Q: Your resume reads like a one man musical army…Music Producer; Arranger; Composer; Engineer; Pianist; DJ; Label CEO…You’re obviously a force to be reckoned with, so let’s narrow it down and talk specifically about being a music producer. At one point did you say, “I want to produce music for other artists,” and is there as particularly circumstance or incident that set you on that path?
In one way, you can say that everything is an accident in this life. Even our existence on this planet. Sometimes things are a result of circumstance and timing?. Every experience puts you on a new path and forces you to make choices. You have to deal with your time and all the things that happen around you. For me that experience came in the middle of the big music crisis and change in the industry. Being a music producer happened very naturally for me. Being called a music producer is a term of our time. I started learning how to play classical piano at six years old. I composed music with writing scores on sheet music using a pen.
This is a type of music production. What is a music producer anyway but simply a composer, arranger, musician, songwriter who supervises the entire process of making music? In most of cases, Mozart, Chopin, Wagner and Tchaikovsky were the music producers of their time. They created, wrote, arranged and produced their creation live on stage. It’s exactly the same process as we see today minus the technology.
Being able to do music on a computer has changed everything and with all the changes in the industry independent producers began forming their own record production companies.
In many cases they also established their own recording labels, signing deals that enabled the recordings they produced to be manufactured and distributed.
I wanted to share and collaborate with artists – singers and other musicians. The internet is really an awesome tool for me to find, discover and connect with artists that fit with my vibes. It’s an amazing opportunity to be able to collaborate with people on the other side of the planet from a small village in the South of France! I have been blessed to do tracks like that with artists from the US, UK, Germany, Denmark, Australia, Philippines…
I started like that and my first record deal was on an independent US label that I discovered online by sending my “Productions – Tracks.” It was the time of Myspace, and the time where the internet was not yet as oversaturated as it is today. The time where people replied to emails ? and were excited about the future with the new technology.
Q: Can you describe, briefly, how you usually work with an artist on a musical project?
For me a music project starts with the need to create/share something with an artist that inspires you. It could be a track for a singer, a music for a brand, advertising or movies. Either I approach the artist to collaborate or they find me. There has to be a connection to engage in the creative process of a project. There is no explanation about that. It’s like if you want to explain love. You need to have the same vision, to understand each other and to bring out the best of what the other person does.
My role in this is to supervise the whole process. The most important thing is to be comfortable with the artist that you’re working with as it’s a piece of life you decide to live together, step by step. To create song, find the right visual for the artist, work on the way to promote him/her. I try to be very careful how to present the project and the artist I’m working with. I don’t want to change someone into someone else or to copy the success of another artist.
I’m interested by someone for what he/she is, and for what I could provide him to be stronger in his/her art. I’m interested by someone’s personality and their own musical universe, and my goal is not to change his universe but to make it better.
It’s like you build a house with people inside. You have to keep in mind who they are and what their roots are before starting to build something.
Q: What is distinctive about a GOTTA production?
I would like to tell you about my vision of how I work, as I know some great people who have the same way to work and we share the same vision, even if the form of music could be different.
Authenticity, passion, musicality, creativity, quality are important for and I’m inspired by the past to build the future. It’s important to be original to achieve your vision and to truly believe in what you do. It’s important to respect the artist and help him/her to make their work sound the best it can be.
Q: Do you have a favorite musical project that you’ve worked on?
Every musical project is a fresh start. At the moment I decide to work on a musical project it becomes my favorite project of the time. Imagine a hard drive with unlimited Giga that’s what my “favorite” folder is like! Every project I collaborate on was an experience and a personal fulfilment. My first CD you’ll find a collaboration with the amazing NYC singer Barbara Harris, who was very famous with her band “The Toys” in the 1960’s. I love her so much. She’s an amazing human being too and both she and her husband are exceptional people. It’s more than music and they are in my heart forever.
Another collaboration that comes to mind was with, “IAM and Akhenaton,” the famous French Hip-hop band. I will never forget my meeting with him, such an amazing and intelligent guy. I wrote a score for their publishing company during 2 years, and it was amazing. Being in his studio. I played my first production work there. I started to work on a project… they were very famous at the time I was in the loop with them, and it was crazy, we had to finish some stuff during the night in a few hours to be deliver right away. We worked on a score for Luc Besson’s movies, advertising, their album…it was an exciting time.
GOTTA & HYLEEN GIL – Fall In Love J DILLA
Recently I worked on Hyleen Gil’s album and it was an incredible time to work on it. We were fortunate to have some amazing guests, on it like Omar, Frank McComb, Chris “Daddy Dave” on drums and the project was mixed by Q million the man behind Robert Glasper’s album. I composed the songs with Hyleen, and arranged and produced the entire project. The CD was released in Japan. With this project we had the chance to play in NYC at The Blue Note, in Tokyo Japan, in Paris. We shot 2 videos, the first one was in Paris with Omar & the second one in Bushwick, Brooklyn. We had the chance to live incredible moments. We had great experiences with Omar, Frank McComb, and Chris Dave.
You learn so much about those guys… and the fact they accept to be a part of this project was an incredible opportunity. We also did a cover of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” was on Japan Billboard. That’s was crazy! Even here in France, one of the main TV channel name M6, talked about the track, and came into my studio to shoot an interview. When the interview aired on TV, I remember watching it and then getting thousands of notifications, comments on YouTube, Facebook and messages…it was insane!! Promotion is everything.
Andy Allo – Fly Away (Gotta Remix)
I could talk about my past projects for hours… I did so many things, in different aspects and genres of music… My remix for Prince protégé, Andy Allo, whose last album was produced by Prince and she was his guitar player. My meeting with her in Paris, where she talked about me on stage and played my remix live in front of thousands of people was a moment I’ll always remember
Back in the day my remix for Jill Scott, “Love Rain” song when she was on Hidden Beach label. I did remixes for Jamiroquai, Jonas Brothers, as well…My house/club track with Andrea Love “Higher” (Hailey’s song) came about after Andrea wrote the lyrics in honor of the birth of her daughter. She is based in Chicago and is very talented and our track was featured on Ministry of sound’s label, and played globally.
My own project name “Think Aloud” was very important for me. It was made at a very hard time in my life. It came after the loss of my father and few month after I lost my grandmother. In one year I lost the most important people in my life. It was and still is something you live with and you have to deal with every day. It’s another lesson of life. I have them in me now and it makes me stronger.
This project expresses the feelings I needed to release. I call it “Think Aloud,” because I wanted to tell people what I was thinking and not keep everything inside. In this very hard time it was a good way to heal with my music. Music speaks and it is its own language.
I collaborated with some incredible vocalists Lene Riebau from Denmark, Thor from Philippines, Samadhi from Dallas, the guitarist was in Germany and Chromatic the saxophone player, who is also an amazing producer based in Japan, and the entire project was mixed by Mik Chav, who previously worked with Erykah Badu.
This is a real global project. All songs were created to tell a story without limitations. The goal was to express exactly what I wanted, and I asked the same thing to the people who got involved…No times, no specific hooks…Just do what you feel, and the result was six stories. It’s more than songs, it’s a musical journey, and it was a therapy for me. Music is a therapy, where you can be selfish with what you express. Art is a selfish expression.
Finally I want to give a shout out to my new project with the singer Mey Lolas from Bulgaria. One more time, Mey contacted me through soundcloud and I had already heard about her from Poogie Bell’s album. She is an amazing singer and musician. We are in process of releasing a first EP named “Boundless,” I’m very excited about this project. I went to Bulgaria 3 weeks ago and it was a great experience with radio and TV interviews. The project is due to be releases very soon with the US and UK being the first markets.
GOTTA & MEY – BOUNDLESS – EP (Snippet1)
Q: Is there an artist you want to work with that you have not yet had the opportunity to work with?
As you can imagine there are a lot of them… A lifetime alone can’t cover I want to say D’angelo, and an artist who I have yet to discover.
Q: Do you have any advice for a person who wants to become a music producer?
To give advice puts me in an uncomfortable position. As I think we are just human beings who are a product of our own experiences. In the words of Oscar Wilde “Experience is the name we give to our mistakes.” So my advice is to do what you believe in the deepness of your spirit, and make your own mistakes to learn from and grow with and to find your own way.
I could say, it’s not the equipment you buy which is going to make you a good music producer. It’s your hard work, talent and knowledge of what you do. It’s important to be realistic with yourself and of what you can do and what you want to do.
Ask the right questions; why do you want to do this? What do you need to make it work? Are you in this because this is your passion or is it because you woke up in the morning and you saw the Pharrell’s life and you told yourself, I want to be like him, it’s better than my actual job! Man…No. Pharrell is unique, so be unique too. Or is it because you feel it since a young age? Music is your passion; your life, your strength. Because it’s a way to express yourself as human being, because it’s a meaning to make your life better.
There are no rules, but be yourself, be different, inspire you about others but please don’t copy your neighbor. Be open minded. Listen to a lot of different music, classical, Jazz, Reggae, Funk, African, Indian music, House, Techno, Trap, and the Top 40, whatever! Be curious! Everything is at your fingertips now! Don’t be lazy, you are a lucky person who can have access to everything.
I count on you to be a part of the next wave of talented producers who can create kind of quality music on the radios, in the clubs.
People listen what the industry wants to give them. You are the new generation who are going to be the sound of this industry.
You have the freedom to offer them a good quality meal. Don’t give them a re-heated meal, because you think it’s what they want.
Most of them don’t know what they want about production, they want to sell, but keep in mind they going to sell only what you and your peers are going to deliver to them. They don’t create music. So believe in yourself and never give up, work hard, be professional, be a perfectionist, use your imagination and take risk.
Q: What can we expect from GOTTA in near future?
You can expect the unexpected. I just do things that I believe in and I do my best to make my vision become a reality. I want GOTTA’s brand to be like a “concept store,” like a meeting room or a gallery… a place one can always find new exciting, creative ideas and projects with music as the core behind it all. I love to compose, produce music for advertising, brands, movies and I’m working to expand this branch.
I love to produce artists, so every second I’m on to discover new talent. I also can’t live without live music whether as a DJ, a pianist, or musical band director, I need to play and share live moments with people. When you produce music, it’s something you keep engraved forever. It’s very interesting and very scary at the same time to say it’s going to be like this… it’s a moment in time.
While doing gigs is totally the opposite. It’s a moment you are living and you can’t capture it… it’s just about memory. Even if you photograph or record it, the next time you perform it’s always different. It’s always changing. I really need both.
I don’t want to limit GOTTA to a genre of music. I just want to do quality projects and spread the word with good and positive vibes.
The same goes for my DJ gigs people can call me for a hip hop party or house party one day and the next to do a funky set…everything is mixed and connected and I’m fine with that! I love music, and I don’t want a label of what I do.
If you want to work with me it’s because I will provide a good sound and good music, and I can feel the energy of the people in front of me and it’s important to be flexible.
It’s all about connection not about a genre of music. So just call me with a good karma and I will send you back some good vibes. I’m also working with a clothing brand based in New York. In this case it’s not about doing a music for a brand but creating products like clothes, sneakers, etc…where we could integrate new music on it to support, promote a new artist’s campaign.
It’s something I’ve been thinking about now for several years. I can’t talk about it now as it’s a work progress. I like art in its whole meaning… fashion, photo, paint, graffiti, sports, cooking… Everything is a type of art and it’s exciting to find how to link all those different arts in some common project.
Q: Any last thoughts, the floor is yours?
I don’t want to complain about all the things happen since several years, and right now like this craziness of how music is changing, all the issues with platform as Spotify, Napster or others… the fact that music is a free service. How can a composer, a music producer, an artist survive in this jungle? How can one manage, control and protect your rights worldwide? There are so many questions which keeps one awake at night.
The changes force you to move ahead and find new ideas…so I want to stay positive and I would like to say in conclusion, that for me music is a playground, and you are free to create your own game. Music has always been there and it will never die. Everyone needs music. Plato already talked about music, and says “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”
Interview questions was provided by Sebastian McLaren from StillDOPE radio