Everything 33-year-old Lionel Cardoso does reflects his role as a champion of good vibes. Since 2004, he and partner Kolsik (née Sylvain Breton) have breathed new life and warmth into the Parisian drum & bass scene with their I Love Jungle events, which have consistently drawn friendly, not-so-serious crowds by mixing liquid funk with old-school ragga and dark and tech-y rhythms. Cardoso’s heart beats at 170 bpms, and you can hear the love coursing through the DJ sets he plays as Hugabass, and in the silky, uplifting D&B he produces as The Funktastics (with Sylvain “C-Nine” Canaux).
Kolsik recently moved south to Toulouse, so I love Jungle ends its run this month with a 2,000-person breakbeat blowout at the Cabaret Sauvage. Cardoso will be sad to see it go, but it will only give him more time to work on his third venture: a clothing line called Stereo Panda. The Panda–whose look is a Japanese-style pop explosion of cartoon bears, ice-cream colors, and bubble fonts–was originally a way to promote Cardoso’s BMX team of the same name, but evolved into a full line three years ago. Since then, they’ve done collabos with drum & bass label C.I.A. and vocalist Jenna G, pop band Tahiti 80, and rapper Leeroy (formerly of Saian Supa Crew).
“I personally think that all the things that were made between 1975 and 1995 are the greatest,” Cardoso says of his influences. “This period begins with the advent of machines, and ends with the beginning of the internet. We lost the space there once was for mistakes that actually made things beautiful.”
It’s a funny comment coming from someone who does graphic design and tweaks samplers and turntables for a living. But Cardoso says he’s just trying to achieve the feeling of the past with the tools of the present. “Just as with music, we sample, deconstruct, and re-arrange all of our influences... We’re definitely trying to get into the state of mind the originators of that era were in... Our philosophy is basically the one we learned from riding BMX: be and stay original, have patience, be consistent, and do it with style.”