TC80, a French artist living in Berlin with Japanese influences

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The best way to get a feeling for TC80’s sound is to listen to the afternoon set he performed at Berlin’s Club De Visionaire last August (see below); one which wades through mysterious, misty soundscapes before ascending into a broken but accessible flow. It’s one of many such sets the French DJ has played, having worked through 10 years of German residencies before debuting his TC80 alias in 2015 with The Phrase EP on So Inagawa’s highly regarded Cabaret label.

Alongside a refreshing, syncopated percussive style, TC80 is typified by the atmosphere of his records, which are inspired by vintage Anime and Japanese science fiction. This has resulted in a bewitching style, perhaps best summed up in a discogs review of his acclaimed 2016 LP - “it stops time in contemplation yet also harks of a utopic horizon.” This ability to uplift through groove is consistent through his productions and DJ sets, which take place across every corner of Europe.

As a distinct creative who has put in more than his fair share of hours behind the booth, All Ears were keen to catch up with TC80 and get his take on hearing protection.

How is this year shaping up for you, music-wise? Are you working on anything at the moment?

A new album is coming in June on Sequalog and then couple of EPs plus some remixes on other vinyl labels.

Have you gone through phases of watching and being inspired by Anime and Science Fiction, or is it a constant for you? What are you watching now?

Some of my first memories are watching episodes from Ulysses 31 and Captain Harlock, with Japanese Science Fiction series. Since then I haven’t stopped being fascinated by the imagination and messages offered by Anime and Science Fiction.

I don’t watch that much, I try to avoid too much entertainment. In the last 3 years I’ve really enjoyed following the episodes from Dragon Ball Super and some questioning or trippy movies like Interstellar, Blade Runner...

So far this year you’ve played in Russia, America and Sweden, where has your favourite stop been?

I enjoyed playing in those three countries, but as it was my first time in New York and in the US, that was really interesting. The feeling of being in a familiar environment without actually having been there before (because of movies and series culture).

When did you first realise that your job was affecting your hearing?

I first noticed some ringing sound in my ears after my first sessions in a progressive heavy metal band around 17 years old. Since this early age I’ve been exposed to loud environments.

How have you dealt with tinnitus, does it bother you a lot?

After a gig in 2017 I came back home with ringing that never stopped. There was no volume control for the monitoring speakers in the DJ booth and it was really loud.

I first thought that after one day it could stop, like my previous experiences. But, after three days, I realised that I had to go for a test. We noticed one big hole around 200Hz and 5kHz for both ears.

I was really worried for the first weeks until I accepted the situation and stopped focusing on it. Some days it’s more present, but there are some tricks to learn to deal with it.

How long have you worn earplugs for?

I started to wear normal protection earplugs around 2012. After this event in 2017, I instantly ordered custom earplugs. I wear them at every gig but I’m still not able to play with them in.

Would you say there is a stigma around hearing protection in dance music?

I don’t know if there is a stigma or if it’s ‘normal’ to have tinnitus when you work in a dance music environment.

There are many things to do to prevent this more: to offer more generic protection earplugs and also safer DJ booths and equipment.

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Written by Will Soer