Wemoto Radio - 028 - Mystigrix
Mystigrix is a French-German DJ and producer who is renowned for his pulse-driving performances on dancefloors across the nation. With a strong reputation for going the extra mile, his genre-defying sound and energetic approach to DJing has gained momentum and attention, amongst fans of electronic music.
Rooted on the hard side of house music, Mystigrix's productions are driven by percussive rhythms and heavy beats, incorporating elements of acid, electro, and techno. His driving sound has earned him recognition on prominent labels such as Bar25, Monki's &Friends, and Thirty Years Records, solidifying his reputation as an in-demand artist.
Photo: Antonia Mathia
Hey Cyril, great to have you, how are you doing?
Bonjour, I'm doing good. Happy to be on here and thanks for having me!
Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background, perhaps where you grew up and what first got you interested in electronic music?
I'm Cyril, known as Mystigrix. I'm a mix of French and German, with roots in Brittany and north Germany.
Surprisingly, I'm a trained marine biologist, a path probably inspired by a large chunk of my childhood by the ocean in France.
I've been drumming since age 5, fostering my appreciation for rhythms. While I rocked out in rock bands, my fondness for electronic beats in rap music was always there. My first taste of electronic music came from my mom's friend's CDs. Later, in school, classmates introduced me to more electronic sounds, and I was instantly captivated.
During university, I was that guy at house parties, excitedly queuing up music on multiple YouTube tabs and fighting for the pc. This obsession led me to acquire cheap turntables and later DJ software, starting my journey into where I am now.
How and when was Mystigrix born?
Back in Hamburg, around 2014, I was part of a small collective and got my first shot at playing in front of an audience. It was then that I picked a name on the spot for my set – that's when Mystigrix was born, and it stuck.
Mystigrix is a twist on "Mistigris," a French card from a game I often played with my parents. It's also a French term for a playful cat. Not sure why I threw in the 'X' (maybe too many video games at the time), and now I feel some struggle to pronounce it. Originally the x was meant to be silent, but now I’ve gotten used to people pronouncing the whole thing.
How do you think living in Berlin has influenced you both musically and personally?
I'm fairly new to Berlin, having moved here just last year. The city's allure is undeniable; it's been a goal of mine to live here for a while. Being surrounded by a multitude of creative minds presents a chance to collaborate and interact with artists I might not have encountered otherwise. Even though I've only been here for a short while, I've already connected with some amazing people. It's been a journey that's expanded my knowledge and helped me fine-tune my artistic style.
Of course, the competition is fierce, demanding a resilient mindset. Personally, this change of scenery has been liberating. After 7 years in Bremen, I needed fresh input and new challenges. Admittedly, not all the challenges are a walk in the park, but pushing beyond my comfort zone has also led to growth.
Photo: Antonia Mathia
Do you have any hobbies or passions outside of music?
Earlier this year, I delved into Padel Tennis, and it quickly turned into a full-blown obsession. Initially, I was on the court 3-4 times weekly, and things escalated to the point where I sustained an injury. My competitive nature drives me to try to be good at whatever I undertake. Now, I've found a more balanced approach, allowing me to savor the experience.
On another note, I'm an avid Formula 1 enthusiast, catching nearly every race throughout the season. I've got quite a few of my friends hooked too, making race-watching a fun group thing.
And then, there's my weakness: cheese. I have an unwavering passion for exceptional cheese, which comes as no surprise given my French heritage.
You recently put out your „Shades Of Blue“ EP on Sengiley Recordings, congratulations! How did the idea for the record come about?
The songs on "Shades of Blue" were born during the COVID pandemic and represent the final creations from my previous studio in Bremen. This EP is my first venture into the realm of concept albums, where I imposed stringent guidelines to shape my creative process. All three tracks were primarily crafted through jam sessions, employing my Roland MC303 and TB 3. Initially, I hesitated about releasing these tracks because they felt unusually different, but with some encouragement from friends and the label, I decided to go for it.
Can you tell us a bit about the process?
I picked up my MC303 during the pandemic when I found myself looking for a fresh musical challenge while being stuck at home with an abundance of spare time. The machine's sounds are nothing short of amazing, especially if you're a child of the '90s like me. However, its somewhat cumbersome workflow initially left it collecting dust.
But then, I stumbled upon some captivating jams by Damiano von Erckert on Instagram, where he was making magic with the same machine. A brief exchange with him served as a catalyst, reigniting my enthusiasm for the MC303. To ensure I really got into learning this instrument, I set some personal restrictions for these jams, forcing myself to conquer its challenges.
Photo: Antonia Mathia
How is your studio looking and which pieces are your favourite at the moment? How do you start a new tune?
Moving to a new city downsized my studio, forcing me to reevaluate my essentials and declutter. While I cherish my rack of 90s romplers, the real game-changer has been rediscovering my Push 2. Lately, I've predominantly dabbled in samples and audio, using the Push much like an MPC, a refreshing approach. I've also been sharing short jam videos on Instagram, where the Push works wonders as a centerpiece.
Previously, I often kickstarted tracks with drums, stemming from my drummer background. Nowadays, I prioritize finding intriguing audio samples and subject them to various experimental treatments. From there, I weave in the drums toward the end of the creative process. This approach offers me greater freedom to evolve a track's elements without the constraints of dance music conventions.
What are your preferred methods for finding new music—do you still enjoy digging around in dusty crates, or do you prefer to buy online?
Recently, I rekindled my love for vinyl by buying two turntables, and let me tell you, it's been a joy to dive back into my record collection. The effort of lugging all those crates to Berlin was completely worth it. When I hit up a record store, you'll often find me elbow-deep in the "cheapo" crates; that's where I uncover those hidden gems, those older tracks that you just can't stumble upon online. Plus, it's a refreshing change of pace to step away from the computer and a pleasure to listen to new music in a different setting.
Now, don't get me wrong, the internet is still my primary digging ground, and I do the bulk of my music shopping on Bandcamp. Seriously, I can't stress this enough: if you haven't explored Bandcamp yet, do yourself a favor and check it out. It's hands down the best way to support artists.
How do you approach a DJ set? Do you plan what you will play, or do you decide spontaneously?
My DJ sets thrive on spontaneity. Trying to foresee the energy of a room and its crowd is like chasing the wind, so it's best to ride the wave as it comes. However, this freewheeling approach only works when you intimately know your tracks and how they resonate with the audience.
To keep my nerves at bay and immerse myself in the vibe, I usually handpick the initial 3-4 tracks that kick off my set. Beyond that, anything can happen.
Can you tell us a bit about the mix? Were there any particular thoughts or themes behind it?
Imagine you're just kicking back on your balcony with a nice glass of white wine, enjoying the view of a sunset that's as warm and vibrant as an Aperol Spritz. You can't help but feel a bit melancholic, knowing that winter's on its way and these cozy outdoor evenings will soon be a thing of the past.
That's exactly where I was before I hit record on the mix. I wanted the music to match that vibe, to be the musical snapshot of the moment I was experiencing.
What do you have up your sleeve for the rest of the year?
I've embarked on some exciting ventures recently. I kicked off a new radio show on RBL Berlin, providing a platform to share music outside the club environment. Stepping into the role of a show host felt a bit odd initially, but I'm pleasantly surprised at how it's growing on me- Talking on the radio is becoming more enjoyable and natural with each episode.
Moreover, I've ventured into the label game with the launch of Flirt Records. We recently hosted our inaugural "Flirt" party in Berlin, and I'm already plotting our second event later this year, along with the hopeful release of our debut ep.
In terms of my own music, apart from the "Shades of Blue" EP this year, I've deliberately taken a breather from releases. I've found that the business aspects of the industry sometimes stifle my creative flow, so I've been relishing the opportunity to focus solely on creating within my new environment. That being said, I've stockpiled a substantial number of tracks that I'm eager to release in the near future.