Q&A and Global Vibe Radio 186 Feat. JKS

Author : Marco Sgalbazzini
November 13, 2019

Q&A and Global Vibe Radio 186 Feat. JKS

This week’s guest on Global Vibe Radio is a young French artist who has been making waves in his country’s underground scene and beyond thanks to a sound that blends modern techno with old-school rave elements.

JKS’ energetic sets are charged with trance and rave influences, transmitting a high intensity that only very few are able to. With his own label Molekül, he has released true ravey bombs that have been a staple of international Techno artists like Kobosil, I Hate Models or SHDW & Obscure Shape for a long time.

Along with his label partner Mayeul, Valentin makes up the live duo ‘Jawbreakers’, a name that perfectly fits what to expect during a set from the two artists. A regular in the Paris warehouse rave scene, and building his way up around the best European clubs and festivals, JKS has recently released three propelling techno cuts on Regal’s Involve Records in the name of his Invaders EP, which you can find here.

Enjoy JKS’ exclusive mix for Global Vibe Radio and read on for our exclusive interview with the French artist.

Hello mate, thank you so much for the mix! Before we listen to it, would love to know from you… what was your thought process with it, and what do you hope to communicate to listeners with it?


Usually, I try to choose between a mix that is “old school” oriented, or something more recent like current banging techno because I love to play both. For this one, I was kind of undecided. On the first 20 minutes of the mix you can find some old school stuff I like that I bought on vinyl and numbered it before to play it on the mix, even if I sometimes do vinyl mixes. After that, I decided to play unreleased tracks from friends and more modern techno tracks I really like to play at the moment, including two tracks from my new EP Invaders, released last week on Involve Records.

I think this illustrates the best of my music: actual techno full of old school influences.

Any particular tracks we should particularly be on the lookout for?

The first two tracks are such masterpieces for me and made by American guys. The intro song is from Skylab 2000, an acid project from Dennis Burton who’s a guy from Los Angeles and a pioneer of the American rave scene. This track released in 1995 illustrates all that I love in acid music. The second track is for me an underrated track from the New-Yorker rave master Joey Beltram, unreal vibe.

Last track of the mix is a techno edit by Julian Muller of a Eurodance track called “Be My Lover.” It makes me so happy when I listen to it that I decided to end the mix with it!

Can’t wait to listen to it! Gotta ask for our readers: what does JKS stand for/mean?

It’s an abbreviation derived of an album name of a French rock band I listened to when I was a teenager. I choose it when I started to make electronic music at 15 and I kept it until now.

Nice! How has your 2019 been by the way?

I had a lot of gigs and I travelled a lot compared to 2018. I played for the first time in Canada (Montreal) and in the United States (New York), plus a lot of European countries. It made me enthusiastic and motivated for the next years to come!

This year has been significative to me because I really started to accept and consider music as my real job. I found a way of working and I can now more concentrate on my projects for the future.

Congrats! What was the best thing that happened to you this year in terms of JKS and other musical projects?

I released my very first 4-track solo vinyl EP on Molekül and that was an accomplishment for me, I was waiting for this for a long time! More recently I released an EP on Regal’s label Involve Records, that was one of the best things that happened to me this year as well because I listen to Involve releases since I’m into techno music.

The last thing is about my live project called “Jawbreakers” with Mayeul. We created this hardware live project 2 years ago and we’re going to do our very first Boiler Room in Paris for Possession on November 23 alongside Perc, 999999999, Sentimental Rave and more.

That is gonna be huge! Can you tell us a little about where you were born and how life was growing up?

I was born and I grew up in a Châlons-en-Champagne, 2 hours east of Paris. It’s a medium-sized city in the “Champagne” district of France where we produce the famous alcohol. I spent my childhood in this city until I was 18 years old and got my Science Bachelor degree at a college and musical formation at a conservatory for about 10 years focusing on drums and percussions. I had no particular difficulties at school. When I was not studying I was always making music for the conservatory—percussions concerts, harmonic orchestra, jazz band—or with the rock band I had with my friends, doing compositions and punk covers in my home’s basement.

After this, I moved to Paris at 18 to do sound studies.

So, how did you discover techno and, ultimately, decide to make a serious career out of it?

When I was at college I listened to electronic music a lot, like French Touch 2.0—Daft Punk, Justice, Ed Banger Records—and with the time I moved gradually to techno stuff especially when I moved to Paris for my studies.

Since I was into electronic music I was seeking myself and I changed my style and my way of producing music a lot. One day in October 2015 we decided to go to a huge warehouse party in the north suburbs of Paris to party with friends. It was like fat Funktion One rigs everywhere and 5000 people dancing all night and morning until 4pm with Dax J playing a 7 hour set at the end. I think it was the best party of my life and that after it everything was clear in my head, I wanted to produce and play rave music.

A few months later we created our label Molekül with Gabriel, who was at the party with me,  and Mayeul and from this point, everything was about passion and doing what we love. That’s why things got serious at this moment and that’s the reason why I choose to live from this.

That’s an amazing story. French techno, and French rave scene in general, seems to be blowing up in terms of talent and all the great music coming out of the country… or at least it seems like it to me over here in LA. Would you agree?

In France—and in all Europe as well—we have really a lot of passionate people trying to do techno music because they love it and they want to express themselves with it and that’s awesome. Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy to get some visibility in this “saturated” technosphere but some producers these last few years have created their own sound, doing modern rave music with their own codes, and France has some great artists, yes!

I saw your recent social media post explaining your story a bit, how relatively recently (a couple of years ago?) you began being able to make a career solely out of this passion of your for electronic music. What obstacles did you have to go through to get to this point?

When I was at sound school I had already my JKS project but I couldn’t concentrate too much time to it, I had a lot of work to do for my technician and sound engineer degree. Even with this, I managed to release some music anyway because it was a passion, but when I got my sound engineer degree 2 years ago I realized that I wanted to do this my entire time and that’s what I have been doing!

Where your parents and friends supportive of this dream?

Yes of course, my parents always told me that doing something I love was the most important thing, and I’m aware that this isn’t the same for everyone so I feel lucky for this.

What would you say you would have done, if you hadn’t gotten so deep into music?

Since I was a child I have been interested in music and more recently, since my post-college studies, sound fro the technical aspect. I got a sound engineer (cinema/TV/mix/sound design) degree and I worked as a trainee in some companies before moving to music only. So I think I would have worked as a sound engineer in cinema or post-production. The thing that I am sure of is that I’ll always be into sound.

What advice would you give any bedroom producers/DJs aspiring to make a career out of this love for techno or other genres of electronic music?

Doing music isn’t about success. Since I make music I really enjoy when I’m producing it, I really feel better, inspired and motivated about it. But it takes time to find your own sound. So be patient, do something you enjoy and don’t force yourself. But the thing is, that if you want to earn some visibility and everything, you have to release some stuff regularly so sometimes you have to lower your objectives anyway. You have to find some balance between both the need to feel free but also productive anyway—it’s all about motivation and inspiration.

Thank you for that! Who are some other young French artists we should be listening to?

Recently we released music from a young new artist on Molekül called Lucass P who has his own sound, doing old-school techno stuff that sounds really good and you should really look his last EP on Molekül and keep an eye on him. Few months before we decided to do a digital release with two emerging artists as well: Incident Prism & Pavel K. Novalis who have their own identity as well and who fit totally to the spirit we are looking for… stay focused on them!

If you like trancy techno stuff, I can recommend you Julian Muller, mentioned previously when we talked about my mix, who’s a Brussels-based artist and half of the 90 Process duo with Hadone, who released good stuff recently. Most notably an EP on Mama Snake’s label under another alias, Atheris. Promising artist according to me!

France made headlines in our industry recently due to the anti-rave law that is in the midst of being passed. What are your thoughts on that?

Yes, there’s one step more for the law to be passed but my thoughts won’t change anyway. To be honest I’m pretty bored about the situation of techno music in the French culture, at least in the broadest sense. The Government and the main authorities seem to be limited to their own point of view and won’t accept techno and rave music as part of the culture even if it gathers many people every weekend and that it becomes more and more present every day in the musical landscape.

For example, the situation in the Netherlands or Germany is completely different. You can feel that techno music is integrated into the culture because it seems totally normal to go party, to have some great legal locations to do it and to have subventions for the techno culture like every other kind of cultural element. I think we just have to wait to have people who grow up with electronic music and who understand this culture to have a decent governmental policy about that.

Makes sense, as it’s a change that will come with time. Where do you live now?

I live in Paris’s suburbs.

How is the local scene there and what’s your involvement with it?

Local techno scene in Paris is pretty big, there’s a lot of DJs, little artists playing every weekend, passionate producers, labels being created… it’s moving a lot. If you want to party on the weekend you have so much to choose from. That’s great because you have all kinds of electronic music and everyone can choose according to their preferences.

For me, I don’t feel so much involved in this scene because I’m moving more and more outside of Paris to play (other parts of  France and Europe mainly) and I try to limit my gigs in Paris. We sometimes do Molekül label nights but that’s not my part of the job as a DJ/artist. I am not into organising parties and promoting events but I, however, feel involved a bit for what we brought with the label to the Parisian rave scene.

Have you ever thought about moving now that your career is rising and rising?

Yes, because I’m sometimes bored in Paris and I think I’ll feel better in another country or somewhere else in France. But I am young and I still got some things to manage over here in Paris, but what is sure is that the idea stays in my head for the future.

Who are some of the artists that inspire you as an artist today?

I am mainly inspired by UK artists. I listen to a lot of trance music. One of the main trance artists that inspire me is Shakta, a psychedelic Goa producer.

I have to mention the Stay Up Forever Crew from London—Chris Liberator, Dave The Drummer, The Geezer—because I discovered acid techno thanks to these guys and I forged my style starting from their music, listening to their hundreds of releases and sub-labels on Discogs for entire days. I learned a lot from their music and from their spirit.

One of my biggest inspirations these 2 lasts years was UK hard dance and hard house, it’s simply just the side of dance music I love the most, with Dynamic Intervention being my favorite artist. My music is inspired by the free party scene as well, I think I can name Enko & Sam.C as the acid-core/tribe artists that inspire me the most, and of course Subway Shamans (Mr. Gasmask & Epidemie) who are for me the best in that domain doing some hydrid music between trance, tribe and acid-core.

I think the “modern techno” side of my music is inspired by current great artists and techno DJs I love and respect like Dax J, Regal, Clouds or Randomer. As far as other artists from today’s scene that inspire me as well I can quote the Ilian Tape guys from Munich in Germany—Zenker Brothers, Skee Mask, Stenny, Andrea—simply one of the best existing techno label for me these days!

Where do you hope the JKS project takes you? Any set goals for the future?

I have no particular goals, I just let my intuitions and my project guide me. I just want to continue releasing more music and traveling while it’s still possible for me. I hope it’s just the beginning but I am someone down to earth and I always try to stay realistic, I think that’s an important thing.

What other projects are you involved in musically?

I have a more “mental techno” duo project under the alias “Neûron” with one of my best friends I met when I was at school before moving to Paris. This project is still alive and I love to release music with this one as well, but I have lot of things to do with my main project so it takes time to get in the mood for other projects. I mentioned “Jawbreakers” before: this is a live project focused on hard acid and rave techno made on hardware machines. I created this project with my good friend Mayeul.

What is your favorite hobby?

Everything I prefer to do is related to music. Digging some records on Discogs for hours, listening to music but not just electronic music so as to change my mind, playings drums when I have time.

What kind of things do you do on a day when you don’t work on creating or playing music?

I think just normal things for a 23-year-old man, like watching Tv series, hanging around with friends and partying the weekend when I’m free and not too tired (laughs)!

Alright, last question: tell us something we don’t know about you!

I am born on the exact same day as Mayeul my live and Molekül partner: the 21st of October 1996!

Thank you for the chat and mix, and speak to you soon!

Thank you!

Invaders EP Tracklist:

1. Grab The Mic & Drop Bombs
2. Invaders
3. Retro Blaster

JKS’ Invaders EP is now out on Involve Records and available here

Connect with JKS: Facebook | Instagram | SoundCloud