Simpig and Blaise Deville

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Mar 11
 

On his return-to-Asia tour with fellow Swiss producers Simpig, Blaise Deville speaks with Anderson Muth about past and future bass

Born and raised in Geneva but finding his musical feet in Shanghai, Blaise Deville is marking his return to Asia by bringing along live act Simpig for a night of bass music as it ought to be done. Joined by rising local producer Achun, this unusual non-band booking at Kwun Tong’s famed underground music spot, Hidden Agenda, is shaping up to be something special.

Blessed with a perfect natural DJ name and wide-ranging taste, Blaise Deville (pronounced blaze duh-vill) explains the former as a ‘happy coincidence [rather] than an intended pun,’ one which is seen as far less theatrical back in Europe. “French is my mother tongue [and] my name sounds common enough, but English speakers always tend to think it’s a stage name,” notes the Swiss master. As for the latter, he’s an eclectic music-lover equally influenced by European radio and his time spent abroad. While in Shanghai he was involved for many years in running the well-regarded club night Sub-Culture at one of the city’s best underground venues, Shelter – something that definitely ‘broadened my musical horizon, especially in terms of electronic music’, he explains. Making specific note of Hyperdub label boss Kode9 as an influence, he’s still grateful for the fact that Shelter has ‘a long tradition of bringing fresh international acts and is at the forefront of new musical tendencies’.

As for the co-headliners Simpig – based in the cross-cultural linguistic-border zone of Biel, Switzerland – they are a live performance duo specialising in all types of future bass. Playing their own productions ‘on keyboards, pads and electronic drums’ while blending footwork, juke and even cinematic atmosphere, Deville summarises their style as, “Really immersive, but you can also dance to it since footwork is music made for dance battles.” Without a trace of irony, Deville credits his time in China for teaching him the art of networking, which is exactly what has led to this tour with his countrymen. A chance booking together led to conversation and a joke about a tour of China. Now, a few short months later, they’re on the eve of a show here in the Fragrant Harbour.

This is Deville’s third appearance here, though a lot has changed for the man musically since his Shanghai-based crew, Uprooted Sunshine, visited while on tour in 2010. At that time he had recently collaborated with famed German lo-fi digital reggae label Jahtari for a special mixtape, which was actually just re-released as a limited-edition cassette last year. The Genevean’s latest project is an online mix series, Construct, which provides him a creative outlet for keeping up his DJ skills while also featuring interviews with genre heavyweights like Mungo’s Hi Fi and RSD. It also seems to be a way to take things full circle, as Deville reminisces about the Swiss national station Coleur 3 and how ‘it played a big part in my musical education’.
While still primarily a DJ, Deville does ‘see making music as the end game’, which is quite logical in light of the rest of the evening’s lineup. Deville makes a strong case for the necessity of experiencing both Simpig and Achun’s sets, arguing that, “It’s important to produce your own beats, so you can build your own musical environment and bring the audience into it.” So come and let your feet run loose

Simpig and Blaise Deville Fri Mar 11, Hidden Agenda, Ngau Tau Kok. Tickets: $160; ticketflap.com.

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