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It's A Fine Line

Electronic producers and DJs Tim Paris and Ivan Smagghe form the super-duo, playing unexpected disco and house sets

Enigmatic French DJ Ivan Smagghe (known for his electrohouse and minimal techno, and past projects with Arnaud Rebotini aka Black Strobe) and Tim Paris who ran his own Crack and Speed label and now Marketing Music with Jef K, have joined creative forces for their project 'It's a Fine Line'. The Parisian tag team have played parties with Jef K, DJ Chloe and Alexkid, focusing on a blend of disco, electroclash and house but as 'It's a Fine Line', they've headed to new musical pastures.

Their sound comes somewhat as a surprise with Smagghe's electroclash past and Paris' solo work as more melodic, emotive electronic house. The jazzy influences, strong vocals and organic pads shape the atmosphere of their tracks 'Grease' and 'Woman', and their remix of Au Revoir Simone is a tinkly, almost naive sounding piece with a simple bassline and off-key vocals whilst their edit of Phrenic's 'Mischa' is a glitchy tech disco number. Having seen attention from labels, agencies and music collectives like I'm A Cliche, Kill the DJ, 2020 Vision, and Get the Curse podcasts, the duo have gained a well-respected name for themselves in electronic scene, Dazed find out about Smagghe's frilly pants and what's to come.

Dazed Digital: How would you describe your music project together?

IAFL: Like a breath of fresh air. We sometimes tend to compose music in reaction against things we hear. It leads to pretty unusual things but it may also sounds quite similar, or includes references to songs and styles already existing. Basically, we are very careful in our relation to the musical zeitgeist.

DD: How does it differ to your own solo music?
IAFL: It's very different to confront two visions on a project than expressing a single one.It's a fine line 's music is more radical and "thought", it often starts with an idea, a reference, a strong wish to do something like this or that... My solo productions  seem to me more 'physical', I mostly rely on my instant perception of the music, hence my taking ages to finish a track, every time I come back to it, I feel like changing most of it.

DD: Ivan, what happened with your involvement in the Black Strobe project?
Ivan Smagghe: I left because we obviously wanted different things.

DD: Are you still running Crack & Speed?
Tim Paris: No. I used to work with Jef.K in Paris where we ran a few labels together (C&S included). Now I moved to London I focus only on my own imprint called Marketing Records and Jef is now running his label too, Silver Network.

DD: What are your production processes like?
IAFL: We mostly start from an idea, a direction we put in words. I suppose 'talking' remains the cornerstone of our collaboration, then we search for musical bits and once we have enough we get back to the talking and how to make these elements work together. The final relation to the original intention is more or less close... We try and play with all the references, styles and cliches that make our musical culture, distort them a bit. If our production is definitely full of these references, we intend to avoid being pigeonholed into one of them,

...special about you?
Tim: I quite enjoy getting older, weird isn't it?
Ivan: Not for me to answer but she says "honesty and loyalty".

...your worst vice?
Tim: Addiction to tiredness
Ivan: Skipping the obvious, I'd say honesty and my girlfriend.

...better, analog or digital?
Tim: Better good sounding
Ivan: I could not have put it better. the top of your shit list?
Tim: The gigantic alcohol brands who eventually make benefits over dance music
Ivan: "Underground" conformism, political and philosophical apathy induced by the belief in an "inevitable" victory of "democratic materialism".

...your worst fashion secret?
Tim: Swimming Speedos
Ivan: Frilly pants

...are you listening to now?
Tim: Nico Muhly 'Mothertongue'
Ivan: DJ Chloe's next album, and France Culture

DD: So you're playing 'It's a Fine Line' show at Cargo this Saturday, what should one expect from the show?
We'll only be DJing so expect personal choices, but live sets hopefully next year...

It's A Fine Line will be playing Cargo, London this Saturday 9th January and their next EP will be out soon on Marketing Records with a remix from Trulz and Robin.