DJ Mehdi is the sexiest man alive. Even a heterosexual man like me can see it. If success were based on looks alone then it would come as no surprise that the sharply dressed French hip hop producer from Paris would team up with Ed Banger to become one of the most entertaining DJs in the world. But to fully appreciate what Mehdi is about you need to see him in action. As one of the most active I’ve seen behind a pair of Pioneer 1000s (he dances a bit like Prince minus the jazz hands), he is not afraid to show his enjoyment as he seamlessly throws together anything from noisy scuzzed-up electro, bass, french house to boogie. I once even saw him play The Ronnettes and Queen towards the end of a three-hour set in which he slinked about at the front of the stage and picked out his all-time favourite pop records. So, yeah, that’s Mehdi; he loves pop and edgy, brave dance music in equal measure, is by no means esoteric or overly serious and his sets are always fun and certainly not subtle.
And this is exactly what you will find on his latest collection of remixes, ‘Red, Black & Blue’ (apart from the Queen). There are hints of the hip-hop world he came from, touches of his flag-bearing Ed Banger role, he puts Sam Sparro through a blender and there is an absolutely stunning disco-boogie take on an R’n‘B track by Staygold – which is my favourite.
So what’s your favourite remix on the album, Mehdi?
I like the one I did for Joakim, it was one of my first ever. It sounds simple and naive, like I’d love my music to always be.
What have you been up to in 2009?
Touring a lot (too much actually, I think I lost it a little bit around October). Also, producing songs for Mapei and Spank Rock. And remixing, of course, Santigold, Holy Ghost, Busta Rhymes to name a few. Sleeping, eating or having sex in the meantime.
Was it hard choosing the remixes for ‘Red Black & Blue’?
Choosing wasn’t that hard, I just took the ones that brought the best memories back. The real pain was the record labels’ clearance. Mind you, some labels (major companies mainly) won’t let you use your own remixes on your remix compilation. Why, this is beyond me. That’s something about the record industry that I never got.
It’s been a while since your last studio album, will you be releasing any solo work in 2010?
Yes, I really want to, I’m working on it as we speak. I had to stop touring in order to get my inspiration game back.
What are your favourite remixes of all time and why?
The best remix of all time is Shut ‘Em Down by Public Enemy, remixed by Pete Rock. I can’t really explain why, it’s simply perfect. Maybe something about the horns. Another absolute classic is Donna Summer’s Disco Edit of I Feel Love by Gorgio Moroder. Also listen to Madonna’s Everybody Club Dub, by Shep Pettibone. Those guys created the whole game. In more recent times, Proxy did an amazing job on Tiga’s What You Need and Mr Oizo also destroyed pretty much everything he touched recently.
And finally, what are you excited about music-wise for the new decade?
I can’t wait to see N*Sync and the Backstreet Boys getting back together. Oh, and A-Trak producing Madonna’s comeback album.
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