning. His desire to analyze and produce sounds influenced him to create at an early age, building tracks on cassette tapes by hand looping records, recording bits from the radio, taking snippets from television, and playing his cheap Casio keyboard. This innate passion for music and desire to dive deep into its world drove Titonton to pursue a degree in Musical Composition and Opera Performance, which helped give insight into the musical theory which he instinctively understood.
A true musician at heart, Titonton’s desire for experimentation continued to push him into new directions as he discovered the rave scene of the early ’90s, often traveling to Detroit to experience the burgeoning world of electronic music. His fascination for the future mixed with the emerging sounds of the underground made for a perfect fit. Finding a compatible crew to form the seminal techno band Body Release, Titonton’s musical path has since continued to reach every level of the house and techno industry. As a multifaceted composer, recording artist, producer, remixer, record label owner, and DJ, Titonton has put his deep and funky spin on every project that he touches.
Whether transmitted through his DJ sets which have been experienced across the far reaches of the world, or shared via his renowned label Residual Recordings, Titonton has continuously and widely spread the ceaseless energy that was born out of his unwavering curiosity and endless love for the music. Happy to catch up with him to discover more, Titonton provides insight into his beginnings, pivotal moments, and thoughts on the future of music.
I read that as a child you were fascinated by music, always desiring to analyze and play with it. What was it about music that drew you in so deeply?
ALWAYS! It was if I came out of the womb curious of anything music related. My attraction to both melody and groove was watch drew me in.
Did your education in Music Composition effect your relationship with music?
The education was really more of a formality. Giving a sense of order and names to the to my experimentation throughout my childhood.
What first brought you into the electronic side of music?
Astronomy, science fiction. Anything futuristic piqued my interest. I also remember seeing a PBS special on the synthesizers at very young age. Hearing tunes like Yellow Magic Orchestra’s “Computer Games,” Gary Numan’s “Cars,” M’s “Pop Muzik” really caught my attention as well.
What are some pivotal moments that have driven your passion for and career in music?
Music is one of the only things that makes sense to me in this world. Being able to escape whatever troubles were getting me down through going to hear DJs or to concerts. To be able to give this sensation back to others. Also to share the talents of so many producers.
What are some of your favorite projects that you have worked on?
The Selections for Intercourse album was one of my favorites. I was finally able to incorporate live strings and other live instruments alongside electronics. A “Movement” of a work of mine entitled Zalokar that was performed in 1993 was breakbeats and synths alongside a string quartet. In 1996 at an ele_mental show called “Carbon” the whole show was dance music arranged for strings, vocals and electronics. Some of the tunes debuted there appeared on the album.
I also really enjoy collaborating. Working with John Tejada, Fabrice Lig and Morgan Geist turned out some tunes of which I am very proud.
What inspired you to do a relaunch of Residual Recordings?
I had considered doing so in 2008 (so never really taking a break). In 2006 the vinyl market was really going downhill and I moved to Brooklyn, NY at the time. While living there, I was just trying to keep my head above water. Moving back to Ohio in 2014 really gave me the space and ability to relaunch. The label as always been a way to have a say in what is out there. And to be able to see as physical product from start to finish is always a joy.
How important do you think it is for new artists to learn about dance music history?
I think it is EXTREMELY important. While having fresh ears can be a benefit, knowing who and what came before you is a great value.
Do you have a favorite sound or style that will always hit you in the sweet spot?
Minor seventh chords played with elongated synthetic strings (pads as they are often called). Also live strings do it for me, especially the cello.
What are you most excited about within the music these days?
There are so many talented young producers out there. The near future is looking good.
Titonton’s Residual label is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year with Refraction Vol. III (featuring music by Titonton Duvante & Andreas Saag, Garrett David, Xtrak and FYM), out now on wax.