20 Questions: Bambounou - XLR8R
A star of the Parisian techno scene steps forward.

Jéremy Guindo-Zegiestowski's (a.k.a Bambounou) music first surfaced with 2010s seven-track release on French electro label YounGunZ Entertainment. Material on Sound Pellegrino and ClekClekBoom Recordings followed soon thereafter, before the rising French talent debuted on Modeselektor's 50Weapons. "They contacted me 'cause they kept playing my track 'Alpha,'"he recalls. No sooner had he become a mainstay on the label; his catalog therein includes a string of 12"s—one alongside Margaret Dygas—and two full-lengths, namely 2012's Orbiting and 2015's Centrum. Since then, he's been rather quiet on a release front, returning recently with Parametr Perkusja, a three-track EP on Don’t DJ’s DISK imprint that "melds rhythmic instability with Bambounou's tribal touch. What better time to pop over some quick-fire questions?

1. Describe your surroundings right now.

I’m on a plane from Shangai to Melbourne, I can’t sleep anymore cause I already slept nine hours from Paris to Shangai. I was reading and since I still have four more hours to go, I said to myself that I’d better do this interview.

2. What kind of music were you exposed to as a child?

My Mom isn’t a very musical person. She didn’t make me listen to a certain genre of music but I remember listening to the radio a lot, so from hip-hop to speed metal, I was just absorbing everything.

3. What was the first record you purchased?

One of the first records I bought with my own money was probably a Pokemon CD followed with a Slayer or Slipknot CD (I was confused at the time, and still am).

4. Do you remember the moment when you fell in love with DJing?

I don’t remember exactly when it was but it’s an ongoing feeling of happiness by seeing people dancing to tracks you made and or chose carefully for this very moment. 

5. What made you decide to pursue a career in DJing? 

I think it’s when I decided to stop law school, haha. But more seriously I just realized I couldn’t do a life without music so I took best of both worlds: DJing so I can satisfy my musical curiosity and as a job as well. 

Bambounou Press Pic 2 © Yulya Shradrinsky

6. You have a pretty busy tour schedule, playing usually two gigs per week or more. How do you keep yourself on top of your game while touring?

You have to work every day; I never take days off and I force myself to have a good sleeping pattern. Even when I’m tired, I realized that if I wake up every morning at the same time I tend to be less tired. I do a lot of sport as well, it cleanses my mind and I can start being creative again, or else I find the music I make immediately boring. When you’re actually touring you have two modes: the party mode and the yoga mode. Let’s say that I am in between.

7. Are there any funny rituals or routines you do before getting behind the decks at a gig?

I have to pee two times before I play.

8. Do you prepare your sets or tend to go with the flow?

I prepare some tracks that I like in advance but I go with the flow once performing.

9. What is your favorite thing about Paris? Favorite restaurant or place to hang?

Paris is my favorite thing about Paris, it’s my favorite city and I don’t see myself living anywhere else. My favorite restaurant is a secret but I can tell you a bar where I hang a lot: Au Dixieme. 

10. What about Paris inspires you as an artist?

The whole city is very inspiring, there’s a great energy right now.

11. When did you start to explore the Parisian nightlight? Did you have someone take you under their wing? What was your first club experience, can you describe it?

I was pretty young but somehow managed to enter clubs and concerts. I remember when I was 14 just walking around Paris and discovering every neighborhood. I don’t remember my first club experience but I must have been pretty impressed since I’m still going back to it aha!

Bambounou Press Pic 1 © Yulya Shradrinsky

12. You began your career at a rather young age, starting to release frequently on 50Weapons. How did you connect with Modeselektor? 

They contacted me 'cause they kept playing my track "Alpha" and they were loving it and when they discovered I was French it was somehow a surprise for them and they signed me directly.

13. What was it like touring and releasing with them for so many years?

It was amazing to have such a wide and musically different people in the crew, I was loving every moment.

14. How did you feel when the label closed its doors?

Well, I was obviously a little bit sad, but I was thankful and happy to have been part of this adventure and looking back at everything that they did it’s amazing to see the evolution. I was growing with them and I realized it at the end. I will be forever grateful.

15. You’ve collaborated with Margaret Dygas, releasing a split EP on 50Weapons and playing back-to-back at festivals. How did you meet her and what kind of connection did you have in the studio?

I met her through music she was releasing and I saw her play one time and I was totally amazed. Eventually, I learned that she was Polish (like me) and my interest widened. For the split, we were exchanging ideas by emails and we called each other. I like sending text messages to her 'cause she puts in a LOT of smileys which I find is a sign of kindness.

16. Studio-wise you’ve been pretty quiet in the past three years, what have you been up to?

I was quiet in term of releases but not in the studio :) I was working very hard on my own sound and how I wanted to define it more, so I learned synthesis and I decide to not sample a thing; now I’m adding samples again but I had to come to this period of a pure (theory) sonic research.

17. Can you tell us a little bit about your EP coming out on Don’t DJ’s DISK Imprint? How did you get in touch with Don’t DJ?

I've been loving his music for a long time and I invited him to play at my residency in Bordeaux for l-Boat, we got on very well and we exchanged some music, my (future) EP was in those tracks, I’m happy with this EP and I love playing it out, it’s everything that I like— polyrhythmic percussions sounding like metallic structures falling down but symmetrically building themselves up (or down) in the ground.

18. What influences your more tribal side? You have some beautiful abstract rhythms in many of your tracks.

I listen to a lot of traditional percussive music but as I don’t have any instruments, nor can I play them, I use my club sensitivity to try and create rhythms with electronic instruments.

19. If you could go anywhere in the world for a holiday where would it be and why?

On my couch, for two weeks 'cause I’m traveling too much and sometimes I wanna do one with my couch and play video games or read random books—but hey I can do that everywhere I go.

20. What's coming up over the next few weeks? 

I just released my new EP, Parametr Perkusja, on Don’t DJ’s DISK. It’s available on every streaming platforms and in good record shops. I’m also about to launch the exclusive Parameter tees on Bandcamp. Besides that, I have some cool gigs lined up within the upcoming few weeks, like Wildeburg 2018, iBoat for my residency where I’m inviting Whities’ boss Nic Tasker and the amazing Saoirse, Phonox with Pearson Sound, Circoloco, De School, DGTL Barcelona. I can’t wait!

Photos: Yulya Shradrinsky