Mirwais – Disco Science

2nd June 2024 · 2000, 2000s, Dance, Music

In 2000 I was flown to Paris (business class) and plied with food and drink at the beautiful Hotel Costes just to interview an unknown French bloke called Mirwais.

That sort of thing was a day-to-day occurrence in my job at the Evening Standard: record (and film) companies were awash with cash. Back then journalism was a very different beast from today’s newsrooms of underpaid hacks doomscrolling through Instagram and X for celebrity tittle-tattle.

I can’t remember who came with me on this one – there was usually a music PR to share the fun – but I do remember that the unknown French bloke was called Mirwais, and that he pronounced it “Meer-wez”.

I’d never heard of him, and he’s not technically French – he was born in Switzerland to Italian and Afghani parents – but he was quite well known over there. First through a group called Taxi Girl in the late ’70s, who supposedly influenced Daft Punk and Air, and later in a folk-pop duo with his girlfriend called Juliette et les Independants.

Then he discovered drum’n’bass and turned to electronic music, creating this song – Disco Science – and it became a big club hit in France in 1999, reaching the ever-alert ears of Madonna. The perennial trend-seeker was so impressed that she invited Mirwais to produce her 2000 album Music, which was the excuse for me to talk to him.

I don’t remember much about him: he was small, and quiet, and didn’t have anything very interesting to say, which I guess is why he was in a control room twiddling knobs rather than on stage strutting his stuff.

But he did make this, with its rumbling bassline and that very satisfying squelch, followed by what sounds like a whiplash. It would make a very good soundtrack for an S&M-themed film – which I imagine is precisely what appealed to Madge.