A PHOQ'INTERVIEW - Romain FX [FR]
Romain has been a key innovator in the Hong Kong scene for the past 10 years, spearheading fresh concepts such as ROOFEST, the island’s first rooftop festival, the first full time & award-winning radio station called FAUVE RADIO, the first dance music-oriented record store called THE PHARMACY and on top of it all has been organizing monthly parties under the name ROAM bringing international artists such as Jayda G, Move D, Habibi Funk, Demuja and many more.
— Version française disponible dans la deuxième partie
Phởq’Interview by Violette Leboucq
Speed Phởq’ing 💐 Meeting people, one after the other, in order to get to the heart of the matter and determine if the person can be seen again.
What is your dream name for the interview?
Enter The Mew… (hope you get it) might be a bit far-fetched. Mew is a majestic Pokémon, and it might be really cool to get inside his head.
Enter the Mew, a random word to start this interview ?
Trees — I have a lot of them in front of me.
How did you end up where you are located ?
It’s a long long story haha. I travelled a lot as a kid, and most people think it’s because my parents are diplomats. But in truth not at all, they are hairstylists. One day, they were offered to move abroad to open Dessanges salons. They liked the idea right away. Once we left, my parents couldn’t afford to send me to international schools. So I went to local schools, which taught me English-American in Tennessee (USA) and Mandarin in Taiwan. When I was 10 years old, they decided to put down their luggage in Hong Kong and 20 years later, I decided to make my move: I left Asia to discover Europe. Indeed, after living my last 20 years in HK, I felt the need for a change. I moved to Nantes, France (“Going Back to my Roots!”) recently in June in the hope of launching my full-time musical career after my first Boiler Room and the launch of my production career. What better timing to do it while a worldwide pandemic strikes haha?
How does the song “Going Back to My roots” sound since your return?
Going back to France? Rather exotic. Some of my friends didn’t understand me clearly. I must say that I feel much more serene since I moved here. It’s the first time in 10 years that I feel like I’m on vacation. In Hong Kong, I had to mix 4 jobs at the same time. It had become tough to manage these days. Now I’m just stuck in the studio making music every day, counting my savings and seeing how long I can last, gotta love “passion-over-money” challenges, you learn so much, like how to eat as cheap as possible to be able to print 200 records for a new compilation series — entitled “West & East”, out soon on Fauve Records.
An artistic process from HK to La-Roche-Sur-Yon City.
If I mention to you: Cliché Records, Fauve Radio, Makha, what does that make you think of?
Ah, the golden years in Hong-Kong. I met the team that became Cliché (Ouissam, Jean-François, Lisa) in 2012. We were partying all the time, it was limitless. Little by little, we stopped our respective jobs to get ourselves 100% involved in this adventure.
Then, I wanted to create a radio for a long time but was missing the venue. I then met Mag — Maguelone Calmels, founder of Makha. It’s a clothing store with street art touches, located in the center of Hong-Kong. It happened to have an unused space, which allowed me in December 2017 to set up and develop Fauve Radio. In my Mew’s mind, it was always a 2 years project — short but intense. I made a list of 100 DJs in HK that I really wanted to book. We didn’t necessarily realize it at the time but a lot of people were involved in the music industry. In HK, there’s a culture of music residencies. The idea of the radio was mainly to create a platform for all those people who have a deep love of music but who had to play mainstream music in order to make a living from it. I wanted to bring them back to the source of where it all began for them. On the radio, they could let loose and really play what they wanted. A bit like at home after all.
Golden Age. Can you explain the story behind this picture?
Ahahaha. You did an excellent job, Violette. It was at the Destroyed in Hong Kong, a bar of big booze, a pub crawl with big student parties. Concerning the tank-top, I was pretty proud of my body at the time. Otherwise, my friend beside me smoked a lot. The other guys are my friends from high school — Thibaut & Xavier.
FAAK was my first DJ name — Fucking Alive and Kicking — I even found some stickers recently. I was starting to mix, I must have been 16 or 17 yo. I had come back to Asia after living in La Roche-Sur-Yon (France) between my 10th and 11th school-year. I started to really look at how to mix — at the time I was on Virtual DJ. I bought a cheap Vestax controller, and this is how I started to get into the world of partying.
Music Noodle Scoop 🍲 Noodle soup is a variety of soup composed of noodles and other ingredients served in a light broth. The noodles may have been made with rice, wheat or eggs. Nothing related to a limp penis.
A Wat de Phởq track?
I only managed to play this track once. It was a very last minute morning-set at Wonderfruit because one of the DJs didn’t show up, so I was asked by the stage manager to step in. It’s the time when people who got lost met each other because all the big stages were closed. I began my set, quietly, people were all sleeping and lying down. I remember, I went with smooth of afro music to wake them up, and slowly the crowd got up and started dancing again. It was a beautiful moment. Especially because in the booth I could see the horizon and the huge crowd approaching from the solar stage. It’s one of the highlights of my life, everyone overfished that day, especially since it was one of the last days of the festival. I saw that people were dancing with more intensity, so I decided to play some salacious stuff (hot new beat tracks if you know what I mean). I played dirty tracks talking about sex and I saw that people were hooked, there were a lot of smiles on the dance floor. I immediately thought of this track. It’s one of the most out-there track for a set. I thought — “I’m going to play it anyway, but I really don’t know if people will understand”. In the end, it made a strong impression, and I still remember some people laughing really, really loudly. Listen to this song, and you’ll understand why it’s a Wat de Phởq track.
Your first encounters with music — were you listening to sounds in your parents’ hairdressing salons?
My parents are definitely music lovers and love dancing. It’s when I travelled that I found myself traveling in places without being able to speak the local language, that I felt a bit excluded. So I naturally started to listen to a lot of international sounds by myself. Even if you don’t understand the language, you’re still going to feel emotions. Music is to me a universal language. was mostly a mix of influences from all the places I lived. There’s a CD that my Grandmother gave me when I was very young, it was a compilation of L’Oreal including Crystal Waters & Jamiroquai. I could say that was my introduction to electronic pop music and the rest is history.
Can you share with us a recent dig ?
“Ströer Duo — Vietnam”
https://www.discogs.com/fr/Str%C3%B6er-Duo-Fluchtweg-Madagaskar/release/964197 I’ve been waking up to this track every day, and of course, quite fitting with the interview theme haha who knows what he’s talking about! Kinda like me in this interview. It makes me think a lot about one track in particular. — Ah, there’s a beetle that just passed by. Nature is beautiful.
How do you dig for music?
A little bit everywhere. I make a pre-selection of several tracks, before listening to them in their entirety. I really pay attention to the “wacky” tracks, I like to find shit that nobody wants. And the next thing I know, it’s already 5AM. When I was a teenager, I was quickly pointed out as the guy who makes playlists for parties. I digested them thoroughly, then I loved to play them for my friends to discover new genres outside the mainstream sphere. I was already a selector at that point without realizing it.
In addition to Romain FX & RFX, you also form with Florian Melinette , ROAM Selector. How did you guys meet ? Your debut in Boiler Room ?
I met Florian, at the end of Cliché Records, he was already doing parties in HK. We started to want to do parties together — ROAM parties — then we started to mix together. He was working on Shi Fu Miz Festival project with the crew La Mamie’s, and I really enjoyed what they were planning to do. I joined the team to help them with production stuff as an artist manager amongst a lot of different tasks.
The Boiler Room was just crazy. To be there in Hong Kong with such perfect weather, and be able to organize a Boiler Room with all those people: it was the climax. When you play, it’s different because you’re so focused on what you’re playing. But the next day, when I saw the footage, it was a real slap in the face. It was a magical moment. Sometimes I watch it and I cry of joy.
How was the meeting with La Mamie’s crew ?
We met during the Shi Fu Miz, then in Asia on several gigs. I quickly became very friendly with them, especially Vito. Once, I was playing for them and Camion Bazar when I was passing through France at the Macki Festival— I told them that I wanted to expand in Europe. They offered me to sign onto their agency— Bingo Booking. A wonderful opportunity.
A Wat De Phởq vinyl artwork ?
“Punk Anderson — Shave That Pussy”
I have the cover written “Shave That Pussy” in big and white, I remember when I bought this I was thinking to myself “this is either going to be horrible or actually really cool” and it was cool thankfully, the track “People” on there is so good haha.
A really weird EP that you wouldn’t produce?
Wow. Good question. Let me think about it. [Two minutes later] I would make a rework of Eiffel 65’s most famous track — Blue, by taking up that vocal that drives you crazy. I would also add a… what do you call it… ah yes thanks Grandpa and Grandma, a jaw harp. Length : 12 minutes BPM : 150
The amazing animation is available on our instagram @phoq_tv Eiffel 65 — Blue (Da Ba Dee) [Enter the Mew Rework] Phởq Records 2020 Release Date : Unknown ??
Pillow Phở’lk 🛏️ Pillow is the relaxed, intimate conversation that often occurs between two sexual partners after sexual activity, usually accompanied by hugs, caresses, kisses and other physical contact.
A Wat De Phởq anecdote about you?
I did a speedo catwalk when I was 16 in a club in Hong Kong called “Billions”, can you imagine? And yes, I started a career in modeling. It was very traumatic. Sometimes you don’t move for 7 hours and people just put clothing on you. For the story, there were parties, in which just because you were attractive you were offered bottles. Through these events, you meet people from that background. When I was 16 in 2006, I was asked to do my first commercial. My face ended up on all the buses and trams of HK for 3 years. Personally, at that age I was happy, I could finally buy an Xbox and an iPod for having worked 3h on this shooting. Well today, I must confess that I feel a little bit like I was fooled.
I also remember it’s the year I returned to France, and in my new high school they all thought that a Chinese model from Hugo Boss was going to arrive. General Disappointment.
Your definition of an “edit” ?
Quite a common question people ask me on a day to day basis. It depends on the artist, to be honest, but for me, an edit is when you take a track that you love but feel was completely forgotten or too expensive for people to buy the original record and you manage to bring it back to life with a little more push and freshness to make it playable on a bigger sound system. I also feel that if you change it too much and lose the essence of the track then it becomes a rework, even though some people still call it an edit.
Someone wanted to ask you a question — What is your best memory of waking up in Bangkok and why was it in Tristan’s bed”?
Ahahaha. He booked me to play in Bangkok, we ended pretty much drunk. On the morning after the party, we were pretty drunk, he brought me to eat some Thai food. After he confessed to me, it was beef guts. Sacré Tristan.
Kisses or Cuddles ?
Cuddles. It’s still a pandemic.
Will you be able to catch Romain, the legendary Pokemon, during his upcoming gigs? Romain FX .https://www.residentadvisor.net/dj/romainfx .http://fauverecords.bandcamp.com/ .https://www.instagram.com/romainfx852/
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