Lyon House-ambassador and person-in-charge for heady House music with a positive note Simon Blondeau, who most of us know as under his artist moniker Crowd Control, has made a superb performance since launching his label Happiness Therapy in 2018, of course starting its cheerful triumph with a split EP from the man himself. Ever since the label as well as Crowd Control himself have built up an impressing release catalogue with music from aspiring or established artists from the House music scene not only delivering the before-mentioned music with a therapeutical effect but refreshing vibes in a classy guise. As much as the label has grown and become a scene’s go-to for quality House music Crowd Control too has found his way of releasing music, running the label, being involved in an artist booking agency and having own events. Shortly before 2022 came to an end Simon dropped his altogether 3rd outing on Happiness Therapy, Pianorama, possibly one of the tracks for the 2023 festival season, maybe one for forever. Whatever it may be and when is not in the artist’s hands but he’s surely balanced enough to deal with it.
Torture the Artist: Hello Simon, tell us something about your day.
Crowd Control: My cat is sitting on my new record while we speak. He might be trying to say something. <laughs>
Torture the Artist: Do you have to be in control of yourself in order to control the crowd and is it possible to create emotions for both, yourself and the crowd, when there is the controlling aspect?
Crowd Control: I have to be in control of my art, which is to be a good DJ. I chose this artist name after reading and listening to interviews from Laurent Garnier, who defines the art of DJing very well. Then, when you master this art, you can communicate with the crowd, and that’s the best thing on earth.
Torture the Artist: Before we start talking about the label, which you started in 2018, and your music, when and how did you become involved with electronic music, especially House and what made you want to become a part of the scene and become a constant contributor?
Crowd Control: I discovered electronic music when David Guetta, Bob Sinclar and Martin Solveig were becoming famous in the mid 2000s. It was huge. Around the same time I found out about Daft Punk and the French touch, and I started to DJ in 2010. In the meantime I was writing articles and doing artists interviews for a webzine, while learning the history of House and Techno. Then I decided to start planning my own parties in 2014. DJing, doing parties and having a label have one thing in common: the artistic vision. That’s why my dream had always been to create a label, and I finally could make that happen in 2018!
Torture the Artist: As mentioned before, you have been running Happiness Therapy since 2018, kickin’ the legendary (House-)ride off with a split EP from yourself and Popka. What was your idea to found a label in the first place and what’s the story you still want to tell with the label?
Crowd Control: I just wanted to express my vision of House music: Where the groove meets emotions, and especially the positive ones! Vibing while having happy feelings, that’s the goal.
Torture the Artist: A lot of labels want to draw attention to their outings by either signing tracks from bigger artists or getting a remix done from one of them. You decided to put out own material and two tracks from UK-artist Popka – no remix, no superstar involved, just music. Would you say this approach has been proven successful or have you ever had situations, now after 15 releases, when you thought of going a different way or doing things differently?
Crowd Control: As I like to say, inspired by iconic labels from the 90’s: “We spent months getting everything right. Getting the logo right; getting the design just so. We didn’t want to look like any other label, and we wanted the label to be known for quality music. So when you go into the store and buy a Happiness Therapy record, you know you’ve got a quality record.“ With dedication, passion and consistency, you can always get good results.
Torture the Artist: How do select the music, which you release on Happiness Therapy and what’s a criteria for artists to be signed?
Crowd Control: Quality music and quality people. <smiles>
Torture the Artist: To what extent is Happiness Therapy your dose of joy when it comes to music and do you feel that the music has a curing effect on you and the people listening to tracks that are released?
Crowd Control: Happiness Therapy is not only my job, it is the extension of my passion for music. It might sound cheesy but music is my life. It saved me from depression, it helps to socialize, and it’s a lifestyle: I wake up with music, I shower with music, I run with music. All the music that is released on the label has a kind of happiness effect or it triggers it. Latter I unconsciously studied while trying to understand what kind of music appeals to me and brings me joy. I love the effect music can have on me so I try to transport this feeling to other people too, and according to the feedbacks I receive it seems to be working, and this is very pleasant.
Torture the Artist: Where else do you find this joy and happiness in life and how do you maintain happy?
Crowd Control: I’m doing my best to live a healthy life, both mentally and physically. I won’t say that I’m the happiest person on earth, because of course there are many things you can’t control, but trying is a good start I guess. <smiles>
Torture the Artist: Your first own release, according to Discogs, was The Limit, a two tracker out on Mood Funk in 2017. After, in 2018, you had the #001 out on Happiness Therapy and two more EPs called Housy Love Song Vol. 1 & 2. Is this what you pursue with your music, finding love and happiness?
Crowd Control: Music makes me happy and I’m trying to bring the same joy to the people who listen to my music.
Torture the Artist: At the end of December 2022 your third outing on Happiness Therapy called Pianorama was out with the title track having the potential to be a House-anthem for 2023 with its catchy piano-chords as well as the influences of Breaks and Acid. Is this your love song for the year and to a new generation of Housers or just a positive track to get through the winter?
Crowd Control: I think that music that wasn’t made in order to fit to a trend doesn’t have an expiration date. I hope that this track will bring positive energy to anyone who listens to it, whether it is tomorrow or in ten years.
Torture the Artist: Altogether Pianorama is your third outing on the label, do you want to maintain a low-key output like this and is this because you enjoy playing music out in clubs more than sitting in the studio?
Crowd Control: I’m glad you ask this. Being a DJ and a producer are two very different jobs that request different resources, and it’s a big challenge to be good at doing both. If you consider that I’m also putting a lot of energy running the label, I have to make the one or the other decision. I’m trying to find the right balance, where I feel comfortable and happy with.
Torture the Artist: What is a track that both Simon the DJ and the producer can agree on that are well-produced and make a great play in the club?
Crowd Control: For every music genre you’ll have a situation when it will fit the place and the atmosphere. But for a party in a nightclub I want to share these two tracks that I played last weekend, that are so well written and so powerful that they almost made me cry.
- Helium – Try Me (More Mix)
- Manami – A Dreamer’s Dream
Torture the Artist: Your entire life seems to circle around music. You own a label, have own parties/ events, produce music, you DJ and you co-founded an artist agency. How do you manage to juggle between all those different fields and remain a clear in each?
Crowd Control: All those activities are linked. If you put all of these fields together it feels I’m getting the 360° view on it and that is something I’ve always wanted to have or rather the vision I’ve had in mind so I am totally clear about it.
Torture the Artist: Lastly, happiness for me is…
Crowd Control: …finding balance.
Words by Holger Breuer
- John Beltran – Ondas (Kiko Navarro Remix) x Severn Cullis-Suzuki’s speech
- FRR FONK – We Found The Groove
- Bass Toast – On Cloud Nine
- Clean Is Good – Jet Set
- Braga Circuit – Keep (unreleased)
- Dub Striker – Wild Rhythm (Garrett David Remix)
- Jeff The Fool – Can You?
- Ricky Razu – The Power Of Love
- Jesse Bru – In My Heart
- Dan Be – House N°4
- Marc Brauner & Tender Games – The Mission
- Denyl Brook – My Lovin’
- Marc Brauner & Tender Games – Amberjack
- Dan Be & Bernardo Mota – Makes Me Happy