When I stepped out of Terminal West Tuesday, Feb. 7, I bid my fellow congregation members a bittersweet goodbye. What had started as an impromptu Tuesday night concert transformed into a full-on religious experience. Tchami stood above the crowd, behind the pulpit, in clerical, priest-like clothes. His mixing board was placed atop a glowing lectern, which pulsed bright white in sync with the music.
Martin Bresso, better known as Tchami, is a house music producer from Paris who entered the scene in 2013. I was introduced to Tchami’s music through his remix of “You Know You Like It” by AlunaGeorge. His first EP, Promesses, was released in 2013 for free under the Fool’s Gold Records label and I recently rediscovered Tchami after his song “Missing You,” featuring AC Slater and Kaleem Taylor, landed in my weekly spotify recommendations.
While Tchami is not as prolific as some other DJs such as The Chainsmokers or Skrillex, he sports a number of impressive production credits including ”Applause” by Lady Gaga, “Lean On” by Major Lazer and DJ Snake and “You Know You Like It” by DJ Snake and AlunaGeorge. If those songs sound familiar, then congratulations — you own a radio or computer. Tchami’s ability to contribute to mainstream hits while maintaining his own brand identity marks him as a formidable producer to watch out for in the coming years.
Tchami’s clerical symbolism permeates his merchandising, set design, clothing and even his stage presence. His hats are adorned with praying hand patches and one of his album covers features a gothic church. I’ve never seen such energy in a crowd as at Tchami. It was almost as if Tchami had revived an army of undead to bounce and groove to the undulating drops and peaks of his set. The multi-tiered concert space was comfortably filled so that people had enough space around them to dance and no one was throwing elbows in your face. While no one likes to sacrifice their viewing perch at a concert, people were more than willing to give each other a turn at the front row.
The sweaty furrowed brow of the EDM raver relaxed into a sweaty amiable expression as Tchami sent wave after wave of good vibes through the audience. Everyone was dancing in their own unique style; I was bouncing and shimmying (Read: Inflatable Flailing Arm Man) while the group of guys next to me whiplashed their heads back and forth. Tchami interspersed original tracks like “Shot Caller” and “Prophecy” with remixes and kept the energy levels at the right level so that the crowd wouldn’t be dead tired after only an hour. Tchami coordinated the lights to flash along to the drop of his songs. This dazzled and revived the crowd as if each drop were the first of the night.
As an occasional fan of EDM music (I don’t have any of it saved on my personal Spotify, Apple Music or Soundcloud pages, but I do enjoy it at parties), I did not know what to expect from Tchami. The usual “Unce, unce, unce, unce,” head-banger is not my cup of tea. Instead, Tchami offered all the energy of a Skrillex concert with the soul of an Aretha Franklin ballad. The drops were syncopated and unique; in short, unpredictable. The glowing white set bathed the crowd in light while the air reverberated with heavy bass. The medieval style of the pulpit mix gave the set a futuristic yet classic aesthetic. This works considering that Tchami is considered to be the father and pioneer of the “future house” genre. His concert certainly was an unforgettable experience that redefined my perception of EDM and house music. This talented producer is going to get big, so learn to pronounce his name now, and you won’t sound dumb when your friends try to claim they found him first.