Petit Biscuit on 'Sunset Lover' Success & Learning From Flume
publish date: 2017-04-26
The young French producer Petit Biscuit put "Sunset Lover" on SoundCloud in the summer of 2015, when he was still just 15 years old. The single is a lolling master-class, the logical conclusion of mainstream electronic music's turn away from aggressive, hard-charging tracks in recent years. Petit Biscuit boiled his tune down to just a few elements: a guitar line, mostly single notes with space between each one; a hand-clap; a basic kick drum; a pitch-shifted-and-chopped vocal that sounds like a baby experimenting with speech for the first time.
"Sunset Lover" has now accumulated more than 180 million streams between Spotify and SoundCloud, and it climbed to No. 13 on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart. Even though the track is instrumental, fans are so enamored with it that you can Google "Sunset Lover lyrics" and find that people have invented some words to help them sing along. Last year, Petit Biscuit included the song on an eponymous EP, and he played his first American gigs earlier this month.
During a brief stop in New York, Dance caught up with Petit Biscuit to talk about his impressive rise. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.
How did you get into music?
When I was five or six, I talked to my mother: Mom, I want to learn cello. I don't know why. She enrolled me in music school to practice. I'm in the same music school now. I practice cello, but I have my project on top of that. I started with cello and then learned piano and guitar. When I was 11 or 12, I discovered all the things you can do when you compose on a computer. It was also very important to have my first computer to discover guys like Flume or Bonobo or Tame Impala who aren't on the radio in France but have a big influence and make me see music differently. Bon Iver or Frank Ocean — you don't hear them in the radio, but when you go in the world, everyone knows them.
I discovered SoundCloud and musicians with just 300 followers who make really good music. When I saw this, I told myself, why not me? I tried to find a good name to describe me with. When I searched for a name, I wanted something humble. Petit Biscuit is French too, and it's very sweet. When I started my project, I made a lot of music with just a piano, so it was more sweet than today.