Multi-talented Florian Picasso talks about his career, his great-grandfather Pablo Picasso and tells us why EDM is the future.
WORDS BY SAMREEN KHOJA
Picasso’ is no stage name; Florian is the great-grandson of the mighty Pablo, adopted by the Picasso family after being born in Vietnam. The Vietnamese-French DJ and record producer became internationally known through collaborations with Martin Garrix and Steve Aoki. He is synonymous with a high-octane style of EDM that focuses on larger-than-life, unrelenting riffs and raw textures and is squarely focused on the dance floor.
Florian who shows an impressive range, from pacey trance bangers to phat trap style beats and rampant electro house, says that he is motivated enough to be as creative as Pablo Picasso, but has never been pressurised to follow the footsteps of his great-grandfather. “I don’t incorporate my great grandfather’s culture or heritage in my music as I like to bring a personal touch to my work. I am more inspired by his creations, work process, constant quest for research and experimentation. The way he brought colours to life, I would like to do the same via music. I am trying to stay relevant to music and myself,” says Florian.
Growing up between Paris, Cannes and Switzerland, Florian found his first musical love in the form of classic hip-hop, before discovering the likes of Basement Jaxx and Groove Armada and beginning his explorations into electronic music. “I started making music when I was 13 years-old and then started music production in my early 20s. When I first started making music in my teens, I was insecure and would try to become centre of attention through music and it was all for the wrong reasons. This did not help me, but in turn made me more insecure while I was DJ’ing. It was only later that I became passionate about music and dropped out of college. I felt it in my heart that music is what I wanted to make all my life,” says Florian.
Before long he was churning out seriously accomplished tracks and getting serious interest from labels. He quickly realised that sticking to one specific style wasn’t going to be for him. “My style is hybrid and versatile. I try not to categorise it,” he explains.
Florian is an artist with high standards, and one whose output is piquing the interest of EDM’s uppermost elite. He says, “At first I was only doing some electronic dance music, the energy of which was mainly focused on music festivals. Two years ago, I started working in Los Angeles with co-producers and writers to put more of myself into tmusic in order to make it personalised.”
“For me inspiration can come from a story that you’ve lived or something that you’ve fantasised about, but mainly I would say with the new projects, most inspirations come from my life or the writers’ life. We just brainstorm some ideas and do some storytelling,” added Florian.
Tracks like Make Up Your Mind: a turbo-charged, glitchy, rowdy slice of electro house has cemented Picasso’s rapidly rising status and has introduced him to a huge new audience in the process. Speaking of the EDM culture in today’s time, Florian says, “Staying relevant and creative is of utmost importance especially during the pandemic. Everybody has to now press a reset button as we are not touring anymore. I have met many people who have crazy ideas just waiting to be told. The digital experience will take it to the next level and everyone must stay strong, positive and make the most of the pandemic and the situation that it has put us through.”
Florian who has toured in India before says that he can’t wait to get back and perform here. “I was in contact with a few artists for collaboration and that will happen soon. I may not know the tracks of Indian EDM artists by name, but I definitely listen to them. While touring in India, I saw and felt the vision of Indian artists and I feel that EDM is going to be the next big thing in India,” he added.
Talking about getting back to his roots, Florian says, “Going back to Vietnam has been the best experience of my life. I was adopted at three months-old and I have had a good life. Every day I wake up and look at myself in the mirror and tell myself how lucky I am. There was this energy that brought me back to Vietnam and there was music. What was beautiful is the people, they welcome me as if I am one of them. It is incredible that I got to connect with my roots through music.”
While Florian states that his most memorable performance was the one from Tomorrowland 2017, which was also his debut, but he simply cannot forget his performance in Vietnam. “There was a 16-metre high stage constructed and there were 80,000 people. I did not realise the amount of crowd while playing the set, but when I watch the videos, I am like- wow this is huge. I haven’t done any show like this before. This will be my number 1 performance forever, it is so special,” he added.
Florian, who is already a megastar, is staying grounded through all this success. “I have learned to be thankful to the people that support me, whether it’s my family, my fans or team. I’m blessed to be where I am today. My goals are to be successful and appreciated for my vision; I want to target as many people as possible. It’s going to be a daring year; I want to show the world what I have in my mind so far,” he says.
Live From Pablo’s Atelier
Situated on the heights of the residential area Californie, the villa overlooks the bay of Cannes with an astonishing view of the coastline. Marina Ruiz-Picasso, owner of the house since she inherited it from her grandfather Pablo, has preserved and maintained the villa’s authenticity and history. With its peaceful atmosphere and centenary old trees, the perfectly maintained garden is known as one of the most beautiful gardens of the Côte d’Azur.
Florian gave people around the world the unique opportunity to see the inside of the villa during an exclusive event, which was streamed online, along with artist Cyril Kongo, bringing the world a truly unique experience. The show rightfully paid tribute to the historical heritage of the house and his great-grandfather.
Florian Picasso recreated the vibe and atmosphere of the atelier from the time Pablo used to live and work at La Californie. He performed a 90-minute exclusive DJ set showcasing new music while Cyril Kongo painted a masterpiece by his side. The show was shot using an immersive and interactive way of filming and was broadcasted live on social media. Cyril Kongo’s masterpiece will be auctioned off and all the profits will be donated to the Quang Chau orphanage in Vietnam.
If music wasn’t your priority, what would you be working on instead?
What has been the coolest thing in your musical career up till now?
It’s tough! The Vietnam show
What is the most interesting/funny rumor about you?
That Picasso was Asian
What is the craziest thing you learned or a story you heard about Pablo Picasso from your relatives?
That he had a goat in his house.