House music purist Phil Weeks, started his career 10 years ago and soon became a major player in the house music scene. After starting up his own record company, Robsoul Recordings in 2001, his early releases were quickly recognised as ‘classics’. Today he’s producing is so fine; he saves the best work for his label while releasing other tracks under monikers like PW. With the label now claiming some of the worlds best such as, Derrick Carter, DJ Sneak, Chris Carrier and No Assembly Firm to it’s roster, it’s become one of the most renowned and respected house music platforms. It doesn’t stop there for this house music hound, with appearances at nights like Back to Basics, Sankeys Soap, Circus and Ministry of Sound, he’s also recently finished putting together a new album ‘Raw Instrumental’ and even launched his very own TV channel on UGroove.TV. We catch up with the musical maestro to find out who’s the real Phil behind this one man machine.
Hello Mr King of Beats. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview. Let’s dive into it..How you doing and what was the last party you played at?
I’m doing very good, thanks!! Last party I played at was last Thursday at Rex Club in Paris. I have my own night called “Get Underground” with my partner Didier Allyne. It was very fun & also the first time I did a Roland TR909 session live in a club. (More to come.
Can you tell us who exactly Phil Weeks is on a musical and non musical front? Where did you grow up and where do you currently reside? And what is it that you do?
I was born in the mid seventies in the suburbs of Paris (Vitry Sur Seine). I’m now living in another very close city. I do beats, videos, run the label Robsoul Recordings & I rock clubs worldwide on the w-e.
Now that we know Phil Weeks is a DJ and Producer. When did it all start for you and when did you know that music was the right career path for you?
I got inside House Music in 1993 & totally fell in love with it in 1996 when Daft Punk first album “Homework” came out. I knew by then that it was the right path for me & I started to produce and dj. I dedicated my life to it since that.
You are one of the most recognised players in raw, underground house music. How did your first big break both as a Producer and a DJ come about and do you think that it was instrumental in paving the way for you to succeed?
I can’t really point to a particular a day or time, but I think it was more about the constancy of my music. I’ve been living from my music & travelling the world since 2001. But if i had to pick up a track that made people start to talk about me, it would be “It Put Me Well”. That was the first track with my voice. I was pretty much telling one of my day & it was funny.
A little birdie told me that you currently working on your new album “Raw Instrumental”. From the teasers I’ve heard on your SoundCloud the album promises to be nothing short of mind blowing. Can you tell us more about the album? And where you draw inspiration from for your tracks?
The album is now totally complete. Artwork, mastering, edits for the double pack vinyl, everything is ready. I’m now working on some videos clip & the release of a sampler to present the album (on PW02). The concept of this album is in his title “Raw Instrumental”. Everything has been done using samples, not too much post production to keep the sound as much original & warm as possible.
I add some classic movies ambient that match with the songs to create something really nice to listen at home or in your car. It’s like a story that everybody can take the way he wants. All my movies/music & cultural inspirations are inside this album. From Disco to Techno threw Hip Hop & Soul. From the movie “Friday” to the classic “Godfather”… I almost forgot to say that some “Dancefloor Killer” tracks are also included inside the album. I’m very proud of this project.
You recently launched your own channel on UGroove.TV. Your videos aim to take viewers behind the scenes. What exactly can we expect to see in each episode of Phil Weeks Presents Underground Chronicles (cool name)?
Yes I thought so it was a cool name, thanks! I always try to do a “Production Tips” part where I give some of my (or friends producers) tricks in the studio. Then also a “Peep Game” part that is more about fashion or whatever pimpin’. Then I add whatever’s cool happen in my life around music. It can be a festival backstage, a travel experience in a cool country or some party reports. And I always try to make sure it’s enough entertaining and funny to keep the show cool to watch.
Quite a geeky question but for all those aspiring DJs/ Producers out there can you take us through what your current studio set up consists of and what pieces of equipment/software would you say are most essential?
The best way to describe my studio is to say I have a very good studio from the 90’s. I use the computer only to record samples, vocal or the master. I sequence everything inside the Akai MPC3000. The MPC control (midi) the Akai S950, the TR909 and is sync with the TB303/TR606. I also use the Roland SH09 a lot that is one of my favourite studio piece. I have a few other stuff but these are the ones I mostly use. My mixer is a Yamaha 03D. Monitors are KRK Krok & Fostex 6301B. Then a Technics MK2 and a Bozak mixer to sample records.
The music industry is a tough one to keep up with since we are constantly bombarded with new tracks. What have you been listening to lately besides promo’s?
I have to agree that we are bombarded with promos. I listen to a very few little part of what I receive or I wouldn’t be able to do anything else besides that. I love to listen to music in my car, I feel like going to a concert when I bring a new exciting cd in my car. At home, I like to listen to music on Youtube when it’s late and when I’m really high. Right now, besides some classic hip hop & Live House Set, I’m listening to the discography of Willie Hutch & David Matthews…Some very sick samples.
We all know that with DJing comes travelling (DJs do live the life) what/ where has been the craziest gig you have ever played?
There’s a few but they are either “Secret Files” or Forgotten since I must have been drunk or more. I’m sure you’ve had many weird travelling experiences please can you share the weirdest one with us and don’t leave out any details..Ok ok…I have one crazy story. I was flying back from a gig inDallas. I took some zanax to sleep in the plane. That was the second time in my life I was taking that stuff. First time it worked like crazy (flying fromDallastoRio de Janeiro) and made the trip feel like 5 min. But this time, I’ve been woken up by a big guy, shaking me. He was a plane cop. I was totally KO with the pill and was not even able to open my eyes… A old woman sitting on my right was accusing me of trying to “touch her” while I was sleeping…All the plane was looking at me, that was scary!! The tough guy sat close to me and I slept the whole way. I never took a Zanax again since that.
The raw, underground house music scene is still growing. Where do you see yourself and the scene in the next five years?
Very difficult to predict anything since the music scene is changing so much & so fast. I hope I will be at the top to keep pushing and representing our music & our way of life. We The Brand!
What can fans look forward to in terms of all things Phil Weeks for the upcoming year: Give us the low down on upcoming gigs, tours and productions as well as NYE plans?
I will stay in Paris for the NYE with my family and close friends. We will party together, probably in my house. Raw Instrumental will come out in March 2012, I will start touring in February with stops in France,Belgium,UK,Romania,Italy,Germany,Canada,USA, etc…I’m also back in the studio since a bit with Hector Moralez for some new Fries & Bridges bombs. Then I’ll be working on some smaller project like EP or maxi until I’ll get an idea to start a new project.
Lastly, If you were organising your own event where would it be and why? And which DJs would you select to be on the DJ line up and why?
I’m doing my own event “Get Underground” at Rex Club (with Didier Allyne) so I’m gonna tell you how we work it out. We both have a common house culture but we also have different personal taste in music. But I trust Didier in his choice the same way he’s trusting mine. So for now, when one has an idea, a desire to confirm a DJ, we just do it. For our night we have been booking djs like Sneak, Derrick Carter, Mark Farina, Hector Moralez & also like DJ Qu, Marcellus Pittman, Rick Wade, or Osunlade. We’re tring to stay open on good music, and it’s fun.
Phil Weeks, complete the sentence:
If I wasn’t a DJ/Producer… I’d be doing something cool
What I want for Christmas is… a Big Tree (to smoke it)
My top 5 tracks of 2011 are…
J.Paul Getto – Imma Let You Know
DJ W!LD feat. Hector Moralez – Take A Trip
John Jastszebski – La Toureille
Phil Weeks – Jack To My Groove
DJ Sneak – Boogie Allright
I’d most like to collaborate with… the same crew
My new year’s resolutions are… not decided yet
Do you have any messages for you fans out there as well as words of advice for upcoming DJs and producers?
Some of my fans and now friends have been showing me a lot lately. Do & Play the music you really love, it should always stay a passion first before making any plans. Be Creative!
We wish you all the success on your upcoming album and plans for 2012.
Thank you very much & long life to UGroove TV