On January 17, 2008, Social Club, the iconic French Touch 2.0 venue, opened its doors where the Tryptique club used to be on Rue du Faubourg Montmartre in Paris. It quickly became a second home for the Ed Banger and Institubes record labels, whose artists, including Justice, Surkin, Feadz, and Teki Latex, often took a turn in the DJ booth. Even though it wasn’t always easy to make it past the door, an entire generation of “club kids” made the venue their own, bringing with them their own set of customs, like facing the stage and taking part in slam and pogo dancing, which were more common in rock concerts than the electronic scene. While French artists were clearly the kings of the castle in Social Club, they invited their international friends, such as Boys Noize, A-Trak, 2 Many DJs, and Erol Alkan, to participate in memorable parties, a practice that also helped the movement gain traction outside of France. While most clubs only opened on the weekends, Social started its parties on Tuesday. These smaller events were called Petit Social and often featured musical styles other than electronic. One such event was Let Me Ride by famous resident hip-hop/RnB DJs Brodinski and DJ Mehdi. DJ Mehdi’s tragic passing in 2011 marked the slow decline of a venue and scene in which he was always a central figure.
For every raver along the Mediterranean coast from Perpignan to Nice, Dragon Bal was the place to be. A fifteen-year run of techno parties concluded with a final bash on February 23 in the La Halle de Martigues concert venue with Jeff Mills, Manu Le Malin, Umek, The Hacker, and Oxia.
Sexuality, Sébastien Tellier’s third album, was released on February 25. The record, which was produced by Guy Manuel De Homem-Christo, one half of the Daft Punk duo, was very melodic and electronic. It included “Roche” and “L’amour et la violence,” which are some of the Parisian artist’s most popular songs.
Institubes, the headliner label for French Touch 2.0, celebrated its five-year anniversary on March 14 at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris. The event showcased its best advocates, including Surkin, Jean Nipon, Das Glow, Para One, Bobmo, Curses, and Orgasmic.
The Rex Club decided to play only electronic music in 1988, thus turning itself into a pantheon of house and techno. From May 14 to 31, the club on Boulevard Poissonière celebrated its twenty-year electro anniversary with Agoria, Boys Noize, Dave Clarke, Larry Heard, and, of course, Laurent Garnier, who ended the festivities with one of his signature twelve-hour sets from midnight to noon.
The music video for “Stress” by Justice, which focused on urban violence and the harsh conditions in France’s impoverished suburbs, sparked off the biggest controversy the electro scene had caused since the heyday of free parties. Many viewers criticized the French Touch 2.0 video for its violence and cynicism, which showed youths from poor neighborhoods wearing jackets with Justice’s cross symbol as they killed everyone they came across. The video was filmed by Romain Gavras, the 27-year-old son of the director Costa-Gavras, the co-founder along with Kim Chapiron of Kourtrajmé, a hip-hop and film collective.
Gavras’s collaboration with Justice continued with the release in November 2008 of the DVD A Cross The Universe, which accompanied the live album of the same name. The documentary featured Justice’s life during his American tour and prompted viewers to constantly wonder what was real and what was fiction. While the French duo obviously held center stage, the film also showcased their traveling companions, chief among them their mentor, Pedro Winter; the owner of their label, Ed Banger; and their extravagant sidekicks like their gun-toting tour manager, Bouchon, and their deeply religious American bus driver. With its string of orgies, alcohol, groupies, and brawls, A Cross The Universe offered a rock ‘n’ roll version of an electro tour that bordered on parody. Romain Gavras’s connection to the electronic scene continued with his first feature film, Notre Jour Viendra (in 2010). SebastiAn, another musician from Ed Banger’s stable, wrote the original soundtrack.
Both a label (Kitsuné Maison compilations set the gold standard when it came to discovering new talent) and a clothing brand (whose logo was a small fox), Kitsuné opened its first men’s and women’s clothing store at 52 Rue de Richelieu in Paris.