Have You Met.. Francis Mercier

 Where did you grow up, how did you get into creating music?

I was raised in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti where Caribbean, French & African cultures are very present, and I was exposed to artists like Magic System, Salif Keita, Mory Kante, and others in my early teens. I remember loving the energy, rhythm, and overall positivity found in African records. I initially had no idea who the artists were but whenever their music aired on local radios, it captivated me.

Years later, as I moved to the US for my studies, I discovered the melodic sound of Tiesto in 2006 in his ‘In Search Of Sunrise’ compilations, and those drew me into electronic music and from 2007 onwards I picked up DJing. After 7 years of performing in the biggest clubs in the North East of the US, I wanted more out of my career as a DJ and I grew into becoming a music producer from 2014 onwards. 

What’s the creative culture like in the city you raised in?

In Port-Au-Prince, Haiti where I grow up, the creative culture is very vibrant and diverse. We Haitians have our Caribbean roots and the Kompa Music has very unique energy but we are also very much exposed to American & European cultures. When growing up I had friends from all over the world and everyone would share their music. That may have been the reason why I chose to become a DJ.

What made you decide to start a record label?

In the early 2010s, I felt a void for House Music in New York. Back then the EDM Big Room sound was at the forefront together with Hip Hop and Trap Music. It was nearly impossible to land shows in Manhattan for classic House Music. As such, I decided to launch my own imprint Deep Root Records to initially put on cool shows focused on the classic House Music that I’m fond of.

Within a few years, we drew quite some attention and began releasing music. 2019 was a big year for us launching our Deep Root Sessions brand and in 2020 we started our Afro House imprint Deep Root Tribe. We’ve then been empowering lots of African artists to gain visibility on an international level. I’m quite excited to contribute to the Afro House scene with my remake of ‘Premier Gaou’ in partnership with Spinnin’ Records and their House Music imprint Spinnin Deep.

Have you tried to bring part of your Haitian heritage into your music?

I have been working on it and will be releasing an EP with an amazing Haitian vocalist by the name of Lenny Auguste at the end of the year. She’s from Gonaives and has an incredible voice.

Are you working independently to release your music? If so, what are some of the challenges?

I do release some of my compositions independently under my label Deep Root Records and wearing multiple hats all at the same time can be a challenge, but I focus on the positive instead. Having my own platform to release and push out my records gives me the capacity to present my vision to the world in its purest form.

If you weren’t making music, what do you think you would be doing?

I’d probably be in the world of finance as that’s what I studied. Good thing is that my academic background has given me an edge to be organized both within my creative and administrative duties at my label.

Do you play any instruments, if not, which would you love to learn first?

I dabble on the piano but I actually do not play any real-world instruments. That said, I do know how to play/use analog and software instruments quite well. Most of my compositions are coined by their chord progressions, which I use my natural musical experience to create on the keyboard and to port into MIDI and I work from there. I would love to learn how to perfectly play the piano, and one day buy an upright or grand piano for my house to learn some of my favorite classical piano pieces by Italian pianist Ludovico Einaudi, and others who I love listening to.

Do you have advice for anyone releasing music independently?

Sure! Stay true to your vision, and go step by step. The road is long but definitely worth it. Building a fan base independently and purely from your music will be the strongest base.

Which artist would you love to collaborate with most?

Would love to work with Gorgon City for example! They are one of my favorite duos.

Do you have any festival bookings this summer?

I may play at the Summer Music Festival in Mons Belgium. But as of now no major festival. Hopefully, that will change 🙂

How would you describe your production style in three words?

Melodic, Moody, and Groovy!

Be sure to pre save Francis Mercier’s forthcoming single, Premier Gaou here

Hanoi Club Savage Announces A Three-Day Festival That’s Partly Set In A Cave

Savage, a five year-old club in Vietnam’s capital city, is hosting a mini-festival in a northern town called Mai Chau. Scheduled for April 2nd to 5th, the event takes place near Mai Chau Lodge.

Savage residents Ouissam, Zwi and Di Linh are playing in addition to a host of Hanoi-based artists such as Njuns, TrinhNu and Teodora Van Context. In total, the line-up spans 21 acts.

There will be two stages, one outdoors in a field during the day and the second inside a natural cave (pictured) for night. Savage cofounder Ouissam recently played in this cave for a special stream with local platforms Phoq Creative Studio and Phoq TV. Later this year or 2022, Savage hopes to throw an edition of Equation Festival at this location.

The Hanoi venue has been closed since February due to pandemic restrictions but it plans to reopen next week. As of March 5th, Vietnam recorded six new COVID-19 infections, bringing the national caseload to 2,494, according to official data.

For more information, visit the festival’s event page.Event: Savage Presents (Re)Treat

We Out Here Festival Adds Over 100 Artists To Its Line-Up

Gilles Peterson’s festival will return to the Cambridgeshire countryside on August 19-22 and boasts a wealth of live music and DJ talent that spans jazz, house, disco, grime, dubstep, dub, rap, r’n’b, drum ‘n’ bass, jungle and techno.

The line-up is embarrassingly good with the likes of Alfa Mist, Children of Zeus, dBridge, KOKOROKO, Nubya Garcia, Overmono and Yussef Dayes just a few of the live acts playing.

DJs include SHERELLE, Mala, DJ Storm, Colleen Murphy, ANZ, Joy Orbison and Kahn & Neek, not to mention many others.

It’s hard to pick our favourites from the line-up so just check out who’s been announced below. The curation is no joke!

Final release tickets are out now – don’t sleep, many UK festivals are currently selling out in record time.

We Out Here falls about a month after festivals and clubs are currently allowed to re-open and two months after it’s currently predicted that all adults in the UK could receive a coronavirus vaccine.

Live performances from:

Alabaster dePlume / Alfa Mist / Ashley Henry / Black Country, New Road / Children of Zeus / Corto.Alto / Crazy P / Dan Kye / dBridge presents Black Electric LIVE / Demae / Diabolical Liberties / Ebi Soda / Ego / Ella May / Emma-Jean Thackray / Erika de Casier Ezra Collective / Goya Gumbani / Greentea Peng / IG Culture presents LCSM / Joe Armon-Jones / Jose James – performing The Dreamer / KOKOROKO / Leon Vynehall / Levitation Orchestra / Lex Amor / Lovescene / Lynda Dawn / Matthew Halsall Melt Yourself Down / Moses Boyd / Nick Walters & The Paradox Ensemble / Nubiyan Twist / Nubya Garcia / Overmono / Puma Blue / Sahra Gure / Sarathy Korwar / Secret Night Gang / Shackleton / Sons of Kemet / Steam Down / STR4TA / The Colours That Rise / The Heliocentrics / Tyson / Wu-lu / Yussef Dayes

DJ sets from:

25 years of BBE / Addison Groove / Afronaught / Al Wootton / Alexander Nut / Andreya Triana / ANZ / Appleblim / Aqwea / Benji B / Bradley Zero / Call Super / Channel One / Charlie Dark / Coco Maria / Colin Curtis / Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy / Dan Shake / Danuka / Dennis Bovell / DJ Flight / DJ Paulette / DJ Storm / Donna Leake / Dr Banana / Dubkasm / El-B / Eliza Rose / Fabio & Grooverider / Faith – Terry Farley, Stu Paterson & Dave Jarvis / Floating Points / Gilles Peterson / Global Roots / Idjut Boys / Iration Steppas / IZCO / Jamz Supernova / Joy Orbison / Kahn & Neek / Kev Beadle / Kira Robin / Kruder & Dorfmeister / LAANi LEFTO / Lemon Lounge DJs / Loefah / Luke Una / Mala / Matthew Herbert / MLE / Mr Redley / Mr Scruff / On the Corner Soundsystem / Patrick Forge / Poly-Ritmo / Rebecca Vasmant/ Shannen SP / Sherelle / Shy One / Sophie Callis / Swing Ting / Tarzsa / Tash LC / Tina Edwards / Touching Bass – Errol & Alex Rita / Zed Bias

Which Music Festivals Are Going Ahead In Europe In 2021?

1) Reading and Leeds Festival

Where is it?

Reading and Leeds, UK

When is it?

August 27th-29th

Where do I buy a ticket?

Here and here.

It goes without saying that the UK is home to Europe’s most diverse festival scene. From hosting metal weekends in muddy rural fields to dance music in Northern warehouses, it has it all.

Reading and Leeds attracted thousands of devotees year upon year to its two sites based in the north and south of England, along with swathes of young people fresh out of school.

When festival honcho Melvin Benn announced that the bank holiday weekend blowout will be going ahead, ticket sales went through the roof.

Traditionally a rockier affair, the festival has worked hard to create a patchwork of genres to appeal to as many people as possible over the years. Most memorably, Billie Eillish played to her largest ever crowd back on 2019’s main stage following the prolific success of her debut album.

This summer people can expect to see the likes of Stormzy, Post Malone, Liam Gallagher, and Doja Cat – and that’s just the bare bones of a lineup that is constantly being updated.

A successful vaccination rollout means that most attendees should be good to go. Those that haven’t been vaccinated will be expected to do a live COVID test in front of a doctor in the days prior, which will provide them with a ‘health passport’ of sorts for entry.

It’s looking as though a similar system could be implemented internationally in order to ensure maximum safety.

2) Sziget Festival

Where is it?

Budapest, Hungary

When is it?

Organisers are finalising dates, but traditionally the second weekend of August.

Where do I buy a ticket?

You can get your tickets here.

A truly global experience, people of over 100 nationalities travel every year to spend time amongst Budapest’s landscape, accompanied by music from almost as many countries. Entitled the ‘island of freedom’, this is one for those that enjoy a bit of arts and culture mixed in with their chart toppers.

This year Hungary’s biggest and brightest is shrouded in mystery.

Ticket holders from last year’s cancellation have been fortunate enough to be offered guaranteed entry this year, but there is little information on who is playing so far. The last festival was lucky enough to play host to The 1975, Ed Sheeran, and Florence + The Machine as headliners. If that’s anything to go by, you can expect a real combo.

We’ll be honest – we don’t know much else. But the website maintains that there will be a Sziget 2021 and we want to believe them!

3) Exit Festival

Where is it?

Novi Sad, Serbia

When is it?

July 8th-11th

Where do I buy a ticket?

You can get your tickets here.

Rebranded as Exit 2.0 given last year’s wave of cancellations, this year’s dance masterpiece celebrates its 20th anniversary with performances from David Guetta, DJ Snake and a back to back set from Four Tet and Eric Prydz.

Surrounded by incredible woodlands, Exit festival has grown lots since it’s inception back in 2001. It prides itself on being a stimulus to the Balkan creative industries, with an emphasis on being an environmentally conscious place to enjoy your favourite dance artists.

It’s incredible value for money too – €109 euros gets you four days in the city of Novi Sad, with an extra camping supplement for €30.

4) We Love Green

Where is it?

Paris, France

When is it?

June 3rd-6th

Where do I buy a ticket?

You can get your tickets here.

A more diverse festival when it comes to activities, We Love Green offers a selection of music, comedy, art and talks. There’s even a dedicated area to tasting the best Parisian food stalls.

WLG has had its entire roster of artists carried over to 2021, so those attending will be fortunate enough to experience dance duo Disclosure and rapper of the moment Bad Bunny. Eclectic British legends Gorillaz have the entire first night dedicated to a special concert experience that promises a range of surprise guests.

Given they have collaborated with everybody from St.Vincent to Skepta on their recent project, it’s not one to miss.

5) Tomorrowland Festival

Where is it?

Boom, Belgium

When is it?

TBC – but traditionally the final two weekends of July

Where do I buy a ticket?

You can get your tickets here.

You only need to look at the famously gargantuan set designs of this festival to know that it is the place to be. Tomorrowland prides itself on taking people on a mystical, EDM-driven journey filled with dragons, stained glass dancefloors and circus tents.

In fact, it’s so in demand that the whole thing gets a do-over one weekend after the other – Coachella style.

Arguably the world’s most famous dance music festival, many DJ’s play the best sets of their careers to crowds amassing 400,000 people. We don’t know a huge amount about Tomorrowland’s plans for 2021 but as of yet its organisers say preparations are ‘ongoing’.

If all goes to plan you can expect it to be bigger and better than ever.

6) Mad Cool Festival

Where is it?

Madrid, Spain

When is it?

July 7th-11th

Where do I buy a ticket?

You can get your tickets here.

Given the newest cancellation of neighbouring festival Primavera which takes place a month prior, people are now relying on Mad Cool to bring the best artists over to Spain for the summer.

As one of Europe’s newest big names, in its five short years Mad Cool has attracted some real game-changing performances. This year you can expect to enjoy Haim, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Cardi B and Twenty One Pilots in the Spanish heat, but there are well over 100 different acts to choose from that’ll keep your schedule jam packed.

And it will cost you just a fraction of your average Iberian getaway for a four day stretch.

Every weekday at 21.00 CET, Euronews Travel brings you a story from somewhere different around the world. Download the Euronews app to get an alert for this and other breaking news. It’s available** on Apple and Android devices.**

Ireland Is Planning To Extend Nightclub And Pub Closing Times

Ireland plans to overhaul its licensing laws, with one proposal under consideration being an annual nightclub permit which would allow clubs to extend their opening hours beyond the current 2:30AM cut-off.

The plans have been put forward by Ireland’s Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, who noted that Ireland’s current licensing legislation dates back to 1935 and needs to be brought in line with the modern day.

Speaking to Newstalk, the Minister said: “I fully acknowledge that we are talking about this at a time when much of that industry is closed. What I want to say very clearly to that industry is that when you get back on your feet, we are going to be there to support you.

“We have fantastic musicians, artists, DJs, promoters and people working in this industry who are going to need more supports when Covid-19 finishes and that is what this legislation is about.”

Around 200 measures are under consideration in McEntee’s Justice Plan 2021, with other proposals including extended closing times for pubs and Sunday trading hours being brought in line with the rest of the week for pubs and off licenses. The implementation of new categories of alcohol licenses for cultural venues such as art galleries and theatres are also being considered.

The news has been welcomed by people involved in Ireland’s music scene and night-time economy.

Speaking to RA, Dublin-based DJ and backer of the Give Us The Night campaign Sunil Sharpe said: “Changes to our licensing laws and closing times are many years coming. While a lot of people seem to think that Covid-19 is the reason for these changes, I wouldn’t exactly agree with that. We got a commitment from all of the main political parties during the last general election campaign, and then an inclusion in the programme for government. It was always going in this direction.”

“That said, I think the extent of the changes is now going to be more ambitious given the pressure all entertainment and hospitality businesses are under. The stars have aligned in ways, and no one deserves this more than our sector. What the government did to our club scene in 2008 was outrageous, it crippled the industry, but now in the midst of the worst point ever for the industry and club scene, there is a bit more hope for how we’ll return.”

“From the campaign’s point of view, it’s a huge development that the minister has publicly announced her intentions. The last similar announcement, that didn’t go nearly as far as hers and never led to anything either, was over 15 years ago. The fact that we will most likely see an end to the 1935 Public Dance Halls Act, too, is very important to our campaign. It’s hard to express how much that means to all of us here. It’s an infamous piece of legislation that has hurt music culture in Ireland through many generations.”

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Donall O’Keeffe, the CEO of the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA), said the new measures will be of “great benefit” to Dublin pub owners when lockdown restrictions ease and allow for reopening.

Minister McEntee said the move indicates the government is “thinking beyond Covid” in its plans to boost Irish nightlife and support professions such as DJs and nightclub owners. She warned the measures will take time to put in place as they are featured in a major piece of legislation accounting for more than 200 actions.

[Via: Irish Times & RA]

Discover Ampiano With South African Producer DJ Black Low

South African Ampiano producer, DJ Black Low has releaased a new video for the the track ‘Jaiva Low’, which will be on this forthcoming debut album on the 7th of May through Aweseom Tapes of Africa.

The 11-track album comes at a time when South African electronic music is being fundamentally disrupted. Amapiano, the electronic music movement which first gained popularity with a small, core group of followers, now dominates the mainstream. Well-known and pervasive, amapiano borrows from a diverse palette of musical styles which are popular in South Africa’s largely Black townships- jazz, kwaito, dibacardi, deep and afro house among them. 

Watch ‘Jaiva Low’ below.

Lucky Daye Speaks About Love For His New EP – Painted

Lucky Daye returns to his funk laced RnB roots a year and some change after his album Painted debuted to the world.  Lucky Daye comes from humble beginnings, having auditioned for American Idol (his audition clip is still up on Youtube to this day) only to be voted off before the big live shows. From there, he would take his talents behind the scenes, penning songs for singers such as Trey Songz, Ella Mai and Mary J. Blige.

Now on his solo journey, he returns with his second release Table for Two. Daye enlists the help of an all-female feature list to bring his vision to light. The EP takes us on a journey, with skits between tracks where Lucky Daye grapples with rejection and heartbreak. Daye carries on the chopped and screwed rap style vocals from his first album into Table for Two, further solidifying his cinematic approach to making music. These skits offer the most vulnerable side of Daye’s artistic expression; this project is bathed in the regret of a man who let a good one get away.

With an impressive and seamless set of features from Ari Lennox, Yebba, Queen Naija, our own Mahalia and Tiana Major9 and Joyce Wrice, at a glance it does look like overkill but each songstress adds something important and beautiful to Daye’s melancholic but hopeful perspective on love.

Listen to Table for Two below.

Dutch Government Plans To Allow Festivals From July

Festivals in the Netherlands have started revealing plans for 2021 editions following the Dutch government announcing it aims to allow festivals from July 1, and will insure events planned after this date that are cancelled due to COVID-19.

Last month, a cancellation fund of at least €300 million was announced by the Dutch government to allow event organisers to plan for the second half of 2021 with security that they will be covered if the pandemic stops events going ahead for a second year running.

It covers events that attract a minimum of 3,000 visitors from July 1 through to the end of the year, with Dutch culture minister Ingrid van Engelshoven saying it is not “reasonable” to expect “masses can stand close together on a field” before that time.

She added: “[This fund] is a dot on the horizon for festival organizers. They can fall back on the guarantee fund in which at least €300m has been reserved. The event industry has long come to a standstill due to Corona. Guarantee is needed to get it back on track.”

In a statement on its website, Dutch drum ‘n’ bass festival Liquicity wrote: “Great news: the Dutch government has announced that they aim to allow festivals after July 1st! In case festivals still get canceled due to changing Covid circumstances, organizers are likely to be compensated for the costs. Festivals in The Netherlands are currently selling out in record pace due to this new government announcement.”

Liquicity, which was one of the few festivals in the Netherlands to offer timely refunds during last year’s event cancellations and ‘postponements’ in line with the Save Your Ticket scheme, has also revealed its plans for ticket warranties to ensure buyers are 100% risk free when purchasing for the event.

Dutch festivals that usually take place in the spring or early summer such as Awakenings and DGTL have revealed they are rescheduling to autumn in order to be covered by the cancellation fund.

Awakenings Festival will now take place across September 11 and 12, and tickets are already sold out. Its website notes: “The COVID-19 pandemic is still not over, but things are starting to look a bit brighter, so we now aim for the second weekend of September.”

DGTL Amsterdam has also announced plans to run across September 11 and 12 at the NDSM Docklands. Artists such as Eris Drew, DJ Python, Ricardo Villalobos, Afrodeutsche and more have been booked to play, and the majority of tickets sold out.

Last December Germany announced a similar €2.5 billion event cancellation fund, with UK festivals warning they need similar government support to plan for events to take place this year.

This support has not been forthcoming, leading to Glastonbury announcing its 2021 edition is cancelled later that month.

[Via Mixmag]

Former R&S employee Raji Rags Sues Label and CEO Renaat Vandepapeliere For Unlawful Dismissal and Racial Discrimination

Content warning: This story contains imagery and mentions of anti-Semitism, Nazism and Adolf Hitler. Former R&S Records employee Raj Chaudhuri, AKA Raji Rags, has filed a case with the UK employment tribunal against the label and its CEO and cofounder, Renaat Vandepapeliere.

Chaudhuri, who handled A&R for the label on a freelance basis, worked at R&S Records Limited between May 2019 and September 2020. He spent the first 13 months on a rolling monthly retainer, before agreeing to a one-year deal in July 2020. Three months into the new deal, on September 29th, he claims he was unlawfully dismissed by Vandepapeliere.

Two weeks after the alleged dismissal, on October 14th, Chaudhuri issued a statement via social media explaining his departure. “I am not comfortable with working with Renaat Vandepapeliere and putting energy into a company that doesn’t support Black and women artists sufficiently,” he wrote. Chaudhuri has since decided to take the matter further, filing a Particulars Of Claim with the UK employment tribunal on January 21st, 2021.

Resident Advisor and the BBC have seen this 40-page document. In the document, Chaudhuri presents a detailed account of his time at R&S. In addition to the claim of unlawful dismissal, he details multiple instances of alleged “discrimination, harassment, victimisation and post-employment victimisation” involving Vandepapeliere, who has run the label since 1983.

Many of his claims are supported by screenshots of emails or text messages from/to Vandepapeliere. All of the quotes in this article are from the Particulars Of Claim filed with the tribunal unless otherwise stated. Vandepapeliere was offered the opportunity to respond to all of these allegations by RA.

The following statement was made in response to these allegations on behalf of Vandepapeliere and R&S Records Limited:

We have not had an opportunity to prepare our case yet, as the claim has not even been served on us, but given the negative and premature publicity, we feel we have no option but to respond. Mr. Chaudhuri has been reported to the police which we believe will fall under extortion and blackmail under the Theft Act 1968. On the 29th September, he emailed Mr Renaat Vandepapeliere saying that he would “destroy” him publicly unless he was paid £10,000 for potential future work that never happened.

Mr. Chaudhuri was a freelancer who became disgruntled and was fired due to reasons that would fall under gross misconduct if he had been an employee. Mr. Chaudhuri has submitted a tribunal case which in its own right proves nothing. We believe Mr Chaudhuri has done this in order to attack Mr Renaat Vandepapeliere in an attempt to sway him away from other legal proceedings and cause the malicious damage that he threatened unless Mr Renaat Vandepapeliere gave into his monetary demands.

Mr Renaat Vandepapeliere is certainly not racist and everyone at R&S Records embraces equality. We are currently taking our own advice on separately pursuing a defamation claim in respect of these spurious, untruthful and damaging allegations. There is simply no truth in anything he says or the allegations that Mr Chaudhuri has made. We have no intention of litigating this in the press and have every confidence that justice will prevail.

In the claim, Chaudhuri repeatedly accuses Vandepapeliere of racism and sexism. He says he set out to diversify the label’s output by trying to sign more Black and women artists. (A source close to R&S said the label had only signed one major woman artist, Paula Temple, in its 38-year history.) Every new artist had to be signed off by Vandepapeliere. Chaudhuri says he found it difficult to win Vandepapeliere’s approval for Black and women artists.

His first signings, allegedly secured while his boss was taking some time out from the label, featured non-white artists from Ghana, Pakistan, Portugal and Democratic Republic Of Congo. Chaudhuri says Vandepapeliere didn’t like the music, calling it “meaningless.” Chaudhuri says he also felt a growing concern about his boss’s conduct towards women. For example, in November 2019 Vandepapeliere allegedly sent Chaudhuri an Instagram post asking him to rate three topless women.

In the wake of George Floyd’s death in May 2020, Vandepapeliere allegedly wanted to post a black square on the label’s social media platforms in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests—a gesture that Chaudhuri felt was insufficient. When Chaudhuri tried to explain to Vandepapeliere that house and techno, the two genres underpinning R&S’s success, “came from black culture,” Vandepapeliere allegedly replied with, “Wauw – step too far for me. Techno is very white, go to the history of electronic music.”

A few weeks later, anti-Semitic posts from 2015 and 2016 resurfaced online from the Facebook account of Colombian artist Santiago Niño Rodriguez, AKA Hermetics, who released the Technosis EP on R&S in 2018. The posts included a photo of Adolf Hitler, a YouTube video titled “Adolf Hitler vs The Jew World Order” and the words, in Spanish, “No hubo Holocausto” (“There was no Holocaust”) written by Rodriguez.

Vandepapeliere signed Rodriguez to R&S in 2018. When the posts resurfaced, Chaudhuri says he urged Vandepapeliere to “completely cut off ties with him,” including removing all his music from the R&S back catalogue. Vandepapeliere allegedly emailed Rodriguez to say “don’t post anything” but refused to take any further action. “Really remove his track… No way,” he wrote. “Inform the kid of danger – yes.” Chaudhuri responded with, “He’s not a kid. He’s a fully grown man who agrees with Hitler.”

In a subsequent email to Chaudhuri, Vandepapeliere allegedly called Rodriguez’s posts a “mistake” and told Chaudhuri to “never judge people from a distance mate.” Rodriguez’s music on R&S remains on sale. The disagreement continued in a separate email chain, with the subject line “Got a question,” which started with an email sent to Chaudhuri by Vandepapeliere on June 3rd, 2020. “What about India… SLAVERY is there full on,” he wrote. “Africa – black murdering each other.” Chaudhuri replied, “I don’t like slavery. I don’t like black on black violence.

I also don’t like anti-Semitism and Nazis.” Chaudhuri says he felt their working relationship grew “very strained” from there. The series of events that Chaudhuri believes led up to his alleged unlawful dismissal began in early July 2020. Vandepapeliere agreed to let Chaudhuri launch a run of six 12-inches, plus a compilation, featuring the music of his choice. Vandepapeliere allegedly didn’t want the records to come out on the main R&S label, but as a series, similar to RV Trax.

Emails in the Particulars Of Claim seen by RA show that Chaudhuri and Vandepapeliere agreed that Chaudhuri would be paid £1,000 per month for 12 months for this project, plus a share of the profits on all seven records. This new deal would replace his previous freelance agreement. Chaudhuri says he asked for a formal written contract for the new work agreement, but Vandepapeliere allegedly said “you got my mail” and he was “a man of his word.”

No written contract was drawn up. In September 2020, the month in which Chaudhuri alleges he was unlawfully dismissed, the Los Angeles-based artist Eddington Again, who is Black and has released on R&S, shared screenshots of emails with Vandepapeliere in which he had challenged the R&S boss on the lack of Black and women artists on the label.

In reference to a new artist he was hoping to sign, Vandepapeliere replied saying, “I hope I have now found a full pure breed black artist that I can spend my life with in full focus.” Again’s post went viral, which led to many fans, artists and industry players calling on Vandepapeliere to apologise for his language.

In emails sent to Chaudhuri and others on September 27th, Vandepapeliere initially refused to apologise, claiming that “pure breed” was a Flemish metaphor lost in translation. This led to several artists, including Lone and Special Request, releasing public statements condemning Vandepapeliere’s choice of language.

On September 28th, Chaudhuri and Vandepapeliere exchanged text messages. One of these, sent by Chaudhuri, suggested that Vandepapeliere “step down” from his “responsibilities” and work “creatively behind the scenes.” Vandepapeliere replied saying Chaudhuri had “crossed the line” and that “R&S goes my way.”

The following day, September 29th, Vandepapeliere allegedly dismissed Chaudhuri with immediate effect and no prior warning. “I cannot work longer without a strong team standing for the company,” he wrote. “I was devastated to lose my job,” Chaudhuri says. “It was particularly galling to be fired for doing the right thing and trying to get him to do the right thing.

I was also on the brink of bringing newfound success and credibility to the label on the back of the diversified artists I was in the process of signing.” Chaudhuri, feeling he had been unlawfully dismissed, wrote to Vandepapeliere asking to be financially compensated for ten months’ worth of lost wages. He also threatened to publish an open letter disclosing Vandepapeliere’s “discriminatory conduct” if he wasn’t paid the money. Subsequently, only one month’s wages were transferred.

A week later, Chaudhuri, who was now unemployed, was offered work at a well-known music company. (Chaudhuri requested the company remain unnamed.) A job offer was on the table but allegedly later rescinded. Chaudhuri alleges that Vandepapeliere sent the head of the music company a statement, published via Iconic Underground Magazine on November 12th.

In the statement, he said relations with “a former company consultant” had been “terminated” after “his threat to issue an open letter to the media.” Chaudhuri disputes this sequence of events, claiming he was dismissed before making the alleged threat.

Vandepapeliere will shortly be served with the Particulars of Claim by the employment tribunal, as is the ordinary procedure in such a case. However, they have been served on him privately already. A date has yet to be set for the tribunal hearing, which will take place in London.

French Producer Folamour Proclaims To ‘Just Want Happiness’ On Latest Single

The French producer Folamour this week released his latest track ‘Just Want Happiness’ ahead of his upcoming debut album.

‘Just Want Happiness’ is a departure from the floaty yet propulsive house sound that has made Folamour’s name thus far. Rather, it’s a downtempo number that loops around a beat that recalls the best of 90s and noughties indie rock, while horns, guitars and drones float in and out. It’s blissful and uplifting, rooted in a grounded optimism.

Folamour has found fame in recent years after the Boiler Room stream of his Fly Open Air set in 2019 went viral, having now been viewed over 3m times on Youtube. He has released on a range of labels, including All City and Glitterbox, as well as setting up his own FHUO Records imprint.

Listen to ‘Just Want Happiness’ below.