Xavier Buestel, aka Bancale, is not just your run of the mill fashion darling half-heartedly juggling multiple occupations. Dedicated to music from the tender age of 12, he is as passionate about his budding nightlife career—“it’s more a performance than a classical DJ set”—as he is grateful for every lesson that comes along the way. After immersing ourselves in a Bancale soundscape during our Paris launch of the Glamcult x Ninamounah collection, we were compelled to learn more and introduce you to this new talent. Ambitious yet humble, here is Xavier in his own words.
You’ve been modelling for a number of years now, and you’re doing amazingly well across the board, from high profile catwalks to editorials and campaigns. How has your relationship to modelling changed over the years?
I have been doing modelling for a while now, yes, and fortunately it worked for me. I do have to say that over the years I have been less ‘involved’ in fashion than I used to, now I can focus on things that makes me happy, like music, painting and biology.
What has your time in the world of fashion taught you about the business and, even more importantly, about yourself?
Weirdly, this business taught me to stay humble, keep my feet on the ground. Working so much and travelling all over the world made me stronger over the years, but sometimes made me feel the extreme opposite, weak and oversensitive. Fashion is a true paradox ‘cause it can be so fake and so real at the same time. So beautiful and so ugly.
While you are an undeniably big success in the fashion industry, what some people might not know is that you are also an up-and-coming DJ! You just played our Paris launch for the Glamcult x Ninamounah collection, and by all accounts you did a wonderful job, everyone enjoyed it immensely… when and how did you first get into DJing?
I bought my first records in Paris, and then by travelling all over the world my collection got bigger and bigger. I used to live in the cave of a squat in the 19th district of Paris where I was throwing huge afterparties, so I would say that this is when and how I really started DJing.
Do you recall your earliest encounter with music and how it made you feel?
It all started a long time ago. My father was a fabulous sculptor and an amazing painter but had his demons… I grew up hearing trance music and stoner rock all night, which made me an insomniac until I was 11 years old, but I guess it was worth it! [Laughs]
How would you describe your sensibilities when it comes to playing music? What can one expect when encountering the Bancale sound on the dancefloor?
All I do is improvisation. I bring my records, which are mostly minimal, techno, and house, but my mood very much influences what I end up playing, and how the public reacts to my temper. I would say that it’s more a performance than a classic DJ set.
Could you tell us about your most cherished DJing experience to date?
Every set is a special experience that I cherish a lot, but if I had to choose a place or an event it would be the new parties that my girlfriend Angie and her boss Pandora have been throwing in Paris recently. They are bringing this witchy, colourful, elf rave vibe that I really like, and it makes me think of my favourite place in Berlin, Zur Wilden Renate.
You are based in Paris, the de facto capital of fashion, but it’s also a city with a bustling nightlife. How do you see the relationship between fashion and music, both in your own life and on a wider social scale?
In Paris there is a lot of competition both in fashion and in music. It was tough at the beginning because everyone would only see me as a model, and I guess it was hard for people to understand that I am truly passionate about music, even though I started my first band when I was 12 years old.
Everyone has a secret vocation or talent… If you were not working a model or a DJ, what would you like to do?
I’m already doing it, but I can’t talk about it! [Laughs]
What’s the next thing you’re dreaming of?
It would be to organize a huge rave / exhibition in Philadelphia with my dear friends from The Velt, something very psychedelic: reuniting painting, performances, shoegaze, and minimal techno.
Finally, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
My mentor, Jesse Siminski, aka Heartthrob, taught me the most beautiful things about music. I stayed a whole month with him in Berlin learning how to properly use my Elektron, my synthesizers, how to organize a proper live set. I couldn’t be happier about learning with one of the DJs who made me want to do music. He is not just a mentor, he is a legend. His whole vibe was the best advice I ever received.