An interview with Isaac Tichauer

Considering that Sydney based producer Isaac Tichauer was born completely deaf, the fact he is a producer of obviously natural class is almost as ironic as it is impressive. His 9-track debut LPDevotion’ dropped this summer on the label ‘French Express’ who boldly proclaimed that ‘The crusade against terrifyingly bad music knows no boundaries, even money itself, and will continue like so until our way reaches the four corners of the Earth’ hence one of the most staggering things about this album – It is completely free.

In the ever-changing world of House music it is still that rather rare thing for a single artist to release their own full length album, rarer still for it to have the cohesive, fluid quality that you would expect from a well compiled mix-tape. With “Devotion” Tichauer has chosen to tear up the rule book and flex his production muscles, resulting in this masterful blend of sub-genres and styles. The opening number ‘You Were Waiting’, (possessing nearly all the tribal inclination of a Zulu warrior,) is a superb track, setting the tone for what has aptly been called a “futuristic yet classic” set of recordings. The title track doesn’t disappoint either, with a smooth, captivating synth-line coupled with lyrical content ranging from the narcotically charged to broodily yearning. But, it’s the oozing soul of ‘Doing What I Got’ that’s causing perhaps the biggest stir amongst fellow artists and fans. Also part of the package are the tracks ‘I Like it Raw‘ and ‘Every Word‘, which provide the musical complexity signifying Tichauer’s arrival to the heavyweight ring. Despite the thicker emanating bass-lines and significantly heavier toning, both still possess a sense of conviviality that contributes to this LP making it a diverse and deeply satisfying listen. The production is of a quality high enough to edify almost any particularly refined House music fan, whilst still penetrable enough to deserve a play at any self-respecting club.

I should at this point note that since childhood Tichauer has recovered the hearing in his left ear so, to anyone falsely led to believe we have an electronic Beethoven on our hands, I do apologize. All the same, starting along the treacherous path leading into the world of successful production can be quite a daunting prospect, on account of the heavily saturated, rapid-fire, and drastically fluctuating nature of contemporary House music. It seems that Tichauer’s efforts on Devotion have paid off. Label founder, and all round viral industry maestro Leon ‘Perseus’ Oziel  describes the release as “ethereal, atmospheric, tropical house music. We agree and decided to get in touch with the man in question, to get a little insight into all things French Express and delve into the no doubt soon-to-be wonderdom life, of Mr. Isaac Tichauer

Max & Rowland

So hows it going Isaac, tell us how you got involved with the  French Express Label all the way over on the sunny coasts of Australia?

I’ve done some work with Leon in the past and we’ve been friends since, talking music business for years. If I’ve learnt anything, it’s that Skype knows no time zone.

The fact that you and the other guys on French Express all hail from such contrasting areas of the globe (Chris Malinchak (US), Moon Boots (US), Jonas Rathsman (Sweden), Perseus (US), Erkka (Finland)…)  means that the presence and  progression of all things French Express has largely been pushed online. Do you think that in this current viral era of house music it stands as a huge benefit for new artists?

FE was built on social media – it started as a blog, and even today you can hear it’s blog roots in the voice of the label and general attitude to the music industry. To call FE non-traditional would be a massive understatement, and that’s why I love the label. All the things major labels are scared of, French Express harnesses and builds on, and it’s a massive benefit to the entire family.

What extent has the dedication and perseverance of Label founder and all-round hype worker Perseus (who can be part-accredited with discovering talents such as Azari & III), been the clincher in the Label’s current success?

I take back what I said about Skype knows no timezone. Leon knows no timezone.  He’s a machine.

Was he also a big factor in pushing you to create a 9-track LP as your first original offering to house music, something that must have been intimidating at  least!?

Big time. Very intimating. It’s like singing for the first time in front of a big audience, but not one song, 9 of them. Leon’s support and constant hassling was a massive lever in getting me to finally put something out . The feedback from fans has been great also. It’s helped me find confidence in my art, which up till recently didn’t really exist.

The French Express mission statement declares that the “crusade against terrifyingly bad music” supersedes music over money, explaining why ‘Devotion’ amongst many others has been released as a free download. Is this ideal likely to remain a consistent presence in the future?

Maybe, maybe not. I think fans should treat every free release as a new gift. People have told me not to undervalue my music and not give it away for free, but at the same time the money you make from sales is so little that the only way to not undervalue your music is to avoid a price. I believe that free music can go much further, reach more people, and that fans are you most valuable assets.

This suggests a larger emphasis on performances;  any news about when you’ll be leaving your sunny beaches for the dark and grimier shores of the UK on your next DJ outing?

I might just be drinking warm lager by this NYE actually; the Dates will be coming soon.

Top three tracks you would most recommend for getting us through the dreary overshadow creeping over this hemisphere right now?

Sweat – Greymatter


So Good To Me – Chris Malinchak (Unreleased)

[audio:|titles=So Good To Me|artists=Chris Malinchak]

Lonely People (Lil louis House Classic Rework) – Laurent Wild

[audio:|titles=Lonely People (Lil louis House Classic Rework)|artists=Laurent Wild]

You have stated that you were born deaf, but miraculously doctors were able to recover hearing in your right ear. Has this been a factor in your desire to construct a career based around music, and do you remember the first music that inspired you?

It hasn’t been a major factor for life as I know it. I had an operation when I was 2 years old that fixed my right ear but the left never recovered. I’ve never heard stereo, but I hear the same as anyone else on my right side. When I was young I used to listen to my father’s Beatles collection, and pretty much nothing else. I don’t know if its influenced me today but I can say that its my earliest memories as a kid, so it meant something.

There was a recent story involving Austin Chapman, who similarly was given the ability to hear for the first time due to modern medicine. How humbling does it feel to you that Chapman chose the French Express showcase in LA as his first live music experience?

It’s incredible. All credit must go to Moon Boots and Perseus.

Has it always been electronic music, or at some point did you decide on House over Hip-hop?

Don’t judge me, but I never did the Hip-Hop thing, I was a grunge kid with longish hair and an undercut. Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, the Pixies. One day I was taken to an illegal rave and I moved into house music. I’ve listened to all genres at some point, and the stuff I’m writing now was the stuff I listened to 10 years ago.  In fact, it’s the one single advantage I have over these incredibly talented teens that keep popping up, and I intend to use it.

On an end note, the latest teaser on your Facebook page has been resounding in my head for a while now. Any hints as to an official release date for us to really get our teeth into?

Very, very soon!

You can connect with Isaac via his Facebook or Soundcloud