Saturday December 10, Le Bain joins forces with DFA Records to present the first live performance in New York of wonder boys Benoit & Sergio. Based in Washington DC, the two have met in a party in 2008 and have been composing fascinating dance anthems since then - a music that transport you from the dance floor to their weird and romantic world. We followed Benoit & Sergio between bright and dark for a Standard Q&A in one voice.
Benoit & Sergio by Camille Blake
The Standard: One of your biographies says that “Benoit & Sergio do not make dance tracks - they tell stories”, which is a perfect description of your music. What do you think makes a good story?
Benoit & Sergio: One element has to do with style. You have the Hollywood approach where you mix girls, drugs and guns. We do that a little bit. Then you have, say, the European Ecole, in which introspection meets the surrounding world, at which point deeper and darker questions start to arise. There is also always a menacing, troubling element to good stories: some underlying satanic presence, a black cauldron, the dark woods of doubt, the midnight of temptation.
If you had to describe your music in a few movies or books, which ones would they be?
If you were to analyze the creative process, Les Promesses de l’Aube would be a good book to describe it, because every man’s action is powered by the desperate search for a lost comfort. This includes making music.
The world you describe seems always melancholic, weird and romantic at the same time. Is it very close to the real world you live in or something you like to build up?
Not too far from our world, that is, not too far from the world we all occupy. For the most part, people are made the same way, so nobody is immune to darker and more melancholic feelings or to the weird angles of everyday life. We just like to express them and mix them with the brighter mood of partying, to create this weird in-between. The in-between space of bright and dark moods that good music sometimes produces is very seductive in the way that people who live in that in-between space are seductive.
It seems every record you have released so far has become a club anthem. How do you explain your sound and words feels just right into the zeitgeist?
Maybe thanks to going out and loving music enough to make music that we love.
Benoit & Sergio’s cover of Around the World (Daft Punk).
You also said about your creative process “It is not like ‘Let’s sit down and write an electro funk track’ - it’s more: Let’s try to capture energy”, the energy you can feel in a club on a good night. Do you go out a lot yourself? Do you feel you belong to the Night People?
We go out quite a lot but touring has slowed it down when we’re not playing. One side of us could be described as being ‘night people’, yes. But going out is still productive in that we are learning new things, learning what works and what doesn’t on a dance floor.
Sergio said “If your music sounds good when you are sober, then you know you’ve got something going”. Is it the same when going out in a club, if it feels good when sober, then you know you’ve got something going?
If it works on a dance floor, you can tell if you’re sober or sniffing glue. The studio is more delicate.
Do you believe the best club of its time can be the center of the world?
The complexity of this question is much more interesting than any answer we could give to it.
You grew up thousand miles apart and met in a party in Washington in 2008. Since then you have been producing music together. How do you explain such a great alchemy between both of you? Do you think ‘artistic’ coup-de-foudre can happen as it does with love?
Yes, artistic coup-de-foudre can exist but then there’s something equally powerful about what Richard Wilbur calls “That long love / Which constant spirits are the keepers of / And which, though taken to be tame and staid / Is a wild sostenuto of the heart / A passion joined to courtesy and art / Which has the quality of something made / Like a good fiddle, like the rose’s scent / Like a rose window or the firmament.”
Who are your all time favorite duos?
Pierre et Marie Curie. Avon Barksdale and Stringer Bell (The Wire)
If you had the super power to teleport yourself in one movie, in which movie would you like to live and interact?
Mulholland Drive or Ghostbusters or the first half of Days of Heaven, when everyone is still in love.
Benoit & Sergio.
Saturday December 10, Le Bain and DFA Records present Benoit & Sergio LIVE and Justin Miller (DJ set). Doors 11pm.