Perspectives with T. Jacques

    Standing at the forefront of the recent reimagining of 90s house music and with his label, Nuances de Nuit, bouncing from strength to strength, there’s no denying that T. Jacques is absolutely killing it at the moment. I caught up with him in London to pick his brain over some beers.

    We sit outside a quiet pub in Waterloo and begin our conversation with an innocuous question about how he likes to start the day.

    He smiles and reveals: “Shreddies at the moment. Very boring I know. Maybe a sausage sandwich if I’m hungover!

    With the serious stuff out of the way, we move on to other topics with the craziness of the past 18 months.

    The lockdown definitely widened the scope of music I listen to. I’ve never been one to listen to solely electronic music, but in the past 18 months I’ve spent more time exploring different genres; psychedelic rock, reggae / dub and so on. I’ve always been lucky enough to be able to listen to music all day, and have the usual suspects in alternative / electronic I can rely on to get me through a stressful day (Four Tet, Maribou State, Khruangbin, Bonobo etc.).”

    On the production side of things I’ve been either seriously inspired and motivated to make music, or not in the mood to create anything at all. During lockdown, with no parties, it was a bit difficult to be inspired to make club music, but now that our club spaces in the UK are open again the inspiration is flooding back from all these hazy nights behind the booth and on the dancefloor!

    “It’s lovely to see the scene really kicking off here. There’s such a huge selection of parties with killer lineups every weekend; it makes it really difficult to choose where to go.”

    It doesn’t take long for the deep love the person sitting with me has for music and the industry to become apparent. I steer the conversation a different route and ask him for his most controversial opinion about the scene. “Something controversial, without getting myself into trouble… the phrase ‘Track ID’. I’m happy to give out tunes, but at the very least engage in some conversation or send a friendly message. Being polite goes a long way with me!

    As well as working on his own music, Jacques also helps to curate the vinyl-only label Nuance De Nuit, which boasts a string of sold-out releases. Keen for a glimpse of potential future features, I ask him about the artists he’s currently enjoying.

    Hard one to pick just a few. I’d say Felon5, Velvet Velour, James Andrew, DJ Tjizza and Man/ipulate are some personal favourites, all making really forward-thinking and interesting music. Joe Delon’s Welt Discos is continually pushing boundaries for me too!”

    Jacques has co-run Nuances de Nuit with his good friend Lucy since 2019, and he is eager to stress the collaborative nature of the label.

    The idea of the label started a few years ago now – mad how quickly time goes by. Lucy and I have known each other for something like 20 years and have always had aligned music tastes that mutually changed over time. We have always been influenced by the French / Parisian house sound, and originally the label was going to be called ‘Shades of Night’, but we decided the French translation sounded better, hence ‘Nuances de Nuit’. I’m not even sure if it’s correct in French, we just liked how it sounded!

    “The label responsibilities are completely shared – we’re both responsible for finding the music, A&R and scheduling releases etc. Everything is decided together. When searching for music for each record we sit down and discuss who we would ideally like to approach, and if there are any smaller artists we like that we think could also work on the release. We listen to the demos many, many times and then make notes and discuss if anything needs changing or if it’s a simple yes / no. Musically we both know what we like and trust each other’s judgment completely!

    “The inbox is always open and we do try to listen and give feedback to everything we get sent.

    It’s clear Jacques has an incredible work ethic, with stacks of releases, gigs all around the country and a vinyl imprint that consistently sells out. But everyone has dips, especially so during the pandemic, and so I’m intrigued to hear how he beats those dreaded motivation slumps. “I think taking some time out is needed. Like anything, if you overdo it then you will burn out eventually. I have weeks where I can make a track a day, but sometimes I go a month without making anything decent.

    It’s nice to have a break from being musically creative for a week or so to relieve the pressure and to let the motivation come back naturally. Sometimes doing something musical but non-artistic helps, like mixing down tracks or digging for samples – something that’s more of a process than creative. Usually that sparks some sort of excitement that makes me want to create again.”

    It’s not surprising that someone so in tune with their creativity draws from a wide array of musical influences – something that is evident from even a brief listen to his music. “I take lots of inspiration from early- to mid-90s progressive house and trance, and there are some early UK tech house influences in there too (Terry Francis etc. – the good stuff). I get influenced by hearing good music, so if I’m digging for music to play out I might get a sudden hit of inspiration and use that mood to jump in the studio and create something new.”

    I ask him what that ‘something new’ is that he’s currently working on, “I’ve just released my debut EP on Nuances with a remix from Youandewan something that’s been in the pipeline for what feels like forever, so it’s nice to finally get that one out!

    Coming up I have releases on Oblique, Planet Orange and Truly Madly’s MINDHELMET, which I’m really looking forward to sharing, as well as some other bits I’m finishing off for a few other labels I’m a big fan of.

    Eager to see how far his vast musical influences stretch, I ask if he’s ever experimented with other genres of music, “I’ve made many bits of weird obscure electronic music over time, but nothing release worthy! I definitely have plans to do something in the future that is more based around the stuff you can listen to at home rather than just club-based music; it’s just another level of technical ability needed to write stuff with emotion I think. One day, under a different name, for sure!

    Alongside his solo project, Jacques is also part of a record-collecting foursome from the south east known as Artal, composed of Charlie Foster, Reiss Charles, Tom Giles and Jacques.

    We’ve all known each other for something like five or six years, all playing and going to parties in our hometown and crossing paths; it’s eventually led to us all getting together regularly. With us all going out and coming back and playing for hours at the afters, we thought up Artal as a bit of fun and something where we can all support each other’s music and play out as a four.

    The future looks incredibly promising for this ambitious workaholic – We for one will be watching what he does next very closely.

    Edited by Cameron Harvey-Piper

    To coincide with this article t_jacques has generously gifted his fantastic track ‘Nectar’ which is available for free download.

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