The charismatic DJ and producer, Florent Hugel, is well-established in the electronic music scene for his fusion of Latin energy, dirty beats, and hypnotic house music around the world. His robust career is flourishing, for he is featured on the front cover of DJ Mag this month and will be launching his new label Make the Girls Dance in May that embraces his groovy, lighthearted energy.
While growing up in Marseille, Hugel remembers watching MTV and listening to various kinds of music with his family like funk, jazz, disco soul, and hip-hop. The Frenchman embraces the huge electronic music culture there with renowned artists like Daft Punk, David Punk, Cassius, and Laurent Garnier hailing from his homeland. “Not only do they have the best wine and food in the world, but also have such great art and culture. The France I know from the beginning of time was very inspiring for the world, and I would like to keep that memory of my country.” Nevertheless, living in Miami has been a dream come true for the Marseille native. “Scarface is one of the first legendary movies that brought me here. I grew up playing GTA, which was a representation of Scarface, and I always pictured myself living in Miami, but I don’t want to see myself dying, haha.” While Miami is a big Latin hub for reggaetón music and other types from places in South America, Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico, the music he produces comes from Latin Europe (like Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Ibiza, and the Mediterranean Sea), and by living here, he can now upgrade electronic music by mixing it with the reggaetón culture. “Miami is my favorite city in the world, and I can’t imagine myself living anywhere else in America.” The lady’s man lived in Ibiza years ago and even learned Spanish while living there. “I don’t speak it as well in English, so I use my Spanish just for the girls and not for anyone else.”
The fresh resident of Miami reflects back on his rewarding journey and how he got to this pivotal point today, for it all started with creating art as a form of healing and catharsis. Hugel had always aspired to be a DJ, and he did make it a career in 2018. At that time it was the idea to create “plastic, pop-like” music that generates money. Then, Covid arrived and ultimately became a big reset for the world, and the only palpable escape was through his laptop. “I started to make music as a form of therapy and did not have any goals in mind or intentions of making a radio hit. I simply wanted to make something with this Balearic feeling and that’s how I made ‘Morenita,’ which didn’t come out for another year and a half.” When it did, it turned into a monumental hit that was being played by everyone like Fisher, Diplo, and John Summit, and became the catalyst of what opened the doors for him in America. About 12 years ago, the beloved character had a tattoo placed on himself that states “music for the soul can be heard by the universe,” and he feels that it’s entirely valid, “because when you do something for yourself and create a piece of art, it really speaks volumes.” The song gave him a second breakthrough as an artist, and the genre continued to thrive so much that Beatport actually created a new sub-genre called Latin house because of these refreshing melodies. “It was a whole new sound, and while people think it’s from South America, it’s actually from Ibiza. I grew up with this music, and I felt like it never arrived on this side of the world, so I have to keep going in this direction.”
When it comes to social media, Hugel prefers to strictly show his professional side and avoid putting his private life on display since that would only bring more stress and drama to his life. “To be honest, I don’t like social media. It’s a great tool for working and making yourself famous online, but when it comes to your private life, it can be very toxic. We all don’t have the same opinions about the same things, and some bored people like to watch Instagram all day and judge the life of others, but it’s kind of sad. They need to get a life and be passionate about something. Where I come from, we say that ‘you only clean your laundry in front of family and not in front of others,’ but I guess that it’s just a different culture.”
If there ever was a possibility for the carefree soul to time travel for a day, it’d be in the future so he could learn more from his older self. “If ‘the me’ right now was speaking to myself at 20 or 25 years old, I would give myself tons of advice, but I’d rather hang out with the wiser older version of me.” The passionate fellow is engrossed with everything he does. “I don’t see myself living in this world without passion, because it’s actually what saved me. Living a life without passion is not worth living, because then you’re just waiting to die.” Check out his latest single “Como Shakira” released on Friday 3/24, and be sure to support the vibrant artist now on Instagram and Beatport.