Latest album Rave Age fuses disco with rock
In the near two decades since he started making and playing music, Pascal Arbez has managed to surf the waves of taste without being trapped in the hole of typecasting to any particular scene or genre. Discovered by Michael Amato, aka The Hacker, and signed as Vitalic by DJ Hell, his first flush of fame was during the gaudy days of electroclash. ‘Some people say I made electroclash,’ he says, ‘but I was on Gigolo [Hell’s label International Deejay Gigolo] and that was the sound of Gigolo. I was just in that place at that moment.’
His French origins (he grew up in Dijon) might also have aligned him with the unmistakeable sound of super-sleek French Touch house, but he steps back from that pigeonhole too. ‘I’m a bit apart,’ says Arbez. ‘My influences are more from Giorgio Moroder or disco, a bit of techno, a bit of everything. I don’t think I have the sound of a Justice or a Daft Punk or a Kaminski. They are really French.’
What he has specialised in, since the Poney EP launched him in 2001 and the albums OK Cowboy (2005) and Flashmob (2009) escalated him to level of mainstream artist/DJ is a dynamic big-room club sound which skirts the middle ground between credibility and popularity. But for his new album Rave Age he’s trying something new – a full band live show for the first time in his career. ‘When I made the album,’ he says, ‘it was disco and rock at the same time, so I thought it would be different to have a try. It’s impossible to go through time with no changes.’
Pulse & Karnival at the Liquid Room, Edinburgh, Fri 5 Apr.