The man behind such productions as the Mighty Bop (downtempo hip-hop), Bob Sinclar (house), and Réminiscence Quartet (acid jazz) is Chris the French Kiss (aka Christophe le Friant), a Parisian DJ and head of the crucial French label Yellow Productions as well as a producer. Le Friant began DJing in 1987 while still a teenager, and formed Yellow Productions in 1993 with Alain Ho. Several of the first releases on Yellow were by le Friant: the Mighty Bop's "Messe Pour le Temps Present," Réminiscence Quartet's "Roda Mundo," and his first LP, the French hip-hop summit The Mighty Bop Meet DJ Cam et la Funk Mob. Alongside releases from a parade of excellent French sources, including DJ companions Dimitri from Paris and Kid Loco, Yellow also hosted two more Mighty Bop LPs during 1996-1997, La Vague Sensorielles and Autres Voix, Autres Blues.
Eager to inject some fun into the burgeoning French house underground, le Friant borrowed the name Bob Sinclar (from a character in the well-known French film Le Magnifique) and in 1997 produced his first Sinclar EP, A Space Funk Project. Soon enough, he had an entire Bob Sinclar LP ready to go, and Paradise appeared on Yellow just in time for summer 1998. One of the album's tracks, "Gym Tonic," began getting some club play in France thanks to its bouncy house vibe and incessant singalong chorus (lifted from a Jane Fonda workout record). A huge anthem during the summer season in Ibiza, "Gym Tonic" looked ready to explode on the charts until Fonda sought legal action for the illegal sample. Perhaps wary of overly burdensome commercial success, the song's co-producer -- Daft Punk's Thomas Bangalter, who'd just recorded his own breezy house delight, Stardust's "Music Sounds Better with You" -- refused to have even a remixed version released as a single. Nevertheless, assorted bootlegs cropped up and by October a mysterious artist named Spacedust -- probably just a major-label-fronted cash-in attempt -- hit the top of the charts in Britain with an almost identical remix of the Sinclar-Bangalter original, entitled "Gym and Tonic." (Another crass Spacedust move, covering Bangalter's solo hit with the slimly disguised title "Music Feels Good with You," dropped like a rock.) With all the offending samples removed, Sinclar's Paradise LP was re-released worldwide in 1999. He also worked on remixes, providing tracks by Bangalter himself, Ian Pooley, Second Crusade, and the Yellow project Tom & Joyce with additional production. Le Friant returned to the Mighty Bop alias in 2000 with the retrospective mix collection Spin My Hits. In 2000, he issued his first U.S. album release as Sinclar, Champs Elysées, on Subliminal Records. The 2001 release Cerrone by Bob Sinclar found him mixing his personal favorites from the back catalog of one of his big influences, Cerrone. After climbing the dance charts in 2005 with the single "Love Generation," he released the full-length Western Dream in 2006. ~ John Bush