You just started with your LBS tour. How did you come up with this idea?
Itís actually not the first time I've combined DJing and live together, Iíve done it a few times. It was never built as a tour. Itís something Iíve been doing on and off for the last eight years. So Iíve done the experiment a few times, but before it was more complicated because I used a saxophonist, brass
instruments and microphones as well. It was quite heavy to manage. This time after touring eighteen months with the boys and doing some live shows I thought that a lot of people wanted me to go back to DJing. I thought it would be quite nice to combine DJing and live in a lighter version, which is not bringing any proper acoustic instruments but just Scan X with me on the machines and Ben
with a couple of keyboards. This way we donít need a sound engineer and we can handle everything ourselves quite easily. We wanted to make a trio, which is really strong, where we play music and reinvent the tracks each night we play, making people feel that weíre doing something quite special.
Youíre working together with Benjamin Rippert and Scan X, whatís your influence in their music and whatís their influence in yours?
Basically we play ninety percent of my music when we do the LBS tour because LBS is a mixture of, I would say, twenty to twenty-five minutes of DJing and forty minutes of live. Almost all the live sessions consist out of my own tracks. Itís hard to say what their influence is on my music or the other way around. Itís just that we go further with what we tried to do live. Weíre reinventing the tracks in a far more experimental way. Thereís no structure in the tracks, and weíre trying to surprise each other. At some point the tracks are much more tricky, sometimes the tracks are really long, sometimes we jazz it up, or make it more housy. Itís like a live improvisation, we react to the
moment and the crowd.
You mentioned in a interview that you are going to give other musicians more space in your shows.How does this work?
When I started making live shows and started to work with real musicians, I didnít know how to manage and conduct them. So they were trying to add little bits to the music which was already very clean. By working for a long time with them, I, more and more, kind of stripped my music to the bone to make sure that they became as important to the show as myself. It took me a long time to get to that process Ďcause in the beginning when I was DJing I had no idea how to conduct musicians. Now I couldnít do LBS without Ben or Stephane (Scan X). Itís not one person, itís a trio and each person is vital.
Thatís remarkable, because DJís are usually real keen on controlling all the musical aspects in their shows.
I still control the show in a way because I direct the boys. This also means playing live elements within a DJ set. LBS is happening on the dance floor so you cannot watch whatís happening on the table we work at. Therefore you can think itís a DJ-set, because it sounds like it; the music never ever stops. When we start playing the beat, we never come down, so itís quite intense. If you donít look at whatís happening youíll not be able to say if we are playing live or not. The great thing about LBS is: when we DJ, we are playing records which are finished. They got a certain timing and a certain construction. You cannot alter a track, you canít go into it and rework and rebuild it the way you would like to do it. With LBS whenever we play our tracks we are completely free. We played in Panorama bar in Berlin on Friday, and when we played Gnanmankoudji something happened in the room, something absolutely amazing. People went absolutely fucking mental. This version of Gnanmankoudji was forty minutes. The people wouldnít let us stop, so it would go on and on and on. You donít see such strong energy every night. Itís quite special because Iím sure if you heard the version now you would think it would be too long or boring, but at that time and spot it was amazing.So for me LBS isnít about controlling every musical aspect, itís about trying to catch those moments.
Apart from the old tracks that youíre reinventing with LBS, I heard you also want to create new tracks. Can you tell me something about the nature of these tracks?
The idea is to, from this week onward, try to do one new track every month and experiment it live. We have done Gnanmankoudji for eighteen months now, playing with a live band. The version we do now is completely different from the one we were doing eighteen months ago. By playing it repeatedly we had to find new ways of doing it. I think the version we do now is totally unbelievable
compared to the beginning. I truly believe in experimenting with tracks live and to go as far as we can. I would like to have, in a dreamworld, about fifteen tracks in a year or a year and a half. Then we will decide which ones we gonna take and play live.
You once said that you hate to see a DJ behind his laptop like heís checking his email. Still youíre playing next to other well known artists perform this way. Donít you ever feel like an alien when youíre performing at a festival or a club?
There have always been DJís who, on stage, look like theyíre bored. Even before computers you had DJís who just didnít sweat the music they would play. The idea behind DJing is to share and pass on the fever that you get from records. So itís not just a funky thing to do to be a DJ. If you have no fun in DJing you canít share that experience with people. I mean: how can you give the fever if you canít catch it? Itís impossible! Itís the same with a musician.Sometimes you go and see a musician, and apart from his way of playing or his attitude on stage the way he feels his music already brings you into his own world. A few months ago I was watching television and I saw a concert of a classical musician who I had never heard of before. Within a minute I was absolutely glued to the tv, watching that guy having a complete orgasm with his piano. He was sweating his instruments, he was living his instruments. This is what Iím trying to get out of it too. Some DJís are like that- completely into what theyíre doing. An example is Jeff Mills - heís amazing. When you watch him play his whole body is moving in a certain way from which you can recognize itís being switched on. Others are just playing like theyíre standing at a counter of a supermarket. Itís always been like that, but it doesnít change the way Iím playing at a festival or club.
Whatís your opinion on the atmosphere the people create at the clubs and festivals nowadays?
The atmosphere has changed a lot. In France we have a very strong generation of youngsters who are completely redefining the way of listening to music, and the style of music they listen to. I noticed some drastic changes the past years. I canít say if these changes are good or bad, all I say is I see them, Iím not here to judge. As long as the people are happy, finding each other and are
connected to their tribe and themselves, I canít see thereís anything wrong with it. I wouldnít say everything they listen to excites me, but then again I differ twenty years from them so I canít understand everything.
You have a son, who hasnít reached the age that he can join the nightlife. Do you find yourself wanting to control his musical directions?
The other day my boy had some friends around and he was listening to music. When I went up to his room I was like: oh my godÖ They were listening to this Eurodance! But I thought: Iím not here to interfere. Who should I be to go up and tell him he canít listen to that music? He would look to me and think: Ďwhat do you know papa , fuck offÖí. So I donít judge, I listen and I watch. Of course itís very hard to not interfere. But Iím just trying to keep my thoughts to myself. I donít want to be an old bastard whoís always nagging and telling his son his music is shit. The thing we need to do is we need to be aware, listen to Ė and be in touch with whatís happening. You canít like everything, but you at least have to be aware, which is also my job as a DJ: knowing whatís happening now. If I would be playing the same records today as I did fifteen years ago it would be really sad. There are a couple of classics that I really like to play at the end of the night, I took all those out of my record box now. Just to forget all this, and to be in touch with todayís music.
You mentioned in a interview that back in the days you left England and went to France to Ďfightífor the scene. Do you still feel like itís your responsibility to fight for the scene?
Iím not sure if Iím fighting for the scene but I know Iím fighting for myself. Iím an old DJ, I lasted twenty years. Iím one of the survivors. If you look whoís DJing now and was DJing twenty years ago,apart from Richie, Carl Cox, Jef Mills and Sven Vath, there are not so many left. Maybe five or ten of
us. So Iím fighting for myself because I truly believe in something, that I have something to say. There is still a lot to be said. I might do it in a different way from Richie or Sven, Iím just doing it in a way thatís exciting and new for myself, which is not always easy after twenty years.
Do you feel thereís a connection with DJís like Richie and Sven because they are, in a way, also Ďveteransí?
Weíve always been friends, weíve always known each other. Thereís never been any competition.You donít necessarily have to like each other musically to be friends. Iím not saying I donít like their music by the way, quite frankly I went to see Richie last summer because we were both playing live in different rooms at the same festival. For me it was the most innovative, exciting live show in at least five years. For me Richie is still five years forward.
When you entered the scene, dance music was developing itself and a lot of styles and directions were discovered. Do you think the time we live in now is boring, compared to those days?
Absolutely not. Iím not a nostalgic person. There are a lot of things going on nowadays, you donít have to like everything, but you cannot deny that there are a hell of a lot of things happening. I think everybody is fighting for their own little world, not for something global. People are belonging more to their own tribes now. This is weird because weíre living in a world where weíre all connected and itís easier to be part of a more global thing. I think this are interesting developments, though I donít like them all. There are also enough vibrant things. For instance, weíve done three absolutely amazing gigs in Germany, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. There was a great crowd, both younger and older people who were really into what we were doing. Sometimes we do a night and you have a special feeling afterwards. Nights where something beautiful happens, and where we felt like we were out of time. We all experienced that in the last fifteen years, sometimes you go to a party and
you know youíre gonna remember it forever. We experienced this on Friday and Saturday when I went to Germany. True, itís sometimes hard to find good clubs across the globe, but there are still some amazing places.
Your crowd seems really into what youíre doing right now, but there were days that they werenít really happy with what you were doing. In the past you have experienced that fans abandoned you because you tried something new. Did this make it hard to Ďtrustí your fans?
I think the real fans, not the ones who only liked ĎCrispy Baconí, know who I am right now. They should know Iím a very curious person, always into trying new things. I hate it when somebody just repeats himself all the time. I could have done another ten Crispy Baconís, you know.Letís do that,it works, letís make some money! That has never ever been my way of working. If somethingís done itís done. Thank you very much, letís go on, I need another experience. Of course you have people who like this and people who donít understand it. But funny enough, I have a feeling that with LBS now, Iím kind of bringing a lot of people together who werenít sure about the live stuff and the non-techno music. Of course not everyone, but thatís only healthy; you lose some fans, you gain some.If I hadnít made an album like Cloud Making Machine, I couldnít make the music Iím making right now. Maybe I wasnít pleasing everybody with that album. But as an artist, my job isnít to please everybody. As an artist my job is to, first of all, be honest to myself, experiment and be authentic.
You mentioned that with LBS you want to create a new album. In the past years you experimented with a lot of music styles. Do you have any idea what kind of music your new album will contain?
I really donít know. I love dubstep, itís one thing I find extremely exciting at the moment. Especially because I found out that a lot of the dubstep guys are listening to techno and there is a real bridge between techno and dubstep. Some of them are making it more like grime, but thereís a whole other scene of people who are inspired by techno music. At the moment I would say the album will contain more dance floor music than the last three albums I released. But in fifteen months time that could be completely different. Until Iíve done it, I canít talk about it!