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Popular Computer

After reworking the likes of Hot Chip and New Young Pony Club as well as developing his sounds with Kitsune, the French producer takes on his second album this year

In the making for over two years, Popular Computer’ second album, LiTE, is hitting the shelves at last. Parisian beat-smith Sylvain Dalido, who has collaborated extensively with Kitsuné, whille also churning out a hefty body of solo remixes, reworking the likes of New Young Pony Club, Hot Chip and Pacific! amongst others. And produces punchy pop-thump which blends distorted stretches of electronica with murky vocals that sound like they’ve been given a once over with an Echo-Mike.

People who rule the electronic music business (most of the time) don’t know how great and beneficial it is for artists to compose music. How it is important to preserve the naivety in making new sounds

You get a sense that this latest album has been really carefully crafted, with tracks like the gentle and ambient Una Memoria Lontana framed quite comfortably alongside unashamedly 70s disco-funk, floor fillers like Lointain and Calore FX.

Dazed Digital: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up? What else were you doing while you were growing? What are you doing at the moment?
Popular Computer:
I grew up in a small village around the west of France. My family have lived in France for 300 years like highlander people. When I was young, I wasn't really an ‘arts person’. I didn't read that much. I just used to skate and listen to the Beastie Boys and in the summer I liked surfing. When I was really young I built a drum kit with boxes and cartons in an attempt to play music in my bedroom with my brother.

I found music was quite easy for me when I started playing bass. And right now, I’m not really looking to have massive success. I am making things uncomplicated in my life. To continue in music and make sounds I really want to share. Different sounds. But honestly, now I am a dad, and my daughter is the best thing I have done with my life up until now!

DD: Talk to us about your involvement with Kitsuné. How were you introduced to them? What has been your best/worst experience with them over the years?
Popular Computer: I made Kitsuné! And my real name is Gildas! With KitsunéI have been lucky. I bought my first computer in 1998 and just started making music. I had a friend, Alex Tonetti, a French guy living in London who was really into the whole electronic music and DJ scene. Anyway, I sent him my first demo. Then Alex told me that I should meet some people in Paris he thought would be interested in my music. I'll be honest, at that time I didn’t know Gildas and Kitsuné, but I knew a track called ‘A Strange Light In Yours Eyes’ by Romuald. I was really surprised to hear that they were working with Daft Punk, Alan Braxe and Gonzales. I didn't really listen to that kind of music, but I was happy because me and Kitsune were speaking the same language.

In the beginning Gildas thought about a compilation concept. Every week I came to his desk with a new sound. We released ‘I Can’t Forget You’ as an EP, which was followed up by Darling, released on Kitsuné X. At the time I enjoyed this frantic way to work. And later the cool idea ‘Kitsuné Maison’ came. But I realised that it was not a label which developed artists. It was not so clear then as it is today, it was all a bit of a blur. The best thing about my past is that I've had time to make lots of music. Little by little I have found a pleasure with some romantic / end of the world tracks, such as Clone Age from ‘Kitsuné Maison 1’ or ‘Calore FX ‘ from my current album ‘LiTE ‘. The worst thing is the real world of being a modern artist, the contracts, the business, the marketing and the hype. People who rule the electronic music business, most of the time don’t know how great and beneficial it is for artists to compose music. How it is important to preserve the naivety in making new sounds.

DD: What were your biggest influences whille you were making LiTE? 
Popular Computer: Listening to Yves Simon. I’m not making that kind of music at all, but I always liked his music since I saw the film ‘Diabolo Menthe’. At the same time I was listening to another artist, from France called Francis Lai. It’s strange because when you first listen to him, his work sounds ‘kitsch’ but if you take your time you discover that his music is very clever. He made so many perfect movie soundtracks.

DD: Where do you go for inspiration?

I’m human and my inspiration comes naturally to me. Suddenly melodies come in my head and I need to record them on a dictaphone. I don’t really know if I have to feel happy or worried, but I must have confidence.

While writing LiTE, when I finished a track, the next one had started in my head. LiTE is all about the sun and the heat from the people. The red sun from Japan (Lointain). The sun from childhood like in an old family picture (Heatwave). The sun of belief and a cathedral choir (Sun Lite). The sun in the morning and as a last souvenir from school days (Una Memoria Lontana). The sun as a natural power which eventually destroys everything (Calore FX).