Playlist: François K on disco tracks with “amazing live strings”


François Kevorkian is quite simply a man with a truly eventful life. A drummer bored with his surroundings, he upped sticks from his native France in 1975 to seek a more adventurous life in New York City, and looking back over his achievements, it's more than possible that he found what he was searching for. Struggling to find regular gigs as a drummer, it wasn't long before the young musician struck up a balance with a basic DJ set up, taking to play in a bevy of New York's forward thinking underground clubs circa 1976. A full-time career in DJing soon followed, with bookings also coming in fast and strong from the city's more commercially minded clubs.

Even though success as an in-demand DJ became second nature for him, François wasn't content with just playing records, and slowly inched towards music production by teaching himself basic tape editing skills. His early works include infectious disco medleys that are full to the brim with danceability, including his "big-break" rework of Rare Earth's Happy Song Or Dance. Opportunity came a knocking soon after, with the aspiring producer offered an A&R role at Prelude Records (a label responsible for undying wedding favourites like this one) in 1978, which he held down until 1982. The industry insider role gave François access to a professional studio, where he truly began his career as an established remixer. A few Billboard Dance Chart #1 singles followed, most notably with his still prolific mix of Dinosaur L's Go Bang! #5.

Regularly playing sets at clubs now so lauded that they are almost mystical and unimaginable (see Studio 54, Paradise Garage, The Loft, Zanzibar), FK's career showed no signs of slowing down, so much so that I'm even going to attempt condensing it down in such a small intro. To put it lightly, his 40-year career has played host to work and collaboration with a plethora of mainstream acts, including Eurythmics, Diana Ross, Mick Jagger, The Cure, Jean Michel Jarre, Bunny Wailer, The Smiths, Pet Shop Boys, Cabaret Voltaire, Depeche Mode, and mixing down all of Kraftwerk's 'Electric Café' album. 

His personal projects also include Japanese tours with Larry Levan, right before his passing in November '92. He also set up his own recording studio Axis, which was followed by his own record label, Wave Music, which played host to his very own 'FK-EP'. He also teamed up with John Davis to start iconic Sunday afternoon party Body&SOUL in 1996 at TriBeCa haunt Club Vinyl, starting a spiritual house movement alongside co-residents Joaquin 'Joe' Claussell and Danny Krivit. Throughout the '00s his dominance in dance music was still clear, with appearances ranging from Sonar to Tresor and Manchester's WHP and his tag-team DJ show with Derrick May as Cosmic Twins. One for the computer game crossover scene here too – he even hosted his very own radio station on Grand Theft Auto IV, Electro-Choc.

Still a burning flame in dance music, his talent is fully cemented by his presence in the Dance Music Hall of Fame, so to be honest, what more can we say? Following on from his epic set on the Bowers & Wilkins Sound System at WOMAD in Malmesbury last weekend, François K dips back into his roots with a 10 out of 10 playlist focusing on disco tracks that boast what he describes as "amazing live strings". Kick back and prepare to dig into a sumptuous set of the dreamiest and creamiest, string-laden disco records ever committed to wax.

Glide through the playlist below, or listen seamlessly on YouTube and Spotify.

Ashford & Simpson Bourgie, Bourgie (instrumental) [Warner Bros]
Love Unlimited Orchestra My Sweet Summer Suite [20th Century]
Double Exposure Every Man [Salsoul]
Chic My Feet Keep Dancing [Atlantic]
Ritchie Family Frenesi 
Cerrone Love In C Minor [Malligator]
Christopher Cross Ride Like The Wind [Warner Bros]
The Brothers Under The Skin [RCA]
John Gibbs & US Steel Trinidad [Jumbo Caribbean Disco]
Isaac Hayes Pursuit Of The Pimpmobile [Enterprise/Stax]