The chemistry between the two members of Synapson was immediately felt during their respective holiday jaunts on the beach in the late 90s. Coming to discover their passions and admiration with similar styles in music as teens, both Alexandre Chiere (keyboard, saxophone, beat and vocals) and Paul Cucuron (drums, scratch, record production, mixing) refused to allow themselves to let their newfound relationship to slip away. Over the existence of Synapson, the twosome have seen their vision expand outside their primarily comfort zones. One could say that the duo has become skilled in the ways of being chameleon-like with their soulful melodies and slick productions.
From popping some of their singles onto Myspace during its glory days to now, 150,000 albums sold and over 100 million streams have been tallied up. Some other highlights include a remake of Burkinabé singer-songwriter and musician Victor Démé song “Djôn’maya” (renamed “Djon Maya Maï”) and their original track “All In You” featuring Anna Kova. Super 8 is the latest offering from Synapson via Parlophone/Warner Music and it promises to be the most ambitious work to date; nu disco, deep house, and their trademark electro sound coalesce the thirteen tracks.
We spoke with the duo recently to learn more about Chiere and Cucuron. We discussed how they met, the story behind Super 8, and more.
How did you two meet?
We met more than 20 years ago in the south of France; a city call Biarritz
When you started to work together, what was it that made you feel this project could be unique?
We only see each other once a year until Paul came to Paris. And when we were young, we always said that we’d try to make music together as soon as we are in the same city.
Blending your inspirations, do you find it at times to be difficult?
I’m not sure I understand the question, but I’ll try to answer it in the best way. We don’t come from the same musical education so at the beginning our music sounded like “who is putting more of his inspiration on the first line” but we ‘ve been working together now for 9 years, and when we make music for Synapson we think about creating something that the other one is going to like. Alex produces for Paul and Paul produces for Alex. And it’s easier also because off kind of like the same style of music.
What was it about music that spoke to you two growing up?
Alex: I always grew up with music. Jazz and swing from my grandfather (Billy Holiday, Oscar Peterson, Nina Simone), house music from my father (Eddie Amador, Fafa Montecito, Daft Punk) and I started piano since I was 4, so Music is part of my life.
And it’s the same for Paul. He grew up with his brother scratching their mom’s vinyl at the beginning listening also to, and he quickly started being curious about sound engineering.
“Djon maya maï” was your first single that took off. What was that like when you started to see audiences and fans connect to the song?
Well, it was a significant victory for us. Not “how much” we’ve started being successful but more “why.” I mean we came with something new. Electronic music in a low bpm, not sung in English and far from the EDM movement so when we so people of all ages start dancing to our music it was such a big victory.
How long did you work on Super 8?
We worked on super 8 for more than two years now
What’s the meaning behind the album title?
We call it this because of the camera “super 8” created many years ago.
Two reasons: First of all, see the way your video looks thru this camera? Well, we want our music to sound in the same way. Like something dirtier. Less clean. Maybe also more mature.
And second reason; we love making music with real synthesizers real machines, but today, if you want to you, can also make music with your laptop with “vst” ( virtual instrument ) and by the time the “super 8” camera was the first camera that could be used by anyone.
Do you feel that going into each recording session is more robust or more relaxed now that you two have worked together for so long?
Well, our best solution to this is not to work together. We each have our studio just because we don’t work the same way. We are best friends, but we have a different approach to produce a track.
You performed “Hide Away” live for at Paris Bercy Arena to a crowd of 15,000. What do you think about having that many people locked into your music?
It’s amazing. I mean, to be honest, 5,6,7,10,12 or 15… it’s difficult to make the difference because there is too many, but it’s crazy!!!!!!! But we also like to play in front of a small crowd, when you are next to the people. It’s two different exercises, and we love both of them.