Over in Milan, Mr. Coquedeux has been creating some of the best lounge/jazz hip hop and deep house that you haven’t heard. Now he’s released his latest project, M0NT3NAP0L30N3 – a vibrant vaporwave soundtrack. M0NT3NAP0L30N3 will set itself apart from the rest of your summer tunes with its lo-fi vintage future funk. Cruising through 80’s Miami in your Eldorado with your girl, on your way to get some ice cream before you hit the beach for an evening dip. I guarantee you haven’t heard anything like this and it’ll make you nostalgic for an irresistible time you weren’t even a part of.
Mr. Coquedeux was kind enough to speak with us about his music, what moved him to create this kaleidoscope wonder and his hometown of Milan. Spin this special album at his bandcamp and check out what Mr. Coquedeux had to say, below.
And a huge thank you to Mr. Coquedeux for this and his continual support.
Who is Mr. Coquedeux?
Who? Ahah, I’m joking… it’s a musical project from a millennial guy like many others. It could seem and sound something pretentious, like “a wanna be” pseudonym, but it’s just nonsense with a pinch of french pronunciation.
Did you grow up into a musically gifted family or are you self taught? And what instrument did you start with?
I grew up surrounded by people interested in art: painting, acting, playing etc… Even if it is possible to be different from the ambient you lived and experienced, sometimes you still keep an invisible link with it. Personally, my link is quite strong. Anyways, my relatives didn’t help me directly but they inspired me for sure in all the different art branches. For example, my grandfather played violin and guitar and I used to see and listen to him, but we never had a sort of lesson. After he ended his performance, I took his instruments trying to imitate him. Chronologically, I started with a guitar when I was a child, but my first and real gig was with the piano.
How long have you been making music? What got you into producing? Did you find it difficult?
I’ve been making music since the late 2000’s, I suppose. In that period I created some instrumental blues rock songs and ballads. Unfortunately, they weren’t written but only recorded with lo-fi tools. I usually play by ear so some parts are fixed in the songs but all the other parts are improvisations, so they’ll never come back. However, replying to your question, I decided to begin to produce some years ago for different reasons. The first one is that my sister used to listen to euro-dance and Italo-disco all day in the late 90’s, so I grew up with shades of those songs in remote corners of my unconscious. The second one is that I think music is an ongoing process, so being alive into music means to experiment. The third one is that I felt locked without a real band because of the lack of persons and time, so producing electronic music seemed to be something mighty interesting (I still play instruments for fun anyway). The beginning was tough, but slowly I started to feel confident developing a specific way of thinking that I still bring with me.
What does your studio look like and what’s your creative process like?
Well, it looks like… mhh… a laptop?! Fortunately, nowadays technology makes real miracles possible with a limited budget. I simply use two programs – these are all the ingredients for my musical recipe. There is also for example a famous deep house DJ from the UK who actually uses only one program for everything, while I imagined him in an avant-garde studio.
Personally, a laptop can’t be as enchanting as a drum machine, but it still has its status quo. My process is very simple: I begin to “see” a musical soundtrack in my mind and I try to shape it until I’m satisfied. It requires just a couple of hours. It’s a musical recipe indeed: “…and finally you can serve the dish with the listeners…”
Where do you draw your inspirations from?
Your latest project M0NT3NAP0L30N3 is very different from your usual lounge/jazzy hip hop/house efforts. Why the change?
I wanted to try something different from my standard; M0NT3NAP0L30N3 started its life as a dead spin off from my main alias. Actually the concept was converted at the end of 2014 in order to appear as an album from Mr. Coquedeux. In fact, during the past summer, I often listened to future funk and vaporwave projects, and I wanted to participate in these genres.
What can you tell us about M0NT3NAP0L30N3 and what does this project mean to you personally?
It’s nothing more than “neonized atmosheres, nostalgia, fashion and aesthetic” mixed with cinematic love and fun. It’s pretty much difficult to answer your question because I think that M0NT3NAP0L30N3 is something kaleidoscopic, and it continually changes. By the way I “feel”, it’s like a gate: I just don’t know what it looks like or where it is. It’s also a celebration of my hometown, Milan, and its controversial image that fascinates me, tourists and flaneurs, too.
Do you feel your lack of social media and personally connecting with listeners hinders your ability to get your name out there? Or are you just not interested in doing so?
This is something that many people have asked me. You know, nowadays, most people thanks to the Web can reach everything in real time. This is incredible, but I believe it’s just a coins side. The other one is a sort of forgetfulness for surprise and mystery. So I prefer to be comfortable with myself even if it seems wrong from different perspectives. I could tell you though that I’ve received 700,000+ plays.
Not only did you just release this project, but you also released “Chou Chou” on May 22nd, available only on your bandcamp. Are you ever not making music?
Ahah, I’m not a music making machine! “Chou Chou” is a simple compilation with past releases, both unpublished and published. If you want to know, it was ready long time ago, but I always thought that it was a summer compilation so I decided to release it this spring. You can imagine “Chou Chou” and M0NT3NAP0L30N3 like twins. Certainly, but I listen to music everyday!
Who’s your all time favorite artist and what about them draws you in?
This is the famous million dollar question…but I think it’s related with the other one about inspirations. I wanna be sincere, maybe there’s an all time favourite artist in my mind, but suddenly I remember another artist, then another one and so on… (it seems like counting sheep). So I can’t give you an all time favourite but certainly most of the artists I enjoy deals with water and color. I can change a sentence from Enzo Ferrari, the famous founder of Ferrari, “The best victory is yet to come” into “my favourite artist is yet to come”. It’s something a little bit irrational.
Any final thoughts or comments?
First of all, I need to say thank you Phil and Ohestee for your amazing work and for this great chance to talk a little bit about music on a comfortable, virtual sofa. Then I need to thank you the guys from Midnight Side without whom my newest project would have never lived apart from my laptop. Are you reading this? You also deserve a thank you!