September 16 2016

LA's Motor Of Love

New York-Le Bain
We chat with Sebastien Chenut, one half of the French band Scratch Massive, about living in LA and his new label, bORDEL, before he plays Le Bain on Sunday, September 18th.
LE BAIN: Last time we chatted, you were complaining about your new life in Los Angeles. Did you get used to it? 
SEBATIEN CHENUT: True! The last time we met, I was just moving to LA. I have to say, the first 6 months over there were not the easiest in my life. The city is so big that I didn't know where to start! It took me some time to figure out how LA functioned. In Paris or New York, you live kind of in the "center" of the city, but in LA there are multiple centers, and each of them is connected to a scene, a network. I had to find the good one. 
Sebastien Chenut of Scratch Massive and Motor Of Love

Sebastien Chenut of Scratch Massive and Motor Of Love

Did you find it?
As always, it happened in one night. It was at a Rhonda party with Joakim. I met this new friend, Alexandre Mouracade, aka Sonns, who made me discover the East scene of LA and the Downtown rave parties. He later offered me a space to establish our studio. I couldn't be more grateful to him, because things went super fast after that.

How has the city influenced your way of creating?

Once the studio was built, we finished the new album of Scratch Massive (a soundtrack for Zoe Cassavetes' new movie), created our label bORDEL, and launched my solo project, Motor Of Love. It took me some time to get used to LA, but all of a sudden I fell in love with the city, its space, nature, and different lands. It just brought me all that I needed for a fresh and new boost of our music, my music. It's rare for me to be inspired that much by a city. I am so grateful to LA!
"Whorehouse? Definitely!"
You released two videos this summer, one for Motor Of Love and one for Scratch Massive. Did you direct them?
I actually started my art exploration with a camera before using turntables and keyboards. I was making a lot of short movies when I was teenager, but then I understood in film school that I would maybe have a chance to make my first film at around 40 years old. So I jumped right into music with an idea that I will be coming back later to movies and videos. When we started with bORDEL, we were looking for someone to shoot the music video for "Turn Away," the single from Zoe Cassavetes' new movie Day Out of Days, and I thought to myself, "Why shouldn't I do it?" I jumped back to videos and films.

What about "Stranger Line"?
When I was writing my record for Motor Of LoveI had this idea to make a series of videos about this strange dancer. It will be four music videos, and then they will be all together in a long format with unreleased tracks and footage, a sort of techno music movie. For the first video, "Stranger Line," the idea was to have those guys have a dream every Friday that their favorite dancer comes and dances for them. For money, of course...More will come, but the whole theme is about the dance.
Sebastien Chenut "Stranger Line" (Motor Of Love)

The word "bordel" has two meaning in French, the "whorehouse" and the "mayhem." Do both translations reflect what the label stands for?
It's Maud Geffray (my partner in Scratch Massive) who found the name bORDEL. It is more for the mixing of the genres, the abnormal, and the fusion of styles and people more than a messy and unorganized label. We like labels with any kind of music with a common spirit, bORDEL! So, "whorehouse"? definitely!

Rewind to the very early 2000s: the early Scratch Massive, the Parisian scene, Le Pulp nightclub. What’s your first and strongest memory that comes to mind right now? 
A lot! This period of our lives was incredible! We were a bunch of different crews sharing this club and we created a scene, a music style. Chloé, Jennifer Cardini, Ivan Smagghe, Arnaud Rebotini...We all came from the craziness and the explosion of our different talents! For me it was also very personal over there. Mimi, the owner of Le Pulp, was like a mum to me. She taught me the rules and tricks to lasting for a long time in the nightlife scene that I still use today! I got married the year Le Pulp shut down, and Mimi was my wedding's witness. I don't miss it, because everything should have a beginning and an end before it gets bad. That's how it goes in club culture. I don't like nostalgia, but we had more than fun over there! 

The Standard, High Line at 10pm