The French superstar having a stunning 2015 and showing the world how to play that beat
It is a busy time for the legendary French producer Joachim Garraud. Here he talks about organising his own annual Festival on the Sienne in Paris, having a #1 Podcast on iTunes for 9 years, his new single ‘DJ Play That Beat’ and his unique forthcoming album & concept ‘Producer Box’…
You are probably preparing for your annual Inox Park Festival near Paris? Things must be pretty crazy right now?
Yeah, I am so happy and so proud to present this annual event near Paris. It is on from 12-Midnight. This year we have more than 40 DJ’s and live acts on 5 stages. This is a pretty big festival expecting 25,000 people in one day. It is in a beautiful area too. The location is on an island on the river Seine going through Paris. It is a protected park because in that park you had all the famous impressionist painters like Van Gough, Claude Monet etc. They painted on this island. I am very happy to do this electronic music festival every year and bring friends like Steve Angello, Tiga, Karnage, Bob Sinclair. Last year we had Skrillex, Tiesto, Armin Van Burren, Steve Aoki. We have had every headliner and a lot of new talent. Things are crazy!
What are your Top 5 festival bangers this summer?
I have 2 tracks from my new album; ‘DJ Play That Beat’ and another track called ‘Le Laboratoire’. Which means the Lab in French. I have one track from Astronomer called ‘Stargaze’. I love also a new track by Hatiras, this guy is amazing he made a track called ‘Freak Out’. This track is a bomb! I like a track called ‘Duckface’ from FWord. These 5 tracks, I love to play.
Your live show has developed into something quite special – tell us about it…
I am trying to do a real life show. I am lucky to have a classical music education so when I am on stage it makes sense for me to play keyboards live. I stop the music, stop the CD player and then take the keyboard, I use a Keytar (A mix between keyboard and guitar) and the black keytar I use on stage comes from Pink Floyd who used it on their tour and I am very proud of that and then I am playing some notes to do a live session with people, we are making the connection and my life is real life and it makes sense to share emotion and music with people. Over the last few years I have also introduced video content too because I love good video production. I produce a lot of the content myself and I am really happy and proud to produce a real show integrated with video, audio and live act. For me this is something cool. This last year I have been producing special video content in 3d. When in front of 20,000 people wearing 3d masks and the shape is the Space Invaders – it becomes a real invasion. The masks have blue and red eyes so they can see the 3D. This was my last step and that was pretty funny and for the fans it was a great experience.
Do you still manage to spend much time in France or are you still living and making music in LA?
I do back and forth. I do maybe 6 or 7 month in LA and the rest of the time I am moving and travelling for the shows with possibly 2 months in Paris where I still have a recordings studio, in fact I am in the recording studio in Paris now. I move between both and organise family life around all this too
What do you think to the current US scene, especially Vegas?
To be honest I do not think Vegas is really representative of the US scene because this is something completely different for me. Vegas is nothing like the rest of the US. You don’t play the same way in Vegas as you would say in New York. Vegas is a special crowd. They have shows, guest DJ’s every night and all the clubs are more or less sold out. It is a very successful town in terms of clubbing, probably the #1 town in the world apart from Ibiza which is only really June to September. Vegas is all year round! Last time I played there was about 6 months ago and that was pretty good. I was expecting to have a different crowd, the crowd in Vegas usually come to have a huge party. It is not a place full of clubbers who know electronic music. I was surprised the last time as I played some harder stuff, some techno stuff and everybody was happy!
New single ‘DJ Play That Beat’ is shaping up to be huge. It has a kinda retro electro vibe going on. Tell us about the sound and the tracks history?
When I started that track I started to make a very minimal track with only basic percussive drum sounds, actually the best sound is the drum sound with some distortion on it. So I was looking to have to have something much more powerful with a sexy groove and when I was doing this track I was thinking – if Prince was doing a dance track or electro track today – what could be the sound of Prince from Minneapolis in 2015!?! So I try to keep this groovy thing, to be sexy and when you have the vocals come in with the girls you have to know that there is only one girl singing the song. I just turned down the pitch to have the low voice but I like playing with that kind of voice and turn down the vocal to have something deep. I play at every show and it has been receiving great reaction.
Your podcast ‘Zemixx’ has been #1iTunes rated since 2005. That’s a brilliant achievement. What is the secret to it’s continued success?
Yes 9 years ago, I think I was the first one to have my own podcast on iTunes, so that was a good start! Then I am the only one to have produced more than 537 free podcast every week for the last 9 years. We have not missed one week! We have a new fresh mix every week for one hour and I think this has been key to the success. People know that they are going to have their mix even if I am in Australia or doing a non stop five shows in a row, they know that they can have the Zemixx every week. Also I give the chance to a lot of new producers and a lot of new tracks coming every week and they send via www.joachimgarraud.com I take the time to listen to everything and also to choose the best ones to do a good show. Maybe that is also why I am number one?
You have been called the electro ‘Space Invader’- do you believe there are Extra Terrestrials out there?
This is a strange question…for sure! How can there only be life on Earth!? So YES I am pretty sure we have Aliens, we have Space Invaders and ET life around us. When I am doing the nights and people are at the party’s and we give them a single aliens masks they lose their inhibitions and they are not shy anymore! They are somebody else and they travel with me and get really into the party. I really like this idea that we are not alone. I think it is a funny situation.
You get a day off from the endless touring and studio sessions, what do you enjoy doing to relax?
To relax I spend time with my kids and my wife. I am very lucky to have 4 kids. I have a large family and giving time to each kid and taking time with my children is also my #1 thing. My kids are making music right now too – so we are making music together. Not in the music business but as a family.
Tell us something we don’t already know about you…
My uncle is Mick Jagger! Joke! If I was not making music I would be a chef. I like to cook and produce new taste by mixing food together! If not a DJ definitely a chef!
What’s next for Joachim Garraud?
I have something BIG! I am very happy and proud to tell you that ‘DJ Play That Beat’ is the 1st track from my new album – ‘Producer Box’ The album is going to be available from December with Ultra but also I am doing something special! I am doing a physical edition of the album. The shelf life on a digital album can be short, so I was excited about proposing something different to my community and have made something unique with ‘Producer Box’! The ‘Producer Box’ is my brand new album. It has very high quality design, a collectors edition limited to only 1000 ‘Producer Box’. It is a Carbon and Black box containing a USB keyboard you can play with also inside the box a Hard Drive. On this Hard Drive you have 25 years of my life. You have a sound bank, my personal sound bank I have used with everybody I have produced. There is a tutorial, taking about how to make a song, how to produce, what is a mastering session what is the difference between a compressor and a plug in etc. and also in this Producer Box, the most amazing thing – you have access to all the content, all the stems from all the new album. This is the first time an artists has made this available to the public and have access to the master sessions. It means that if you have the ‘Producer Box’, you have the Hard Drive, you connect the Hard Drive to your laptop and you will be able to open all the songs a nd play with the content, stems, make your own remix, learn how to that, check all the plugins because also in that Producer Box you have the License to use all the Plugins I have used on this album. This is the first time there has been a complete sharing of my past, history, my knowledge and my future. I am very happy and very proud about all this. The Producer Box is going to be available December 1st and will be a special deal with Kickstarter with only 1000 copies.
Joachim Garraud ‘DJ Play That Beat’ is out via Ultra on September 25th
Joachim Garraud’s new album – ’96/24′ will be available digitally with the Limited (1000 copies) Physical Edition ‘Producer Box’ via Kickstarter November 27th 2015