Born in Paris, Fran Mtz aka Shemsu discovered his passion for electronic music as a teenager.
Although over the years he has perfected his own sound, it is not easy to identify Shemsu as a particular genre. Above all, he is a music lover with complete musical and artistic freedom.
His music is characterised by bass lines and warm melodies, but always with a contagious energy, mixing progressive house with melodic techno.
Shemsu is part of the Krafted Underground team as A & R Manager and is the CEO of EMA – Electronic Music Anthem. Having run his own label in the past, Shemsu is deeply rooted in the electronic music industry.
Get to know more about this versatile artist in his interview below.
Connect with Shemsu on Soundcloud | Facebook | Instagram
Hey Francis, we hope all is ok? Thank you for the guest mix and welcome to Tanzgemeinschaft.
Hello there, thank you for your invitation and for this interview!
How are things going these days?
I’m fine and excited, I’m looking forward to my new music in the next weeks with Krafted & Chrom Recordings.
Lately, I’ve been working on different projects with my Italian friends William Medagli & Thallulah, the talented Spaniard Gilbert Lezana. Furthermore, I also have a new project coming up with the Corsican artist Davidee.
You produce and play under the moniker Shemsu. Tell us something about the name. What does it stand for?
I wanted to have a name to identify my personality since I have always been a great fan of ancient Egyptian history.
Shemsu is part of the mythology of the builders of the pyramids, a symbolic name.
How would you describe yourself as an artist?
Although over the years I have perfected my own sound, it is not easy to identify Shemsu who has a particular genre. I am above all a music lover who enjoys total musical and artistic freedom.
Looking at your discography, you already have quite some releases up your sleeve. How did producing start out for you? What was the trigger to start creating your own music?
I discovered my passion for electronic music in France in the 90s. The Shemsu project started in 2015 when I decided to start producing music.
Initially, I come from the Parisian Hip-Hop movement which I enriched for many years with sounds; Funk, Groove, Soul, Afro-jazz, Latino.
However, I have always had a lot of admiration for the French composer Jean Michelle Jarre, an enormous reference by these impressive shows around the world as well as the electronic trends of the 80s such as Depeche Mode, New Order, Joy Division.
In 1992, a hip-hop dancer friend invited me to discover the new underground and revolutionary parties, the first Raves party Techno & Goa.
I experienced many legendary parties such as Laurent Garnier’s ‘Wake Up’ at the Rex, not forgetting the first Parisian appearances of West Bam, Carl Cox, Sven Vath, Francesco Farfa, Paul Van Dyk, Underworld and many more…
I got the trigger a good ten years ago to take advantage of all this electronic culture that I love so much.
The work you produce is more progressive house. Great sound. Any particular reason you started with this and not any other genre?
I started with progressive house but I also do melodic house & techno. I like to merge these different genres according to my moods and emotions.
My latest productions sound melodic house, I wanted to evolve in this direction and explore new horizons.
What are some key elements that define your sound? Do you have a signature sound you integrate into your music?
My music is characterized by elegant grooves, deep bass lines, warm melodies and enchanting vocals. I orient my music constructively by stages, visualise the different ideas and set up in Ableton.
Who are your musical or audio heroes and why? Or even new artists that impress you?
My cult musical piece is “Schöneberg” by Marmion, a pearl in my eyes.
I really like Laurent Garnier, Paul Van Dyk, Sasha, Steve Lawler, Francesco Farfa, John Digweed, Nick Warren, Hernan Cattaneo, john oo fleming, Moshic, Dave Seaman among others.
Currently, I love the huge work of Stephen Bodzin, Hannes Bierger and also Nico Morano, the label boss of Ontourage Music.
And when it comes to your field, producing, are there any particular ideas or pioneers that you go back to frequently or who really influence your thinking about the work you do?
I think all artists at the beginning of their careers keep in mind the influences of their idols, which is normal. Personally, I really like collaborating with different artists, I’m open to sharing my ideas and pushing the limits, which is part of my musical concept.
We know Shemsu isn’t the only thing that keeps you busy. You also run. Electronic Music Anthem and are part of the Krafted crew. How do you manage your time with all these projects going on?
Yes, absolutely, I’ve been part of the Krafted family as A&R manager for the last 3 and a half years and I also present the ‘Krafted Underground Radio Show‘, every second Friday of the month, from 4-5pm, on DI FM Progressive with the talents of the label.
Krafted Underground has just celebrated its 300th release, a compilation of 11 huge tracks such as; Nick Muir, Paul Sawyer, Simon Sinfield, Fabrizio Marra, Zoya, Lino Fuso, Simon Harris, Gilbert Lezana & Shemsu…
I am fortunate to be surrounded by lovely and talented people like Paul Sawyer, Simon Sinfield and Darren Braddick. What I admire most about my partners is their professionalism, which requires a huge demand to maintain the best musical quality since 2013.
Krafted is quite proud. The hard work has paid off and the label has managed to get two residencies on BBC Radio 1.
In parallel, I founded 2 years ago EMA – Electronic Music Anthem, a DJ booking and music promotion agency for artists and labels. Between Krafted Underground and EMA, it’s all a question of organisation and optimising working time.
Inevitably, there is a lot of work to be done, but the game is worth it, I find it exciting.
Coming back to that, could you take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work? Do you have a fixed schedule?
I have a fairly structured life, I have the chance to work early in the morning and finish in very reasonable hours, this gives me all the freedom for the rest of the day.
When I’m motivated, I go to play sports or sometimes go to lunch with friends around a good French wine.
Most of the time, I plan the week’s work according to the official dates of our releases and premieres. I can provide, depending on the day, an average of 2 to 4 hours of work or even more on weekends.
What is the importance of the connections you make? How do you utilize them?
Having run my own label in the past, I have deep roots in the electronic music industry.
Over the years, I’ve managed to make friendly connections with many artists in the electronic scene, label owners, magazines and radio stations.
We evolve in an environment where it is necessary to have an ethic, to defend one’s convictions, to be sincere and sometimes to know how to keep secrets, respect and trust are very important.
I use my professional relationship in an efficient way, A&R manager is not just about signing contracts, it is about being a source of influence, inspiring and encouraging artists to give their best.
Someone just said that the world will end in 10 mins during your DJ set, what would be your last track?
I have exactly the right music for this situation, it’s funny! Last April with my good friend Gilbert Lezana, we released “I’ll Never Call You Out Again” (Original Mix) on Pedro Mercado’s label Chrom Recordings.
This music is part of the EMA & Chrom compilation, including many killer tracks from excellent artists such as; Paul Sawyer, Fabrizio Marra, SNYL, Tamer Fouda, Pedro Mercado, KAMADEV, JG Outsider, Eleven Of July, Karada, William Medagli & Thallulah.