What do Justice, Mac Demarco and Toyota have in common?
Sometime mid-pandemic, in the middle of rush hour, heading into the city from the valley a Toyota Celica idled. The retro convertible had no mirrors, no licence plates, questionable electronics; the driver without license.
The Celica was a rather famous one, once with a beautiful mirrored paint job, but time had taken its toll on the poor girl. Just like the rest of us, she had been robbed of her beauty by the dry heat and constant motion of Los Angeles. The chic 80’s coke-mobile had outlived her allure, and was destined to rust in a prop lot in the valley until a French producer needed a really good reason to show up to Mac Demarco’s house.
“Oh I thought it would be a wonderful car. I will find this wonderful car and I will look so cool in Los Angeles”
Myd was in LA on business. The business of hit-making doesn’t stop because the business of touring does. Hit-making is relentless and unbound by industry or commerce or economy. Rain or shine, bull or bear, we can rest easy knowing hits will be made.
Myd’s friends and Ed Banger label mates, the French electronic duo Justice, had given their mirrored Celica to Mac Demarco but Mac Demarco didn’t have an American driver’s license. Under the impression that Mac’s lack of license was the extent of the issues with the car, Myd volunteered to pick it up for him. Myd and Mac were slated to work together on a song for Myd’s upcoming record on Ed Banger, but ever polite, Myd felt he needed a good reason to show up to Mac’s house and get cracking on the track.
“I did not want to just knock on his door and say, ‘Okay, let’s work now!’ I said, ‘Oh shit, did you ever get the car from Justice?… I’ll get the car for you and take it to your home!’”
Pulling up with a humble gift seemed to be an easy course of action and Myd was undisturbed by his own lack of American license (an understandable conclusion if you are familiar with the lawless nature of Los Angeles driving).
“Oh I thought it would be a wonderful car. I will find this wonderful car and I will look so cool in Los Angeles, and it was trash man!… In my head I was like, ‘oh will have the best car in LA, the Justice car.’ It was stressful as fuck!”
Myd’s new record, Born a Loser, just came out April 30th on the aforementioned Ed Banger, the home of some of the most outstanding artists in Europe including our dear friend Wuh Oh (I was first hipped to Myd through his wonderful remix of Wuh Oh’s Softstyle, one of my favorite tracks of the past few years). Born a Loser is a departure from Myd’s previous work as a producer and member of French group Club cheval. It’s more psych pop in its modern form, in the vein of Mac Demarco (who is featured on the record, Myd’s Justice car scheme worked like a charm) or Tame Impala, than it is techno or Euro club. But Myd feeds new life into a tired lane by stripping it of its self-importance. Chorus pedal psych pop (I am well aware that Mac does not use a chorus effect, just a slippery strat and DI) has become a serious business, like business business. There was quite a bit of money to be made if you were a hot guy in 2016 and just bit Mac Demarco songs; judging by the fact Bane’s World is releasing music again, people think there still is. Myd utilizes its sonic tool kit to make dance music, his reimagining of the genre and its marquee tones feels more natural than its original usage in the indie rock format. It’s like slippery stratocasters belonged to dance music all along.
The sound of the record though, is Myd’s. He produced it in his own studio in his living room in Paris, using his own recording techniques he has refined over the years. He blends iPhone field recordings, tube amplifiers and other digital gear.
“I am not extreme about using analogue or digital or using really expensive stuff. All cheap stuff actually! When you mix different media it creates way more depth to your records… I love to reamp lots of sounds, to pass it through guitar pedals and an amp and re-record it. It makes something special, you can hear the room where you are recording. I also record sounds with my iPhone!… When you mix both mediums it creates something really good. The iPhone will be really nice and clear, You get really precise highs. The 70s amp will be really mono and deep, but in a different direction.”
One of the most popular singles off Born a Loser, The Sun, begins with a thoroughly fucked up slippery guitar track that would be at home on any dream pop record. The irreverent 7th chords are accompanied by a toned down dance beat and a field recording of birds chirping that runs throughout. Despite the fact that I constantly compare it to other music, It’s really a new thing. It’s like Mount Kimbie but happy. The track with Mac Demarco, Moving Men, definitely has the Mac signature sound, but that’s on purpose. Myd made the track at Mac’s house in Mac’s studio, they were both stuck in LA at the beginning of the Pandemic. Myd was supposed to tour the US and Canada, Mac was supposed to tour in China but they found themselves both in LA with nothing to do — a rare case of the pandemic bringing people together; they made a real acid trip of a track about driving around in a box truck and chucking furniture about.
You may know Myd from the bus stop on Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park. That’s where he and I first met, he was bear chested, wearing plaid shorts and a gold chain. You also may know him from the billboards in Echo park. His PR team did a wonderful job plastering his face around the EastSide of LA while he’s been stuck in France for the last year. Must be strange knowing your face is seen by hundreds of thousands of people every day across an ocean from where you live. It was certainly strange seeing the face I’ve grown to know as a static image suddenly chatting and laughing on my computer screen. I expressed this to Myd and he spread his arms and grinned, “Here I am!” He said with a laugh.
Myd spent his formative years in Club cheval, a French dance group that toured the world a few times over in the 2010s. Even if the name is unfamiliar the music is not, everyone has heard a Club cheval track even if they don’t know it.
“I had a band when I was 17. Like a college band. Like dance, punk, electronic… It worked pretty well. We toured a lot all around the world and everything. We were devoted to the band… 24/7 the four of us for six years or so… it’s cool to have a band you share the work and share the stress but at a certain point you’re like ‘okay i have something to say by myself and I have to take my energy and go to work on my project.’”
Born a Loser is the first full length record by Myd as a solo artist and the first time Myd has ever done vocals on his own tracks. He set off in 2019 recording the record in his home, building a studio by taking away pieces of equipment and gear until he was left with exactly what he wanted. The only gear he purchased for the record was a 70’s Mini Moog and then the studio was perfect for him. “Now what I really love is that my studio sounds exactly like me… now I’m really really happy, if you come to my studio, even if you make rap music, it will sound a little bit like me.”
“I thought for a long time if you want to become a good artist you have to change and move from a loser in your studio to a winner with the good style, the DJ style, to have your songs perfectly mixed, to have the instagram studio”
Born a Loser may be a familiar title to some. Originally a track by Derrick Harriet, it used to play on repeat at a trendy vegan restaurant I cooked at, constantly reminding me I was in fact born a loser while frying Tofu for famous people. A cover of the track is sampled in the song, but for Myd born a loser means more than being a downwardly mobile 20 year old stoner.
“When i think about this album it looks like the music I wanted to make when i was 16 years old in my room… I thought for a long time if you want to become a good artist you have to change and move from a loser in your studio to a winner with the good style, the DJ style, to have your songs perfectly mixed, to have the instagram studio. What I learned with the making of this album is the more I am what I wanted to be when I was 16 the more people understand me and like my songs.”
“One of my goals with my album was to try and find the sensitivity and imperfections of rock and make it danceable.”
When you listen to Myd you can feel the music is genuine. The genius of an artist lies in their ability to communicate emotion. Through music you can essentially beam yourself and your feelings straight into another person’s brain. They don’t have to know you, or understand your background to feel it — but if it’s insincere nobody will feel it, it will be bad. At the end of the day sincerity is what differentiates a good track from a bad one. Even if you don’t dig the style of the artist, if they are genuine you’ll always give them the benefit of the doubt.
“I started music because of Fatboy Slim. I was so mindfucked, how can you make a song pop, electronic, danceable, sunny but not cheesy. Now I’m starting to get to that and to do that I have to accept, it’s not born a loser and now you have to be a winner. It’s like you’re born a loser and keep your loser things and use it for your music and do it your way… thats why I’m closer and closer to rock music, because I love the accidents and imperfections of this music, which is hard to find in electronic music… One of my goals with my album was to try and find the sensitivity and imperfections of rock and make it danceable.”
Myd is like a French impressionist painter, ever romantic, creating beautiful and textural works with the signature French moodiness. There’s always a touch of melancholia and cheeky cynicism in the music and visuals. The idiosyncrasies are what make it beautiful, and it is above all else a beautiful record. Sonically and conceptually Myd effectively encapsulates the feeling of being 16 years old in your bedroom listening to Fatboyslim, that “how the fuck do they do that?” feeling. What’s the secret trick to making magic records? Myd just told you. Be a loser. Especially if you are French.
Born a Loser is out now on Ed Banger Records, available on streaming platforms and for purchase in hard copy wherever records are sold. Do yourself a favor and get this one on wax.
“As a French guy if I go to LA and I want to live it in a French way it will not work and I will be really sad… Now I know if I go to LA I need to live it in the LA way. Take my time, drive a lot, doing a lot of studio sessions… most of the time nothing happens, but ya its like that… the LA way… you cannot do it French in LA, it’s not working.”