DVNO Talks New Music, Upbringing & More



Introduction

“D-V-N-O. Four capital letters. Printed in gold. Cause details make the girls sweat even more. While they’re shaking their belts. No need to ask my name to figure out how cool I am.” Remember those lyrics? We sure do.

Almost 10 years ago, Mehdi Pinson, also known as DVNO, teamed up alongside French electro group, Justice, delivering one of the most iconic songs the electronic music industry has experienced to-date. Since then, the French DJ/producer/former Scenario Rock lyricist has been pretty quiet – until just last month, that is.

That’s right – Pinson just unveiled new single, Odd Nite, reviving some of the familiar sounds we all grew to love throughout the early 2000s. What could be better than that?

Well now, he’s here to chat all things Ed Banger with us. Tune in below as DVNO brings back some nostalgia, recounting studio time with Justice, describing his close friendship with DJ Pone, and much more.



Interview

FS: Today, we have a very special guest. Drum roll, please? Welcome, Mehdi Pinson aka DVNO. Let’s jump right in!

So, we first came across your work around 2007 when Ed Banger came into the limelight and Justice had just released their LP. What was it like to work with Gaspard and Xavier on DVNO?

And, how have your musical tastes changed since then? To date, DVNO is still one of our favorite songs of all time.

DVNO: Hey, thanks. Working with X & G was like goofing around in the studio with some of your best friends. We cut the whole song real quick, pretty much like recording an ego trip, eating cheese and drinking good wine, cyber-stalking or whatever was cracking em up at the time.

I already had the moniker in mind, but it was probably one of the very first songs recorded for their album, so it was a perfect mix of pressure and me trying to put everybody in a good mood with something fun and debonair.

Flowing instinctively and candidly. I’ve always been into many genres of music, so I keep an eye on what’s fresh and still listen to a bunch of old gems. Sophisticated and emerging music are both very important to me.

FS: That’s awesome! We can only imagine how fun it must be to create some wicked music with close friends. If wine + cheese + cyber-stalking = DVNO, then we’ll take 10 of each.

What about your other work? You also have a number of other releases under band name, Scenario Rock. What made you switch from indie dance to “French Touch” and electro/disco genres? We’ve seen several producers cross genres before – DJ Mehdi, Feadz, and Uffie to name a few.

DVNO: I actually didn’t switch. Back then, circa 1996 when we started SR, we were bedroom producers with a large palette, including shit loads of electronic music. Pone was a former member of the band (but, later decided to focus on DJing).

Our early demos were very similar to the music we’re both releasing nowadays. When we got signed by Sony BMG, they were too skeptical to let us jump on stage with 2 turntables and a sampler. Writing pop songs was a recreation, but they wanted to focus on this format.

Coming from nothing, it was a pretentious and a fun thing to do. Hoping to make the hidden part of the iceberg more visible later.

FS: Ah, it all makes sense! Hope to hear that hidden part soon.

And, we didn’t know DJ Pone was part of Scenario Rock! Tell us about your friendship with him. How did you two meet?

Was it a coincidence that you both ended up pursuing music? And, is he one of the reasons you ended up at Ed Banger?

DVNO: Pone is my friend since forever. Just like my bro So-Me. We grew up skateboarding, clubbing, vandalizing together. Born and raised in the East burbs of Paris.

The music scene was extremely inspiring, not to say violent, during our teenage years and it was also very competitive. I guess we were reckless and lucky enough to create a few opportunities here and there.

We had a very different backgrounds and careers, pursuing different achievements in life and I’m so grateful that somehow music and Ed Banger helped nurture our friendship.

Much love for Pedro. It’s more than acquaintance, it’s family and I’m the Moroccan cousin. We often joke about it.

I’m the common denominator, number one cheerleader, but I’m not actually signed by the label. I’ve released a 215 page book on Headbangers publishing though. It’s called Double Deuce – The Gamberge Folder in collaboration with talented photographer David Luraschi.

FS: You know, I think one of the reasons Ed Banger has been so successful is because you guys have those close relationships. I mean, Mix Mag did just launch their Label of the Decade Poll, with Ed Banger featuring (we voted for them, by the way).

Anyways, Pedro is the head honcho. The king. The man with the plan. From Daft Punk’s manager to label legend at Ed Banger, we’ll always support him. And, we’re excited to see what he’ll do next.

Glad to meet Ed Banger’s number one fan, though! We promise that we’re a close number two. And, we’ll be sure to check out your book – from the looks of it on Club 75, it seems broody and interesting (and somewhat provocative) at the same time. 

Now, let’s talk about last month. We came across your single, Odd Nite. What was the inspiration behind that track? It’s extremely smooth and reminds us of the electrifying electronic music from the early 2000s.

DVNO: It’s just a snippet of a track used for the DS Citroën campaign, starring fashion icon, Iris Apfel. I will release a much better vocal version of the full song sooner or later.

I would describe it like a combination of the movie After Hours, Randy Newman, and Joe Walsh. The Bloghaus / French touch influence is very tongue in cheek and part of my heritage too.

FS: Yes, another release! Make sure to send it our way when you’re ready. And, we can definitely hear the French touch inspiration. Can’t wait until your next single!

But, other than your own music, what else are you listening to these days?

Any favorite (upcoming or established) artists that are impressing you right now? A lot of great music has been, and will be, released this year – for example, DANGER’s new album, Ed Rec 100, etc.

DVNO: Most of the releases on Ed Rec, Zone, Raar, Cracki, Deewee, and especially Philip & Rodrigo, aka Fatnotronic, lots of French rap artists like Damso who’s actually from Brussels, Nekfeu (Squa on repeat), Ikaz Boi.

Yuksek, Boston Bun, and Jeremy Chatelain are killing it, and people are not ready.

Looking forward to listen to the new Phoenix and waiting for Gesaffelstein, Myd, and Sam Tiba.

Drake, Future, Migos, Metro Boomin, and Mike Will, of course.

I’d like to see The Blaze live. Death with Dignity by Sufjan Stevens is a must. I listen to Car Seat Headrest at least once a day.

Dunno if the beat battle between Timbaland and Pharrell is actually happening, but I’d like to see that too. The conspiracy theories about Michael Jackson being alive and working on his own movie are also comforting.

FS: Quite a long list, huh? Not massive fans of hip hop, but we definitely have respect for all of the aforementioned. And Sufjan Stevens? We could listen to Casimir Pulaski Day all night long.

Looks like we’re running short on time, so last question. You’ve featured on three LPs throughout your music career – two from Scenario Rock and one from Justice. When will you release a full record as DVNO?

DVNO: I have enough material to release at least 3 albums. I was already polishing sound on a full record with Xavier De Rosnay when Justice started working on Woman.

I don’t feel the urge to release something. One hit wonders suit me better for now. The industry makes people cynical and life’s too short, so it sounds like a very serious move.

I def[initely] have a passion for music, but not really for a business plan. I’m like The Karate Kid. Once you’ve got the girl and win the tournament, you slow your roll, pruning your Bonsaï, sipping sake with Miyagi. “You train – so, you won’t have to fight.”

FS: Well, there you have it! DVNO, everyone. Stay tuned as we provide more coverage on Ed Banger and the French Touch scene, and be sure to follow DVNO on Instagram and Soundcloud.



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