As part of our Kitsuné week, we interviewed the French label’s main man Gildas Loaec about Fashion, France’s music scene and Daft Punk .
PlanetNotion: Let’s start with the music, and come back to other ventures concerning the Kitsuné stuff. You started off working with Daft Punk?
GildasLoaec: Yeah, I worked with Daft Punk for almost fifteen years
PN: What was your favourite thing about working with them?
GL: The fact that I was kind of young, and it was completely wild, being on a worldwide tour with Daft Punk at an early age was amazing.
PN: That sounds like an ideal situation for your twenties…
GL: Yes it was, looking back, I was really lucky to work with them and become friends with them. I learnt a lot from those guys, from style to developing musical ideas.
PN: You are always stupid when you are that age, and it’s a nice feeling to have as well; have you been looking back for a specific reason?
GL: I have been very lucky, and don’t have any complaints about what I have done in the past.
PN: And I guess starting Kitsuné was a bit of luck, meeting Masaya, how did that begin?
GL: I came to Paris when I was 18 and around that time, started running a little record store, and that’s where I met Masaya. Six or seven years after meeting him, we were going to Japan and it was there that made us want to do something together, that incorporated the lifestyle and music. We were passionate, taking inspiration for certain clothes and aesthetics from Japan and France that we both loved.
PN: Has there always been that double approach, with the music and the fashion?
GL: We wanted to do something in Paris and make authentic. We wanted to make a proper clothesline alongside a proper music label, with artists and a strong catalogue, building a proper music fan base along the way. The idea is we are a clothes line, and we are in a few stores in London now; we are in Liberty and have more in Selfridges coming, but we are not like a proper rock clothes line- that wasn’t the original idea.
PN: Would you open a store in London? APC have spoken about you again.
GL: Yeah, one day – we have two stores in now Paris, and we are opening one store in Tokyo in September. We are also talking to a company US who want to open one in New York. So maybe in a few years, there will be one in London. The issue here is things are getting more and more expensive and the process of opening stores costs a lot.
PN: Just to bring it back to music, earlier you mentioned Two Door Cinema Club and you’ve worked in management – how is it getting involved with the creative side of the music?
GL: No, I used to manage Daft Punk but I’m not managing anymore. We signed a few artists now; we’ve got Two Door Cinema Club and a band called, Is Tropical.
PN: Do they have a record out this year?
GL: Yeah were going to have it out about May. I have heard some of it. There’s a band we signed a while ago called Heartsrevolution, from New York, and we signed a French band Logo who sound a bit like Phoenix. On the Kitsuné label, the guideline is to have good bands, doing good songs, playing good live shows.
PN: How do find the bands that are on Kitsuné? Because you have a big passion for talent scouting, so I am presuming you go to a lot of gigs.
GL: No, I am lazy – I am old now. I used to go to a lot, but not much now. When I do go, there are certain things I look out for: the songs, the environment, the general vibe. When I am watching bands, I like to rely on my instinct. I enjoy the emotions different songs bring when I witness them live. My personal goal is the ability to find good songs and bands that can grow. I like the idea of new kids and generations responding to the music, and I used to love the reactions kids would have when I used to DJ.
PN: You can really feel that from the crowd.
GL: It’s the same thing like me DJ’ing now, when I bring music to the population – the kids are discovering new bands and listening to new music, and that’s really a joyous thing to me.
PN: You have a new compilation out which consists solely of French musicians; you put it together with Andre, how did you meet him how did the process work?
GL: He was a friend of mine, but we did not properly get to know each other until six or seven years after being introduced. Now we get on better, even vacationing together – it’s great because we have a lot of things in common.
PN: Do you think it’s going to happen, the next release being physical? I think it should, I love vinyl, the feel and smell of it.
GL: I was crossing by a school and there were a lot of kids that were about 15, and I was carrying my CD’s, and the kids were like ‘hey what’s with the CD?’, Which made me feel so old, because they don’t have CD’s, I was looking so vintage – they don’t give a shit about the physical objects.
PN: There’s not much of a history with guitar bands in France, is there?
GL: No, I think French music is mainly a lot of disco, so I thought we should stick to something that’s linked to our country, and stick to what we’re good at.
PN: So what sort of music are you listening to at the moment- are you just listening to French stuff, or are you listening to stuff outside the French touch area?
GL: I’m listening to that band I mentioned earlier, Is Tropical, because I’ve been spending a lot of time in the studio with them. I’m also listening to American music, particularly Crate.
PN: Obviously there are the two music and fashion lines; is there much crossover between the two?
GL: No, because we didn’t want any compromise with either of them; the clothes line isn’t an accessory of the record label and the music label is not an accessory of the clothesline, it’s really two ways of walking. People don’t get that you can do both, and with Kitsuné, we’re getting better with the music as well as with the clothing range.
PN: Your clothing line has a very classic style.
GL: Yeah we are making casual, day to day clothes with good quality fabric. We are taking inspiration from English designs, like Harris Tweed. We are not so much inventing anything new, but are learning to create classic, casual, good quality pieces.
PN: Would you say there are any similarities between the record shop you used to run, and the Kitsuné shops now? Is there anything you’ve carried over between the two?
GL: Before I worked for the record store, we were having club music mostly, so I love club music. We are still doing club music every month, so that is being carried over. There’s also the inclusion of the vinyl being carried over – we are one of the only record labels to do this.
PN: Just a few more bits about the other things Kitsuné does – is there furniture as well?
GL: We were thinking of doing some design and furniture for a German brand, helping design for them, which should be a cool collaboration.
PN: You mentioned something about the Kitsuné compilation being a magazine; would you consider doing a magazine?
GL: Yes, we are doing a kind of magazine, but online, which talks about what’s going on in our little world, but I’d like to do it on paper.
PN: Final question- who has been your favourite collaboration to work with, musically or otherwise?
GL: I’m spending a lot of time with this band Operation- she’s totally crazy.