A Fine Line

11 July 2013 | 10:04 am | Cyclone Wehner

“The live tour was cool, but it’s boring sometimes to play only your own songs. So now I can play anything – depending on the crowd and my feelings.”

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In 2011, French electro-house don Yuksek, weary of DJ culture and club bangers, released an avant-garde pop album, Living On The Edge Of Time. He put together a band, singing lead vocals. Now, a year after they performed at Splendour In The Grass, Pierre-Alexander Busson is Perth bound, having rediscovered dance music.

“I enjoy DJing again,” Busson explains. “The live tour was cool, but it's boring sometimes to play only your own songs. So now I can play anything – depending on the crowd and my feelings.” Two years ago Busson distanced himself from dance. (“I never listen to much electro,” he claimed.) What changed? “I think I needed to get my ears fresh, focusing on the melodics [and] arrangements, and not only on the 'dancefloor' effect of the music. But it's something I still like and I'm working on again at the moment.” Busson is no opportunist. While the Americans have embraced dance music on an epic scale, he's not set out to capitalise on it. “The electronic mainstream belongs to guys like Skrillex who I respect, but that is totally not my cup of tea.” He has a formal musical background, studying piano at the Conservatoire de Paris.

Busson played in bands, the best known Klanguage. The electronic convert 'Yuksek' emerged around 2006 as part of the second wave of French house. Even before Living..., Busson aired the 'producer' album Away From The Sea. Amanda Blank rapped on the popular Extraball. Along the way, Busson has remixed big pop names – Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and the folk Noah & The Whale, although props from the artists have been rare. “The best feedback was from Thomas [Mars] from Phoenix, who told me that when they start playing Lisztomania on stage he has the beginning of my remix in his head. That's a compliment!”

Living... was a stunning album with credible pop songs spanning New Wave, '80s electro and vintage French touch – but it was slept-on. In fact, today it's surely superior to Daft Punk's Random Access Memories. “I was really proud of the record,” Busson demurs. “We toured two years live with it, so for me it was successful enough. I think it was an album without a proper radio single, so it's always more difficult these days when people just download one song, add it to an iPod playlist, and switch to the next one after two days. Unfortunately, 'concept' albums are not so contemporary.”

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As it happens, Busson is less enamoured of his robotic compatriots' much vaunted disco comeback. “It's a good album. I'm a big fan of them – even if I was expecting something more original and forward-thinking. Anyway, it's a sound I love and I'm happy that the kids will discover Chic or [Giorgio] Moroder through them.”

Busson will cut another 'artist' album at some point. But, for now, he's concentrating on establishing Partyfine. Busson launched the label earlier this year with Partyfine EP #1: “It's something I wanted to do for a long time but never had enough time to focus on,” he says of his concern. Busson is keen to be involved in every stage of a record's creation. Plus, with Partyfine, he can pursue more collaborations. He's just furnished On My Brain with Stephen Fasano (ex-Aeroplane) as Peter & The Magician. In the past Busson worked extensively with Brodinski, the two devising The Krays. Brodinski has been hanging out with Kanye West, earning studio credits on Yeezus alongside Daft Punk themselves. Yet Busson hasn't ruled out more from The Krays. “We never had time to go back to the studio together, but I'm sure it will happen.”