For a long time we have been asking ourselves the question: Is there such thing as a local underground dance music scene in France? Hip hop has been the soundtrack of French ghettos for as long as we can remember, but France never had its own version of Baile Funk, or Juke, or even Garage for that matter. French people have emulated worldwide ghetto dance music for years and it’s a great thing, but there never was a truly French-bred version of that, a music genre coming from the kids in the clubs, in the streets, with its own codes, its own dances, its own culture. Then came the Tecktonik craze and an army of often cheesy goth-guidos gave us a glimpse of what could have become an interesting answer to that question. But the big company co-opting and massive branding of the phenomenon quickly killed the buzz and turned it into a terrible gimmick for children. Meanwhile, our interest for the European ancestors of Tecktonik, namely the Benelux-born genres Hardstyle and Jumpstyle, kept growing. This was underground and hardly accessible music loved and made by lower class kids from the north of Europe, often remixing and playing with the codes of popular music, with their own clubs, and their own dances showcased on thousands of YouTube videos: the exact definition of a local ghetto dance scene.
Victor Watel a.k.a Panteros666 grew up in the cold and trashy North of France, where Hardstyle and Jumpstyle have been around for years due to the region’s proximity to Belgium. Fascinated by the dark side of new technologies and the new cyber white trash lifestyle generated by nerdy internet culture, Victor became a true multimedia man. Working in the realms of communication and advertising by day like some sort of animated gif era Don Draper, Victor is also active on French internet video platforms via his hilarious viral comedy skits under the moniker Kamel Toe. But Victor has also always been a musician. Initially a drummer for multiple indie groups, now playing with dance-punk act Sexual Earthquake in Kobe, he started producing electronic music a couple of years ago, taking up the name Panteros666. While exploring the tropical sounds of dancehall, African house and South American dance music under the influence of collaborators such as Douster, Canblaster and Myd, Panteros was looking for an extra ingredient to make his music really unique, original, and truly representative of his cultural background. That’s when he had the idea to inject a healthy dose of Gabber kicks, Jumpstyle grooves and hard ass synths in the mix. Hard dance had often been a taboo for so-called tasteful electronic music lovers, so merging this terribly cold, nordic, dark and unapologetically WHITE music with warm, tropical, ghetto and even mystical/spiritual Native American influences was a rather extreme experiment, almost a political statement. By doing so he not only created a never heard before alliance in dance music, but also maybe one of the first truly French answers to extreme American ghetto dance music genres such as Juke, Footwork or Ghettotech.
“Kegstand” is a hysterical piece of mutant military hallucinogenic turbo house. Skipping joyfully from Native American chants to Jumpstyle and back to tropical riddims, always falling back on its feet, “Kegstand” is the banger that djs who are sick of bangers are gonna want to play anyway. Awesome Texas wonder Dubbel Dutch’s remix takes it back to the time when Holland’s finest party djs would mix bubblin sped up dancehall rythms with gabber stabs, creating something a bit more familiar and housy but just as infectious.
“X Lova” finds inspiration in a mixture of dreamy euro hardstyle, Chicago hard house backroom grooves, as well as the darkest of witch house. Pan flutes from the mysterious cities of gold and invocations of the Quetzalcoatl meet sweaty leathery hardcore rave and chopped up rap vocals, late at night during a ritual pagan ceremony in a forest somewhere in Wisconsin. Enigmatic New York post-everything group Cubic Zirconia deliver an amazingly swampy-yet-beautifully erotic remix. Tiombe Lockhart the group’s soulful vocalist whispers words of revenge over cold drum machines before producer Nick Hook screws the tempo down into a dark codeine dream.
Panteros666 has a posse of producers called Club Cheval. You may have heard of the three other Club Cheval members, namely Myd, Sam Tiba and the hyper productive mad scientist of beats Canblaster, as they are currently causing a massive stir collectively and individually in the global underground. We had the idea to ask them to work on a track that would be the production equivalent of the great tradition of rap posse cuts where every rapper had 16 bars to prove how dope he is and showcase his style and what made him unique amongst the other rappers in his crew. On “Horreo”, Club Cheval applies this idea to production, and each member has a minute to deliver his version of a common musical theme (musically “dropping an ill verse”). The result gives us the same sensation as when we were listening to Flava in Ya Ear remix, or any Wu Tang, Death Row or Flipmode song back in the day, and we sincerely hope it will lead to playground discussions such as “damn son, Panteros killed that joint with the ill build-up and latin monologue before the drums accelerate” “naw u crazy, Sam Tiba had already nailed it with that crazy grimey bassline flow during his part” and so on.