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