An Interview with Patchworks

Equally at home with house, jazz, reggae or psyche rock, Bruno Hovart clearly doesn't believe in limiting himself to one particular style of music. His discography as Patchworks alone includes forays into afrobeat, reggae and soulful afro, latin and jazz flavoured house. But he has also released jazz and nu-jazz as Metropolitan Jazz Affair and deep house under the names Cinnamone and Porks Watch.

Other projects include garage rock and psyche band The Evergreen, dub and soulful reggae sound system The Dynamics, and the Patchworks Ginger Xpress, his "fucking good live band". Add to this weekly stints on internet radio show La Spirale and Patchworks could well be the hardest working man in showbusiness right now. So we are especially lucky that he found time for a cyberchat with us to talk about his influences, his experiences in the business, and his all-embracing philosophy on music.

Hi Bruno! It's really good of you to do this interview.

It's fine. We seem to be sharing the same passion and love of music.

Most definitely. I haven't seen any interviews with you in English so maybe you could begin with some background on your musical influences and how you got started.

Well I started as a teenager playing soul music, rock and pop. I was a great fan of Neil Young at this time. I turned to electronic stuff in the early 90's with the arrival of affordable machines but I always kept live instruments in the different projects I was involved in. I was in teenage bands playing a mixture of Sly Stone's music with MC5 flavours. We didn't have a lot of success. My first release came later - on the French label 'What's Up' with the house and trip hop band La Cellule.

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What year was this?

As far as I remember it was from 1995 to 2000. I think we did three 12 inches plus remixes and compilations. The records were exposed internationally but I don't have a clue where. I was young and naive and got burned by the record companies. The music business is a jungle! I guess the 12's are quite hard to find but it was a great live band.

Then we split and I went solo, starting with a release on Q-tape records and on the very underground French label Superhuit. I kind of discovered my style - not being afraid to make ambitious music with the few skills I had technically.

Q-tape seems like a pretty cool label. How did you hook up with them?

Q-tape is a very good label based on sensibility and do-it-yourself. They started with nothing. I was the second release and it is this one that really launched the label. The Q-tape guys used to be my brother Sylvester Over's mates. They were very young when they started the label and took a big risk investing money into it. But they did well.

I guess the reason for their success is that they are not always trying to follow a trend - which always makes you late. They just trust their impressions when listening to music. That's why you can get some premium vintage jazz re-editions today on Q-tape.

And you and the label are based in Lyon?

I am in Lyon, but Q-tape is based in Paris, which is better for the business side. Being in Lyon is quite nice for a musician/producer because it is a quiet town and it keeps you out of the trend. It's not a problem for me not to be in Paris because most of the business is abroad and abroad nobody gives a shit about the Paris hype!