If this is the first time you’ve heard the name Modisound, I guarantee you it won’t be the last. The Canadian duo of Mark Hewitt and Francis Arseneau are making some of the funkiest, upbeat electronic disco out right now. The lead single off their debut EP Yellow To Purple has created quite a bit of buzz and I think it’s a great place for any new Modisound listener to start getting familiar with their awesome tunes. Check out the groovy piano driven house tune below… You’ll love the exotic vocals from Maryse Bernard.
“Let Your Hair Down” should be enough to sell anyone on these guys, but if not, I encourage you to take it one step further and push play on “Champagne” below. It’s too damn funky. And quite appropriately, some of the biggest disco-house producers out there are rocking this one out. This includes none other than the titan himself, Treasure Fingers, who just dropped the track in his recent mix for Dim Mak. Go.
You can stream the rest of Modisound’s fantastic Yellow To Purple EP by clicking here, but let’s get into the interview. Had a blast chatting with these dudes. Check it out below!
Dödselectro (Robbie): What are your names?
Modisound: Francis and Mark.
Where are you from?
M: We’re both originally from Vancouver but Francis lives in Montreal and Mark is still puttering around in our hometown.
So how did Modisound come about?
F: Mark and I first met when we were like 8 or 9 through my neighbour, whose name also happens to be Mark (we’ll call him Big Mark).
M: When we were in high school, we always used to hang out in this old gazebo in Big Mark’s backyard and play cards or whatever and I was the DJ of the crew, playing tunes off my iPod all the time.
F: Mark pretty much introduced me to electronic music, and we’d always exchange songs from time to time, but then I left to go to school in Montreal after graduating and nothing ever really came of it.
M: Then around year later Francis was home for the summer and we bumped into each other at the gym. He told me he had started messing around with Ableton, which is something I had been doing for a while too. We decided to meet up and jam afterwards and I guess the rest is history.
That’s dope. Well I love your sound. The sort of edgier, funky disco shit is what got me into dance music in the first place. Who are your biggest influences – why did you go this route, sound-wise?
F: Before Mark got me into electronic music, I listened to classic older stuff like Bowie, The Eagles, Zeppelin, etc. I think my first foray into funky electronic stuff was Calvin Harris’ first album, which is still one of my favourites. As for why we went down this route with the EP, I think theres a lot of influences at play there. While we were making the EP I couldn’t stop listening to Kavinsky and Frank Ocean, and I think Mark was hooked on The M-Machine and Bag Raiders… We’re pretty all over the place.
M: My biggest influences stem from some pretty typical artists in the genre you’d expect… Guy’s like Justice and the Ed Banger crew, Boys Noize, and I’ve always been a huge fan of Gorillaz. The songs that really turned me on to electronic music were ‘19-2000’ off the Gorillaz first self-titled album, and ‘Aerodynamic’ by Daft Punk. CLASSIC.
Hell yeah. We’re into all these guys over here… So what are your musical backgrounds?
F: I started playing piano when I was 5 or 6 years old and have been playing almost every day since then. I’ve been classically trained, but I dabble in jazz and other stuff from time to time. I taught myself to play guitar in high school, but I’m still not that great… The highlight of my career as a guitarist is probably playing on Let Your Hair Down. I play sax, which we’re hoping to incorporate on one of our songs. I also play clarinet, which we are not hoping to incorporate in any of our songs.
M: I picked up playing alto sax when I was about 10 years old, and took private lessons for a few years after. In high school I rocked out in a jazz band and played in some other bands. More recently I’ve been getting into production and I’m developing my piano/keyboard playing skillz, but Francis is still the piano man in my books.
Cool… Tell us a little bit about ‘Yellow To Purple’ and what’s next for you guys.
M: We pretty much wrote and recorded everything from Y2P over the summer, but we never really had the intention of making an EP. We ended up handpicking some of our favourite tracks that we had made, which we thought displayed a pretty wide range of styles across a broad funky genre. The EP sorta goes from brighter upbeat dancy stuff to the darker heavier stuff.
We’re currently working on a couple singles we want to put out, and we want to finish up a couple remixes before we start work on our next project. Not much to say yet about the next project, but it’ll be an ambitious project that might encompass a few releases.
Excellent! Can’t wait to hear those!… OK. If you could collaborate with anyone right now, who would it be?
M: We came sooooo close to getting a Robotaki remix of Let Your Hair Down on our EP, but the timing wasn’t right. We would love to get a chance to work with him again. We can’t wait to work with Mister Gavin again too, his remix was just phenomenal.
F: I’ve also had this fantasy of one day getting the a capella of “Brother Down” by Sam Roberts. I’d love to do a remix of that song.
I can’t imagine you guys NOT working with Robotaki at some point!… Alright. My favorite question of all… What’s the craziest party, event, concert, festival you’ve been to? Tell us some outrageous stories.
M: My favourite story is about when we went to a Dada Life show in Vancouver. Before it started, Francis somehow waltzed past security and walked into the secret room where they kept all the Dada Life bananas that they give out at shows. He ended up running into Olle and having a good ol’ chat with him. Nothing too crazy though.
F: Yea we’re not the wildest guys.
I can dig it… If you had to pick one song, could be any song in the world, that you had to play at every single one of your sets, what would it be?
F: Paris (Aeroplane Remix) – Friendly Fires.
M: Cut Dick – Mr. Oizo.
Nice! So you said you’re in different places currently. How do you guys work on tracks if you live in different cities?
M: Generally one of us will write up the basic framework for a song, with some chords, riffs, drums and then put the project file in our DropBox. We kinda send stuff back and forth and inspire each other to make small changes until the tracks are done the way we like. It can be tedious, especially since we’re both in school full time, but we like it.
Right on… Who do you guys think are some solid underrated or up-and-coming artists that deserve more attention?
Siriusmo is without a doubt is one of our favourite producers. Robotaki is super great and so are Mister Gavin and Mille. There’s also this one guy named Muffin. He put out an amazing remix of “Fair Warning” by Penguin Prison and a couple great mixes but then dropped off the face of the earth. He’s so underground I don’t even think he has a SoundCloud anymore.
You guys are great. Thank you!
M: Thank you!