Wax Tailor makes music like a director conducts his actors. He conceives his album in the old fashion sense, where the narrative develops throughout the course of an album rather than a collection of singles. “A lot of albums nowadays seem go for big-name collaborations, and I think they lose their artistic integrity as a result.
The person behind Wax Tailor is Frenchman JC Le Saout. JC grew up with a passion for music and in particular hip-hop in the mid 80’s. He references Rum DMC’s ‘Raising Hell’ as a landmark. In 1987, he went to England and started collecting 12”’s from a friend who was a DJ. Wax would then copy them to cassettes and loop them back home on a double decker to make his own beats, copying people like Coldcut or MARRS.
This lead to MC’ing at the beginning of the 90’s, and JC started a hip-hop band called La Formule, which picked up a lot of heat in the independent circuit. The major labels came rushing in, but the band didn’t want to subscribe to their formula. Instead they launched an independent label, Lab’Oratoire and in 2000 they really started to pick up production duties. JC was one of the MC’s of La Formule, as well as their manager. As a producer, he branched into break beat and released a series of well received ‘breaking the wave’ 12” which lead him to start selling his music abroad.
In 2002, JC launched his project Wax Tailor with a different premise: “The more I was writing rap, the more I was made aware of the necessity to cast your lyrics just like a film directors chooses to cast a story. I had written a few raps based on what a gun would say, or what a prisoner sentenced to death would tell his wife in his last letter. I felt more and more as if I was a director or a scenario writer. This led me to approach the Wax Tailor project differently, referencing cinema in a more conscious way”.
Drawing inspiration from DJ Shadow, A Tribe Called Quest, Hitchcock and Kubrick, Wax Tailor’s brand of orchestral hip-hop became an instant success. Released on the small Under Cover label, his first album ‘Tales Of The Forgotten Melodies’ earned Wax Tailor praise all around and went to sell 25,000 copies in his home country and became Radio Nova’s Album of the Year.
Successful licenses in North America (to Decon) and Australia (to Blend) grew his fame internationally, earning him an opening slot on RJD2’s tour. His second album ‘Hope & Sorrow’ expands on the pop construction of his music and features neo soul empress Sharon Jones, spoken word extraordinaire Ursula Rucker, alongside regular guests such as Charlotte Savary, The Others or Marina Quaisse (all also perform live with him).