Parisian producers – Jacques Bon and Vincent Drux – take a seat with Torture the Artist to discuss their specializations inside a shared space and within their debut album, A Long Way. For thirteen years, Jacques Bon managed (the now retired) Paris branch of Smallville Records. Otherwise, Jaques Bon has earned an impressive reputation, releasing on other notable record labels such as Giegling, Live at Robert Johnson, and Mule Musiq. Vincent Drux is a “behind-the-scenes type”; who uproots his technical background as a sound engineer to hone his sonic pallet. While majoring in sound design, Drux recently started his own label, Cabale Records… stay tuned as they launch past the infancy stages. Although this is their first album together, the two are long-acquainted, their first joint track being Fading Sail – released on Lawrence’s Dial Records – in 2020. The duo’s like-minded friendship revels in a balanced dynamic of musical intersections. Ideal for those in-between hours, A Long Way (released 7/1/22) is eight tracks, featuring futuresque blends of warm color atop some cooler minimal shades. Despite the standing point, Jacques Bon and Drux’s recent collaboration has requited a positively bittersweet confection.
Torture the Artist: Hello! We’re excited to speak with you today; thank you for joining us! Where are you two currently?
Jacques Bon & Vincent Drux: Hello Bella, thanks to you. We are in Paris now; we both live here.
Torture the Artist: Let’s talk about your personal relationship before we segue into the album. How did you first meet one another?
Jacques Bon & Vincent Drux: We have a lot of mutual friends, and we became closer when Vincent offered me to visit him in his music studio about five years ago.
Torture the Artist: Although you two have known each other for quite some time, this is your debut album as a duo…. How long has this official collaboration been brewing?
Jacques Bon & Vincent Drux: It became official with the release of Fading Sails on the last Dial records compilation. It’s the first track we produced together. After this first track, we started to share a studio together. And naturally, a few common track projects came out without any special expectations. But at one there was enough to think that it could become an album.
Torture the Artist: Over how much time over would estimate you spent creating the album? What did you learn working with each other during this release?
Jacques Bon & Vincent Drux: It’s of course impossible to know, but we started to work on the first track of the album may be more than two years ago. We learned that enjoying what we do and being confident brings good surprises. <smiles>
Torture the Artist: The emotional pads and spacey samples incorporate fluctuations of happiness and a tad of sadness. How did you match your different mood(s) with the track’s tonal qualities?
Jacques Bon & Vincent Drux: Perhaps, these euphoric moments mixed with melancholy are the reflections of what happens in our lives. <smiles>
Torture the Artist: Perhaps! Speaking of reflections, the album artwork’s pastel landscape is colorful and abstract and nicely complements A Long Way. The artist, Stefan Marx, made this piece a few years back though. Can you tell us how you decided to use this artwork?
Jacques Bon & Vincent Drux: Stefan did a few proposals and this one was our favorite. I’m personally a huge fan of Stefan’s work, so I loved them all anyway, but this one represents some south of France landscape that reminds me of many good summer memories with my family and friends.
Torture the Artist: Jacques, can you share a memory you had while working in the Smallville store?
Jacques Bon: For example, some nice memories were with some young customers coming after school, doing their homework while listening to music.
Torture the Artist: In case it isn’t both… would you say “a long way” is behind you or just beginning?
Jacques Bon & Vincent Drux: I actually would say that it is both, it’s been a long way, but there is still a long way to go. <smiles> But the album itself of course is not behind us, as it’s still just coming out. Also, we are working on new music projects, but it’s still too early to talk about them!
Torture the Artist: Since Smallville was such a large part of your lives, I would like to discuss the closing of the Paris and Hamburg storefronts with Jacques. Can you give us a thumbnail sketch of the last couple of years and how this came about?
Jacques Bon: I’m only responsible for the Paris store. It was open for more than 12 years and it was such a great experience. It was also a long way, full of great meetings, friendships, and sharing ideas and passion for music.
Torture the Artist: As you let go of the store, in what direction would you like to see the Smallville label grow?
Jacques Bon: Since Julius (Steinhoff) and Stefan (Marx) run the label now, so I think I should let them answer this question… But I know that some great news will come soon!
Torture the Artist: Can you describe what your vinyl collections look like and how they are organized?
Jacques Bon: As I started to collect records more than 25 years ago, and given I used to run a record store, you can guess that I have quite a lot of vinyl, too much to count them… As I moved a few times recently, the collection is still a bit messy, so sometimes it takes a while before I find the record I was looking for, but it’s also a good process because I find many other great ones in between. <smiles>
Vincent Drux: I don’t have so many records, I prefer to keep just a few records that I really like.
Torture the Artist: If you were to walk into a record storetoday, would you ask a specific question?
Jacques Bon: When I enter a record store, I usually don’t ask any special questions and I go and dig in the racks. But yes, it might happen that I’m looking for a special record too.
Torture the Artist: On that note, what else in the works for you as a duo and on Drux’s new label, Cabale Records?
Vincent Drux: Nothing is planned for us as a duo on Cabale records yet, but who knows!
Torture the Artist: You two share a studio in Paris, how has a shared space aided your production and friendship? Do you ever delegate tasks in the studio and what helps embody a clean aesthetic?
Jacques Bon: It was a nice feeling to build our home base for music together, like homemade acoustic panels, etc.… I brought my synths, drum machines, and effects. Vincent brought his soundcard, large speakers, and a summing mixer.
Torture the Artist: Given your different backgrounds, what do you find yourselves asking one another when you need help in the studio?
Jacques Bon: It seems that Vincent is more into sound design and mixing, whereas I’m more focused on composing melodies.
Vincent Drux: But we usually edit and finalize every track together.
Torture the Artist: What was the last thing you laughed about together?
Jacques Bon & Drux: It’s quite funny to speak English together with Vincent while we answer interviews. smiles>
Words by Bella Gadinis