“Paris is a very noisy city. Wherever you are, it is always in motion: cars, buses, trains or simply bystanders…the sound of Paris is constantly evolving and changing and does not belong to a particular style or trend. It is free and alternative.”
Every city has its sound, but what if you were asked to sum up your city in one song? Not an easy feat. In an attempt to find the city’s next big electronic talent, Kitsuné teamed up with Generator Hostels for this year’s Sound of Paris Competition. Participants were asked to mix a track that embodies the sound of the city while utilising a sound pack assembled by DJ, producer, and Kitsuné collaborator, Jerry Bouthier. The winner of the competition won the honour of DJing alongside Bouthier at the final event at the Generator.
This year’s winner was Jade Parkoo, who meticulously mixed an Edith Piaf song from the 1950s Soul le ciel de Paris alongside a sample from the Fernandel song Je connais des baisers in order to represent both “the romanticism and french elegance” but also “its retro and ‘Gavroche’ side,” explained Parkoo.
Here we spoke to the Kitsuné ambassador Jerry Bouthier and emerging experimental artist Jade Parkoo about the sounds of their city, and the places to experience them.
Emily Ames: What are the four sounds that mean Paris to you?
JADE PARKOO: The bip before the métro doors close and starts moving. The traffic noise that never stops and the bus arriving in the distance. Also the Romanian bandas I hear from my house when my window is open with their trumpets and old amps. It is a city that is always in motion.
JEFF BOUTHIER: Police sirens, the metro, the vocal rumble of street markets, pigeons in parks and café terraces.
EA: What are the four smells that mean Paris to you?
JP: The unique and legendary smell of the métro and exhaust pipes but also the perfume of the people and candy floss.
JB: Freshly baked baguette and croissants, good espresso, cheese shops and fruity Bordeaux.
EA: What are the four neighbourhoods or sights which mean Paris to you?
JP: I like the 18th district and Pigalle. Like many people, I had a negative idea of the area but now I love it. It is the kind of place that works in reverse and starts at 8AM with low-end champagne. Nearby and towards Montmartre, there is the Abbesses. It is more upmarket and chic. A real Parisian neighbourhood. There is also the Rue Lepic with the Café des Deux Moulins seen in the movie Amélie.
JB: Eiffel tower/Trocadero, Sacré Coeur/Montmartre, Louvre/Palais Royal, Les Halles/Le Marais.
EA: Who should we listen to when in Paris?
JP: Fit your heart by Benjamin Diamond and obviously the original track Sous le Ciel de Paris by Edith Piaf.
JB: Air and Phoenix.
EA: Jeff, what’s the best independent boutique in Paris?
JB: Kokon To Zai. The wildest selection of fashion designers in Paris.
EA: Where would you take a date?
JB: On the bateaux mouches for a romantic ride on the Seine, then Japanese sushi or Korean barbecue for dinner.
EA: Where can you have a late night drink?
EA: Where is the best place to dance?
JB: Le Perchoir, a beach bar on a rooftop. The 360• view of Paris made it an ideal place for (not too loud) gigs.
EA: What do you always pack for Paris?
JB: My metro tickets and some bisquits for my friends and family
EA: Jade, Where would you go to listen to music?
JP: I rarely go to clubs because I am often disappointed by the music played. I prefer open spaces where the music comes first. I love the beach Glazart where you can listen to music with your feet in the sand. I also like The Boiler Room, Chez Moune and the Point Ephémère.
EA: Where would you go for dinner with friends?
JP: Chez Gladine. I love this place! It is a super friendly canteen. There are always new people to meet, a lot of noise and a waiter who screams “hot , hot, hot .” Better to avoid it if you are tired, but it reminds me so much of the south of France.
EA: Where do you go to listen to live music?
EA: Where do you go in Paris to dance?
EA: What should a traveller pack for Paris?
JP: A smile, good mood, a little craziness, a big wallet and flat shoes.