The Director’s Cut: Duñe x Crayon – Hundred Fifty Roses

French production duo Duñe x Crayon have released their new album Hundred Fifty Roses today via Roche Musique. Crayon is the producer and Duñe delivers those buttery smooth vocals. The album is soulful, funky and fun with the combo of smooth instrumentals and hazy vocals to match.

It tells of love won and lost, as they traverse through soul, g-funk, R&B and some velvety, funky basslines that fit with warm weather. Duñe details a tragic story of addiction, obsession and lust, playing out the dystopian story of a man who falls into social isolation due to an over-connected world.

We wanted to get a little more information on this album that is both so easy to listen to, but also tackles some tough topics. So we had the Frenchmen do a Director’s Cut to break things down, track-by-track, to explain how this album came together, including lost files, late night jam sessions and more.

Stream the full album now and get your copy here.

1. Save Yourself First

The track is about our friend Anna who at the time was trying to come out of an unhealthy relationship. Musically speaking, we’ve always wanted to use this 80’s, kind of, Prince-ish sound that seems to have been coming back more often in these past few years (Anderson .Paak, Kadja Bonnet, Sunni Colon etc…). We composed the chorus a day before sending it to mastering.

2. Not In Love

It’s the oldest track off our album along with “Hundred Fifty Roses,” the one that sort of shaped the sound for the full record. We did it on a Paris Fashion Week night and Crayon’s then roommate turned up in our studio at 4am with some model friends who were with some creepy agents. This all happened while we were both passing out with exhaustion and trying to finish the recording of what would become the first demo for “Not In Love.” You can actually hear the door opening somewhere after the first chorus, as we decided to keep the vocal takes from that night.

3. Slowdiving ft. Lossapardo

We are both big Lossapardo fans, for both his music and art. It was only natural for us to pay him a quick visit and see what happens from there. He played us a very minimalistic demo of his, with that “oh oh” hook and the chords, and we spent the rest of that night figuring out what to create around it.

4. Hundred Fifty Roses

It’s actually an old demo that Duñe started out for another project but didn’t have vocals, or a B part for; the song was mainly built around that bass and guitar riff. We had just started contemplating this idea of having a very clear contrast between the lighter feel of our music and the need for a deeper, sometimes heavier subject, lyrically-speaking. So when we decided to turn this demo into an actual song, we thought of using this concept of an escort’s cost – in Paris – being displayed in roses instead of a real currency; this was a perfect metaphor of this contrast of visions that we wanted to share. “Your Fruit” is another example of this.

5. Your Fruit ft. Gracy Hopkins

Gracy Hopkins’s goofiness combined with his always flamboyant, impeccable performance is something we just love and admire so much. Despite the lyrics being pretty, well, self explanatory (even more so if you have some French understanding), we wrote Duñe’s verse with the idea that he might actually suffer from this “fruit" addiction. So again, there are several levels of approach for the listener, whether it’s a nice romantic ballad or a tormented moment of introspection – it’s up to their perception.

6. Flowers & Honey

It started out around this guitar loop we were sitting on for a few weeks before we got in the studio with our bass player, Thomus and jammed for a few hours. Because we wanted to keep this one pure and simple, we chose not to overthink its composition and lyricism and instead just have a vibe, to just share as if you were in the studio vibing with us as we’re making it.

7. Invisible ft. Aurélie Saada

“Invisible” is a long story that started out with Crayon being a big Jadu Heart fan and going to London to meet and jam with them. They wrote most of the hooks, and wrote the lyrics while he was more on the production and composition side of things. This is one of the files that got lost when Crayon got his laptop stolen, but Jadu had kept some guitars, bass, and other bits and pieces in a drive and sent it to us. Duñe re sang the initial melody, helped produce a final version too, but something was missing. After some reflection we started looking for another contrast to create in the music, so we had the chance to be introduced to one of Brigitte, France’s best modern disco/pop duo, and recorded Aurelie’s verse within a couple hours.

8. Pointless ft. Ichon

So “Pointless” is another song about suffering from various forms of addiction, from sex, drugs, to social networks and everything around and in between. Somehow having Ichon for that missing second verse brought light into the track, despite his low register and tormented lyrics. The director, Alice Kong, brought visuals for the track that really embodied the mood we were in at the time too.

9. Polterguest

This one is, as you can hear, an instrumental jam, one night in 2018, I think, with Crayon’s then live guitarist Anger, and us on synths. We then lost the file (yes) and had to basically re-jam, this time with our friend Ben Mo on drums & bass (but not at the same time).

10. Vicious Cycle ft. Gracy Hopkins

This is from another night jamming, this time with our friend FKJ. Duñe was singing on it initially but we wanted to flip the track’s vibe a little so we asked Gracy Hopkins to pretty much improvise something – a few days before the final deadline too. We were really happy with the result, musically and lyrically. Fame does seem to dehumanize, the way we sell their private lives, and the way we talk about famous people like they don’t have feelings or issues. We like that he questioned the need for attention in life, as we tend to have a quite cynical view about such topics.

11. PS ft. Swing & PH Trigano

This one we did overnight at Dabeull’s place in Brussels. We had just met Swing & his band mates from L’Or Du Commun. We recorded him and PH on iPod speakers, the piano in the living room and little percs from the kitchen with our phones, and completed the production on the same laptop.

12. The One

It was a very emotional moment for the two of us; we wanted to let it all out without overthinking for once.

13. Ten Years

“Ten Years” is by accident harmonically connected to “The One.” It’s the best closure we could have brought to the album in our opinion, as it’s a message of self-love and self-acceptance to our younger selves.