Laurent Garnier: I always try to do different things

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Laurent Garnier has been making the planet dance for 30 years.

One of the pioneering DJs of the dance music scene, he experienced first-hand the euphoria of the acid-house movement in Manchester. He then went on to Wake Up and shake up Paris nightlife, from La Luna to the Palace, not forgetting the Rex Club.

As one of the leading lights in French dance music, he spread his message across the planet, from raves to warehouse parties, clubs to festivals. He is a multi-faceted artist whose impact on the music scene is far-reaching. But above all he is a DJ, a true DJ: transformed by music, passionate about the crowd. Bodies move in a trance on the dance floor, minds elsewhere. Yet he is also an explorer of old and new sounds and has an amazingly rich musical culture. He spends most of his spare time sifting through old vinyl in record shops,  checking the music blogs, following the most obscure leads on the internet and listening to every single piece of music he is sent.

Music, the pulse of our planet, is his Holy Grail.

Photo by Xavier Duquesne

T: You said that when you DJ is always nice to have silence in club. What do you mean by that?

L: Music is not just about making noise and notes. It is about breathing as well. Silence is a good contrast sometimes and it is a very important part of the music. Create something, you know...

T: What do you think about experimenting in DJ set? For example, someone once played an old classic, beautiful track. Most of the people were like “What is this? Where is the beat? I want to dance!” But very few people actually knew the track and were happy to hear it. Does 10 happy people beat 500 unhappy?
L: It’s about the journey, about the story. Was never about the beat. My job as a DJ is to play the music for people to enjoy. If that 500 people were not enjoying it, then I'm in the wrong place. Give the crowd what they want, but then at one point when you feel you got them all, just fuck them up. Take them somewhere else. And this is what our job is all about... Always look at the crowd. Look at their eyes... Try to surprise them, it is all about surprises.

T: You always play long DJ sets. Why is that?

L: Because it allows me to express myself. I do not play that often and sometimes people are waiting quite a long time to hear me. I think is better to have time to be able to express yourself, to show people who you really are. Because if you only have an hour or two... It is like a book. If you have an hour, you could only read a chapter. If you have more time, you will be able to read the whole book. I do what I feel is good and if people don’t agree with me, that’s alright because everybody is entitled to have an opinion.

T:  In your opinion, what is commercial music nowadays?

L: I don’t know. It's not because something is becoming popular that is commercial. And it’s not something is becoming popular that the track becomes bad. Usually, the stuff that is becoming popular is the kind of music that I'm not listening to.

T: After your awarded album, you did another one called “Cloud Making Machine”. Your esteemed friend came into the studio, listen to it and said: “How many copy’s do you think you are going to sell?” You answered that if you do 10% of what you make before, you are happy. So as a producer, what advice would you give to the next generation?

L: Never compromise. Make music for you. Do not make music for people. Especially when you make music is very hard to sell it, so make music that please yourself.

T: I feel like all of your dreams come true. What is your next project?

L: Move into house, that’s my next project. (laughs) There is always a next project. You always need to get out of your comfortable zone. I hate being too much into my comfort zone, so I always try to do different things. Maybe sometimes I make the wrong decisions, but at least I'm trying.