With the release of his My Girls EP last week, we caught up with the French producer Acumen to take a deeper look inside what went into this collection. Over the years he has released on a number of respected labels, and now finds himself at a time of his life, busier than ever with continuous productions, a label to run, and also a family, which following this conversation proves is a huge part of his life.
Electronic Groove: Great to chat to you today! Talk us through a bit about your upcoming album, how long has this been a project for and where did the inspiration stem from?
Acumen: I’ve decided at a moment to stop making only EP’s and enter in to the process of making an album. For me it is quite different, making EP’s are most often making some tunes for dancefloors as my style is mainly tech house oriented. I wanted to make something in different horizons, styles, atmospheres. I’ve passed six months in the studio exploring different beats, rhythms, bpm’s and melodies to make My Girls. It has been a long and interesting process inspired by life in general, music, places, peoples, all the things around me actually.
Electronic Groove: How would you say this collection differs from your past releases?
Acumen: I think my music is more mature, maybe because I know exactly what instruments to use to do for what I have in mind. For the first time I am kind of proud of few tracks. Like the first first one I made with my friend Lopazz. I have never been really confident with all things I am producing but I can say that I like this album. It is something built not only for the clubs, but rather something that you can listen to at home with friends.
Electronic Groove: But then again, what similarities are there?
Acumen: I think there is always an Acumen style, in the melodies, structure, edit, even on the down tempo tracks.
Electronic Groove: When working in the studio, do you have a set procedure that you follow? Or is it a free reign every time?
Acumen: Most of the time yes, I am starting from the latest project. My projects are super ordered, with groups of kick, rhythm, synthline, bass line. When I’ve finished a track I save as a new project , erase all and start something new, but for the album, it was just a little different as there such different track and style into the album .
Electronic Groove: You mention this collection is about the women in your life, what aspects of these people do you use to incorporate into the music.
Acumen: Yes, the first opus was dedicated to my son and his birth, and called Superhero. This one is for all my girls around me. I think I tried to think about the character of each one when I begun each track. Just a little example for the track Ines produced with Dave Seaman, this is the strongest and most techno track of the album, because my daughter is a strong person, with a strong personality 😉
Electronic Groove: Looking back at your past as a musician, what were your earliest musical influences, and do you still think that they are present in your sound today?
Acumen: I have always been passionate and fascinated by music since a young age. My first influences were Inxs, Prince, The Clash, or Red Hot Chili Peppers. But I am not sure you can see it with my music today. I was also a punk with blue hair, listening to music all day like Pennywise, Rancid or NoFx, what a funny period for me!
Electronic Groove: Do you have any plans to take the album on the road? Possibly with a live show?
Acumen: Yes I have a totally new live act ready for action. But playing live, the music goes really more club tech house and techno. Being in the studio or in a club is sensibly different for me. To say the truth I feel really more comfortable in my studio. I have also a job as a pharmacist all the week which takes me a lot of time. So making shows, taking planes and travel is something really difficult for me. I am trying to not take so many gigs, but it is not a problem for me.
Electronic Groove: What drew you towards the artists that are featured on this album? Will you working with them in the future?
Acumen: I didn’t want to make too many collaborations for this album because I wanted to make something very personal. But anyway I’ve asked few producers that I really love to make something with me. I have been a fan of Dave Seaman for a long time, so it is just an honour to have him on board for the track Ines, the name of my daughter.
My friend Lopazz is mastering all my tracks, I‘ve asked many times to make something with me, but he’s a busy man. I’ve sent him the Phantasy instrumental and he edited it and place those fantastic vocals. For Betoko, it had sense to make something in common, he’s on my label Time Has Changed, and I think he’s one of the most talented producer of the moment. We’ll see if we work together in the future, but I have already a nice EP to come with my friend Sabb.
Electronic Groove: An album must be quite a draining project to finish, what do you have lined up for the summer months? More music or a relaxation break?
Acumen: I wanted to have a relaxation break like you said, but finally the album was a musical turn for me. The album was dedicated to down tempo, house, deep house. I would like to make some more strong stuff now, some big rooms tunes. I already produced two very interesting EP’s hope you can listen that soon on my label Time Has Changed or elsewhere.
Listen and download the complete album below: