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Timid Boy: “My first rave fascinated me, totally. The music, the vibe, the energy, the people”

Photo Credit: Mathieu Zazzo

As a key player of the French electronic music scene, Timid Boy is known for his hyperactive tendencies as a DJ, producer, journalist, party organizer, and also, at the helm of label Time Has Changed. Immersed in music since a young age, learning classical piano for 10 years at the Conservatoire, Damien Almira stepped into the heyday of the rave party scene during the ’90s in southern France somewhat by chance. Back then rock music was the cool thing for him and his friends, but it all changed when he heard the alien sounds of techno during an impromptu visit to the ‘Borealis’ festival in Montpellier.

Fast forward, and now, Timid Boy is currently behind his ‘Elia & Leo’ EP for MOAN. So we caught up with the French artist to know more about his latest release, his origins, his role in music journalism, and much more.

EG: Hi Damien! Welcome! We’re pleased to have you here with us. How have you been doing?

Timid Boy: Hello, I’m fine thanks. Well, like a lot of people, especially in the event scene, this year and most of 2020 were weird and difficult because of authorities’ decisions regarding Covid 19. In France, we even had a lockdown and curfew at 6 PM for a lot of months. That was very hard. During lockdowns I focused a lot on new compositions, taking time & perspective to compose a lot of new music that will be released over the next months. Since summer started, the situation in France is now very good, and the event scene is alive again. Fingers crossed for the next months.

EG: Congratulations on the release of your ‘Elia & Leo’ EP on Moan Recordings! What has the reception been like so far?

Timid Boy: The reception has been very good. I didn’t expect so much attention. A lot of my favorite DJs/producers are supporting the records, like Raresh, Jamie Jones, Archie Hamilton, Mihai Popoviciu, Joseph Capriati, Guy Gerber, Dimmish… A lot of media as well like Meoko, Feeder, and you guys of course at Electronic Groove! :)

EG: What can you tell us about this one? Where did the inspiration for ‘Elia & Leo’ come from?

Timid Boy: I’m really influenced by the micro & minimal scene in the way of working with textures, organic & analog sounds creating some background textures, sophisticated background elements.

EG: And sonically? What will fans find here?

Timid Boy: I use these textures to develop a deep minimal groove with deep melodies. Elia is more house, full of lights & positive vibes. Leo is the opposite. Darker, more violent. A freaky night track.

“But what she & their friends told us about rave fascinated us. We convinced them to let us go to their event, even if we were under 18. This first rave fascinated me, totally”

EG: The EP also comes with remixes by Nacho Bolognani and Per Hammar. What are the first sensations you usually get when listening to a remix of one of your tracks for the first time? Did you enjoy the stylistic decisions taken by Nacho and Per?

Timid Boy: I’m always excited & a bit nervous when I listen to a remix. Mainly, because I hope that I will like the results! I’m very curious about which elements the remixer uses from the original tracks, and how he/she uses them. I’m very happy with the works of Per & Nacho. Per develops his own personal deep tech touch, keeping a minimal vibe & a crazy groove on it. Nacho goes on his deep minimal/tech-house vibe. A very fresh touch!

EG: Stepping out of the EP for a bit…Let’s take it back. How did you get into electronic dance music? Was there a record or show that got a hold of you when you were younger?

Timid Boy: I did my first rave party at 17 years old. A bit by coincidence. The older sister of my best friend at the time was part of the first rave organization in Montpellier, called La Tribu des Pinguins. They were behind some legendary events, such as ‘Borealis’. At that time I was more into pop/rock/new wave music. But what she & their friends told us about rave fascinated us. We convinced them to let us go to their event, even if we were under 18. My first rave fascinated me, totally. The music, the vibe, the energy, the people. I immediately fell in love with this, and I immediately knew that I wanted to be a DJ. Musically, Aphex Twin and Plastikman were my heroes. About DJing, that was the UK progressive scene with Darren Emerson, Jeff Mills for US techno, and Derrick Carter for some house!

Photo Credit: Marianne Waquier

EG: You also held the position of editor at Trax Mag at one point. How did that experience come in handy as an artist? Would you recommend something like that to an artist in the same medium?

Timid Boy: I guess it made me understand that to make a career in the music business is difficult, that you have to be patient, that you can quickly become trendy but also quickly become a ‘has been’. Better to think about a long-term career.

That’s one of the reasons I decided to take a pseudonym, I wanted to separate the two activities for ethical reasons: do not let people believe that a booking could be exchanged for an article or a favor in the magazine. I often interviewed artists by email or phone and then played with them on weekends without telling them that I was the journalist who had questioned them a few days before!

EG: What kind of things inspire you? Do you tell stories through your music?

Timid Boy: Well, personal events influence me for sure. Happiness, pain, stress… Music will be my way to express it, or cure it when it’s a negative feeling. Then I try to put it around a global musical idea (starting with a melody or a rhythmic idea).

“2022 will also be busy with the birth of my new label. Vinyl only, in partnership with the great Memoria Distribution. The first release will be one of mine, with a
remix by iO Mulen!”

EG: What’s next for Timid Boy? What new milestones can your fans look forwards to in the coming months?

Timid Boy: I’m very happy and excited because a lot of my works done during lockdown reached their goal and will be released on what I believe are some top labels & crews. I signed a lot of vinyl-only: on Hoary, the label of my micro house hero iO Mulen; on Blind Vision Dubs which is one of my favorite deep-style labels, and also on vinyl only I will release an edit of Radiohead & Eminem on the fantastic french label La Chèvre.

2022 will also be busy with the birth of my new label. Vinyl only, in partnership with the great Memoria Distribution. The first release will be one of mine, with a remix by iO Mulen!

I will also reactivate my label Time Has Changed, with special stuff to come in 2022 to celebrate our 15 years birthday! On the other side, I continue to work on my other project under my name Damien Almira, which features more Ro-minimal, breakbeat oriented stuff, with releases on Terry’s label Epice Magique & on my friend Ramona Yacef’s label Lescale Recordings.

And I’m still very happy with my Tsugi Radio show where I invite people that I love in the scene, such as Molly, Ben Vedren, Djebali, Abi from Ra+Re, Monile, etc…

EG: Thank you for your time Damien! We wish you all the best for the future! 

Timid Boy: Many thanks! Same to you! Thanks for the nice interview!

Timid Boy’s ‘Elia & Leo’ EP is out now via MOAN. Purchase your copy here.

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