Written by Eli Sulaiman
Duumu a.k.a Charlie is a 17 year old producer from France who just recently released his Illuminate EP on the record label Monstercat and ever since, has been scoring respect from fans and fellow electronic producers. His music can lull electronic lovers into a relaxed state of mind or even make you jam idiotically in your bedroom. We got to speak with Duumu himself and get to know the budding artist behind Illuminate. Read on to find out the story behind his latest EP and some advice he would give to other young producers.
How did the name ‘Duumu’ came about?
“It’s so stupid. Essentially when I started Duumu I wanted to make dubstep. So I was like “dubstep music, DuMu” and then I just added another U in for style because why not.”
What’s your musical background and when did you first started producing?
“I don’t really have a musical background. The only proper lessons I took were piano lessons for six months when I was eight and then I got tired of it so I stopped. But I grew up listening to a lot of different genres because my dad listens to a lot of alternative rock and my mom listens to 80’s pop so everybody in the house liked artists like Norah Jones or just laid-back and jazzy stuff. I started producing in June 2012, so it’s been almost five years.”
Why did you start producing music?
“I tried a lot of media in my life. I’ve been editing videos for almost 10 years now, but music stuck the most with me so now I’m making music.”
Who do you look up to/who’s your inspiration when it comes to making music?
“I have a few artists that I look up to, the main one being Tennyson. People who got me into producing are Rogue and Deadmau5. More recently my inspirations are Novo Amor and Hollow Coves.”
What are your top 3 played songs currently?
“Novo Amor – Carry You, Tennyson – Lay-by/You’re Cute, Hollow Coves – Coastline.”
How would you describe your current music?
“Acoustic mixed with electronic/ambient stuff. It’s guitars, pianos and a bunch of production.”
Has releasing on Monstercat been something you’ve always wanted to do?
“Well in recent years it wasn’t a super big priority but when I started out, it was for sure something I wanted and dreamed of in the future. It was always in the back of my mind, so maybe yeah, I always did want to release on Monstercat.”
How were you recognized by Monstercat?
“I have a collab that’s unreleased that I made with Mindsight. One of his friends knew people affiliated to Monstercat and they liked it. I also met some Monstercat people in London. I got asked for works in progress so I sent some which are now on the ‘Illuminate’ EP.”
Tell us more about your Illuminate EP. Is there a theme or a story to it?
“‘Illuminate EP’ is called ‘Illuminate’ because it was about me getting out of depression. I see that the order of the tracks are put in the order that I made them. I first did ‘Recovery’ and ‘Recovery’ itself is a story because it starts off more mellow because of a period of my life which wasn’t too great, and then it started getting better which is why the second drop is more upbeat. So that was the “Recovery” process. ‘Illuminate’ is just my life getting better. ‘Together’ is made with Kori who’s my best friend and he’s been so supportive in the last four years that we’ve known each other. ‘Together’s’ a song we made together and for each other. ‘For Her’ is a song I wrote recently because I got in a new relationship. So I guess the EP is a timeline of the last couple of months of my life. That’s the story.”
You worked with Slyleaf on Illuminate. Who came up with the lyrics?
“Slyleaf wrote the lyrics. I actually have another song with her coming out soon. Everytime I work with Slyleaf my songs inspire her so she’s able to write lyrics quickly.”
Have you ever done any live shows? Where would you want to do it most?
“I have not. I’d love to, but I haven’t. It would be really cool to come back to my hometown in a couple of years and do a show since I’m moving out soon to the UK.”
Is there anyone in particular that you dream of collaborating with?
“A dream collab would be Tennyson. Within the realm of style that I work in definitely would be Novo Amor.”
What would you tell your 14 year old self/budding producers?
“I’d just be like stop trying so hard, just be yourself. As for young budding producers, I’d say the same thing I would say to myself, just be yourself. Make music that you want to make and that’s something I learned way too late. Make stuff that makes you happy when you make it. If you need to switch up your style out of nowhere for you to be happier, do it. It takes a while to find your style.”
If you were a cocktail/milkshake, what would you be and why?
“I would be a vanilla milkshake because my music is bittersweet and the experience of drinking a vanilla milkshake is bittersweet. It’s good but you know it’s bad for you. I personally think that I’m a piece of sh*t, but people have told me that I’m a sweet boy and that they love my music. It’s bittersweet.”