Axel Franchi and Benjamin Guerini are electronic music pioneers with a career spanning over 20 years. They have made a significant impact in the European Free party scene, gaining recognition through their respective Sound Systems (OQP + METEK) and performing under various pseudonyms (XTECH/OKUPE/BEN METEK) at underground parties.
Photo credit: 2SMILE – Facebook
Recently, they have come together as 2SMILE to explore a fusion of styles including deep house, afro house, tech house, and techno, aligning with their current artistic direction and lifestyle. With their extensive experience, long-standing friendship, stage presence, and strong connection with the audience, 2SMILE delivers high-quality DJ and live performances that resonate with the energy of the moment, the venue, and the crowd.
Their music combines energetic and melodic elements from diverse genres and cultures. With over 150 productions to their name, along with their stage presence, 2SMILE continues to captivate and excite audiences worldwide.
EG had the privilege of sitting down with 2SMILE to discuss their latest release ‘Kovalsky’, their vision for their music imprint Ondawey Music, and their plans for the future.
EG: Hi, guys! Welcome to EG. It’s a pleasure to have you here with us. How have you been? Where are you right now?
2smile: Hi EG Team! Everything’s rolling super fast. We’ve been super busy but so stoked! We’re actually in the French mountains, in a magical place called le PraRond, surrounded by mountains and snow above 2200m high. Breathing fresh air, taking some inspiration, and playing our tunes all day in the sun.
EG: Congratulations on the release of your new single, ‘Kovalsky’! You must be very excited to share this one. What has the initial reception been like so far?
2smile: Thanks a lot, we are really excited for this one! So far, ‘Kovalsky’ has received overwhelming support from the likes of Marco Carola, Paco Osuna, Marco Faraone, amongst many others, and has been picking up radio plays worldwide!
EG: So, what’s ‘Kovalsky’ all about? Is there a concept or inspirational trigger behind this one?
2smile: We have a lot of different sources of inspiration, from many labels and producers worldwide. For ‘Kovalsky’, we’ve been mostly inspired by Oliver Koletski on Still Vor Talent, but as always, we cooked this tune with a 2smile sauce.
EG: How did ‘Kovalsky’ come about? Did you run into any particular roadblock while writing ‘Safe With You’?
2smile: This track came super fast. We had a great workflow that came alone, naturally. No questions to answer or problems to solve. The soul of the track came from the magical thunder which brings all of us in front of the sound system and unites us on the dancefloor.
“The soul of the track came from the magical thunder which brings all of us in front of the sound system and unites us on the dancefloor”
EG: And ‘Kovalsky’ is out now via your own music imprint, Ondawey Music. Why did you decide to close out the year with this particular track? What was this first year like for Ondawey Music?
2smile: We worked hard this past year to build a large library on Ondawey Music. We decided to produce a series of tracks, all of which are connected to the series. Our last series focused on deep house and melodic techno. Through 2smile, we are providing a multi-style orientation for Ondawey Music. We put a lot of effort and energy into reaching a higher level in terms of connection and exposure.
EG: Let’s go back to your origins. How and when was 2smile formed? Did you two have a previous relationship before becoming a duo? What brought you together?
2smile: 2smile was formed during the COVID pandemic. We have known each other for 25 years, having met during free parties and having released many vinyl records, and organized numerous parties together.
EG: Over the past few years, we have seen a significant rise in acts or concepts that rely on large screens and visually stunning visuals. Do you think this enhances the musical experience? Or does it take away too much from the actual music?
2smile: What bothers us the most is that the audience uses their phones a lot to film; they no longer enjoy the present moment. The festive atmosphere is forgotten, while the essence of these gatherings is about creating a moment of sharing and connection. It is important to let go and put away the phones.
EG: Also, the use of AI in music has become quite common after its initial introduction, which raised many eyebrows. What is your stance on this?
2smile: We believe that AI is part of progress; it is an interesting tool. Many plugins use AI to be more efficient and get straight to the point. However, AI will never replace intuition or inspiration because creation is something specific to humans. We need to let our emotions speak. Humans are here to bring music to life, and music needs humans to exist.
“We worked hard this past year to build a large library on Ondawey Music. We decided to produce a series of tracks, all of which are connected to the series”
EG: Finally, could you provide some insights into what’s next for 2smile? What’s in store for 2024? Where can your fans catch you next?
2smile: We are working on a scenography in Marseille at the warehouse where our studio is located. There will be a giant smiley laser show and other surprises. We are still in the preparation phase and we will share news with you very soon.
EG: Thank you so much for your time, guys! We wish you all the best for the future. Take care!
2smile: Thank you for your interest in our project, and we are working hard to share it with our audience. We will be releasing a lot of new music this year, and there will be big shows happening.
2smile’s ‘Kovalsky’ is now available via Ondawey Music. Download here.