5 minutes with… Cherokee

Re-contextualising the golden age of house music, Franco-Luxembourgish wunderkind Dorian M. AKA Cherokee is at the forefront of the latest French Touch wave.

Departing as a duo and continuing as a one-man act, Cherokee is writing music with a heritage far beyond its years. With the ‘American Spirit EP’ and hit-single ‘Don’t Matter’ tracking thousands of summer-romances, the young yet set-in-stone artist is your coolest friend’s favourite act. With the thousands of fans and the millions upon millions of plays, we’re entering the next chapter in the emblematic story that is French Touch, with Cherokee as it’s leading actor.

Hi there, how are you and what are you up to today?

Hello, I feel good, thank you. Glad to be featured on The Playground.

To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?

It’s hard to describe a sound nowadays, in fact everybody tries to bring his own touch in the game but people easily tend to qualify you to a genre or style you maybe don’t to want to be associate with. Most people say the Cherokee sound is a reminiscence of  the French Touch sound which really flatters me. I try to extend it in many different ways in this new EP.

How does it feel to be labeled as the forefront of the ‘French Touch’ wave?

As I told you, it flatters me. I grew up with this music when I was a kid. After school, I would eat my Kellogg’s in front of MTV, hoping to see the Music Sounds Better With You video clip. It always enlightened my day and I promised myself I would try to be like those 3 guys on that cloud waving to the kid.

What’s it like working with Roche Musique and the likes of Darius, Kartell & French Kiwi Juice?

Very natural. Before being a label, we were friends and were hanging out. I know Terence (Darius) and Thomas (Kartell) since a long time now, I played my very first gig back in 2010 with them and it’s funny because Jean (Cézaire) helped us out to set that gig up. He was working on a famous parisian blog called “Boule À Facettes.” Even before that, I was chatting on Skype every night with Terence, it was a sort of ritual and we would mostly talk about our lives and dreams all night long.

What are the 5 albums and artists that have influenced you the most?

It’s hard to pick up 5 albums. There are so many records that influence me on my work. 

What other artists do you really like at the moment and why?

With this cold weather, I need music which warms me up you know, something soulful and really cosy. That’s why I listen to a lot of Kindness, mostly his album “World, You Need A Change Of Mind”, I love every single track on that album and amazed by the purity that emanates from this record. Also want to talk about Majid Jordan, which blew me away a couple of weeks ago. Everybody should tend an ear to their EP “A Place Like This” which came out in 2014.

You originally started as a duo. How was the transition from duo to solo artist? How have you adapted your sound?

In a way, it was hard to understand Terence’s choice: to stop Cherokee and to focus on his solo project. People thought we had an argument, but not at all, we discussed the situation in a very healthy way. That’s how life goes, sometimes you have to move on, fall to rise again and become a stronger version of yourself. Unconsciously, I needed that, it gave me a sort of pressure that now evolved into a strength. Moreover, making music as a duo was a very good experience as a human being, we learned a lot from each other, that’s the most important part to me.

You’ve previously remixed Amerie, Mika and most notably, Daft Punk. What’s been your favourite remix? Is there an artist you’re thinking of remixing next?

I have no preference to be honest and I don’t want to feel too proud of my music, making music must be a natural thing first and shouldn’t rise your ego. Each work has been made in a different period of my life and first of all means something to me, they are all forming a strong puzzle. I like to remix, but the original song has to be special to me, I need to feel that I can bring something new and refreshing, if I simply can’t, I will let it down. 

FKJ has remixed your ‘Don’t Matter feat. Darianna Everett’. Can we hope for a collaboration between you two?

I was astonished by the remix he did of ‘Don’t Matter feat. Darianna Everett,’ he brought the song into a new space. That’s exactly what a remix should be to me.

About the collaboration, why not? We never spoke about it, it has to come naturally. We don’t push things and don’t make music to make music. 

Do you have any information regarding upcoming releases, projects, DJ mixes or collaborations in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?

I don’t go about making music in a pre-thought or formulaic way, I don’t like deadlines, I like to work with people who understand that. For the moment, I really hope to be able to offer more music in 2015.

Finally, if you weren’t a musician what would you be?

That’s a tricky question…  Stuntman in Hollywood! 

Written by Alex Lewis