Interview: Jacques Bon Talks Smallville Records Paris, Vinyl Resurgence in France & New Release on Live at Robert Johnson

We chat with the French DJ about the shifting and growing vinyl market in France and much more.
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Jacques Bon

Jacques Bon

Jacques Bon is a French DJ/ producer affiliated with Smallville Records (Hamburg). A passionate vinyl collector and musician, Jacques has been at the head of Smallville Records Paris for 10 years. With past releases on Tim Sweeney's prominent label Beats in Space, as well as Mule Musiq and Kann, Bon's vision of music takes us into an inspiring journey between disco, house, and techno with his own twist and emotions. Jacques also co-produced music with Christopher Rau and Virgo Four, crafting delicate, soulful tunes that stay stuck in our heads. Both as a DJ/ producer and record store owner, Jacques' talent and dedicated work in music seduce us.

In this interview, Jacques explains what has changed in the vinyl industry in France and in Europe and talks about his new EP to be released on April 12, 2019 via the prestigious Frankfurt-based label "Live at Robert Johnson" with remixes by acclaimed artist Lauer.

The Smallville years debut: tell us about your implications with the label since its inception?

We opened Smallville in Paris with Pantha du Prince in 2006. There was already a Smallville store in Hamburg and it was also the beginning of the label. I visited Hamburg for the first time in 2007 when I met Julius and all the Smallville family and I loved it so much that a few months later I decided to move and live there.

What did you learn from your years in Hamburg? Who / what inspired you the most there?

I learned so many things. Living in Hamburg was such a great experience. I think I needed this to escape the superficial, materialistic, and conservative side of Paris. I also learned German and how to cook spätzle, for example.

Now tell us about your time as the head of Smallville Records Paris: how do you work to protect the record industry? How is it to own a record store?

I’m actually not a “vinyl fetichist”, and I don't really care about protecting any industry. Of course, I love to listen to music on vinyl, and I love to play vinyls but moreover, I love to share the music that I like.

When I opened this record store, it was maybe the worst moment for the record market because of the arrival of the mp3s. Many great record stores had to close in Paris and I felt like it couldn't stay like this. So I tried to find a solution to open a store without too many financial risks. Back then, the Paris electronic music scene was also not so lively anymore so I attempted at creating a link between Hamburg and Paris. As a promoter, I invited artists who were not used to play in France at that moment.

I also organize some in-store sessions to promote the local scene. As Smallville has quite a lot of international customers, the shop in Paris is a good opportunity to put the spot on many good new French artists and labels.

Could you say there is a vinyl resurgence in France?

Yes, and not only in France of course. It was much more difficult when the mp3 appeared, over than 10 years ago. But the market changed in a way. Now I see a lot of young customers asking for "rare expensive records" rather than "what good new record could you recommend?"

When I started to buy records, the record stores were the only places to listen to new music. for example, I remember that we all met every Wednesday at Dagroove records, as it was arrivals day.

Now the new customers can check everything online, so their expectations when they dig records are different.

To you, what defines the perfect tune? What is your approach to music creation? Which tools do you like the most?

There is no perfect tune I think. To me, creation can come from an accident or by trying to translate something that inspires me into music. It can be everywhere, at any time. Regarding tools, I think being limited is the best way to improve creativity, trying to do as much as possible with as little as possible.

What is the typical week in your producer life?

I'm at the shop 6 days a week, I try to find some time to produce music when I can in the morning, or at night. I know that I really need it. I couldn't imagine my life without producing music.

What are the best tracks to open your sets?

It depends on the track playing before, it depends on my mood, the place and the moment of course.

Tell us about your 2014 album Two Hearts? What was the motivation/ process behind this work?

I recorded those tracks while the mother of my son was pregnant. It was a very inspiring time for me. I had many great memories.

How about Dawning Light released on Tim Sweeney's Beats in Space in 2017?

I produced those tracks in the morning before opening the shop. It was some early sessions with a virgin mind before you have to deal with all those things that can pollute your mood during the day.

To you what is the purpose of music today? How do you feel people should connect to music?

Maybe music (and art) should not have any purpose actually? People should connect to music as they want and as they can.

What does 2019 hold for you? Any exciting plan for releases, collaborations, or travels?

I will release a new EP in April on Live At Robert Johnson, and I’m quite excited about it. There should be other releases this year but it’s too early to tell you about them. Some little tours are also planned, but not completely confirmed yet.

If you had to travel to a deserted island, where would you go and what would you take (only 3 items allowed)?

Oh well, I go there every day and I don't need anything, but sorry I can't tell you where it is.

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