Growing up in a scene that saw the spirit of the 90s French-house glory days slowly fade away, young Charlie Naffah first-hand witnessed the draught that electronic music was going through in his native city. This was most reflective in the diminishing number of record stores available for the music connoisseurs. Closings of well-loved vinyl shops was not a rare occurrence. Perhaps it’s therefore unsurprising that young Naffah grew up listening to old school 1980s hip hop. It was hearing Move D perform that awakening young Naffah’s interest in electronic music.
Years of education followed, Naffah adopting the moniker Lazare Hoche in honour of the famous 18th century French general. The leader was renowned for his quick-thinking, stern outlook, and ruthlessness. Likewise, Hoche always preferred a self-built approach. Years were spent investing in an analogue-friendly home studio to create a hub of innovation. Then came the establishment of solid relationships with the big players in the underground scene. Finally, a record label was found in 2011 with a vision to promote the renaissance of the Parisian scene. The first release from Stephan Hoellermann was an unexpected success. It’s quoted that German distributor request an order of all available stock.
However, it was the label’s second release I Don’t Sync So Part 1 – Lazare’s own production with fellow Dutch collaborator Malin Genie, that sent message to the rest of the underground world that the Parisian label was a force to be reckoned with. This five track EP remains to be Hoche’s one of the most celebrated releases.
His production draws a strong influence from the deep house titans such as Kerri Chandler. Hoche himself also pays tribute to the inspiration he draws from the Minneapolis House sound of the 90s. The 2015 compilation release ‘Access’ is perhaps the most complete release to date. A reflection of the chic, French aesthetic that the label owner wishes to defend.
Numerous collaborations with Mail Genie grew to include the friend and producer S.A.M, to form Mandar in 2014. Danish DJ incorporated a phantasmic element to the prior deep house sound. This caught fire quickly, and the trio’s acclaim exploded in the underground scene. 2017 saw the eagerly awaited, self-titled trio album release come out and reinstated the trio’s dominance in the scene.
Future of the Paris Scene
Hoche presently finds himself in a position that most artists would envy. Heading a label of one of the most successful recent house imprints, working on releases with closest friends and collaborating with his idols – all the while playing in worlds most prestigious club venues. However, association with fellow Parisians such as Jeremy Underground and paying homage to his favourite Parisian record spot, Hearbeat, are just some of the things that keep Hoche grounded in his roots. We’ve selected 5 tracks to feature that we believe give the best introduction to Lazare Hoche’s essentials collection.
Lazare Hoche – Naive (Original Mix)
This infectious deep house track comes from the first I Don’t Sync So release and offers a heavy early 90s New York house feel to it. A real groover, carried by nostalgic throwback vocals drenched in reverb, and offering intrinsic depth.
Lazare Hoche – Luv Thang (Original Mix)
Proof that Hoche was raised in Paris, this nu disco remix of First Choice’s – Love Thang offers a spine shattering bassline and a French interpretation of Da Funk. With a groove that demonstrates Lazare’s ability to craft a tasty edit, this is a banger that is guaranteed to bring out the vibes at any given summer party.
Lazare Hoche – Spank (Original Mix)
One for the home listening, this cosmic deep house track, released by Concrete Music shows Hoche’s ability to reach the innervision. Most likely to be played in an afternoon, or the morning after a great party, its sub bass is never too demanding on the airwaves. This makes the track an easy-listening experience, all the while maintaining his signature sound. The breakdown 4 mins in offers a pleasant surprise.
Point G – Hands (Lazare Hoche Reshape)
Offering an edit of his idol’s track, this reshape is a tribute to the Parisian underground scene. It’s almost a testament that Hoche is continuing the good work of his predecessors who have paved the way before him.
Lazare Hoche & Traumer – Compass (Original Mix)
A dancefloor favourite, this collaboration with fellow French DJ Traumer offers a murky bassline that combines Hoche’s drums to offer a dub techno-inspired deep house track. A demonstration of Lazare’s ability to bend genres while maintaining his signature chunky funk.