Q&A with afro house record label owner & DJ Francis Mercier

Image credit: Sofia Colucci

Francis Mercier is one of New York’s emerging afro house producers and record label owner. The DJ recently shared his remix of the renowned Ivory Coast band Magic System global hit ‘Premier Gaou’ via Spinnin’ Deep records. Mercier’s music has been recognized by dance music royalty like  Tiesto, Pete Tong, Erick Morillo, Diplo, Oliver Heldens in recent times along with having his music licensed by Netflix. We have no doubts we will be hearing Francis Mercier’s name more often in mainstream media in the months to come, as he has a few upcoming releases featuring noteworthy talents. 

We chatted with none other than Francis Mercier below.

Tell us about your earliest musical memory?

My earliest musical memories are listening to the Haitian Radio/CDs played by my parents when I was in my very early adolescence. I presume that early musical exposure helped my brain become musically inclined.

At what point in your life did you have that moment where you said to yourself “This is it. This is the type of music I want to create?”

Artists like Tiesto, Armin Van Burren and Paul Van Dyk. They were at the top of the electronic music scene when I first started attending concerts in 2006. I  was then influenced by a vast list of artists from classic house to afro house and melodic deep. I of course carry sounds and energy from my original Haitian and Caribbean roots.

Please list some of the most influential albums on your creative outlook and output:

Tiesto’s In Search Of Sunrise melodic deep compilations from the early 2000s drew me into the electronic music scene. And after seeing him perform in NY in 2006, I decided I wanted to give DJing a shot.

What key pieces of gear/software are you using to define your sound?

I am just using my keyboard and Ableton. The plugins I use are chiefly EQs, compressors and delays/reverb. I like to keep my music sounding clean and not too complex to leave room for vocals.

What inspires you outside of music? What do you turn to when the creative well runs a little low?

When experiencing writer’s block in the studio or nearing system overload from overlooking four labels, managing two artists, an events showcase and sync & licensing division I resort to exercise. I regularly play pick-up soccer with friends, go on runs, and do weight lifting. Getting outside and being active has really helped my mental clarity, focus, overall energy levels and health.

What is your opinion on the ever spreading sub-genre vine? Are there too many? Do you think there’ s perhaps a sub-genre that doesn’t get the attention it deserves?

I think it is organic, cool and inevitable for the ever spreading sub-genre vine to keep growing. There can be as many as people’s hearts desires. It’s just that the ones that are really cool and unique will naturally make way towards the top of the industry as a result of an increase in general, widespread taste. The sub-genre that doesn’t get the attention it deserves, and that is growing quickly and one of my favourites is afro-house. New Yorkers have always been curious and global stars like Black Coffee, Burna Boy, Davido were all well-received from the beginning. And over the past few years, afrobeat and afro house have taken the city by storm. Today, African music and energy are present within the world of hip-hop and house on a global scale. My label Deep Root Records, which I co-founded in 2015 is based on my love for African music. We’ve recently launched our afro house imprint Deep Root Tribe in 2020 and we’ve been empowering lots of African artists to gain visibility on an international level. I’m quite excited to contribute to the afro house scene with my remake of ‘Premier Gaou’ in partnership with Spinnin’ Records and their house music imprint Spinnin Deep.

Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, what do you prefer?

I prefer both. Studio work and music creation have amazing qualities that speak to personal growth and inspiration. Whereas interacting with a live audience has equally amazing qualities that speak to visibly, seeing music uplift others and enjoying, dancing and smiling with others around you for a meaningful social experience.

As a music artist, it becomes apparent that there is a huge difference between the art and the business. Is there anything about the music scene that you would personally change?

I would like for DSP royalty payouts to be real-time and instantaneous. And then for artists to be able to set how often they are paid (daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly, etc).

Any new or upcoming artists on your radar? Who shouldn’t the world sleep on?

Black Motion, Safar (FR), and Nitefreak.

What can we expect from you in the near future? Any upcoming projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?

To keep my head down, try and work with vocalists and artists who are currently inspiring me, and continue growing the number of ears listening to my music across the globe! I am currently working on a project with LP Giobbi and Barbara Tucker along with a few singles in the works with Kiesza.

One last thought to leave your fans with?

Be sure to follow me on Instagram and Spotify to never miss an upcoming release! And if you’re ever in NYC, check out my Yacht Series for a house-music boat party that passes the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, the NY Skyline and more! Tickets here: dr2tickets.com

Follow Francis Mercier:

Facebook / Twitter / Soundcloud

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