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by Don Crispy

Miss Kittin

DJ, producer, singer...this Kittin does it all. Caroline Herve bares her claws to Metropolis

courtesy of escorteaze

Electronica likes to think of itself as a progressive, forward-thinking kind of “future music.” But when it comes to gender issues, dance music seems to have its head in the sand. Among the hundreds of DJs making the rounds of Tokyo clubs on any given weekend, for instance, probably no more than a handful are women.

One of the few legitimate female stars dance music has thrown up in recent years is the French DJ/producer/singer Caroline Herve, known better as Miss Kittin.

Already a stalwart of the European club scene by the late ’90s, Herve was catapulted onto the global stage in 2001 when her appearance on Chicago house producer Felix Da Housecat’s Kittenz And Thee Glitz went ballistic. Herve turned in some deliciously deadpan vocals on tracks like “Sliver Screen Shower Scene,” and the album’s faux primitive electro sheen made it one of the hits of the burgeoning electroclash scene.

The end result was somewhat odd for Herve, though, in that it resulted in her becoming better known as a singer than a DJ/producer. This was compounded by the fact that her hit single with production partner The Hacker, “Frank Sinatra,” had already put her on the map as a singer.

In an email exchange, Herve said she first started singing simply because she had “things to say.” She claims that, while she’s proud to be a singer as well as a DJ, she has mixed feelings about her higher profile as a vocalist. “I sometimes sing when I DJ, yes. But I hate it when people ask. If I am DJing, I am not obliged to sing; neither am I obliged to play my own music. I am not a zoo animal. I do whatever I want and nobody needs to say anything. People can trust me.”

In reality, as a DJ/producer with a decade-long track record of spinning at top European clubs and raves and a slew of production credits to her name, Herve embraces all her identities. Her recent work, for instance, runs from the techno-themed 2001 On the Road mix compilation to this February’s Happy Violentine, which she says “takes a subtler path to the punk, riot grrrl chic of Professional Distortion and dance floor jack of Requiem For A Hit.”

Her sets tend to be eclectic outings that touch on her first loves of Detroit and minimal techno, then run on to electro and leftfield tunes that offer comic relief amid the razor-edged beats. “I can hardly describe my style,” she says on her website. “A two-hour monotone set really bores me. If I don’t have fun myself, I’m not able to please people. DJing must be, in a way, something selfish.”
Regarding her status as a female role model, Herve is circumspect. “As a woman, I’m proud to be in the minority. I can’t say I was a direct macho-victim, but it’s true—we mostly earn less than men, and sadly I think you rarely succeed if you are fat and ugly.

“In general, women are busy, or have better things to do in life than being a DJ. I understand them. Like taking care of home and raising kids when their husband is DJing somewhere fucking groupies in hotel rooms! Ha ha ha!”

Apr 1@Maniac Love. Apr 8@Ageha. See club listings for details.

Would you like to comment on this article? Send a letter to the editor at letters@metropolis.co.jp.