The Use of Vocals In Dance Music: An Interview with Thee FFF (Felix Da Housecat and Hoopalaï )

Author : Marco Sgalbazzini
November 16, 2017

The Use of Vocals In Dance Music: An Interview with Thee FFF (Felix Da Housecat and Hoopalaï )

Thee FFF is the kind of musical project that was never purposely intended, the child of a fortuitous connection that turned into something more. On November 24, Montreal’s dynamic duo Hoopalaï (Francois Lebaron & Frédéric Laurier) join forces with Chicago’s legendary Felix Da Housecat for a second time under their fresh, new alias. The result is a two-track EP perfect for late-night slots, which comes out on Montreal-based imprint Victims Music Company. Entitled Contradiction, the two-tracker is just that: a blend of groovy Chicago House elements with obscure, minimal techno twists.

6AM had a chat with Thee FFF to find out more about the project and dig into their take on the use of vocals in dance music.

Regarding “Contradiction” featuring vocals by Lebaron, Francois — what was it like singing on your own track? Did you feel shy/ excited? What sort of effects did you add to your voice in post-production?

I’ve done a few songs with vocals (spoken words) so far. It’s a natural way for me to be creative, so I’m pretty comfortable with it. Basically, it’s the inspiration of the moment— I just try to work with whatever comes into my mind. Regarding the effects, I have my own personal blend or suite I like to start with. Then, I jam on it until I find the right intention.

How do you know when/ if adding vocals is appropriate for a track? Does the idea come to you at the beginning, or is it something you add at the end as a sort of ‘missing piece’ to the puzzle?

Most of the time, we try few ideas and at a certain point something locks… or not. We know it’s good when it creates harmonies with all the other instruments. We never force it.

Do you feel the words spoken in a track need to have actual meaning?

We don’t think it needs to have a “meaning” but certainly a feel. With that said, if it does have a meaning to us, it might not be meaningful for others. But you know it’s art!

Sometimes vocals on house tracks come in the form of sampling, versus original vocals. How does the creative process work in such cases? What comes first, the sampled vocals or the music?

Good question. It’s hard to say. We do our own vocals, but it could be both. We can hear a crazy vocal and say “this is amazing let’s sample it!” But the idea of adding a sample could happen during a studio session at anytime. So far we are not sampling vocals, we do them ourselves.

In your opinions, what’s one of the best vocal samples in dance music of all time?

There’s so many good ones. Can’t really say, but a good old BBC documentary narrative is always a banger.

On the topic of voices, how did your 3 voices (Felix, Francois and Frederic) come together to create Thee FFF?

François and Felix were both DJing in Mexico on the same weekend and bumped into each other by coincidence. We quickly hit it off. Later that year, Lebaron invited Felix to play in Montreal at Club Peopl for the Blackkout Tour. When Felix was back in Montreal in summer 2015, the three of us had our first ‘jam session’. “All This” off our upcoming Contradiction EP was the first song we made! During some later studio sessions, we made a few other tunes and thought we should share the music.Thee FFF was born.


Thee FFF’s Contradiction EP is out November 24th on Victims Music Company

Cover photo by  Vanessa Moore