French techno producer, DJ and founder of the No Pain No Gain music label
Interview: Elena Savlokhova
Listen to and get the EP "Total Control" here.
Do you think that music has the capacity to change the world?
That’s a complex question.
I think that music can change your mentality. But does it change it in a good or bad way?
I guess it all depends on the lyrics. History shows us that music has the power and the capacity of changing things. For instance, Bob Dylan with the Vietnam War protest or Nina Simone being the leading voice of the civil rights movement, now music by itself can change mentality: Stravinsky, Stockhausen, Steve Reich… But on the darker side if we take all the propaganda songs or even Hatecore also has an effect on society. It does contribute to a way of thinking.
Music has the power to separate or to bring us together.
When did your love for electronic music transform into actually wanting to produce it yourself?
From the very beginning, the art of Djing for me was already a way of expressing myself, blending 3 tracks together into one unique track, I saw that process as making music. So I guess this feeling for producing was already there when I got my first computer. An old friend of mine showed me this computer program called Rebirth when I was 14 years old, I still remember being sucked in directly into it.
When and how do you feel the most alive?
It may sound strange but this feeling is a very short one, that only appears when I finish a project that sounds accomplished. All this effort of working on an idea for hours just for a small glimpse of full joy, that usually disappears a few minutes after. I sometimes see my work as a pursuit of happiness.
How are you trying to be a better human being and a better version of yourself?
I try to apply simple concepts like being more curious about what surrounds me, trying not to be judgmental at first sight, and also accepting more criticism. But to be fair it’s not something I do as a mantra. I guess I just try to be real with myself.
What ideas were you trying to convey when working on your new EP “We Are The Soldiers?”
The idea of this EP is a bit more different from what I usually do. I took inspiration from some more actual styles like hard dance, rave, trance. Instead of making an emotional track, I just wanted it to be something rough and robotic. The main idea with my label is to put out futuristic sounds, I always try to push the frontier of styles. Sound design is also a topic that I always try to develop.
What is your definition of beauty and where do you seek beauty?
Beauty is the value of emotion. It’s everywhere: it could be a simple sound, a color reflection, a taste, a smell, words, or even something sad. Emotion is whatever touches me no matter what it is.
As a DJ and electronic music producer, what does success entail for you?
From my artistic point of view, it’s not something I look forward to every day, but I am not oblivious of some of the business goals. Of course, I don’t deny it’s a motivation for work. Let’s face it, I don’t want to finish playing in an empty room, I want my music to be heard and to be appreciated by others in the end.
What things or topics fascinate you outside of the realm of music right now?
Lately, I’ve developed a huge passion for cooking. I can literally spend the whole day in the kitchen attempting to cook some 3 stars Michelin recipes. So I spend a lot of time experimenting with food and ingredients. It’s funny because the process feels very much the same as making music: mixing colors and tastes adding spices-like effects.
What’s your take on digital media? Do you personally see more advantages or disadvantages?
It’s an undeniable fact that digital media has literally changed the world of today, information comes and goes a bit too fast in my opinion.
Main topics can be replaced in a fraction of a second by more sensitive information that has a bigger impact on the audience. You can exist and vanish at the same second.
Today’s social media is a full-time job which sometimes is a bit heavy to deal with.
What do you typically read or watch online?
I mainly watch old Asian films or sci-fi shows from the 70s like “Lost In Space” or “The Twilight Zone”. I just love how the vision of the future was so much more utopic than ours.
If you could have a conversation with any historical or famous person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Ryuichi Sakamoto who is still alive is one of them: every piece that he wrote had such an impact on me, I would love to know where he gets all his inspiration from in terms of arrangement and melodies.
What values matter the most to you and would you say that you are always true to these values yourself?
Generosity and honesty. I do stick to those, a bit too much sometimes, that’s also my biggest fault.
Do you think that art can survive without being the slightest bit corporate?
It all depends on your expectations. If you really want to touch everyone I guess you need to make some kind of sacrifice to the corporate system and play the game. But on a different level, you can make an abstraction of all of this. And just focus on your art without caring about the rest. The music business gives an opportunity to be successful in a way that it is difficult not to be swallowed by the system. Speaking of myself, I feel a little bit in between, it’s a difficult choice.
How have you changed over the recent years?
I think I became more open-minded with music and that my judgment no longer revolves around what’s good or bad, but how it’s made. Whenever I dislike something I try to understand why I don’t like it at first, and then I try to actually appreciate it in a different way and with a different approach.
What do you think is the most important life lesson for someone to learn based on your personal experience?
Nothing is acquired, everything is to be earned and built.
What question would you like to be asked in an interview and what would you answer?
Do algorithms change our way of searching? Yes, it’s really the worst invention ever made.