In an uptempo mood

Stephane Pompougnac, a DJ known for lounge music, is more energetic in his new solo album

Singapore nightclub Zouk brings back fond memories for Stephane Pompougnac. -- PHOTO: LOVE DA RECORDS
Singapore nightclub Zouk brings back fond memories for Stephane Pompougnac. -- PHOTO: LOVE DA RECORDS

Lounge music pioneer Stephane Pompougnac made a name for himself in the late 1990s and early noughties as a DJ and music producer under the Parisian Hotel Costes brand.

At the height of his career, the 46- year-old Frenchman sold more than seven million CDs, DJ-ing for the likes of Mick Jagger, remixing for pop diva Madonna and collaborating with top- notch artists such as rock band R.E.M's frontman Michael Stipe.

Lounge music may not be as hip and trendy as it was a decade ago, but Pompougnac is hoping to re-ignite interest in the genre with his new solo album, Bloody French, launched in April.

The DJ, who was in town last month for the Audi Fashion Festival, tells Life! of his new record: "I wanted to produce a deep house album with more energy and I wanted more DJs to play it, so I tried to have the same style as my music for Hotel Costes, but with an upbeat tempo."

Pompougnac says the genre of lounge music - downtempo house beats layered with melodies and vocals - was a huge success back in 1999 due to its fresh and novel sound.

He says with a laugh: "In 1999, working at Hotel Costes, I just wanted to have music that was not too disturbing for people having dinner, so I tried to do something eclectic. I was a little shocked at how it became huge."

In the past 15 years, he has produced 15 Hotel Costes music compilation albums.

The married father of two no longer DJs for Hotel Costes, but still remains a regular DJ in Ibiza for the Sunset Sessions, at Hong Kong's trendy Kee Club and guest DJs at fashion and luxury brand events around the world.

Pompougnac says nowadays, restaurants and bars worldwide hire DJs and the music tends to be more "pumping", which is why he, too, has changed his musical direction.

"Now, I feel I still stick to my same style, for the melodies and harmonies and some singing, but with a more upbeat tempo. Not like in a dance club but easy enough to dance to if you want to," he says.

As for his new album, he says Bloody French is a throwback to his days bartending in London in his 20s.

"My manager didn't like the French, so he used to call me bloody French. It stayed in my memory, so I decided to put this name on my album just as a joke," he says.

The record itself boasts 10 upbeat pieces of deep house music, inspired by his travels around the world, from South America to Asia.

Perhaps the balearic beats played in Singapore's iconic nightclub Zouk had an influence on the record too, as Pompougnac says the nightclub is one of the most memorable places he has been to in his 25-year career as a DJ.

He says: "I've played there maybe six times. Zouk was very special for house DJs and it made Singapore one of my favourite cities to go to.

"It was big on house music and it has the perfect sound system, not like France, where they think about customers first and DJs after."

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