French DJ, producer and label owner Folamour released his new album Ordinary Drugs that blends together disco, jazz, classic house, soul and a bit of disparate electronic influences. It primarily lives in Folamour’s beats, but when Elbi and Mark Borgazzi come in for vocals, the record really shines with an added layer of soul. It is vibey, danceable and soothing that works for downtempo home listening, but also can translate to some smooth club music. With the album in mind, we asked Folamour to take us into his creative process and the catalog to share how the album came to be. We got the 10 songs that influenced the creation of Ordinary Drugs.
The Frenchman dives into a wide variety of artists ranging from Gil Scott Heron to James Blake, Chassol, Teddy Pendergrass and Camille. He explains just how each song’s influence can be heard in the album and gives us some background on how the organic sounds on the album were made. Read on for the full playlist and listen Ordinary Drugs below. Pick up a copy wherever you do that because it is damn good.
1. Chassol - Birds, Pt.1:
My first album Umami was produced around the concept of perfect balance of elements, genres and energy. This second album Ordinary Drugs is based on something completely different and my main influence for it was everyday life. Each track of the album represents a feeling, an emotion or a memory and jazz is one of the genres that brings the most memories and images with it. Chassol also has something between music and sound design which is something that I found myself inspired by in the process of composing the album.
2. Camille - Wet Boy (Acoustic):
Without being a clear influence linked to the album, this track represents pretty clearly what I did on "Underwater Memories." Using Wayne Snow's voice like an instrument, emotions vector, with an impression of listening to the song underwater, like it was the last thing you would hear drowning, in a way.
3. Archie Bell & The Drells - Don't Let Love Get You Down:
The three last albums by Archie Bell & The Drells have been played intensively in my place during the last 16 months. The record shows immense talent on the production, composition, recording as well as the harmonies and the subtlety of things. It has definitely been a major influence for the soul side of Ordinary Drugs.
4. Common ft D'Angelo - Geto Heaven:
After years of producing through the same process, I needed to completely change my way of creating music and I decided, after the release of my first album, to learn differently. I bought instruments, mics and I got back to playing music and jamming and it led to a real will to make a more organic album; with voices recorded on the road, live instruments, more jazz, more soul and more pop too in a way. All of that was a direct influence of my neo-soul obsession for the past 15 years!
5. James Blake - Retrograde:
As previously said, the organic sound of the album was really important for me. But doing an "all organic" album would have made no sense to me if I didn't try to confront the opposite of this at some points. This is what I tried to do on "Parfums D'Aurore" and "Tribute To Marie Marving," trying to fit the most "EDM style" synths lines with the most organic jazz sound possible to me. If I'm honest I would say that the first time I've been hit with something like that in a really strong way was through James Blake's “Retrograde.”
6. Leo Brouwer - Danza Del Altiplano:
Acoustic music has always been the music I listen to the most and it didn't change during the composition of the album. I can't clearly identify every moment it has a direct link to the music I created but it's basically everywhere.
7. John Cameron - Liquid Sunshine:
Library Music is one of the most underrated genres of music for me. In the '70s and '80s, you would see some gems released only through some library music label, with the only aim to be used in the background of a boring AD but I'm happy to see it coming back in the past few years. It obviously had a huge influence on "Christmas in Only Beautiful in TV Shows" that has been created through this difference between the virtual world and the real one. Trying, in my own way, to produce a library music track was the best way for me to represent that idea.
8. Alexander O'Neal ft Cherelle - Never Knew Love Like This Before:
Gospel Soul has a place in this list without a doubt. Through the love for uplifting vocals, inspiring themes and harmonies, I clearly took a lot from the genre to try to add this spiritual love to Ordinary Drugs. You can hear it easily between "These Are Just Places To Me Now" or any other songs with voices.
9. Gil Scott Heron - We Almost Lost Detroit:
It would be hard for me to talk about inspirations without talking about Gil Scott Heron. His way of giving meaning to music and his way of talking about rough topics from real life, not fantasy brought a lot of ideas on how to conceptualize the album before even starting producing it.
10. Teddy Pendergrass - Love TKO:
Teddy Pendergrass is always a heavy inspiration on the way to share some warm feelings, some love-filled emotions in a really slow manner and still succeeding to make it grooving. I used that on this album, trying to go slower than usual.