Born in France but based in Geneva since he moved to Switzerland in 2001, Philippe Quenum has forged an internationally respected career as a DJ and producer. He’s toured the world and worked with numerous other talented artists, including Swiss DJ don Luciano. Quenum has just released a new EP, ‘Valley of True People’, on the Rebellion label, owned by fellow DJ Damian Lazarus. Here, he tells us what he’s been doing during lockdown and gives us his top tips for exploring Geneva.
Have you found yourself listening to or making more music during lockdown?
Absolutely, I’ve been very productive in the studio and as a result I’ll be releasing a lot of music this year. I haven’t talked much about this, but I’m working on a solo album and my friend Christophe Calpini will be adding his magic touch to it. The album will be 100% Swiss-made – conceived, created and produced locally.
What are your favourite places to eat in Geneva?
I like going to the Bain des Pâquis, which is a public beach in summer. In winter it becomes a sauna (you can skinny dip in the lake) and a pop-up restaurant serving cheese fondue. It’s one of Geneva’s legendary spots – on the lake, with a view of both city and mountains. The other nice thing about it is that everybody goes there, it’s such a mix of people, from bankers to old hippies and families.
Le Relais de l’Entrecôte is a classic, old-school French-style restaurant that’s been going for decades and never disappoints. When I’m feeling homesick (my father was from West Africa) I go to Aux 5 Sens, a Senegalese restaurant behind the train station. The nice thing about Geneva, being the second home of the UN, is its variety of international cuisines. I’ve just discovered a tiny Chinese restaurant in the heart of the Old Town that serves light and refined food, Le 33. It’s not too expensive, which is a big plus in Geneva.
Where would you recommend in the city for clubbing and live music?
First, I have to pay respect to the pope of the local club scene, DIMI3, who runs the club Weetamix, where all the big DJs have played. My first night out after lockdown was there, with my mate Luciano. Audio is a new club with quality line-ups. It’s in town, next to a beautiful bridge (pont Hans-Wilsdorf). I really like outdoor concerts in summer, especially the ones in Parc de la Grange. They’re free and you can bring a blanket and picnic, it’s such a cool vibe. The other big yearly event is the Soulitude festival, which has some of the best talent in soul music, whether it’s old-school legends like De La Soul or emerging artists. It’s worth coming to Geneva just for Soulitude, to see artists in a more intimate setting than in London or New York.
Where do you go to relax?
I’m addicted to running, I go out nearly every day to a sports centre by the river called the Bout-du-Monde (which translates as ‘the end of the world’). You can run or walk in the woods and it feels like you’re in the countryside. Right over the border from Geneva, in France, there’s a mountain called the Salève. It’s a popular climbing spot for all abilities or if you feel lazy you can take a cable car to the top and enjoy the view.
Right next to my studio is a great spot. I’m in the Jonction area, by the old Kugler art factory on the Rhône. There’s a grassy area where people come to relax and listen to music or have barbecues, it’s a unique atmosphere. On a hot day you can jump in the Rhône, but only if you’re a good swimmer. You let yourself float and the current takes you downstream.
What have you got lined-up for the rest of the year and beyond?
I’ve got a lot of music coming out this year, a few EPs, some remixes and other projects in collaboration with super-talented artist friends. I’m going to start DJing in Switzerland, as it’s one of the first places to allow club nights with a few hundred people. Then I’ll see what happens in other places. And in the meantime I’ll continue working on my productions, especially on my solo album.
Quenum’s new EP, ‘Valley of True People’ is out now. Stream or download it here.