Nôze: Jazz-Lovin' Technoids
- Words: Eric Smillie
Nôze plays the hottest and hippest of styles: pure fun. At a performance at 2005’s Wilsonic Festival in Bratislava, Slovakia, they drank vodka straight from the bottle on stage and banged out frenetic jazz-house on keyboards, turntable, and computer while a friend went wild on the sax. With their set cranked up to full volume, they stole the show from a stack of headliners, and a week later made their international presence known at Barcelona’s Sonar Festival.
“Our favorite thing is to play in front of an audience,” says Nicolas Sfintescu, speaking for himself and his musical partner/step-brother Ezechiel Pailhes, a classically trained pianist. “There are a lot of tracks we make in order to play them live.” With the help of guest musicians from Paris’ improv, jazz, and experimental scenes, Nôze’s 2005 debut, Craft Sounds and Voices, jumps from sea shanty drums and a Tom Waits-style saxophone on “Suffle” to raunchy house overlaid with a deeply funky barbershop scat loop on “Fuckinmido.”
Last year’s follow-up, How to Dance, targets the dancefloor with irresistible, electro-tinged techno, notably on “Kitchen,” whose silly lyrics revolve around a woman hiding in a fridge. The band gets away with its unorthodox approach by keeping things soulful and avoiding seriousness. “We don’t forbid ourselves many things in our music,” says Sfintescu, who also performs as DJ Freak. “We’re not trying to make straight techno or whatever, we just do music.”
Nôze is afforded that freedom by recording for Sfintescu’s techno imprint, Circus Company, which he founded after several years of DJing funk, house, techno, and soul.
Like the Parisian jazz musicians of the 1920s that inspire them, the Circus family likes a tipple or two. The crew–which also includes irreverent techno artists Ark and Mossa–often gathers at hip Marais wine shop Julien, caviste to hatch methods for making their live show the perfect marriage of Paris’ house passions with its jazz history, “You have these moments where everything goes together,” says Sfintescu of the thrill of performing live. “You can’t explain why, but it’s the right mood and the right place.”
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