France's Master H- Chips With Everything in Soma's Glasgow
Author: Jonty Skrufff
Friday, 3 October 2003
Straight outta' Scotland via Paris and St Tropez, French producer/ DJ Master H (aka Hassan Gouamed) is an unlikely expert on the finer aspects of Scottish culture, though ever since signing to the country's coolest (and still best) independent label Soma, he's had ample opportunity to learn.
"When I first met the Soma guys it was hard for me to drink as much beer as they do but now it's OK," he explains.
"I understand now why they drink Guinness and why they drink pints with Jack Daniels chasers on the side. That's a typical Scottish custom but I like it."
The Scots, or more specifically the Soma crew, clearly like Master H too, in particular his music making abilities, which he showcases to impressive effect on his debut album 13. House based, though tuneful and thoughtful, the album is both listenable in an at-home kind of way and funky, for dancing round the lounge.
"You can listen to this album when you wake up in the morning and you can listen to it just before going to a club, tt depends what mood you're in," H tells Jonty Skrufff.
"For me, as a DJ, the first factor I considered was to make people dance but I also thought about people listening to it in their car stereo and I'm sure it will fit. Certain tracks are really 'tracky' (club angled) but there are others which are really mellow."
Skrufff: Your new album is called 13 and I notice there's 13 tracks on it, does the number symbolise some kind of concept-
Master H: "No, though there does seem to be a concept because of the intro and the outtro which are sampled from a movie, and yes, there are 13 tracks on it, but the reason I called it 13 is because 13 is my lucky number. I was born on the 13th April and the area where I'm from, in Marseilles, in the South of France is also called Area 13. This number follows me around, so I chose it for the album. Some people think it's unlucky, others lucky. When I met all the Soma people, I said I think this number is going to be lucky for us."
Skrufff: How does Glasgow compare to Paris-
Master H: "That depends what aspects you compare. In Glasgow you don't have the fashion sector like Paris does and it's a much smaller city than Paris but having said that, Glasgow's clubbing scene is ten times stronger. We don't have record labels like Soma in Paris either. For me, I try to have the best of both worlds; to live in Paris and to visit Glasgow regularly."
Skrufff: You grew up in Paris though started your DJ career in St Tropez some 8 years ago, what took you there initially-
Master H: "I used to DJ in loads of clubs and I always wanted to develop my DJing style whereas with most bars when something worked a certain style of music for example, you'd never change. I found it boring playing the same style of music all the time, so then I realised that I wanted things to happen for me I'd have to do it myself, so I packed my bags and moved to St Tropez without knowing anybody, and I made it happen."
Skrufff: how easy was it to get established in St Tropez-
Master H: "When I first got there the main clubs didn't want me as a DJ at all, so I said to myself 'OK, I'll do my thing in a small bar'. Then people started coming to the bar gradually, step by step, initially to have a drink, then to have a bottle and finally to stay all night because they liked my music. Almost all the music clubs play in St Tropez is really cheesy revival music whereas I used to play really underground hip hop and house music, so a section of the young people living there were really happy to have a place they could go to for this kind of music. It took time though, I started out there in 1996."