After a decade of parties, the Parisian nightclub Pulp opened for the last time during PrideFest 2007. The club’s owner, Michelle “Mimi” Cassaro, took over the DJ booth at the end of the evening to play the very last record—“Promised Land” by Joe Smooth. For many, the closure of Pulp was symbolic. From the very first day it opened in 1997, the club, located on one of Paris’s famous boulevards, stood for much more than the right to party. Pulp was openly gay and affirmed its lesbian identity; from the very first day it opened, the club described itself as “a girls’ bar where boys like to come, too.” It was free to get in, there was no VIP room, and, most importantly, no musical style was off limits. Plus, the club’s ambiance was completely different from anything else on offer in the French capital. Even as French Touch was taking Paris by storm, Pulp, with its cheeky, rock-heavy style, was a runaway success. It played everything from electro to rock and welcomed everyone regardless of gender or nationality. Some club nights became essential events on the party calendar for several years, including Dans Mon Garage, which featured rock music every Wednesday, and Kill The DJ, an electro party held every Thursday that gave rise to a record label of the same name. After a decade of revelry, the City of Paris shut Pulp down when it bought the building to construct low-income housing. The spirit of the club lives on, however, through the Kill The DJ label, which is directed by Pulp’s former house DJs.
Quentin Dupieux, also known as the DJ and producer Mr Oizo, released his second film in June. Steak was a major production featuring French comedians Eric and Ramzy, who were brave enough to venture into the strange and deliberately absurdist world of Dupieux. Several French musicians, such as SebastiAn and Kavinsky, were included in the cast. Mr Oizo, in collaboration with SebastiAn and the singer Sébastien Tellier, produced the movie’s soundtrack.
One of the most anticipated French electronic albums of 2007 was released at the start of that summer. Justice’s † (pronounced “cross”) left its mark on an entire generation of electro fans. Both musically and visually, the album was a departure from everything that had come before. While 90s-era French Touch featured a warm sound influenced by house and disco music, Cross had a much darker and more overdriven electronic feel. Dressed in leather jackets, the duo brought rock imagery and attitude into clubs along with a more aggressive and overdriven sound.
† did have a few nods to pop music, such as the children’s choir vocals on the hit song “D.A.N.C.E.,” which was played nonstop on French radio and television. With its new sound and memorable album cover featuring a cross on a black background designed by the graphic designer So Me, Justice’s first album made quite a splash. Today, it’s thought that 700,000 copies have been sold worldwide. The record turned the duo into celebrities, and Justice set off on an international tour. Meanwhile, fans got tattoos of the cross from the album cover, hung posters in their bedrooms, and attended the duo’s rockstar-style concerts. It was the start of a new chapter in the history of French electro.
Ten years after their last concert in Paris, Daft Punk returned to the French capital. Like at Coachella the year before, the group used a strategy they had perfected, incorporating their entire discography into one giant mash-up. More notably, they recorded the entire performance and released a spectacular live album called Alive 2007.
David Guetta’s third album, Pop Life, was a key moment in the French DJ’s career that allowed him to break into the international market and rocket to stardom, even if electro purists still tend to look at him sideways. While he had already garnered attention for “Love Don’t Let Me Go (Walking Away)” and his club nights at Ibiza, Guetta produced his first truly global hit with “Love Is Gone.” The track, which featured vocals by Chris Willis, was listed on top charts throughout the world and became a nightclub favorite from Ibiza to Miami. In France alone, Guetta sold 100,000 copies of his single
He harnessed this success to release Pop Life, which sold 500,000 copies worldwide. While the album didn’t yet feature other famous artists, it served to introduce the American market to Guetta’s work. Intrigued by the French musician’s electro hits in Pop Life, famous US artists started to reach out to David Guetta. One such example was will.i.am, who heard “Love Is Gone” and approached the French DJ about collaborating on “I Gotta Feeling” with the Black Eyed Peas in 2009. It was the start of a new phase in Guetta’s career as he transitioned from being a French musician to a global star. After the huge success of “I Gotta Feeling,” Guetta became the most famous DJ on the planet through a series of prestigious collaborations.
A moviemaker by training who graduated in 2005 from FEMIS, the French state film and television school, the DJ Para One got to combine his two passions for the first time by recording the original soundtrack for Céline Sciamma’s film, Naissance des Pieuvres. He then went on to score the movie Bande de Filles, whose soundtrack was nominated for a César award in 2015.
With her first album Pop Up, the singer Yelle rocketed to the top of the charts. She was discovered on MySpace through her song “Je veux te voir.” The singer, a native of Brittany, sold 20,000 copies of her CD and broke into the US market as well. Her French-language pop and electronic tracks won over American audiences, so much so that she even toured in the US and performed at the prestigious Coachella music festival.
Cover of the first edition of Tsugi and the original logo
After Trax, a new magazine arrived on the stands. The first issue of Tsugi Magazine, meaning “future” in Japanese, featured Miss Kittin & The Hacker on the cover. The publication, which is still in business, shone the spotlight on popular artists of the time while also introducing up and coming talent.
Ahead of his new album, Graduation, the rapper Kanye West released a new single that was doubtless one of the biggest hits of his career. “Stronger” sampled Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” and made electronic music a definitive part of the American musical lexicon.