Hit PARADE (Studios)

We met up with Anatole Royer, the hyperactive graphic designer and founder of PARADE studios, a jack of all trades that cultivates a playful and welcoming space, where he Djs, curates music and designs at times.

05.05.2023 By Philippe Laugier translated from French by Jimmy Grémillon Merry
Parade studio, blowupguild, design, editorial

graphic design : @paradestudio

– We got to know you in 2020, right during lockdown with your neon-colour guerilla LET THE PEOPLE FAIRE LA FÊTE (Let the People party) posters spread all over Paris. The posters showed hands grasping a rosary with a hanging disco ball as in a prayer…a design that generated a lot of buzz.

For some years now, I’ve been close to several collectives and labels and one of my best friends manages Sacré, the venue that took over from the Social Club. At the time, I had just handed in the keys to my studios and ended up squatting in the club for about 6 months, so I really experienced it all from the inside and thought to myself there were so many inconsistencies in the rules and restrictions. Of course, these were complicated times and rules had to be put into place, but all the nightlife didn’t get much consideration and was left to fend for itself. We’re not going to go into a lengthy discussion about it now but whatever partying represents for you, I think it’s essential that everyone can be allowed to let go and wind down, all night long or simply for a few drinks, at a festival or over at some friend’s place. The line was inspired by Busy P & Dj Mehdi’s Let the Children Techno compilation. I just spent the next few months sticking up these posters all over the streets of Paris.

– When we look into PARADE’s journey, we see you’ve already contributed some album artwork, logos (editor’s note: Radio Marais), some clothes (Pavane), posters and even a pair of skis! How did you start out and do you work by yourself?

Parade is the name of my studio. When I started in 2014, I thought there’d be around a dozen people hanging around, listening to records during lunch break and having a go on the Playstation later in the afternoon. In reality, it turned out quite differently, and for many reasons, mainly because the scene is hard, that I have a bad temper and that I work mainly with things that are important to me and that I’m passionate about rather than for the business side of things…Parade just ended up being me and a few interns or temps! I never have the time to get bored. I also started Pavane and had fun designing limited-edition sweaters made in France…in fact, there’s more coming. The ski thing came about because I’d been designing for the brand Faction for 4 years now. They’ve become a family, a group of friends, guys and girls in love with mountain life, who I get on very well with, which makes the work all the more easy.


Parade studio, blowupguild, design, editorial

photography : @paradestudio

I struggle with the whole Instagram thing when people are only there to show off or post stories without knowing who’s playing

– Your catchline Musique pour les Yeux (Music for the Eyes). How important is music in what you create?

I think it all starts from there. For starters, Parade is a tribute to a track by Rone, an artist I love and who’s become a friend over the years. Before Parade, Le Tournedisque (editor’s note: meaning The Turntable) was my recreational space. It was a collective started with two friends, where I had the opportunity to design visuals every week. I’ve been collecting vinyl records for years, I listen to music all day long. My brothers and I are very close and we keep sharing new music on our Whatsapp group. There are things that really bring people together: food, sports and music. I suck at football, I can’t cook, but I do love records.

– Your very colourful world and the electro scene often seem to be a good match. You’ve worked with venues such as the Cabaret Sauvage, the Wanderlust, artists like Agoria, Folamour and many more through the Dure Vie collective. Are you particularly inspired by the club scene?

I’m not a die-hard nightlife person (or not anymore?). The days when I would get home when the sun was out are gone. But I love the idea of people getting together. I struggle with the whole Instagram thing when people are only there to show off or post stories without knowing who’s playing…But in the end, to each his own. Today I’m into smaller events, with fewer people but with a good, shared vibe.

The idea was to play songs to as many people as possible, so they can find out about the great Nigerian music of the ‘70s, that there was a disco scene in Hungary in the ‘80s…

– You worked on the visuals for the latest releases of French producer YUKSEK.

Yuksek comes from Reims, just like my mother’s family. There’s always been a lot of connections and we got closer over the years, especially during a festival in Greece where I was Djing with the Tournedisque collective. We spent several days there and we decided it was time we did something together. I had been doing visuals for him on a regular basis, including for his last album together with a very colourful video, indeed.

– You set up, PROSE FM, your own radio online. How does that work?

Prose is kind of the follow-up from Tournedisque: we play a selection of music with no ads and broadcast a few live shows. Good mood all day long: afro, disco, soul, funk, italo… Come nighttime, the mood is still good, but it’s a little less cute: house, techno, minimal house…Most of the tracks come from my record collection which includes some rarities. The idea was to play songs to as many people as possible, so they can find out about the great Nigerian music of the ‘70s, that there was a disco scene in Hungary in the ‘80s…

– On the publishing side of things, you’ve worked for Society magazine and brought out a book Annulé, with a foreword by Laurent Garnier. Could you tell us about that experience?

With Society, it all started with an article we had to provide a catchy visual for. It was all in a rush, which is great but stressful too because you don’t know if your work will get picked up until the last minute…My best memory was the cover we did for the American elections. We went from
« God Bless America » to « Blood and Mess in America » … The book Annulé was quite the adventure. It was during lockdown and like many graphic designers, I was gutted that several of the work I’d spent hours doing wasn’t going to see the light of day as events got cancelled. I wanted to put it all in a book so they could still be out there and seen by a wider audience. I put out a post to get people to send their work, it got shared a lot and hundreds of designers pitched in. Laurent Garnier, besides being the exceptional artist that we know, is also a great guy and he agreed to let me use the open letter he wrote to Roselyne Bachelot (editor’s note: French cultural minister at the time) as a foreword. All profits of the sale went to Les Restos du Cœur charity.


Cross rug , tapis, natalie royer, blowupguild, design, editorial

cross rug from La Chance Paris – photography : @paradestudio

– You’re also active in the design world, you came up with the very graphic rug Cross for the design company La Chance as well as a record cabinet.

We started by working on La Chance’s catalogue. It was beautiful, we got on well, and it all fell perfectly into place! We mentioned the idea of a rug and they gave me carte blanche. I drew inspiration from a type of nautical rope knot (editor’s note: called ‘baderne’ in French). For the record cabinet, Supernature – a tribute to Cerrone’s song – it was mainly because I was looking for a piece of furniture to put some of my records in. It turned out to be too small, but it still looks great, with a top shelf made out of recycled yoghurt pots by Le Pavé. I drew the cabinet and the great craftsman, my friend Fabio from the Atelier Fabio Pin made it.

discover Cross rug from La Chance - Paris
Of course, we’re not saving lives here, but I can try and add colours and a bit of rhythm to make things sweeter.

– What are the connections that exist between design, visual graphics and music for you?

I’m a bit like a child: Pleasure is a major driver of what I do, sometimes beyond reason or what can be useful, to experience pleasure from what you see, hear and taste…I think it’s important to do something that looks great. Of course, we’re not saving lives here, but I can try and add colours and a bit of rhythm to make things sweeter.

– The Parisian bar Le Mansard seems to be important to you. Is it the best place to run into you?

My studio used to be right in front of the Mansart. It’s packed in the evening, but in fact, it was so down-to-earth and authentic, that everyone would also meet up during the day, as in a proper locals’ bar. I was there every morning and lunch standing at the bar. I became friends with the team, and have stayed good friends. I do all my meetings there, I’ve even played records there, the whole team would cheer me up, be my therapist when I was going through hard stuff…

Follow PARADE's instagram