Lady Gaga’s latest album “Chromatica” features multiple co-writers plucked from the world of electronic music — among them Skrillex, Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso, Madeon, Boys Noize and Burns — but a little-known Frenchman, Tchami, has emerged as a key part of the No. 1 album’s early success. Tchami (born Martin Joseph Léonard Bresso) not only co-wrote and co-produced the record’s first single, “Stupid Love,” but also recent chart-topper “Rain On Me,” in addition to other tracks.
“I went to Los Angeles and did what I had to do with BloodPop and the team,” Tchami says of the album’s primary songwriter-producer and sonic architect. “We linked in a studio for a week and he gave me the opportunity to work on all the songs they had at the moment at an early stage and I am very grateful for that.”
On “Rain On Me,” Tchami’s “French touch” can be heard, with some listeners likening the sound to Daft Punk. “We did a version that didn’t make the final cut,” he reveals. “But BloodPop and Burns re-did the production and kept elements of our previous versions…. I learned that when you work on another artist’s project that it’s never about you.”
Variety‘s Hitmaker of the Month for June is better known as a busy touring DJ on the global festival circuit. As a songwriter, he humbly gives the lion’s share of credit to other co-writers on the album, in perhaps a growing awareness of what it takes to be a well-liked collaborator in 2020 when compromise is key to ensuring future calls for sessions.
For Tchami, who’s also credited on Lady Gaga’s “Applause” from 2013, collaborating is a sacred art of sacrifice and open-mindedness — never afraid of losing a part of a song if others think it can be improved upon. As he elaborates, it’s all a part of the songwriting process: “You want to create a musical piece that fits the artist aesthetic while also representing him or her at a specific point in time, and to me, this is how the music stays authentic — even when you bring a lot of people into the room to work… otherwise, it is just a collection of producers that bring their ego along.”
It’s lesson Tchami learned years ago. “I mostly compose music on my own,” he writes from his home in Miami, where he’s riding out the COVID-19 pandemic. “I have my area at home and I basically make music every day,” he says, adding “I’m fully present in the moment. I’ve been practically living in studios for most of my life, even back in the days in France, so coronavirus confinement is not a big deal for me.”
So what’s next for the electronic music purveyor? For starters, his new album “Year Zero” drops this fall, and he hopes to tour behind it as soon as he is able. Tchami was booked for Coachella in April and was in the middle of a North American jaunt that he had to cancel due to the pandemic. “So far, Coachella has been rescheduled so you can expect to see me there [in October],” he says, although it’s questionable whether it will go off at all in 2020.
Would his pop tracks from “Chromatica” work in the dance tent where EDM purists converge? “I love the fact that genres have clear boundaries — pop being a very particular one — but I cannot put myself in one box,” he says of his creative process. “I’m fully present in the moment. And I never set any boundaries when it comes to who I want to work with and what I want to create with them.”