Everything you need to know about Parisian label Ekler‘o’shock is contained in this story from 27-year-old owner Matthieu Gazier. “Our second party under the Ekler’o’shock name was with Kid Koala in my best friend’s grandparents’ house in Paris,” he writes. “It was two Euros. We had sprayed and stenciled the walls, recreating the artwork from his album. My friend and associate Clément was totally high, and he carried all the money we got in his pockets. We had 200 people in this small house, sold some champagne, and by the end of the night–close to eight in the morning–a freaky dude took some Ecstasy. We tried to push him out but he was too energetic and talkative. So we proposed to him to help us clean the house. He fuckin’ swept the whole house in 30 minutes.”
Put simply, Ekler‘o’shock is the soundtrack to one wild party; it’s a bass label, but one whose artists don’t color neatly inside the lines of breaks, IDM, and house. From the broken crunk of New York space Rasta Crunc Tesla to datA’s suite of pumping, French Touch-inspired laser house, from the apocalyptic videogame rap of Léonard de Léonard to the sassy electro of Terry Poison, Gazier has certainly put together a crazy guestlist. But perhaps the most unusual attendee of all is Xerak, who makes sex-obsessed dance numbers inspired by punk and pixels.
Gazier started the label in July 2002. He had already logged quite a few hours toiling in the music business, doing PR for Ninja Tune and !K7 Records and marketing for Sony BMG. Conceptually, Ekler‘o’shock was inspired by Mo’ Wax. “It was more than just a label,” enthuses Gazier of the early ’90s indie-hop stalwart. “It was a total creative experience, with perfect artworks, groundbreaking artists, and their Headz compilation, [which inspired] our Unexpektheadz comp.”
As for the name? It’s a typically French play on words. “It sounds like the name of a French pastry, éclair au chocolat.” says Gazier. “Also, “Ekler” was my tag back in the days, and I added the “o’shock,” maybe ’cause I was a fan of a famous French [graffiti] writer called O’Clock, and also because for me music has to be a shock, an experience in itself.”