Petit Biscuit isn’t your typical eighteen-year-old.
The artist whose real name is Mehdi Benjelloun has performed on stages all around the world, juggled school and a professional music career, and put out his first studio album just last year. The young French producer and DJ found breakthrough success three years ago with the single ‘Sunset Lover’, an infectious, dreamy dance track that took Spotify by storm, amassing over 350 million streams while Benjelloun was an independent artist attending school on the daily.
While his music falls under the electronica and dance genres, it has a spacey, atmospheric quality that gives it a chilled and even contemplative vibe: his debut LP Presence is an impressive one that presents a beautiful synchronisation of electronic and acoustic sounds, reflective of Benjelloun's background in electronica and classical music.
Petit Biscuit is headed to Southeast Asia for the first time this month to play at Good Vibes Festival 2018 in Genting Highlands, Malaysia. Bandwagon caught up with him on his new album and post-school life as a full-time musician ahead of his performance. Read the interview below:
It’s been a few months since you stopped going to school to focus on music. How does it feel?
I feel like I’m now the master of my project. I can focus on things I couldn’t do before, and it feels nice to have this everyday motivation. Also, with this huge « Presence Tour » & all this stuff to do, I’m living a long, great adventure!
You catapulted into the limelight with the single ‘Sunset Lover’ in 2015, breaking into global charts and making a name for yourself. How do you feel about the song now, and would you change anything about it?
I wouldn’t change anything about this song, because of how good it feels when it’s all natural and spontaneous. But like any other artist « first hit », I feel a little bit bored about this track. I’ve evolved in a really different way with my new work, and I’m prouder of what I’m doing right now (so excited to show you some new stuff)! The only thing is that I’ll never be bored of seeing people getting so happy when they hear the first chord of 'Sunset Lover' during my shows!
Electronica and classical music were two of your early inspirations. They’re vastly different genres - how did you develop an appreciation for both, and why did you go down the electronic music route?
I don’t think Electronica and classical are really two different genres. There’s a lot of musicality, sensitivity and sweetness into both of them. I’m not listening to a track or another because of a genre, I can love everything, whatever genre it is, when I feel something unique and intense on it!
You incorporate a lot of real instruments into your tracks, which strikes a nice balance between digitally created sounds and acoustic sounds. What’s the key to a harmonious synchronisation between the two?
I think everything on this planet is more beautiful when blended! It works not only for music but also for cultures, colors etc. So I try to get close to the fundamentals of feelings that music brings with pop or classical inspired melodies and bring freshness to my vibe with electronic textures.
What inspired Presence? What was the creative process like?
Presence was inspired from how my life changed since the my project started to rise! I’ve seen life differently and I learned loads of things so fast. I’ve grew up like 6 years in only 2 real ones. I lived many experiences that I didn’t ever think I could live on one lifetime; like being on stage in front of some tens of thousand people. All of this fed me so much to be inspired on so many ways: I did an eclectic album with so many different faces of how Petit Biscuit can sound like. There is some sweet & poetic inspirations but also some dark & mysterious things.
This is going to be your first time touring Asia. What are you most excited about?
I’m simply excited of seeing what Asia really looks like, because it’s actually a bit blurry to me and I want to see all the landscapes, the people and culture with my own eyes! I think there’s so much to see, discover and learn from you all. I’m sure Asia will be one of my following inspiration on some new tracks…
Petit Biscuit will be performing at Good Vibes Festival 2018, which will take place on 21 and 22 July at The Ranch, Gohtong Jaya, Genting Highlands. The festival is open to those aged 18 and above. Tickets are now on sale with Phase 1 passes going for RM 360 (S$121), Phase 2 passes for RM 380 (S$128) and Phase 3 passes for RM 400 (S$135). All passes will include entry to both days. Tickets are available here.