Artist Profile: Dombrance

by | May 8, 2024 | Artist Profile, Blog

Dombrance, born Bertrand Lacombe, has built a formidable bridge between electronic music and the pulsating dynamics of political history. His career, spanning over two decades, reflects a deep engagement with the narrative potential of sound to comment on societal issues. His sound—a confluence of synth-pop, electro-funk, and disco—does more than make people move; it makes them think, reflect, and occasionally, revolt. In a current global climate fraught with political hypocrisy and instability, Dombrance may be the perfect artist to get to know. On Friday, May 10, you will have that chance as he joins the Feinstoff takeover at Control Club

The moustachioed Frenchman’s journey started in Bordeaux, where he first dabbled in the cello. This early introduction later expanded to include the electric guitar, influenced by the energy of grunge and the psychedelic sounds of Pink Floyd. His formal music education culminated at Paris’ premiere sound school, graduating in 1998. 

Starting his career in the early 2000s, Dombrance initially meandered through various musical phases and bands. The 2007 formation of DBFC, a band that seamlessly blended guitar riffs with electronic music, marked another phase of his evolution, mirroring the cross-genre experiments of Kraftwerk and Daft Punk. However, Dombrance’s solo ventures are what truly showcased his ability to blend cultural commentary with electronic beats, ultimately putting him on the proverbial map. 

His professional career took off with his self-titled debut album, released by Virgin Records in 2005, which showcased his multi-instrumentalist ability. Despite initial setbacks with his label, which failed to fully support his vision, Dombrance’s resilience propelled him into various collaborative ventures, including a stint with the band Brooklyn.

In 2022 Dombrance would launch the project that would become his most defining work: République Electronique. This series wove the narratives of various French political figures into complex electronic compositions, turning historical analysis into danceable tracks. The track Giscard, named after the progressive yet controversial President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, mixes smooth, disco-inflected beats with an undercurrent of complexity. Meanwhile, Macron vibrates with kinetic energy and vocal fragments that echo the polarized public sentiment toward Emmanuel Macron’s presidency.

2021 saw an America-focused political concept as Dombrance released Make America Dance Again. Like République Electronique, each track would draw influence from a particular member of the American zeitgeist, including Obama, Trump, Biden, and even Kanye West. The year also hosted a package featuring remixes of Dombrance’s well-received Taubira on Gouranaga Music.

In March 2024, Dombrance released Double Trouble on Discolypso, temporarily ending his thematic exploration of French political figures. The package also includes a string of remixes from legendary producers like François K, Lindstrøm, Daniele Baldelli & Dionigi, Freudenthal, and more.

Dombrance’s live performances are more akin to a gesamtkunstwerk than conventional concerts. With an exuberant stage presence surrounded by synthesizers and pedals, each show is a meticulously crafted multisensory experience of audio/visual storytelling. These are both performances and immersive expositions that articulate the symbiosis between sound and civic consciousness. The full experience was first felt at FORMAT Festival and has graced stages like Glastonbury, Bar Americas, and Mayan Warrior.

Dombrance’s influence in the electronic music scene includes a level of profundity rarely found in clubland. His approach ensures that each composition is a conversation starter. Existing at the intersection of music, culture, and politics, Dombrance fearlessly invites listeners to dance, yes, but also to think, question, and engage.

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