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Croquet Club 05

How meditation helped French producer Croquet Club unlock his creative potential

11 March 2024, 09:00

Ending a seven-year hiatus with the release of new record Fugue in Twilight, Croquet Club, aka producer Jeremy Villecourt, tells Jen Long how he found the space to create.

“It was a matter of time and space because having kids, there was just no space left for Croquet Club, and that’s the story behind it,” laughs Jeremy Villecourt from his home in the South of France, explaining his seven-year absence from releasing music. “It’s nothing crazy, I just had kids!”

Releasing debut record Fugue in Twilight later this month, the long-awaited follow-up to his 2016 EP Love Exposure, it’s a project that’s brought him both an enduring challenge and cyclical inspiration across the past two years.

Villecourt grew up in the South West of France, close to the Spanish border and between the ocean and the mountains. In school, he was a huge fan of Nirvana. “My dad had an acoustic guitar at home, which I found a bit boring and then I went to a friend’s place and he had a proper electric guitar with an amplifier and I played it and I was like, ‘Man, this is the sound of Kurt Cobain, it’s amazing,’” he laughs.


He begged his parents for one of his own and formed a band with friends from school, playing covers for fun. Despite the small town where he lived, there was a strong community of musicians who would gather for gigs on the weekends and promote each other’s music. His mum owned a big house in the countryside where the band rehearsed. After every practice his friends would leave their instruments in place, giving Villecourt access to learn each one in his own time.

It was through another of his friends that Villecourt first discovered the possibilities of music production. “He had a Pentium, back in those years, and I was amazed by the fact that we could record in some kind of a studio fashion, even if it was really low budget,” he says. “It was amazing for me because it was like, I can actually record myself like a band. It was a real revelation and it was what made me want to work in the studio.”

Croquet club 01

Nonetheless, Villecourt never considered music as a plausible career. Instead, he did a masters in law and travelled to London, Dublin and Canada, working in the legal departments of large companies. “It's probably the time I've been the most unhappy about my life,” he says.

He was still making music on the side with a friend, and slowly they began to gather attention from friends in film and advertising. Eventually, Villecourt moved to Paris and the pair established their own agency specialising in composition and music supervision.


Even as music became his fulltime endeavour, Villecourt still felt the itch of independence. “I got a bit frustrated working on a brief because you always have to follow people's inspiration. Very quickly I understood that people were not interested in my music, they were interested in getting something achieved for the pictures,” he says. “At some point I felt like I would like to have something for myself.”

He created a Soundcloud account and began to share music written to nothing but his own desire. Things moved quickly, and he was contacted by UK house imprint Anjunadeep asking if they could release his track as a single. “It kind of pushed me into making more music because I knew they were interested in this music,” he says. “I thought maybe I can give it a bit more energy and spend a bit more time doing this because it feels good.”

Balancing his work in film alongside Croquet Club, Villecourt released his debut EP Love Exposure in 2016. A smooth journey of encapsulating ambient house and delicate electronica, it established him as one of the label’s most exciting prospects.

However, at the same time Villecourt was struggling to find inspiration. Moving from Paris back to his hometown, renovating a house and about to become a father, his priorities shifted. “I wasn't able to come up with anything interesting,” he shrugs. “I was working in the studio trying to do stuff, but it wasn't good enough. I just left it on the side for a couple of years and thought maybe it's the end of the project, maybe I just need a break. I met my wife and I got kids, and then it was just a matter of time.”

As Villecourt’s life changed, he began to miss the freedoms he’d previously enjoyed. Instead of nights out, he looked inwards, developing his meditative practice as a means to find space. “I looked for freedom somewhere and I kind of started to be interested in a spiritual practice like meditation,” he says. “It took me to really interesting places on a personal level. I felt really good about many aspects of my life. I understood quite a lot of things. This is actually the very beginning of the new project, it inspired me a lot.”

Croquet Club 02 Studio

Approaching this new record with the same care and attentiveness he developed through his spiritual practice, Villecourt recorded every note of every instrument organically in a painstaking challenge of patience. “I came to a point where I thought I would never be able to finish this project,” he laughs. “But then, eventually, because the music was coming out of meditation, I could feel this really positive energy from the demos and it inspired me in a retrospective way. It gave me the right kind of energy to keep it going and focus on small steps, one thing at a time.”

In total, it took him around eighteen months to complete the record, an elegant, gentle trip that balances capacious production with tender melody. “When I listened to the mastered version, it was a bit of an emotional moment,” he says. “It was such an adventure and I felt super grateful about the whole thing. I felt like I pushed my own limits on this project.”

Working with new Anjunadeep imprint, the aptly titled Reflections, Fugue in Twilight will arrive later this month, preceded today by new single “Don’t Say.” A smooth pulse of euphoric soundscape, it’s an adventure inwards. “It’s the story of two fictional characters, they’re going on an adventure,” says Villecourt. “The first character, embodied by the lead voice, takes the second one towards unknown territories. Instead of going to tangible places together, they go for an inner trip. The song is building up on this idea that the more you dive inside, the more interesting stuff you discover about yourself and the better you’ll feel about yourself.”

Fugue in Twilight is released on 25 March via Reflections

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