Welcome back to feeder insider interview series! Today, we are thrilled to reconnect with the eclectic and talented Idriss D, a prominent figure in the underground electronic music scene. Set to grace the decks at Nook in Bucharest, Idriss D takes us on a journey through his dynamic world of music, vinyl, DJing, producing, and managing. With an eagerly anticipated album on the horizon, Idriss D shares insights into the creative process and the collaboration with master Algerian artists. Known for his commitment to vinyl in the digital age, he discusses the significance of the format and how it shapes his performances. Join us as we delve into his collaboration with Gojnea76 and his disciplined approach to a multifaceted career. Celebrating the 18th anniversary of Memento Records, Idriss D reflects on the label’s journey, revealing a commitment to longevity and a passion-driven philosophy. Get ready for an engaging conversation with an artist whose love for music transcends genres and boundaries.
db artists / vinyl / Memento
feeder.ro: Hello, Idriss! It’s our great pleasure to have you back on the feeder insider interview series. A lot of things have changed since 2021. Now that you are playing at Nook in Bucharest on the 27th of January, we finally can have an extended conversation about music, vinyl, DJ, producing and managing.
Let‘s start with the fresh news. Your album is coming out anytime soon. We all wonder what we can expect to listen to, knowing you usually don‘t stick with a single genre and many times you are collaborating with sound masters and wizards
Idriss D: Hello guys, thank you again for reaching out and yes, I’m happy we’ll meet in Bucharest at Nook Club. I’ve been working on the album for two years and a half, it’s a very important project for me to elaborate the music of my beloved country Algeria in an electronic key and happy to introduce four feats of master Algerian artists: Zineddine Bouchaala, Gasba Electrique, Leila Moon and Chazil.
f: Will the people who attend the party have the unique chance to listen to some parts of the LP?
Idriss D: Yes, I will definitely play one or two tracks.
f: It seems like you chose the hard path and you are still playing vinyl records in your DJ sets. Moreover, you release your music in vinyl format. Why do you consider this medium relevant to electronic music?
Idriss D: Vinyl is where I come from, I have a very special relation with this format. I used to have a records shop for years, then I closed it (the vinyl crisis era) after years, and I started to sell news in my living room. Memento is on vinyl – how can I pretend that artists or fans buy our products if I play digital? 🙂 Also, the vinyl sets make me work harder – it involves more concentration on digging and more focus while mixing.
f: We‘ve seen you are a vinyl collector, and you often search for music at record stores, vinyl fairs, markets and all sorts of places. What are some of your favourite additions to your record collection?
Idriss D: I’m constantly looking for records. As soon as I see some vinyl records, I just stop. I support the good record shops because when I was running one, I hoped people would stop and buy… I know that feeling. My last addition last week was a very rare unofficial edit (Lil Louis) as a gift from my friend Massimino Lippoli. Also, another copy of Man Friday (Larry Levan) winners.
f: You‘ve been playing in Romania a few times already, and constantly collaborating with Romanian artists. What is your deep connection with this country, and what do you enjoy the most about this particular underground phenomenon that we call romininmal?
Idriss D: When I opened the label in 2006, it was totally just minimal, a few elements… coming back and forth on a long song. So when I discovered the Romanian acts, as Rhadoo, I was just impressed by the concentration, the focus, and how he took what he was doing seriously. And what impressed me was the full respect of all the Romanian talents given to their guru (Rhadoo). Soldiers, and students, each develop the style without being a black-and-white copy. And this means there is a lot to dig behind. The new generation – Priku, Arapu, Costin and Gojnea 76 bring up the Romanian music ethic, as well. I’m happy to play sometimes in Romania or a Ro lineup – thanks to the mission and the Them Crew.
f: You just announced the collaboration with Gojnea76 for the db agency. What are your plans regarding this collaboration? Are you also thinking of releasing some music together?
Idriss D: It’s a great goal for db artists, we signed him for the Italian booking territory and a few others. We love G, the music skills and the character. For now, there are no music projects together, but who knows in the future.
f: The year just started and you already played in a couple of places in different parts of the world, involving a lot of travelling and many sleepless nights. How do you manage to do so much stuff, have an artist’s lifestyle, and be so organised?
Idriss D: I have a massive discipline, maybe sometimes too strict… During the week, I’m sleeping already at 22h, with a lot of sports and tasks to follow through. I have an amazing team who helps me a lot… we have 18 house operations a day. We all can do a lot if we operate well.
f: Juggling roles as a DJ, producer, artist manager, and label curator can be challenging. How do you maintain a balance, and are there specific aspects you find most fulfilling in each role?
Idriss D: The main base is the love of music, a passion that became work. As I said before, if we have all the tasks organized, then everything will be sorted. I release the music I like, I sign artists I like, and work with promoters I like. I‘ll never be forced by the money to make a business or ask for an operation… never. This means passion will coordinate all the roles.
f: Congratulations on the 18th anniversary of Memento Records and its 51st release! How does reaching this milestone impact your vision for the label, and do you have specific goals for future releases?
Idriss D: Yes, 18 years of releases and parties + 8 years of memento XS residency at Macarena Barcelona… a lot of work and dedication. My vision is to impress the fan base and never follow the hype. I don’t want to be one of many playlists. I prefer to take risks and release jungle music when everyone is playing house music. We can sell less, but we win in longevity.
The next Memento will be Dark Globe (90’s UK talents) + Howie B remix, and then we have a massive EP from Somne.
f: As a label owner, what is your philosophy behind curating the Memento Records catalogue? How do you discover and select artists whose work aligns with the label’s identity?
Idriss D: I always prioritize the acts that are already released on Memento, my entourage or artists I like, in general. I get the material and listen well on headphones, studio and car. Usually, if I release music, it means I flashed on after a few seconds of listening. I never ask acts to change or edit a track – I sign or not.
Usually, I have a plan of almost 18 months upfront.
f: We are super happy to hear this, and thank you for your inspiring answers.
Idriss D: Thank you guys for everything.
Words by Cristina Popa & Andrei Racovițan
About feeder insider
feeder insider is a series of interviews that explore the universe surrounding music and visual arts while connecting the local to the international creative scene.