Turntablism doesn't enjoy quite the same cachet as it did back in the days when DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist and the Invisibl Skratch Piklz first crab-walked their way into the pop consciousness, but that hasn't held back Nantes, France's C2C. The four high school friends began playing together in 1998, and by 2003, their eight-handed routines proved dexterous enough to win them the DMC World Team DJ Championships four years in a row. Following that baker's hat trick, the group's members took time off to pursue two spin-off projects, Hocus Pocus and Beat Torrent, before regrouping as, for the first time, a studio project as well as a live proposition.
On their debut album, 2012's Tetra, wrist-flicking acrobatics are omnipresent, but, in a change from last decade's scratch wizardry, they're put in service of actual pop songwriting. The results range from the harmonica-soaked "Down the Road," sounding like a bluesy take on Ed Banger, to the throwback soul of "Who Are You," which sounds as buoyant as Bruno Mars floating on Cloud Nine. Some of the credit goes to a roster of strong vocalists -- Olivier Daysoul, Pigeon John and Jay-Jay Johanson among them -- who lend their voices to the group's dizzy swirl of beats and synths; but as they prove on "The Beat," there's plenty of personality to be found in the way they excavate the grooves of their banged-up record collection.
To get a better idea of C2C and their influences, check out this exclusive playlist the group put together for us. Of the mix, they told us: "We wanted our playlist to reflect the types of music that inspire us. It's hard to talk about only one 'perfect' song. It's easier to find songs that perfectly match with precise moments in life. Our musical taste encompasses all genres across the board. We wanted to express and share our many influences, including hip-hop music, especially from the U.S. We discovered all the other kinds of music through the samples that hip-hop uses, like soul and jazz, but we all have our own preferences -- some for Latin music, some for electro, some others for pop. So it's a very large range of music genres, but really, the roots of C2C come from U.S. hip-hop."