Bellaire is a name you might have heard knocking around a lot this year, or a name that you might have seen heavily placed on the sidebar of recommended tracks when going down the house music rabbit hole on YouTube that we all know too well. His tracks ‘Paris City Jazz’, ‘Groovin’, and more have propelled him to the forefront of a legion of unstoppable producers around the world, with his name dotted all over the YouTube tastemaker Housem’s channel and his tracks garnering millions of plays as a result, gaining more and more attention by the day. He’s encapsulating all the complexities of France known to outsiders with his saxophone spurred house music immediately fabricating a laid back vibe that engraves in all of his listeners as well as his infectious laid back and amiable presence.
He’s part of a wave of producers further driving and resurfacing a hybrid sound of house, jazz and hip hop music that we’re seeing to be re-cultivated by some of the most promising producers around, and readopted by the majority of listeners. His house productions are heavily influenced by his love of the saxophone and all things soulful and with a steady stream of releases and shows, he’s spreading it to the masses.
On his second visit to Ireland, the newly risen house phenomenon returns to perform as part of a Housem showcase alongside Irish act and fellow Housem artist George Feely. We caught up with him before his show this weekend to talk all about his music, how aspects of his home in Lille, France and the French capital Paris have influenced his music, running a label with good friends, and more.
How did you start incorporating more classical elements into your productions?
“I started studying musically in a music school and I took theory classes for I don’t know, maybe ten years? I started playing the clarinet and then the saxophone. I’ve always felt the clarinet was a good instrument, but not for improvisation, it’s not the most personal instrument. So, I started playing the saxophone and that’s when I started improvising with music and that’s what brought me to love making my own music, through improvisation.”
Will we ever see you with a live set incorporating the saxophone?
“I’m working right now on some live projects. I can’t say much about it but the saxophone will definitely be part of my future live projects for sure. I was just waiting to get some real live projects done, but I won’t be playing it during my DJ sets or anything because I just think it would be great to have a live setting alongside it.”
Has your perspective of club culture changed now that you’ve played in a significant amount of cities at just 20 years old?
“It’s even the same in France. It’s the same everywhere, every club is different. I say it about everywhere I go, clubs are different based on management and stuff like that. Wherever you go clubs are very different based on line ups, who goes there and so on. I dont think its a country specific thing. Sometimes, yes, but most of it is down to who manages the club and that’s it.”
Can you tell us about clubs in Paris? I’ve heard about DJOON acting as a platform for both up-and-coming artists as well as bringing international house and techno acts to France. What’s it like there?
“The DJOON is my favourite place in paris. It’s a really unique place and it has such an amazing sound system. The best part of it, in my opinion, is that there you can find very specific music played, it’s all very soulful. It’s kind of always funk, soulful house and everything. It has a huge history, they brought over Masters At Work and Terrence Parker and yeah, the club managers are just passionate people and that’s why I love it so much. The people that go there, they love soulful music so you know what you’re getting when you go there. It’s a very special place.”
“Well, it’s really funny, because I have a really love hate relationship with Paris. I love it and there are some amazing sides to it, and then some really bad sides that I hate. Paris has incredible clubs and places to dance but there’s always some problems.There is Concrete, DJOON, and more, but I always feel like it’s a very stressful city. There’s amazing places with amazing artists playing there. When I think of Paris though, I feel like there’s not enough space to dance freely. I always see people dancing so close to each other and not having personal space. I think thats what its missing, warehouses and bigger clubs. In Berlin for example, there are so many bigger places, so you just feel better. It’s a very small thing but it’s a really important for me in the club scene and it’s a simple thing in how clubs work.”
“Being so young, it’s great. I can only discover things. Every time I play i’m learning”
Have you found touring difficult as a young producer? A lot of acts seem to have different reactions to it.
It was really interesting because I could really discover this clubbing world. I also had the chance to play alongside some older DJs that have been around for years and that taught me how to play and how to behave as a DJ and so yeah, being so young, it’s great. I can only discover things. Every time I play i’m learning, so that’s pretty great.
How have you found adapting from being mainly a producer to DJing? How do you adapt to a more universal style in clubs, rather than the more niche stuff that you produce?
“Well, it’s kind of easy because I’m always looking at the people and adapting myself to what they like. So i’m playing and just looking at people to see if they’re dancing and they like it. My DJing is very different from my productions, so I just play some very different music. From disco to house, I just try to adapt, you know? I don’t really like to only play house music or so on. I try to play a bit of everything so that everyone there can find their genre.”
You’ve played in Ireland earlier this year, how was it? Are there any Irish acts that share the bill with you on the Housem channel that you’ve taken notice of?
“I just loved it. People were so welcoming and very open minded to any kind of music. They smiled and they danced and it was a very good mood. As for Irish artists, I’m not sure really, but I’ve recently discovered Mark Blair. We talked a little bit and he’s been really, lets say, active in his local scene. In Dublin, I’ve learned, it’s very local. Smaller musicians just play in all of the clubs every weekend. It’s very local there and I love it.”
What can we expect from you in the future?
Yeah, well, I’m releasing my second EP very soon on September 28. I just can’t wait to show it to everyone, that’s going to be pretty great. My label and I are going to work on some different projects. I’m just really excited about this second EP coming back, I’ve been working really hard on it with my label.
What made you start your label? Obviously to release music, but did you have anything else in mind when you started it?
I’ve always been part of this label with the same friends now for some years now, maybe two or three years. We’ve always worked together. I just love working together with them, we have the same energy and ideas and we love music together. We just decided to make a house music label and we thought it was nicer and funner to release our music all together. Even though you don’t see my friends everywhere, they work really hard with me to make this happen. So that’s a lot of fun.
Bellaire plays at The Button Factory this Saturday, September 8 alongside George Feely for a Housem Showcase ran by Illicit. Find out more here for discounted tickets.