Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Jeff Mills moves to Paris, a Translation
Jeff Mills gave a great interview in "Le Parisien". It is full of insights and worth a translation from its french only roots.
Jeff Mills, the pope of techno, moves to Paris.
Jeff Mills, the american musician, and one of the inventors of techno has decided to move to Paris. He will be performing at the "Cite de la Musique" Tuesday night. Here is the full interview he gave us in a "cafe" of the 7th district.
By Sebastien Ramnoux.
The american Jeff Mills is one of the founders of techno music. Born in the mid 80s (sic) in Detroit. The artist is already booked at the cite de la musique, where he will perform live the movie score to the SciFi classic of the 60's "the fantastic voyage".
At 48 years, he is fascinated by the collision of arts and has decided to move to Paris.
Q: Why move to Paris when everything that has to do with electronic music happens either in Paris or Berlin?
Jeff Mills: because here I am not limited to techno. If I have a project linked to cinema or classical music here people listen to me. It is incredibly different, even from Berlin, where I lived: over there, électro is still a ghetto. If you want to do anything else you have to leave. During 2 years, I have tried to build a project with the philharmonic orchestra from East Berlin, to no avail!
In France, I was able to play with the Montpellier orchestra easily for the 2000 years of the "Pont du Gard". It is nice here, techno is just considered "club music", there are less limits. If I come with an idea, even a strange idea, often times the reaction will be positive.
Q: You also live in Chicago, where your production label is based. Could you have the same career in the US?
Not at all ! You can't imagine how present the problem of skin color is even after the election of Barack Obama. Segregation is worse in music and for black people, you need to be either a rapper or a clown to be recognized. We are denied the right to do "serious" music. Here, everything is simpler.. There, you have to be «good looking» or make vulgar videos with scantily dressed women. Or you have to be white, very simply! That is also why a whole wave of techno artists came to europe in the 90's. Nobody cared about us.
Q: You have chose to live in the 7th distrct (very posh, ed) not exactly a "techno ambiance"...
(Laugh) Right, I heard, I must admit to not knowing my way around, I have only been here for 6 months. In any case I want to be in peace to be able to focus on my music. I need a calm environment and moving to a more "lively" district is out of the question. I am starting to visit the city a bit: recently I have been to St-Germain des pres (big park in 6th ed), to the musuem of natural history and to the "big mosque", where I couldn't get a the there were so many people!
Q: Do you spend time with french artists?
I see Laurent Garnier from time to time, although mostly abroad, on tour! Other than that, I would like to meet french celebrities like Catherine Deneuve (actress ed) or Pierre Cardin (designer ed). The other day I saw him at a restaurant but I was too intimidated to talk to him.
Q: What do you like about Paris?
The restaurants! What joy, I guarantee you that food in the US makes you love french cooking. I also like the city a lot, the architecture: it is obvious that here everything is integrated, the monuments and the modern buildings. There is color. In the US we live in cubes with windows and a door and that's it.
Q: You plan on staying?
Yes, absolutely. I don't know how long but I like it here, I am free. I might even asking my 17 year old daughter to join me here from Germany.
Q: Do you still DJ parties?
Of course, I DJ 100 nights a year. I live in a airplane most of the time. But I am slowing down, must be the age! What is important to me is the music, I have decks at home to mix and I hate them (laugh). I spend my time in my little studio, composing tracks. I don't listen to music every day, one must go without it to have a fresh ear.
Q: You have already worked on scores, most notably "metropolis" or "2001". Isn't the "fantastic voyage" a bit weak?
In the US, it is very known and appreciated, genre defining. It is on TV every year. We all grew up with the "fantastic voyage". I find it fascinating: it asks many questions about man, what makes a man, the difference between body and spirit. And for a musician it is a challenge to find what sounds map to the insides of your body
Q: Are you obsessed with Scifi?
It is true, it is one of my sources of inspiration. I have always wanted to communicate that feeling through my music, I hope one can feel it. My next album, "singularity", draws inspiration from the merging of man and machine.