Introducing Florian Mavridorakis : the French musician making a big impact in the American music scene

Florian Mavridorakis grew up in the region of Lyon, France, where he was inspired by the local music scene and his older brother's band Dub Inc, the biggest reggae band in France. He began playing the drums at the age of 14, but it wasn't until he was 17 that he truly dedicated himself to the instrument. 

“My parents never pushed me to do music, but once I decided to follow that path they always supported me and encouraged me. I couldn’t have done it without their support.”

Florian's first band, ARTFKT, enjoyed rapid success in the region, leading them to participate in the legendary Emergenza festival and winning the "La Chasse est Ouverte '' competition.

"We never expected this level of success," Florian says. "We just wanted to create something that was true to us and our musical vision. It's amazing to see how people have resonated with our music and we are so grateful for the support we have received. It's a true honor to be able to share our music with the world."

After parting ways with the band, Florian met, in 2016, Arthur Joachim, a vocalist from the French Antilles, and together they formed Damoiseau

“My friends and I were hosting a jam session every Saturday night in a club in Lyon, where we would play soul music and invite other musicians on stage. There was this guy who came regularly, Arthur Joachim, a med student passionate about music, too shy to go on stage. We convinced him to come sing one song, and he ROCKED it so hard that people were dancing all the way on the sidewalk! I then told him we should make some serious music together. And so we did ! We had such a great team of creative spirits and a great energy, even when the band split and it was only me and Arthur producing the second album, that camaraderie always stayed.”

Damoiseau rapidly gained attention within the independent French rap scene with their unique blend of NeoSoul and Hip-Hop. The band released their first album , Folie Gronde,  and although released independently, were quickly recognized by the French music industry, winning the "Prix RFI Découvertes" in 2019, an award that opened up new opportunities for the band, leading to sold out performances at major festivals (such as Les Authentiks festival, a historic French hip-hop festival held in the Théâtre Antique de Vienne.) and collaborations with other artists such as Ibrahim Maalouf (whom Florian  later collaborated on his album Capacity To Love), a french star  trumpet player whom Damoiseau opened for on multiple shared dates.

"The music industry can be tough, especially for indie artists like we were," Arthur says. "But the support we have received has been truly incredible. It's been a dream come true to be able to perform at major festivals and work with other artists we admire. We are so grateful for the opportunities we have been given and we are constantly working hard to create new and exciting music."

The band then started working on their second album, Insouciance Avant Insouciance, which incorporated electronic sonic elements and sought to push the limits of sonic exploration in rap music. The album was released in 2018 to some success, but an event changed the course of Florian’s career and led him to put the Damoiseau project on pause : Amongst hundreds of thousands of applicants, Florian was chosen to receive a scholarship to finish his business degree at Pace University in New York City. "He understood, even though it was hard for all of us because we really were on a great upward trend at that time," Florian says of his bandmate Arthur. "But he knew that we would forever be brothers and that we would keep on working even from a distance."

While the future is uncertain for Damoiseau, with the long distance, Florian and Arthur are talking about a reunion tour and a 3rd album…
In the summer of 2018, Florian was accepted into the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, where he studied music performance on the drumset and music production and engineering. "I was nervous and excited to be accepted into Berklee," Florian says. "It's one of the best music schools in the world and I knew I would be challenged and pushed to be the best musician I could be."

During his time at Berklee College of Music, Florian greatly expanded his knowledge and network. He formed an electronic jazz trio, OVR, with two of his classmates, and after touring in the Boston area and graduating in December 2021, they relocated to Los Angeles in January 2022.

After releasing their first EP, Elements, an improvised exploration of the natural elements, they released their debut full-length album, FloodLight, in September 2022. The band gained the attention of the public and landed a residency at Maxan Jazz, a club in Las Vegas, where they played every first Monday of the month.

"We started playing there in June of 2022," Florian says of the residency at Maxan Jazz. "We drove up to Vegas every Monday morning to play at night, and then drove back overnight to avoid traffic. It was a lot, but it was fun. People there were rocking to our music and it was nice to have a space to experiment in front of a live crowd!"
Florian Mavridorakis is not only an accomplished drummer, but also a talented composer and producer. In 2019, he started the FM Experiment, an avant-garde jazz project that brings together musicians from around the world to play his original compositions. 

After a few shows on the east coast, the project was put on hold during the pandemic, but in 2021, the team was reunited and Florian was able to bring his ideas to life. Taking on the dual role of drummer and producer was a new experience for Florian, but he was confident in his team and together they created the magical album, Shades, released in October 2022. The album blends jazz with African music and electronic sounds, creating a unique sonic signature. A tour is planned for early 2023, with stops in both Europe and the USA.

"It was extremely challenging," Florian says of being in charge of the project. "I had so many doubts, went through so many times where I thought I would never be able to complete this project because it requires so much effort and time, organization and perseverance. Doing all of that alone is mentally draining. As the sole head of a project, you often have nobody to turn to, no one to pick you up when you fall, and you have to get back up again and again and again. Warren Pettey, who played piano and mixed the record, gave me a strong shoulder to lean on on the technical side. He helped a lot and gave me the energy to carry out the mission."

The creation process for Shades was relatively short, with the band coming together in September and recording the first half of the album in October. The final sessions took place in December, and in total, the band spent just 15-16 hours in the studio. In order to achieve his vision, Florian carefully selected all the band members, each of whom had exceptional talents.

Florian has made a name for himself in the music industry, and started his solo project in 2020, SpicyBeatz, a blend of several eras of hip-hop in his soul infused sound, which has garnered attention on social media and led to the release of two volumes of beat compilations : The Spice Road, volumes 1 and 2. With more music and performances on the horizon, Florian is definitely a rising star to keep an eye on.

Most recently, Manny Moura, a singer-songwriter from Brazil, began working with Florian. They were introduced by Rodrigo Martins, a Grammy-nominated producer. Together, they released Manny's debut EP, Libra in Love in 2022, which led to the planning of a tour in 2023. The tour will kick off in Brazil, with stops in Rio and Sao Paulo. After that, they will return to the United States for additional dates, including shows in Los Angeles, Boston, and New York City. Confirmed dates include performances at The Mint in L.A. on April 14th, The Novo theater on April 26th, LiLypad in Boston on May 27th, Bowery Electric in NYC on December 8th, and Rockwood Music Hall on December 15th.

Florian Mavridorakis now announces his endorsement by TRX, the cymbal brand founded by David Levine : "This is a work relationship as well as a family relationship". As we work together to achieve the sound that I want for my projects and my clients' music, the brand uses my network and my influence to promote their products. We have a common goal of achieving greatness and leaving a mark on our era, and therefore we support and uplift each other in the pursuit of perfection.” In regard to TRX, Florian says that “We have an incredible relationship, built on trust, shared values, and a shared interest in making a positive impact on the drumming community and society as a whole. We share a passion for high quality cymbals and music, but also for promoting drums as a way of breaking social norms and barriers : both David Levine and I are supporting the “Hit Like a Girl” program that promotes young women in drumming, and we plan on developing new programs to help the youth from difficult neighborhoods gaining access to drums and musical instruments.”

Florian Mavridorakis and David Levine celebrating the TRX endorsement

As he continues to make waves in the music industry, Florian Mavridorakis' journey serves as a testament to the power of hard work and dedication. "I believe that anything is possible as long as you set your mind to it and are willing to put in the time and effort," he says. "I'm so grateful for all of the opportunities that have come my way and I can't wait to see what the future holds."

Follow Florian Mavridorakis  : INSTAGRAM | SPOTIFY

Upcoming shows :
- 12/6/22 The Mint in Los Angeles (with Alicia Camiña / Album release)
- 12/11/22 Sofar Sounds in Los Angeles (with Alicia Camiña / Album release)
- 1/25/23 Shades French Release Party at Le Trianon in Paris (FM Experiment) + summer tour dates TBA
- 2/1/23 Gold Diggers in Los Angeles Feb (with Francesco Staccioli)

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