It’s been almost four months since SSFB 2018 where Phoebé Guillemot drew us ever so unwittingly into the psychoactive tropical realm of RAMZi. For the 23rd entry of our Mix Series, the Canadian producer comes bearing new tidings along with a spellbinding mix by her alter ego Phubu.
Where do you currently call home? You’ve been on the road quite a bit lately, haven’t you?
Yes, I did travel like I’ve never before. After a year and a half of touring, I’m finally settling back home in Montreal. Am so happy to be back and just get to spend time with friends and family and have the space to do my projects. I love Montreal, especially at this point in my life. Cost of living still is relatively cheap, it allows much time for creativity and there’s a good sense of community here. It’s an inspiring place and I feel lucky to call it home.
The past year has been exhausting for myself and for RAMZi; I realized this lifestyle of playing solo almost every weekend in a different country is not for me. Especially because I didn’t manage to find a comfortable home base in Europe to get back to after a weekend away. I was in Berlin for four months but it definitely wasn’t the place for me. Luckily, I got to spend some time in Amsterdam towards the end, which gave me a sense of belonging through the people I met.
Do you have any producer dreams? Someone you’d like to collaborate with, perhaps?
I’m mostly into collaborating with friends these days. I feel my producers dreams are already happening as I get the chance to work with friends that I have much admiration for.
It’s been my intention for many years now to invest in a property in the countryside that’s not too far from the city, where I can have a shared studio with friends and a place for all kinds of events that bring people together. I’d thought it could be in Europe, but have since come to realize that Quebec is really the place for me to achieve this project. I grew up with a dad and his friends who succeeded in this communal self-sufficient lifestyle, having bought many lands in the countryside during the 90s and helping each other build their own eco-houses. I experienced the best of it growing up. Their way of living and how they value both community and independence represent a big part of my heritage.
You’ve accumulated many producer monikers. What’s their story?
The latest one to emerge is little Phubu, cousin of RAMZi. Whether it’s Houti, Beefi, or Big Bird etc. – they are all alter egos that represent different phases in my life and come with their own qualities and abilities. Having alter egos keep me sane. It’s also great for placing blame on someone else when things go wrong. They are my allies; they’ve helped me stay strong.
You’ve played at a lot of major festivals since last spring. How was it?
The big festivals are not necessarily the best gigs. I generally prefer to play at more intimate parties with some people I know. I was often shocked by the large amount of plastic waste and this goes for most of the big festivals I played in the past year. There’s always this sad sight at the end of the night with massive fields covered by plastic. I think we should expect better from such large scale business ventures. There are many alternative options out there that can improve on that issue.
Recently, you became part of the Qujunktion family. It’s one of my favorite agencies as they have a lot of uniquely cool acts. I think it fits you very well. How do you like it so far?
Yes I am very happy about this move. But I can’t really tell you a lot yet as I’m taking a break from playing live for the next few months. I’d like to use this time to develop the visual dimension of RAMZi for my future live performances.
So, what’s your plan for the coming year?
There are two upcoming releases early next year that I’m really exited about. One’s a new RAMZi LP put out on one of my favorite labels in the world – NAFF Recordings, run by friends Francis Latreille and Adam Feingold. Also coming up is my second release on FATi Records, which is a collaboration between Priori (Francis) and RAMZi under the name JUMANJí.
I’m also planning to go to NYC frequently in the coming months to carry on working on music with Brian Piñeyro / DJ Python. I’ll be in Montreal until March, after which I’ll be going on a tour in Asia, accompanying Sophie Sweetland aka D. Tiffany for a good part of it.
On a different note, there’s my brand-new clothing line Houti Couture that I want to push forward. I’m still looking for a studio where I can have my embroidery machine and get set up to make my own dye.
What can we look forward to in this mix?
I tried to channel “fall melancholia” here and I hope it can put you in the same vibe. This healing feeling of introspection is rather hard to describe, but I’m sure everyone has experienced it at some point. I just love this moody romantic state of being that takes over you in the fall. There are two unreleased tracks from Ambien Baby (collaboration between Sophie S. And Daniel Rincon); it’s truly wonderful music that I cherish. There’s also a track from another friends duo from Vancouver – Regular Fantasy and Hashman Deejay, followed by this unreleased big jam from Mood Hut crew with Max D., Huerco S. and Zack Treble. All these tracks represent so much for me and I’m glad for the opportunity to share them on here. You’ll find that there are a lot guitars in this mix; I found myself feeling nostalgic for guitar sounds lately. I think I’m getting tired of DJs taking over stages worldwide for any kind of events. Now that I can escape the electronic festivals circuit I’m way more into going to see bands, live jazz concerts or any kind of live performance.
Will you be returning to Amsterdam soon?
Hopefully next spring or summer! And thank you for inviting me to do this mix, and the interview.
Thank you, Phoebé!