Pop Around The Edges

26 July 2012 | 9:43 am | Troy Mutton

“I’ve always been a musician and I can’t even think about staying behind a laptop playing with a track pad.”

More Yuksek More Yuksek

Within the pages of this very magazine, your humble scribe has probably referenced the electro boom of '06-'07 more times than a single person has any right too. Kicking off with the Aussie explosion of acts like Modular mainstays The Presets and Cut Copy, it soon lead outside of the country, more obviously to France where Ed Bangers like Justice, SebastiAn and DJ Mehdi (RIP) were blowing up dancefloors around the globe and the summer music festival really came to prominence.

One act who was definitely there, but always seemed a little like the kid picked last for the sports team, was another Frenchman, Pierre-Alexandre Busson, better known as Yuksek. Tracks like Little Dirty Trip in 2006 and 2008's Tonight always felt like they were part of the electro craze, but never quite as big as some of the aforementioned. This feeling was echoed when Busson finally released his debut LP Away From The Sea which, while having a few standouts like Extraball and Eat My Bear, got a little lost in the wash of seminal (for new-to-dance electro enthusiasts like this guy anyway) albums like Justice's or Mehdi's Lucky Boy.

Fast forward to 2011 – the days this writer looks upon with rose-tinted glasses are (somewhat) long-forgotten, passed off as the fluoro-fad it was called by many more knowledgeable folk at the time, and Yuksek returned with his follow-up effort Living On The Edge Of Time. Shifting away from the Daft Punk/Justice comparisons, Busson fully enveloped himself in a love for pop only hinted at on previous releases. The more club-friendly stuff is still there, but an unabashed embracing of more pop sensibilities has created a much more fun, and groovy Yuksek. And he's been enjoying the fall-out since: “The response was really good. We had lot of press, we are on tour for a year on very cool stages. Nothing has really changed except the music a bit; still running [around] the world and loving it,” Busson tells.

And while Living... has already celebrated its first birthday, Busson is in no hurry to move on to album number three. “I don't know what's gonna be my next record… I'm not in [any] rush, we had a non-stop tour for all year so I'll start with a bit of rest… I'll think about it in a few months.” Carefree French attitude? Yukcheck.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

What has been driving the boat for the past year has been his new-and-improved live show. Five years ago the (live) suffix you see alongside producer/DJs' names on festival billboards didn't really exist. DJ sets were still the norm and there was none of this fancy “live” mumbo jumbo; no massive walls of speakers (doing nothing), 25 LCD panels and fireworks pre-sets. In fact, Busson was one of the earlier members of the live club, and it was an entertaining set – his shows a flurry of keyboards, mixing consoles, wires and drum machines – with a heap of vocal manipulation and interaction.

Since then he's expanded the Yuksek experience to a much more live one in the sense he's now joined on stage by band members, each playing live instruments. “We're playing the new live show [in Australia], as we did for Field Day Festival. We are now three on stage with a drummer, a bass player who plays keyboards sometimes, and I'm lead singer and I play keyboards and sequencers,” he explains. And it's a format he clearly enjoys. “It's a different experience, more about pleasure and sharing good times on stage with the musicians and the audience, I love to play alone but it was a hard job to manage all the keyboards, mixing desk, vocoders, effects…more a technical performance.”

It's also refreshing at a time when, even though more acts are playing 'live', it really only ever feels like you're watching someone on stage just pushing buttons – something that Busson really has no interest in. “I've always been a musician and I can't even think about staying behind a laptop playing with a track pad.”

Not only that, it stems from a history of live instrumentation – he is proficient in classical piano – and playing in bands such as his old group Klanguage. It's something he's been able to incorporate into his own music as a producer for a far more refreshing show and attack on the electro genre. “I had bands before starting the Yuksek project; I played bass, I also did more experimental techno… It's just that I love different kinds of music and never plan what I will write the next day!”

Having been involved in music in some way or another for much of his life in various forms, what is it exactly that does drive Busson? “Everything! It's a balance between making music for me, producing other people's, doing remixes, playing live, playing DJ sets… Everything comes together,” he enthuses. And recently he's been getting back into the collaboration side of things, working on a couple of pretty darn exciting projects with fellow Boys Noize buddy Brodinski to form The Krays, and also the no-longer flying half of Aeroplane, The Magician. Both are in their infant stages, but the output so far has been something else to get excited about.

“For both collaborations it started because they needed someone to produce their songs and remixes. And finally we wrote music together, The Krays with Brodinski –unfortunately we haven't had time recently for new productions… And Peter & The Magician with Stephen Fasano that I met when he left Aeroplane two years ago. We released two singles on Kitsuné, the last one, Memory, was released two weeks ago.” The latter is causing much a-flutter in the blogosphere for its nu-disco vibes, something The Magician has been killing since departing Aeroplane, and something clearly Busson knows a thing or two about.

And while Busson has been busy with the tour, and mentions plans for taking it easy once touring for Living On The Edge Of Time is finally over, whenever that may be, his plans for the future really seem to show no signs of slowing down. “New music, new production and work for other bands!”