by Don Crispy
|I dont find
anything so new with all this 80s revival stuff.
If someone somewhere is keeping records on
which DJ claims the longest residency, then French DJ Laurent
Garnier would have to be near the top of the pile. At the
grand old age of 38, hes already had 16 years behind
the decks at club Rex in Paris. I think its one
of the last places where absolutely everybody has played,
Garnier said by phone from his suburban Paris home. If
we said we were closing we could have any single DJ around
the world for nothing.
For better or worse, Garnier represents in some ways the situation
dance music finds itself instill relatively young, but
already having seen it all. Since catching the dance bug in
the late 80s acid house boom as an employee of the French
Embassy in London, and getting his DJ feet wet at Manchesters
legendary Hacienda, Garnier has been an essential figure in
European club culture, almost single-handedly putting French
house on the map. But as a DJ, he says hes not hearing
that much in the way of innovation among the hundreds of promos
that reach his office every week. I make a point of
listening to every single track on every record, he
insists. About 10 percent finds its way into my set.
Garnier discounts much of the so-called electroclash
80s-influenced material that has been finding its way
into his mailbox of late. I dont find anything
so new with all this 80s revival stuff, he says.
Nothing has struck me so strong where I go, F***ing
hell, this is so fresh! Frankly, when it comes back
to revival, its something weve lived through before.
Id rather wait for something fresh and exciting.
Behind the decks in both clubs and on the airwaves, Garnier
has been a key tastemaker, introducing listeners worldwide
to successive waves of dance music from acid house through
techno to breakbeats. As a DJ, he insists that he has no
style, but as a producer, Garniers sound is distinctive.
Fat, acid beats and a wicked sense of humor characterized
his last artist album, 2000s Unreasonable Behavior,
and have been a hallmark of his productions since he debuted
with his first LP, Shot in the Dark, in 1995.
But Garnier says that his forthcoming album, due out by the
end of the year, will be different. Ive made quite
a lot of tracks that are much less dance-floor oriented: more
cinematic...moody...dark, with live instruments. He
explains that he recently composed a film score for a movie
about French homelessness, and that hes in the process
of reworking some of those themes for his new album. So
far, what I have is downtempo. But Ill see what the
album looks like, then Ill work on a live show, and
decide which kind of venue I want to bring it toclubs,
concert halls or festivals.
Looking back on the 16 years of his Rex residency, Garnier
says that in his native Paris, the scene seems to be locked
in a status quo. I cant really call it healthy,
he says. Its not growing larger or smaller. Its
the same as its always been. There are three or four
clubs playing interesting music, and the rest is commercial.
On the other hand, he thinks Japan possesses one of the healthiest
club scenes in the world. Every single time has been
memorable, he enthuses about his many visits, the latest
of which will bring him to Yellow tomorrow night for an installment
of Spice! (and a secret after-party). Its by far
the most open-minded crowd in the world. Japanese are passionate
about music, know a lot about it, expect anything and everything
from a DJ, and accept anything. Yellow is my homea bit
like the Rex its been there for such
a long time. For me, Yellow is one of those clubs that means
Spice!@Yellow, 5/22, 10pm, ¥3,500.