Pierre-Alexandre Busson created his first tracks as Yuksek in 2006. The French electronic music producer, remixer and DJ toured around the world, and in 2009 came his debut, Away From The Sea, with popular singles like “Tonight” dominating European dance floors. Now, his second LP, Living On The Edge Of Time, is being released in the States (it’s been out elsewhere since June) through Ultra Records on January 24th, and with it has surfaced a change in Yuksek’s sound, going from pure electronic to electro-pop, becoming accessible to a broader audience, e.g. “On a Train.”
We first met (and came to adore) Yuksek in October at Vice’s Creator’s Project in New York. Busson was warm and humble with his charming French accent. Here, we catch up with him via email to see what he’s been up to.
How are you?
I’m very tired, just out from stage in Beijing, China. Going to Tokyo in five hours.
Happy New Year… Any resolutions?
Quit smoking, the same for five years. Never happens…
How was it ringing in 2012 in Sydney for Field Day?
Crazy. Australia is really great for huge festivals, and it’s always nice to play with friends, Metronomy, Justice…Good times.
How’s the tour been going?
Really great. We’ve been in the Pacific area for three weeks now. I’m really tired, but always happy to be on stage with my friends.
Will you describe your background for us?
I learned piano in French “conservatoire” for 10 years. I quit, becoming a bad teenager, playing rock in a band. Then I discover electronic music and drugs…I stopped drugs and started producing as Yuksek.
What did you listen to as a teenager?
I was skateboarding most of the time, and listening to a lot of Nirvana, as well as fresh hip-hop like DeLaSoul, NWA…
How would you describe your hometown of Reims, France to an American?
A very beautiful little town with the nicest cathedral in France, the place where Champagne is made.
Growing up, what music did your parents play around the house?
Very classic french singers like Jacques Brel, Barbara, Gainsbourg, and a slice of Beatles.
So, you trained classically at the renowned Conservatoir de Paris, but dropped out at 17. What made you decide to stop your studies?
Because when you learn piano in that kind of school, you have two choices: being a top concert pianist, but I was not good enough, or being a teacher, and I’m not good for that, so there was no issue…
I asked Lauren Crayon, a young Parisian electro artist, who’s been following you since your earliest remixes, what question he’d want to ask you, and he wonders how Peter and The Magician began, and what it’s been like collaborating with Stephen Fasano.
It’s a great pleasure, Stephen is a lovely guy. We have a good time in the studio and improving the legendary France/Belgium relationship!
You’re also known for other collaborations, like your work with Brodinski as The Krays. Who would you love to work with next?
I don’t know. It’s a question of meeting real people, having a relationship, as human, not only as musicians. So everything is open.
Any new remixes coming out in the near future?
I did remixes for Gold Fields, First Serve featuring Delasoul, and Young Professional. All of this is gonna release in February/March.
You’ve described Living On The Edge Of Time as being less “club” than Away From The Sea. What influenced you to go in a more pop direction for the newer record?
I wanted to write a record that my friends, my parents, and my daughter can listen to! I mean, not in a commercial way, but music for the people. Not music just for hipsters or club kids. And English/American pop is the music I love. I mean pop as a big family, Joy Division, Leonard Cohen, Phoenix, and some pure electronic producers like Kraftwerk, for example.
What can you tell us about the enigmatic Mega Mystery Band?
It was a sort of joke, but at the same time it was a way to make everyone listen to a track without knowing who’s in the band, using all the mainstream clichés for promotion, shooting a video that you can use for any band. It was really fun to start the album that way. Plus, we had more than a million views for the new single.
Let’s end with one of your songs. Take your pick.
To see you smile, let’s make love the sweetest way!