I know a lot of you have been asking, who is this Tony Romera? Voted “second best French hope in 2012” by French mag Only For DJs, Romera is a child of the ’90s and regularly plays at Lyon’s César Palace. With his new record just out on Nicky Romero’s Protocol imprint, we thought it was high time we spoke with the up-and-coming star to find our what records make him cry, who his biggest influences are, and who beat him to the #1 spot in France’s “Best Hope” category.

Can you tell us a little about your background? Where did you grow up, and where are you based now?

Well, I discovered my passion for electronic music when I was very young, on my own. I spent many hours in clubs to meet superstars DJs; I knew that I wanted to be one of them in the future. I’ve been producing and DJing since 2007. I grew up in Lyon, and I still live here at the moment.

How did you get started DJing and making music?

I’ve decided to start DJing and produce very young, but even before I started DJing, I played guitar when I was 14, so my life has always revolved around music.

How would you describe the music that you make?

I can never really describe my style. I could say, I can make a electro-house track like I can make a progressive-house one. I’m always listening to new tracks, and new “vibes,” always really inspired by the new sounds. I get inspired by the current feeling I feel inside at the exact moment. To me music is an universal language.

Do you DJ or play live? How would you describe your sets?

I DJ only. My sets are progressive house and electro house, always watching the crowd to know what I need to play. I use acapellas, loops, hot cues—three players are not enough! I need to be unpredictable, surprising, and keep people connected with me during all my set. When I’m playing, I need to give my energy; I’m always in movement, jumping, screaming. I’m like a kid who wants to share his last find!

How do you feel about being labeled “second best French hope in 2012,″ and who beat you to first?

I was really honored and happy. The first rank was Madeon and the third one Michael Calfan, and we know the level they’ve reached now! I’ve been working really hard over the last years. I will continue to try even harder to win more awards!

What brought you to Nicky Romero’s label?

I don’t know. I think Nicky is the best person to answer that. But to sum up, I sent him my new track, “Pandor,” and he began to play it in clubs. David Guetta did also. The feedback was very positive. We mixed together with Nicky at Queen Club Paris last September and announced that the track would be signed on Protocol! I love Nicky Romero’s productions.

What are your biggest musical influences?

Definitely Daft Punk! I like to hear other styles from mine, so it could be reggae, pop, rock, etc. But I think the people who change all my vision were David Guetta and Joachim Garraud—French touch power!

What are your favorite tracks to play out at the moment?

At the moment, my favorite tracks to play are:

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Which record do you wish you had made?

I think Adele’s “Hometown Glory (Axwell Club Mix)” because this track always makes me cry. And also, “Toulouse” from Nicky Romero because it changed everything with this talking bass. All the people after this release were doing distorted basses.

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If a wrecking ball was headed for your house, which one record would you rescue before it hit?

For sure, Daft Punk’s “One More Time”—the anthem of a generation.

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When you’re not listening to electronic music, what do you listen to?

Lot of pop tracks, acoustic, and piano.

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing with your life?

I love graphics, working on Photoshop, or maybe photography. I think all I need is an “art job” because I can’t be in an office all day, always doing the same thing without the dimension to create something. To be honest, I don’t know.

Tell us about your upcoming gigs and releases…

[Aside from] “Pandor,” I also have some collabs with Diplo, Gregori Klosman, and Chuckie coming. Can’t wait to release all these things! About my gigs, I’m back from Korea—Seoul was amazing. I’m touring a lot in France these weeks, but I’ll be in Scotland and Sweden; all the dates are on Facebook.com/TonyRomera