Michael Ullman and Julien Benichou, or Bastille, have been featured numerous times here on GDD™ since our humble origins in 2008, so as their careers have developed and their catalog of productions and remixes increased, I felt it necessary to get in touch with the boys and hear about what they’ve been up to firsthand. As I found out, Julien and Michael have been busy DJing around the country while balancing college, and to top it off, they’ve just come out with a new single, ‘One Night Love Affair,’ that we might just hear Alain and Armand playing out in the near future.
Read on for our chat about the Disco revival, sampling and licensing, and of course, their favorite cocktails, as well as a brand new mix made especially for you awesome readers here at GDD™.
Alec Carlsson – Paris Fried Chicken (J Paul Getto Remix)
Bastille – One Night Love Affair (Original Mix)
Geisha Twins – Dolla Dolla $$ (Original Mix)
Oliver Twizt – Love Trip (Original Mix)
Reset! – Don’t Let The System Control You (Turbofunk Mix)
Bastille – Wide Open
Puzique – Nice N Tight
Cevin Fisher, Seamus Haji – I Love The Music (Manuel De La Mare & Alex Kenji Remix)
J Paull Getto – Need More Music (Original Mix)
Duck Sauce – Radio (Bastille Edit)
Bastille – Bumpin
Black Street – Nodiggity (The KiD Remix)
Night Eyes – Stray Light (Bastille Remix)
Flammenwerfer – Amino
Abel Ramos & Benny Royal – El Cabron (Original Mix)
Steve Aoki Ft. Nayer – Come With Me (Deadmeat) (Bastille Bootleg Remix)
Gotta Dance Dirty™: Thanks for taking the time to chat a bit with me guys. As you’re well aware, we have a traditional first question here. So, what is your usual drink of choice?
Michael: Wild Turkey, neat. Julien’s is a Tom Collins. He tried to order a Vodka + Red Bull on his 21st birthday, the drink being my treat, and I couldn’t let him do that. I just ordered him a Tom Collins and it turns out he loved it.
Julien: And it’s been my favorite drink ever since. So when I order it, he just has to remind me that he’s the one who showed it to me.
GDD™: Well that’s very cute of you guys.
Michael: We try.
Julien: We’ve been compared to a married couple before.
GDD™: Speaking of being cute, Bastille and GDD go way back to the first remix I heard from Bastille in 2008 — the ‘Cold As Ice’ remix. How would you say your sound has changed or matured since the good ol’ days?
Julien: You know I’m still pretty proud of that remix it’s better than a lot of the stuff we put out after, but I mean we’ve grown a lot as producers. I’ve read books on mastering and we’ve both watched countless tutorials online. We’ve even taken classes regarding electronic music production. But I think the ‘Cold As Ice’ remix sort of showed us a certain direction that we’ve come to with our Disco House. It was the first time that we really made a sample-based song.
GDD™: And a great sample it was.
Julien: That’s what we like to do. Though we have some completely original stuff coming up too.
GDD™: Do you guys now consider yourselves Disco House producers? Or do you still like to dabble in the Electro House world as well?
Michael: We definitely make MORE Disco House, since it tends to be what we’re most interested in making and listening to now and has also gotten the best response from fans. But we’re definitely still making all sorts of stuff. We made this remix of a track off the new Aoki album that’s sort of Prog/Electro House, and we’ve even got this super prog track with female vocals that we’ve been working on for about 2 years now.
GDD™: So you’re not confining yourselves to any genre at the moment. That’s refreshing.
Michael: I don’t think we could if we tried.
Julien: I like it when producers put out stuff in different genres. ‘Yin’ is one of my favorite Wolfgang Gartner tracks.
GDD™: Ya it’s great to hear versatility without having to label different sounds as side projects. As you guys are focusing on Disco House at the moment, what do you think of the Disco revival that’s taking place right now?
Michael: I mean, we’re pretty ecstatic about it. We made our first Disco House track in 2009 — the same year we discovered all the old school French House that we love. And we’ve always been hoping that the sound would take off — watching the blogs eat up Louis La Roche and The Phantom’s Revenge. Then Duck Sauce happened and all the kids that started out listening to Electro became open to branching out to new sounds.
GDD™: Ya it’s nice to see the mainstream evolve and seek interest in other genres. You mentioned Duck Sauce, who you guys seem to be emulating a bit lately with the sampled old school Disco tracks. You guys had a ‘Radio’ remix out a bit ago right? What happened with that?
Julien: Well, long story short it got taken down due to copyright. The Members (band that Duck Sauce sampled) were not happy. I guess some pretty old guy reads Chemical Jump.
GDD™: Well, the sampling/licensing situation seems to be in such a weird limbo these days in Dance Music. You guys are doing something similar with your new track, ‘One Night Love Affair,’ right? Can you tell me a bit about that?
Michael: I spend a good deal of time scrounging through Youtube listening to old Funk and Disco, and when I find a sample I love, I grab it and House-ify it because I love the whole aesthetic of Disco House and it inherently requires sampling. We got some label offers, but the licensing was just going to be too difficult. It’s just much easier in the end to give it away for free, and in the end we really just want to spread good music.
Julien: The licensing game is currently changing. My step-dad does music for movies and was just complaining to me about somebody putting his song on Youtube. The fact of the matter is we just make music. We understand there’s a sample in the song, and without the proper licensing we have no intention of making money off of it. There’s an older idea in the music business still around about sampling. For some reason some artists correlate you putting up a remix of their song as putting up their original song (or just as bad). We’re of the belief that remixes, if not being sold, should be widespread and good. If anything it’s more press for the original and all press is good press. It’s an issue that’s really haunting a lot of producers — especially us so we’re pretty passionate about it.
GDD™: It’s true. I think there’s an obvious divide between the music generations here. Music used to be mainly based on record sales and now it’s switched to live performance. But the divide is often highlighted when the generations mix together. Anyway, you guys made a video for ‘One Night Love Affair’ that features two awesome dancers. How’d you find these guys?
Michael: They actually just sent us a video they made to our track, ‘Bumpin,’ and we loved it so much we figured that we would ask them to make s full length one for the new song. Kind of want to bring them out to a show, maybe have them on stage for our next Versus gig!
GDD™: Nice! That would add a little more flash to your already snazzy DJ sets. By the way, what’s with the suits? Gotta look good while you’re working?
Julien: Well, I’m not going to deny that we were inspired by Gesaffelstein, but the idea of dressing up for our shows has literally gone back to our first few months. There’s this Venetian carnival mask that we used to wear when we played, and we’re bringing it back. Though the mask has been described as scary, it’s gotten us a lot of notoriety at our respective schools. It’s funny, but people take you more seriously.
Michael: You never forget the guy who hands you the flyer in a mask.
GDD™: Very true. A gimmick, but you guys definitely back it up. Well, I think I’m running out of questions for you guys here, so is there anything else coming up that we should know about?
Michael: We’ve got a ton of tracks in the works, including a track called ‘Bitch Be Lucky’ with remixes from literally everywhere. And I’m sure this summer will be extremely busy for us.
GDD™: Well we wish the best for you guys, and please make some time to play another VS this summer for sure!
Julien: Yeah man will do and thanks for having us. Keep up the good work with GDD™, we’ve been big fans for a while.