Regular high school student by day and budding electronic producer by night, Mehdi Benjelloun, who goes by the stage name of Petit Biscuit, has achieved a lot for a 16-year-old. Fascinated with the different textures of sound, Mehdi began experimenting with music from the tender age of 12. Fast forward four years to 2016, Petit Biscuit finds himself on his first ever tour around France, promoting his self-titled debut EP which reached number one on the iTunes electronic charts in France shortly after its release.
Besides his solo act as Petit Biscuit, along with his friend Romain Bauthier who’s better known by his stage name LUUUL, Mehdi Benjelloun is also a part of the French indie-pop duo Mount Dreams. High school, touring and producing…sounds like a very busy schedule for a 16-year-old, so we reached out to the budding young artist to learn more about him and his music.
Where did the stage name Petit Biscuit come from?
Petit Biscuit sounds really humble and simple. Since the start of the project, I wanted to find something which sounds humble and simple, but also really French. So I found Petit Biscuit, which also describes my personality very well.
You began playing the cello from a very young age and have a background in classical music. What made you go into the electronic genre?
I got my first synth when I was 11 and I spent two or three days playing and finding the perfect sound. The love of textures came from this. Electronic music permits me to discover unique textures and a lot of possibility. Then, when I was 12, I started making music and creating melodies.
What’s the inspiration behind your debut EP?
Much in this EP is about contrasts. I wanna make people travel with many different vibes. Sweetness with “Sunset Lover”, wild world with “Jungle” and “Once Again”, cold world with “Iceland”. The track “Full Moon” describes me…there is a lot of sweetness but at the same time, something really mature in this track.
With some world inspirations, by search of the perfect textures, I wanna make people travel out of this world through my music.
What’s your favourite track on the EP and why?
This is the hardest question you can ask me. It’s so hard to choose, because all the tracks in this EP are so different, but “Jungle” is certainly a track which represents me really well right now. Like many people my age, I’m discovering our world from different points of view, and “Jungle” describes the power and mystery of this world.
What goes on in your mind when you listen to your own music?
When I listen to my own songs I think of the future…but obviously, each track also reminds me of the emotions I wanted to convey through them.
What’s the process when you’re writing a song?
I love to start producing with my guitar, piano or a lead synth to create a melody. Then I work a lot around this melody, by adding more and more textures through vocals and different instruments.
Is the creative process any different when you’re writing for Mount Dreams?
For me as well as for LUUUL, Mount Dreams is all about discovering new things. We share a lot of different vibes, but we also have a lot of similar tastes.
What has been the most memorable moment from your tour so far?
I just started to tour and am experiencing lots of different things. For my first festival performance in France, at Panoramas Festival, I came by car because I was at school that day, and there was a lot of traffic and I arrived at the festival about 15 or 20 minutes before going on stage, so it was a little bit scary…but everything turned out great. Playing at festivals is always a unique experience, I love it just as much as producing!
Do you have any artists whom you look up to?
For sure, I always look up to Flume and Bonobo who made me discover and enjoy electronic music from a young age. So I consider them as models and geniuses. I played with ODESZA two times in Paris, as a supporting act, and these two dates were one of my first experiences on the scene. They’re really kind guys so I look up to them as well.
Who’s your dream collaboration?
Definitely Flume, quite simply because this guy amazes me with each release.
What’s the plan after you graduate high school? Will you pursue a full-time career in music?
Maybe, it’s too early to choose. I don’t really think of “later”, but I wanna say that a career in music would be a dream come true.