Over two decades into a music career at the forefront of the underground house and techno scene, Parisian Franck Roger continues to create and innovate with an unrivalled work ethic.
Roger has released music on seminal labels from Carl Craig’s Planet E to DJ Deep’s Deeply Rooted, and also plays gigs in leading global venues ranging from Brooklyn’s Output to London’s Ministry Of Sound. When not living the life of the touring DJ and running his label Real Tone Records, Franck spends time in his studio in Paris making music – and running his other label, Home Invasion. The vinyl-only Home Invasion imprint works predominantly as a platform for Franck to release his own music, with the occasional release from other house acts.
With his next release on Home Invasion out on March 1, we sat down with Franck to ask some questions about his lifestyle, what he loves/hates about the industry that shaped him and what keeps him motivated after all these years.
Hi Franck, how are you and what have you been up to recently?
Super fine, just back home from two gigs in Russia. I did recently some remixes and still working mostly in the lab for my personal projects for my label Home Invasion. Spending time in the studio during the week as usual and gigs at the weekend. That’s what I always wanted to do.
Could you describe your average day?
Wake up. coffee, going to the gym for one hour or trying, then another coffee, turn on the machines with clear minds in the studio for few hours, but also spending time in record shops to get some good wax and hear what’s new generally. I can say this is a perfectly planned day for me.
What do you like to do outside of music to keep you motivated?
Spending times with my family here in Paris with my love and our kids, which is really important for us, riding my scooter in the week in Paris, enjoying my city at its best. Having some drinks with my close friends and talking about everything except music, eating some good food of course and watching movies at night as I’m a big fan of movies: that really clear my mind.
What are your pet hates when touring as a DJ, and how have you learnt to work around them?
Missing time from sleeping during long flights or early flights after djing is what I really hate. We do a good job and we really enjoy ourselves once behind the decks, playing long sets or doing after parties, but going to airport tired and used is not fun at all lol. Once behind the decks we always find the forces to take away these problems cause the crowd gives us the energy, it’s a good thing to share and we need this, after all, so I can’t complain about it. This is a part of our job.
Do you find the studio a relaxing place and how do you keep the creativity flowing?
Yes, of course. I feel really relaxed in the studio, this is what I prefer so far, taking time to work with my external machines, spending time on samples, sound treatments, finding the hook of the tracks, but I don’t have any ideas when I turn them all on. I just go with the flow and the mood of the day and if nothing comes out, there is always something else to do in the studio. So it’s all about the machines and me, I really stay away from my phone and Internet, which can really kill the vibe.
You are well renowned for your love of vinyl, what is it that keeps you so devoted to putting out and playing out your music this way?
I’m fully in love with vinyl and have been since day one, for my labels like Real Tone or Home Invasion I always wanted to press real copies of them, to keep a backup, something that u can show or give to your friends, it's in your record collection, not like a mp3 on a hard drive, which makes me really sad, I need this black wax with the smell that comes with it, I buy weekly records in many shops in Paris but for some easy reason I record them to Logic Audio thru my DjR 400, RME soundcard then burn cd’s every time that a vinyl pass my door, of course it takes time to do all of this but this is how I feel comfortable after all these years even if I tried USB, Serato, Traktor, etc. I can hear them on the flight, at the gym and playing cd’s for me is the perfect solution for me, cause we never know if turntables are in good conditions, cables, rumble etc.. problems with records bag at the airport and Weight restrictions, so I’m easy with this setup.
Do you have a favourite place to DJ and why?
Many places of course with many good souvenirs around the world but let’s say Badaboum where I’ve been a resident for three years now in Paris and they give me total control on the bookings and there’s always a good vibe at these parties, the sound system is top and staff working at the club are lovely so this is where my home is, so big up to Badaboum J.
Some people see a difference between playing at festivals and clubs, what’s your view on this and have you got a preference?
I don’t play often in festivals even if I did some, but yes I prefer to play in a club for 300 to 800 people or smaller so I can touch them directly, they come to see me as I’m often the headliner and that way I can do a long set and express myself in the best way possible. Doing festivals and getting lost on a stage with ten DJs is not my goal, it’s good for exposure I guess but I prefer clubs so far.
What have you got planned for the rest of 2017?
More productions, I’ve signed new artists on the label, a release for May with a remix of Mr Georget aka Chris Carrier, keeping the label alive and keeping control musically is my priority, having a good relationship with my booking agency, my distributor at Synchrophone and finding the spots where I can be free behind the decks and that’s got no price.. I don’t want to be stuck in a box and respond to a public demand. I want curious and motived dancers in front of me, after 20 years of djing I saw many clubs, places etc and this is my way of analysing all of it, I say thanks to the people and I’m everyday conscious that living that life is a gift from my supporters and fans.