12 French House and Techno Artists You Should Know
Aug 11, 2023
5 min read
What does it mean to be a French dance music artist?
French techno is defined by heavy beats, driving rhythms, futuristic tunes, and dystopian sounds, including elements of acid house, industrial music, and Detroit techno. The underground style emerged in the European country in the early ‘90s. French techno pioneer Laurent Garnier was known for his deep, hypnotic grooves, and melancholic melodies, establishing those themes as key to the genre.
French house music—also referred to as French touch, filter house, and tekfunk—was created during the same period as French techno. Inspired by American pioneers like DJ Sneak and Todd Edwards, the nation’s house style samples American and European disco tracks from the late '70s and early '80s. Iconic artists within the genre include Daft Punk, Justice, Stardust, Braxe + Falcon, and Cassius.
These two genres have since blown up worldwide, with audiophiles craving their unequaled sounds on global dance floors. Some of the hottest artists within the space include Tchami, Madeon, DJ Snake, David Guetta, Martin Solveig, Kavinsky, Bob Sinclair, Habstrakt, Cedric Gervais, Gesaffelstein, and Sébastien Léger. Here, we detail 12 French house and techno artists worth noting.
1. Space 92
Pounding bass, trancey techno, distorted percussion, and a touch of acid— these are the words that describe French producer Space 92. The sound designer brings a sense of underlying sensitivity and nostalgia to his dancefloor-dominating beats.
2. Matt Sassari
Techno and tech house tastemaker Matt Sassari found his passion for dance music at 14. He boasts releases on notable labels such as CR2, Truesoul, Panterre Musique, Terminal M, Intec, and Relief. With hits such as “Give it to Me,” “The Voodoo Babe,” and “Sleepwalking,” the Marseille-based DJ and producer prove to be one to watch.
3. Miss Kittin
Miss Kittin is known to be the empress of electroclash, a genre that’s a grimy marriage of new wave and ’90s techno. The Grenoble French Alps-born producer quit her studies in 1995 and later teamed up with The Hacker to produce their first official EP, which included renowned hits such as “Frank Sinatra” and “1982.” The international artist released her debut solo album, I Com, in 2004, an LP that merged punk with techno and Chicago house.
4. I Hate Models
I Hate Models cannot be slotted into one box as his music combines techno, industrial, and trance music. His style brings everything from nostalgia to melancholic, brutal, passionate, and lonely sounds. The artist is known for warehouse tunes that simultaneously juxtapose darkness and lightness.
5. Deborah Aime La Bagarre
Quirky, joyful, and warm beats define French artist Deborah Aime La Bagarre. The sound creator is inspired by the zeal of the ’90s as well as the history of Chicago and Detroit club music. Indeed, Deborah Aime La Bagarre brings the funk to the dancefloor.
Parisian producer POPOF throws down at any BPM. He is becoming recognized within the worlds of techno and house music, creating everything from soft, moody records to aggressive tunes slated to get ravers stomping around on the dancefloor. The Form Music label boss has worked with famed artists such as Depeche Mode, Chemical Brothers, Moby, BookaShade, Tiga, Maetrik, and Martin Solveig.
Get down to techno, rock, disco, pop, and punk with Vitalic, who brings electrifying and near-psychedelic production to his live electronic shows. Top tracks from the sonic creator include “Poison Lips,” “Waiting for the Stars (feat. David Shaw),” and “El Viaje.” In addition, he forms the duo KOMPROMAT with Rebeka Warrior.
KAS:ST delivers dark, avant-garde, somber, and underground techno sounds to the scene. The duo performs not only DJ sets but also creates live show experiences that bring together audio and video technology. The genre-bending pair’s fusion of industrial techno, drum and bass, and trap music garnered a remix of “Hell on Earth” by 999999999 and a Tale of Us remake of “Hold Me to the Light.” In addition, the Flyance Records founders boast a collaboration with esteemed artist Kerri Chandler.
9. Le Hutin
Sound-defying composer, producer, and DJ Le Hutin bring soulful, funky, groovy, and jazzy styles to the dancefloor. His work includes not-so-sampled house music combined with his instrumental capabilities on the piano, guitar, and bass guitar. Expectations?! is the Parisian’s latest album.
10. Julian Jeweil
Get lost in Julian Jeweil’s hypnotic and driving sounds that explore brilliance and vantablack tones. The beatmaker has brought his music to acclaimed festivals such as Tomorrowland, Loveland, Time Warp, Drumcode Festival, Dreambeach, BPM Festival, and Resistance at Ultra Music Festival. His Transmission LP was released on Adam Beyer’s Drumcode, generating multiple Beatport chart-toppers.
11. Oden & Fatzo
Paris-based electronic live trio Oden & Fatzo creates complex grooves that integrate kaleidoscopic and glowing ambiances. It weaves broken rhythms with minimal, upbeat house, breakbeat electro, UK garage, and funky techno music that is sure to get dancers grooving. Its imprint, Saké Rec, not only promotes burgeoning artists but also features collaborations with established French house artists such as Herr Krank, Theos, and Baccus.
12. Born Dirty
When Born Dirty jumped into the scene just a few years ago, he quickly gained the support of massive labels such as Mad Decent, OWSLA, Fool’s Gold, and Higher Ground. His discography includes the likes of Diplo, Cassius, Anna Lunoe, and Kid Sister, with the Way Way Records label boss pulling tunes from across the spectrum of dance music. The French-bred artist’s sound also reflects his growing up in the country and starting his music career in the UK.