"I have lot of admiration for strong & talented people who are not afraid of doing things even if they fail"
We contacted the French DJ Laura BCR to talk about her music career and her work at the On Board agency. Her experience has led her to form an eclectic and versatile sound, as his own body, label, management and party organization. Enjoy it!
Hi Laura! Where can we find you right now? How did you start off your day?
Hey! I am actually at home in Berlin – in lockdown as everyone. It has been now almost 2 months. I basically start my day always in the same way – I have a green tea, check the news, new music, my emails and I start working.
What was your first foray into the world of electronic music?
Very young actually through my mother and my sister who were a lot into music. We had a huge record collection at home and I always remember going to markets with my mother buying records. This has mostly started at home with Disco and then to all these trancey sounds from the 90s, Eurodance and a lot of Trip Hop. Then, I started to go to free parties at 16years old during a couple of years – got my first turnatbles when i was still in high school mostly buying hardtek, hardcore, DNB in obscure recordstores. I have a lot of good memories from all this learning period.
In and out of the electronic music circle, who is an inspiration to you?
Every people you meet is an inspiration – people i work with everyday, my boyfriend, my friends. You learn from everyone always. I have lot of admiration for strong & talented people who are not afraid of doing things even if they fail.
If I should say one artist I met recently, definitely Erika – her experience is very impressive. What they built with No Way Back in Detroit, Interdimensional Transmissions and her own musical project is very inspiring! Rrose and Mulero are also some big musical inspirations – impressive careers and very unique project. They are really above all, on an other level.
You have a really eclectic sound when mixing, what has influenced you to be so musically varied in your approach?
I got into lot of different sounds from a very young age. Started with Techno, Dub, DNB then minimal, electro, ambient with a spice of different things. But not only. I listened (and still listen to) Jazz, Rock, Punk, Soul, Blues, New Wave, Folklor many different things. I always went into several directions sound wise, discovering what moves me. Also building your tastes take time. Knowledge comes from digging and a lot of years of searches. Working in a record store where many different genres are together, growing with people who have a huge culture is definitely also a very important of that varied influences.
Would you like to share a set? Can you tell us more about it? When and how was it recorded?
I could share the very latest I recorded. It fits quite well the actual period. “Through lines” mix is part of Silent Season – Campfire Stories which is mostly based on deep sounds. From ambient to beats – it goes from a Point A to a Point B with a narrative line – very meditative, contemplative and more strength at the end – kind of mixed feelings – what I truly feel in this period. I also wrote the lil poem which is going with the mix.
What makes a good mix to you?
I do not think there is a real secret to make a good mix – it is a feeling, an intention. Sometimes you can just compile tracks and it fits perfectly – because of your mood. Good mix skills can help but not always – DJs can have super good skills and give no emotions at all. Surprises are mostly what I like when I hear a mix, someone who is not afraid to mix genres and do weird transitions – sometimes the energy just comes from that.
What is your music criterion?
It has somehow to be moody but with a soul. I remember someone telling me that once – “you mix very moody music” was quite funny so I kept it.
Is it difficult to surprise people on the dance floor these days, and if not, how is it achieved?
I don’t think this is so difficult – important here again is to give a special intention to your DJ Set. I like to think a DJ Set is an unique creation with a special emotion. Playing the music you feel, mixing it with different sounds, strong tracks. The music you play needs to have a soul and people will feel it. I don’t think there are so many people who are able to really do it really good. But here again it is a question of taste. So anyone can be surprised in different ways. It is also a question of context, moments can be magical due to a situation, a special place etc. It is a whole thing.
How can you explain the existence of this increasingly present parallel between antiquity and novelty?
Explaining it I don’t know. References are good. Every kind of music grows with the others. And it is normal generations are changing, they discover new things, older re-discover stuff etc etc. It is a cycle. “Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed” is the best sentence to describe music in my opinion.
For people that have never heard you play before, how would you describe your sound to them?
Always deep, a bit groovy with some techno beats to spice it up.
So what music are you currently obsessed by? Have you picked up any records recently that you have been playing in every set or have been listening to every day?
Recently mostly ambient. Much more since the lockdown has started. I got to puchases lot of tracks on Bandcamp I don’t play digital but it is good to support artists especially now so I did – The very latest records I got are mostly to prepare my next podcast which is coming in June as I can’t play them in clubs - Mod21/Drafted on Methodical, Significant Other on Weel Street, Archivist on secondnature, the repress from Ruff Cherry on Midgar, Lucid Dreams on Morphing Territories and the K-Lone LP on Wisdom Teeths. Not sure I will play them all for that occasion let’s see.
What can you tell us about Point B? How did the idea for this proposal come about?
With the label, I had the idea first to do some mostly home-listening records, more experimental. We did the mini LPs on that purpose. Then I wanted to compile tracks from different horizons with also here again a story to tell with some specific points. A bit like a mix. All records are very linked together even if there are different. All the projects with the label are very organic. Everything grows together.
Valencian artists such as Daniel Kyo or Estrato Aurora are present in your latest works. What can you tell us about them? And from your experience in Valencia?
I met Jaime (Estrato Aurora) after I heard his productions. I was already very fan when I started to know him better. Alfonso (F-On) made me discover his work and since then I never stop playing his tracks. I am very happy he is on the label as I respect him a lot and he is such a great soul! He was supposed to do his live set in Berlin for the first time for our 5year Birthday with On Board at ://about blank ☹ But we will make it happen later for sure! I got to know Daniel through Jaime – he advised him to send me some new tracks he did under his alias CORE. I listened to them straight and then picked two. Daniel invited me to come for a big week-end in Valencia I was very looking forward to it. Tripdimensional party organized by the team from Gordo at the Estación Del Norte was quite something. It was magical!
What can you tell us about the new EP V / A Point B with artists like Diane Barbé, Uanamani and CORE (aka Daniel Kyo)? What can you tell us about each artist? What do you admire about them?
Diane Barbé is a French experimental artist coming from France but Berlin-based. She has got her very own sound and sensibility – this is something you can straight feel when you meet the person. She did several very interesting projects here in town. You can also listen to her mixes which are very unique. Madrid-based Uanamani (Derk & Iterbio) have also a very specific sound – it is quite the same than for Estrato Aurora I felt in love with their music and play it a lot. It has lot of different influences from dubby to breaks, deep, techno. Their music moves me a lot.
Daniel is a very talented producer that many people know under his Daniel Kyo alias with releases on Giallo Disco or Bordello A Parigi. His techno project CORE did a very cool release on Hivern Discs 2 years ago. I like the way he treated this downtempo techno movements with the two tracks on the EP – there is a form of intensity and coolness in it.
When did the idea to make On Board start?
It started 5years ago in Berlin while I was running Bass Cadet Records with my friend Etienne from Arcarsenal. First as a booking agency with the idea to help my friends and friends from friends who were underrepresented at that time. Then it grew quite fast. We started to do parties first in Berlin or Paris and it became a label a year and a half after.
Why did you decide to venture into an agency?
It has been created first as an agency actually – but to be honest I had no idea this will turn as it is now. I got into it very quickly and spent 90% of my time developing it, work on the network, promotion. At the beginning I was very unexperimented but I came from 7years before touring as a production manager, tour manager, administrator etc so I got some skills I had the possibility to use at least. And I, of course, learnt a lot from people around me or I was working with.
What is your criteria for selecting artists?
I don’t think I can really say I select artists – Don’t feel it is the perfect term. Everything comes from a feeling, an intuition also and how the relation with the artist is. I mostly only work now with people I know or who has got a story which touches me and of course a lot of talent (haha). You need to believe in the artists you work with and know you can help and push them.
All the relations I have with the artists from the roster started very organically. I also talk with some of our artists before adding a new member to the family etc. I am not the only one involved here – the team has to feel good together. I had a few bad experiences in the past what is also normal – you learn from that and you really know how you want and can work, your limits. I am a very direct person what is not always very easy for some people I know it but I am also a very carrying one – you need to anticipate a lot, being available to talk. Being a booker is based on a very strong relationship with the artist and a big trust.
What have been your personal highlights and lowlights?
Highlights a lot with On Board – meeting all the people I work with in the agency, having this family growing, all together. When an artist I work with is succeeding it is a highlight definitely, seeing someone happy and having the best time etc. When you start working with someone you have a couple of goals and when we all make it together – this is a really amazing feeling! With the label having the possibility to release music from people I love, playing with artists who are becoming my friends, having the possibility to travel, meeting excellent crews all over the planet etc. Lowlights also quite a few – you made the wrong choices – sometimes some disappointments in relations but hey this is also very normal. This is not an exact science but a very moving job with its up & down.
Do you think that after the Covid-19 event, the music industry will change?
This is a question that many people are asking me. But to be honest I have really no idea. It is an unique situation. They are so many debates! I read a lot, then stopped then read again haha. Some people think it is gonna be really hard to re-start the clubs, touring etc. Festivals are not going to happen before quite some time so this is definitely going to give another dimension to what the electronic music scene was. Honestly, I don’t think the scene as it is now has to be entirely thrown away as a few people are recommended it. There are things to change of course. We are all aware flying is very problematic and we have to find better solutions, being a bit more responsible, linking more the shows all together, avoiding triple shows on the same week-end, going more with local scenes and help them to be more developed, fees are just too crazy for headliners and some people are acting in a really bad way with no artistical intentions.
I hope this crisis as it is will not continue too long as many people are gonna be soon (and already are) in a very problematic situation. I also hope this is gonna re-start more ethically, giving a space to people who has to say something, who wants to defend their scene, that people are going to help each others more and empathy will come back somehow.
What lesson should we learn from this paralysis?
The world is a very fragile entity we have to live in – we knew at some point a collapse could happen but as stronger as this one – I don’t think so or maybe we were just voluntary blind. We are all asking too much to this planet – this was not sustainable. I am not quite sure people will learn from this – some yes some others not at all. It is a matter of respect, respecting the environment you are living in. When you go too far then try to compensate, to give something back etc.
What tracks would you recommend us to liven up the confinement?
Andrea Parker – Unconnected
Felix – Don't you want (I have been dancing crazy on this track since 1992)
Luke Hess – Hidden Dimension (Patrick Russel Dub Mix)
Mystical Tribe – Peek-a-Boo
Scientist – Jungle Dub
Tricky – Bom Bom Diggy
Arpanet – Infinite Density
natural/electronic.system. – Insecta
What are your future plans?
At the moment, we are working with the label on a charity compilation to help directly the artists to face the crisis and also Sea Watch, a German non-profit organization which rescues migrants in the Mediterranean. Lot of friends & artists from the label are gonna be involved. This should be out very soon digitally.
Then, a new mini LP from Uanamani is almost ready and a new V/A with artists such as Alan Backdrop, Hiver or Foreign Material amongst others which I hope will be out around October.
With the agency, I am trying to still be busy working on promotion, management, we still have lot of things to follow with artists. On a personal side, I walk a lot, drink too much coffee, eat white crispy chocolate, call my mother almost every day and focus more on music, mixes, digging + some very first steps on the production side.