Interview, photo: Polina Belehhovaa
POSSESSION is the name for the techno parties held in Paris, described as liberating nights, determined to please those who like to celebrate the night, without stigmas, without limits, without barrier of any sorts. In the center of Possession nights is the organiser Naïla Guiguet aka Parfait. She is the permanent resident who opens every POSSESSION night as well as the successful booker who unceasingly manages to bring the hottest DJs to Paris.
What is your take on the french techno scene of today?
It’s very dynamic, compared to maybe 2 years ago. When we began the Possession party with my crew it was a bit quiet, there were only 3 collectives or so that were doing techno parties, and now it’s more like 10-15. It’s cool because it means that people are becoming more interested in techno. It’s also scary in a way – there are a lot of other raves on the same night when you throw a party. Yet I think it’s all positive, because everyone wants to play in Paris. It’s a ‘Paris is burning’ sort of thing.
Are competitors a stimulant for you to do better?
We have to make really interesting parties, we can’t allow ourselves to be lazy, especially today. It’s not only about the great artists, it’s also about adding something else to it, adding a certain spirit, the idea, the mood, the location.
What was the best gig you’ve ever attended as a viewer?
The Possession party we did back in March with 999999999, Shlømo, Lag and Ritzi Lee. The set was brilliant, we were raving at this abandoned warehouse. The police came a lot of times but we kept going. The place was pretty crazy, there was a chill zone inside, everyone was just doing drugs everywhere.
You always play the opening sets during the Possession events?
Yes, I’m a resident but I also play at other events too.
So after you finished your set you joined the party?
I finished playing at 2am and stayed there until the next midday, it was really cool.
If you could only choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Regis – Purification.
What is the most unexpected track in your playlist?
Lana Del Rey – Blue Jeans.
What’s the most unexpected source of inspiration for you?
Techno music and cinema, they are very intertwined. Don’t know if those are unexpected sources of inspiration, but I think both have a lot in common, they are hypnotic forms of art. In the movie theater you just sit in the dark, under the influence of movement and sound.
Does it give you a specific mood that you then translate into music?
There is so much music in movies and you sink into the emotions of all those characters. You try to put in these emotions into techno music and because this music is repetitive, it sort of hypnotises you, it’s like a trance – just like movies. In movie theaters you sort of become the characters, you forget yourself. That’s also why the best atmosphere for techno is in a club in the dark, just like the experience of a film is best in a movie theater.
Who is your celebrity crush?
When I was a teenager my ultimate celebrity crush was Victoria Beckham and all of the members of Spice Girls. Now it’s Isabelle Huppert.
What film could you watch with your eyes closed?
La Boum (1980) it’s an old French teen movie. But the movie I would love to listen to with my eyes shut would be ‘Christine’ (1983) by John Carpenter. It’s about a young guy who fell in love with a car, and the car turned out to be alive and it started killing people. THe music in that film is awesome.
What’s the best thing about being young?
You’re never tired.
What’s the worst thing about being young?
Does life imitate art or is it the other way around?
Art imitates life, because life in itself is art. For me, art is the best way to connect people with emotions. When you see two people falling in love in a movie, you get touched not because you see their love, but because you remember the love you had or have in your life. All forms of art work that way. It doesn’t have to be anything specific even, it could just be an organic unexplained feeling. It’s something that life produces, you can walk on a random street and hear a sound that awakens something in you. The magic of art is when it can reproduce such experiences.
What is one thing that keeps you away from being perfect [fr. Parfait – perfect]?
I don’t have any patience and I’m quite moody.
What is the most disturbing film you’ve ever seen?
The film that scared me the most was E.T. I watched it when I was 6, in the dark, with friends. I had nightmares for 3 years afterwards. Later in my life I watched ‘Signs’ and it made me feel the same, because it’s also about extraterrestrial life.
Is that something that still scares you?
Yes, since E.T.
What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Someone told me once that if you want people to take you seriously then you have to be mean. As in, people have to be scared of you in order to respect you.
What is the wisest thing you’ve heard then?
Take your time.
Do you use this in your life a lot?
Always. The thing about taking your time, at the beginning when you’re young, it might seem to people that you’re lazy or unambitious, but you have to take your time. For me, when I started doing parties, I needed time to think through what exactly I wanted to do. But you have to enjoy your life in the moment, in order to not regret anything in your 30s, 40s, 50s and so on. When you have money then it’s the best, you don’t have to take care of anything and you’re just free to enjoy your life.
What do you want to know more about?
Everything. I’d like to know English better, it’s a bridge between people.
Where do you find comfort in life?
In my wife and my daughter.
What is your advice on where not to go and what not to do in Paris for someone who has never been there before?
Don’t go to very touristic places like Saint-Michel because everything is too expensive, apart from the view. You can go to Notre Dame for a walk, just don’t go to restaurants in those areas. Regarding what not to do, I would probably say – don’t walk up the Eiffel Tower, because it will take so much time and it’s way better to see it from afar. If you want to see Paris from the sky, then just enjoy the view from the window of your plane when you arrive or just explore the city by foot. And if you want to have a good view of Paris you can go up to Galeries Lafayette for free and have a nice view. There is also a beautiful view from Pompidou, as well as some beautiful art.