As most purveyors of electronic music are well-aware, Europe tends to be ahead of the curve when it comes to inventing, performing and permeating fresh sounds throughout the rest of the planet. One such case is Polo & Pan, the eccentric French dance duo comprising Paul Armand-Delille and Alexandre Grynszpan. Combining unpredictable arrangements of jazz, soul, funk, disco, and house, Polo & Pan recently invited US fans into their vibrant and immersive live show on a nearly sold out North American tour.
Claiming that their music is for “pleasure, fun and contemplation,” Los Angeles fans were visibly stunned when the duo stepped on the stage at the Fonda Theatre on a chilly December night. While their sound is clearly rooted in their French origins, Polo & Pan took audiences to a different, exotic part of the world with each song from their Caravelle album. Songs like “Canopée” transported us to the Brazilian tropical forest, while “Bakara” allowed us to dance along the banks of the African Congo River – all while Paul & Alex hyped the audience with live instrumental and vocal bouts.
We caught up with Polo & Pan while they were in town, touching on their Disney influences, ones to watch, and what’s up next for the pair (including a set at this year’s Coachella festival!)
OTW: How did each of you get into producing?
Paul : The summer before going to college I listen to Air’s Moon Safari. I was blown away and started getting interested in how such amazing music may be produced. It started then and there in 1999.
Pan: I started producing when I was 12 with “hip hop ejay;” at first I really wanted to produce hip hop instrumentals because I loved rap music. Thanks to hip hop and samples, I discovered jazz, soul, funk, disco, groove, and I decided to go further in my musical quest.
OTW: What was it about each other’s personalities and production/DJ styles that made you decide to make music together?
Paul : Alex and I are very different, hence complimentary. From him, I learned the virtue of doing the same thing over and over again to make it perfect, the ability to read and direct a crowd better, the idea of dramatizing a DJ set and moving away from a linear performance…
Pan: Paul taught me how important it is to use analogic and organic sounds to make your production alive.
OTW: What do you hope people learn about French culture and music by listening to your songs?
Whatever they want to take from it really. Our music is for pleasure, fun and contemplation mainly.
OTW: You have mentioned Disney as being a big influence in your music. Which Disney movie/story has impacted your music, and yourselves, the most?
Pan : Well, obviously Jungle Book is one of our favorites, we have a lot fo tropical influences.
Paul : I have beautiful memories of the 90s pictures also. I watched Aladdin and Lion King tons of times.
OTW: Your beats are so eclectic and unpredictable – how do you typically go about creating and arranging them?
We don’t really have a guideline which enhances the unpredictability. We are always looking for influences and inspirational starting points for a song – A movie (“Dorothy”), a sample (“Zoom Zoom”), a mathematical concept (Jacquadi), meeting a new musician (“Bakara”).
OTW: Who are 3-5 of your ones to watch?
Our three to watch are: You Man, Lewis Of Man and Asa Moto.
OTW: How was the US tour and how have you seen American audiences react to your live show?
The tour was absolutely fantastic. We are getting great turn out with more and more American fans in the crowd. We couldn’t be happier.
OTW: What’s up next for you guys?
We are collaborating with infamous 70s OST composer, Vladimir Cosma. We will be on stage in January in Paris to perform with a symphonic orchestra. And we will return to America for Coachella. A very exciting challenge indeed!