Despite DJing regularly around the world, Frenchman Stéphane Quême has been largely off the mainstream musical radar for the best part of a decade. Better known as DJ Falcon, Quême first made a name for himself with a classic remix of Cassius’ ‘La Mouche’ in 1999 and a handful of releases in the early 2000s on Roulé, the label set up by Thomas Bangalter (one half of Daft Punk). It’s his relationship with Bangalter that has recently thrust him back into the spotlight, with Falcon featuring on the forthcoming Daft Punk album Random Access Memories.

First things first, how did you first start out as a DJ?
I had a room mate, Pedro Winter [aka Busy P and manager for Ed Banger] and when we were kids we were skateboarding together. Then he got into electronic music so he used to have turntables and that was how I started, just practicing with him. This is like 20 years ago and he was running these parties so I got into DJing there.

Was your cousin, Alan Braxe, an influence as well?
You know it’s funny, because I didn’t know at the beginning that my cousin was also doing electronic music. I just kind of found out by accident. It’s crazy the fact that he released his first record on Roulé, a bit like me, and he knew Thomas [Bangalter] and Guy-Manuel [de Homem-Christo, the other half of Daft Punk] as well like me. It was a weird coincidence. It was crazy to find out about it.

How did you first meet the Daft Punk guys?
It was also because of Pedro. When he organised his parties, it was pretty successful at the time. It was at the time when Thomas and Guy-Manuel were starting theirHomework album so they asked Pedro to be their manager and help them so Pedro introduced me to them. I was always with Pedro at that time, we were best friends and stuff, so at some point I had to meet them.
Did you get a sense when they were working on Homework that it was going to be something special?
Yeah, I think somehow we knew that was special, but being a kid – we were like, I don’t know 18, 20 years old or something – you don’t really realise it. But when the album was released and you saw the guys playing live… it was always special. Even when they were DJing, it was always a bit special – you could tell.

As someone who’s been around for some of the most defining periods of French house, what do you think makes it special?

For sure it’s different from English styles and American house at the time … In France there were a lot of really, really good disco producers in the ’80s and ’70s. Maybe this is why there are really groovy [elements] that you can find in French house. It’s a lot more easy and happy as a genre. We don’t have a big culture for rock; maybe the only one we French are really proud of in music is Serge Gainsbourg. We didn’t have The Beatles or Kraftwerk or bands like this in our time. We had to reinvent ourselves, and we picked up influences from a lot of different kinds of music like English or American. Maybe we picked up the best because we didn’t have really strong influences in France.

What are some new developments in French music that you like?

It was a few years ago, but I’m always interested in what Sebastian is doing–Sebastian who is signed to Ed Banger. I think he’s a really great producer, and those guys like Sébastien Tellier. But new, new producers … Maybe Sebastian and Surkin. I’m 40 right now, and I’m not really listening to all the new things. Talking to these young kids, everyone wants to be a DJ. We’re living in a time when everybody is doing electronic music, everyone. There’s way too much, and it’s hard to focus and still be excited. With Sebastian and Surkin, at least when they release something there’s always something exciting and new and fresh.

Do you prefer playing shows, or working in the studio and creating the music?

Oh, it’s completely different. It’s like you have two children, a boy and a girl, and you ask, “So, do you prefer your boy or your girl?” Both, both are really different. I think combined together they’re perfect. Sometimes you can spend some time in the studio making some loop and some beats, just adding demos and music, and then play it the next weekend at some show. This is what’s exciting about electronic music–you can feel the reaction really fast compared to other kinds of music. It’s really a good balance. Also, what I really enjoy about doing the DJ thing is traveling. I love traveling so much–and I’ve told you I do photography as well–that I really have a good time on the road. Some people don’t like it, but me, I really love it. For me, DJing is a combination of going on the trip, meeting new people, discovering new stuff. It’s not just the DJ thing, it’s the whole package you have around it.

How would you describe the sets you’ve been playing lately?

It’s really diverse. I play a lot of different instruments. It’s mainly electronic, of course, a lot of house music. I can sometimes go more techno, go a little bit more downtempo. I can even play some hip-hop sometimes. I really like to combine different styles of music, to mix different elements–surprise people.

What production advice have you got for any aspiring producers?
1 Make music for your girlfriend/boyfriend.
2 Don’t try too hard to be cool.

What DJ gets you on the dancefloor every time?
Alain Braxe, Cassius, Jaques lu cont, Brodinski & Kavinsky.


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