After 4 DMC World DJ Championships titles, sold out shows since January, and an all sold-out tour coming up this fall, French DJ foursome, C2C (Coups2Cross), is nothing shy of a groundbreaking team of table turners, producers, and life long friends. The hard-working group does good, and reveals what it takes to succeed in “turntablism.”
TL:What does Coups2Cross mean to you all?
C2C: That’s actually the real meaning of C2C at first. It actually comes from the fact that we’re hitting the (cross)fader on the DJ mixer to cut the sound. But, we switched to C2C ’cause “Coups2Cross” is pretty weird to say in English!
TL:You’ve been making music together for 15 years or so, yes? What did it start as? Producing your own music? Were you all DJ-ing separately and decided to join forces?
C2C: Atom and I, Pfel, have known each other since we’re 10 years old. Then we met Greem and 20syl in high school in 1996. We became friends while skateboarding together in different spots of our hometown, Nantes, in the west of France. 20syl was already producing music and rapping his hip hop band, Hocus-Pocus, and he wanted to do scratches for his tracks, so he learned how to cut by himself. Greem joined him in 1997 and became the DJ of Hocus-Pocus, followed by Atom and then myself.
At this point, we were just digging the DJ championships video, listening to a lot of mix tapes, and scratch tapes (PFCuttin, MixMasterMike, Qbert, Beat Junkes) and practiced turntablism for hours at home. Then, in 2011, we started doing battles at the French DMC DJ Championship and we finally won the world title in 2003 in London. From there, we participated and won four times in a row (last one in 2006). At that time, we already had in mind to do an album together, but it was just a matter of time because of our other bands (Hocus-Pocus for 20syl & Greem and Beat Torrent for Atom & Pfel) we were working on.
It has been 4 years since we had the time to get back in the studio together. It was in September 2010, and from there, it took us two years to produce our album, TETRA and create a live show.
TL: As a DJ group with four members, does every mix have four parts? For instance, 20Syl works in the melody, Greem brings in the beat, Atom samples Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 9,” and Pfel drops the bass. How does the dynamic work logistically? Do you just make sure to stick to a certain tempo and hope what one of your group-mates throws on his turn tables meshes well with your contribution?
C2C:There’s no specific attribution when we perform the track live. We can easily exchange our places and perform the part of one another. The studio process is different though. During one month we got in the studios to produce some demo tracks separately. At the end, we had nearly a hundred demos. Then, we made an individual ranking; everybody chose fifteen best tracks and from there we started working together to start real producing from chosen demos, which was the longest part.
We worked at 20syl’s studio for nearly a year and a half, producing, scratching, eating, fighting (sometimes) together. 20syl was leading the work behind the computer and we all argued and discussed every single detail. At times, it was very long and crazy, but that’s how we work and finally reached what we had in mind. Atom did all the mixing part in his own studio before mastering…We’re really into the DIY philosophy in studio. And of course, we all scratch on the record as well as the live.
TL: How much do you rehearse together (outside of performances)? I can imagine it takes some time to perfect the synchronization of the group.
C2C: It took us a few weeks to master the live show because we manipulate some video as well as the sound so we have twice more things to think about! But, now with all the gigs around France and now Europe, we don’t have much time to bring some new material into the show, but as soon as we got time at sound check, we try to find new parts or improvement of the show. We did practice for nearly 15 years.
TL: How’s the tour going?
C2C: The tour is going really well. We’ve done more than 50 gigs in venues and festivals since January and we have 30 more coming by the end of the year. Every gig was sold out and the autumn tour already is so I think we can’t expect more! Something really funny happened at Pukkelpop, a festival in Belgium this summer. Two minutes before the beginning of the show a few French people in the crowd started singing the French hymn, “La Marseillaise.” That was quite funny. We’ll have more stories to tell you when we meet in NYC soon!
TL: What’s next this year for C2C?
C2C: Lots of live shows, some fresh remixes, some new video materials. We should be traveling a lot more with the live show, which is quite massive, so, it’s not always an easy process…but we should be able to come visit you soon in the US! And, we are working on a new live show!