The 5 minutes with… series was one of the projects that was started when Zone Focus was founded back in late 2014. The main aim of this was to interview underground DJs and producers to complement photographs I had taken of the artists at events. Now in 2017, it makes a return, focusing on up and coming artists and their music. Linking this with a free download on the ZF Soundcloud, this project is set to become a main feature on the website and I hope you enjoy the articles over the next few months.
The second artist to be interviewed is 24 year old Paris resident, Medhi (alias’ She’s Gone & Raven), House music producer and founder of music label, ‘House for Her’ (which previously interviewed artist, Entrave is a part of). He spends most of his time on music, either mixing, producing or listening (up to 50 tracks per day). He is also a keen basketball and rugby player. His track – Sér captures a certain chilled vibe with a piano hook that will have you putting this track on repeat. I personally love the breakdown intersection with chopped and screwed vocals, where the track really comes into its own.
ZF: Hi Medhi, What made you start producing music?
Mehdi: “I started by doing 10 years of piano & music theory at the music conservatory in my hometown. After I failed a note during a concert in my 12th year, I decided to stop music completely. In 2008, I found a software, called ‘Virtual DJ’ and I began to mix without thinking about making music.
3 years ago (end of 2013), I stopped my studies to do music all day all night. I created my first alias Raven and began to explore grime, experimental and techno music. I worked a lot on this project, which I continue to this day.
After getting over a break up with my former gf, when I felt better, I locked myself into music production as She’s Gone. The Raven alias was a techno and club thing and I was not in the mood to concentrate on that, so I turned to more house vibe & deeper part of myself. Overall I began to make music to explore myself.”
ZF: Who are your musical influences?
Mehdi: “For DJs I’d pick Kerri Chandler, Jeremy Underground, Hunee, Soichi Terada, I’m not too original haha. Producing wise I truly love Project Pablo and his side-projects and I discovered Sochi Terada about 2 years ago. I don’t really have key influences because each track I listened to is a source of inspiration for me, even if I don’t particularly like the sound of the track.”
ZF: How did you learn how to produce?
Mehdi: “I never learned how to produce, I consider myself as a former pianist student, with some knowledge about other instruments, artists, etc. Like I can speak about Balenese Gamelan as I can speak about Techno music. I’m not a great producer but I’m always trying everyday to improve, I write ideas when ever i’m travelling whether that be on the bus, train or tube. I’m not a producer but a “tester” in a sense and my knowledge in music theory builds the tracks.”
ZF: How was ‘House For Her’ founded?
Mehdi: House For Her was my own podcast for She’s Gone to express myself and telling stories from my life. For example ‘House For Her #10 : elle est venu à mon open air’ is the story of the day when the girl who would become my girlfriend arrived to a party I organized with friends and my heart was so compressed, and I was stressed and blablabla…”
“Each podcast was a part of my life. After 2 or 3 months of She’s Gone existence, the idea to do a label was too strong and so I began to introduce myself to people I liked musically. I asked them “Send me a track, but tell me about your mum’s smile, your father’s death, your girlfriend “woke like this face”. and then I asked “Tell me about your feelings about those things I mentioned and tell me more bout your idea of love. And so, House For Her became a label.”
ZF: How do you know the other DJs/Producers in HFH?
Mehdi: “The Internet. Even I’m a outgoing person in parties and in life, I’m very shy and not self confident when I have to speak about my work and also about working together. So I take my courage in both hands and I go to all people I wanna meet.”
ZF: What are your plans for the project?
Mehdi: “Firstly I want to be a successful Artistic Director. I want my artists to continue to believe in me and continue to send tracks to me for promotion. I’m proud of them and for the first time I’m proud of myself also on the success of the project so far. To be exact however, I have planned a vinyl release soon and some parties in France and after in Europe to meet all my artists. I wanna meet Devant and Torture too but Australia and US are a bit too expensive right now haha.”
ZF: What was your favourite moment of 2016?
Mehdi: “My favourite moment in 2016 is my open air with 2 others teams: Mic Mac and Open Air Paris (Shout out to Felix, Jules, Comes, Sophia, Ines for what we did together ). Imagine a little place in a big park (the Buttes Chaumont) surrounded by young and old people, maybe some kids, a very big sun and a mini-sound system full of energy. I was very proud.. and stressed.”
ZF: What are you watching on TV at the moment?
Mehdi: “I’ve just re-seen all the Harry Potter series. To explain why, my girlfriend and her bestfriends are so into this haha. I like to watch animals documentaries though, almost all day everyday sometimes. I mean have you ever seen an armadillo or a mako shark?”