For the french translation, click here : EM_FR
After Thibault di Maria, Marion Corrales, Audrey A., Laurence Guenoun, Andemik, it’s now Em’s turn to be interviewed. Em is a sweet and sensitive girl I first met at the Chic Art Fair. Then, thanks to Paris is Burning, we worked together on a first project. Then she was part of the genesis of Nothing but Dreams, when she accepted to make a tailored mix. Inspirations. Em is a girl I like very much; I can’t explain why but it’s been a long time and I’d call that instinct. I like her sphere, the way she perceives things around her, the way she is. That’s the way it is.
Em, who are you again?
My name is Em and I’m from the South of France. I have tachycardia. I’m allergic to shrimp. I’m obsessed with keyboards and all forms of synthetic music. I’m whimsical (sometimes). I’m stylish. I’m a poet. I like to be well dressed. I have somewhat of an obsessive compulsive disorder. I have slight sleeping issues. I like knife throwers and croc jackets. I like rain and sushi. I like men. I like women. I’m a musician, a DJ, and I’m into Soundesign & Remix, especially for Pop and Rock bands as I really like mixing my basic influences with the electronic music I make. I’m a music blogger on Local Suicide and Wish you Were Hear .
We met via Paris is Burning, Since then, we organized a party together. I totally dig your musical style; can you tell us what you got your influences?
Thanks, I totally dig your project / association and your personality as well. (Editor’s note: thanks ).
I have off-the-wall, various multiple influences. I started listening to New Wave and rock music when I was 7. I discovered Robert Smith at a concert in Orange back in1986, and I just wanted to be him. Then came Depeche Mode‘s Dave Gahan, Ian Curtis, Madonna‘s Like a Virgin era, and many more. I was already very sensitive to Kraftwerk‘s and Einturzende Neubauten‘s synthetic sound, and also to more industrial music like Wumpscut or Nine Inch Nails.
At the same time, I discovered French pop music through my mom: Adamo, France Gall, Christophe and Alain Bashung who I have a special crush on.
Then came the hip hop era, and I got literally mesmerized by scratching. I discovered the possibility to layer up several influences to tell a story, which is something I’ve really cared about ever since the very beginning.
Following the trends, I ended up listening to electronic music, especially at the early free parties and at clubs where I could feel the beat and the infrabass from the inside. I don’t categorize influences or inspirations… It may come from geography, history, mathematics or music. We are influenced by everything, all the time. The iPod is an invention that allows us to listen to one track and store it forever or so. We actually store more than we could ever imagine.
What about the other cultural fields?
Today, I went to Centre Georges Pompidou to see Anri Sala exhibition ; he’s an Albanese artist, a musician, a video maker, a sound sculptor as well as a maker of dark and magical projections. Then there was Claude Gassian – Séquences (The Rolling Stones) at A.galerie.
Also, I highly recommend Helmut Newton exhibition at the Grand Palais. Go to Emilie Jouvet‘s exhibition – Dyke Eyes at librairie Violette & co (until September 9). My crush of the year goes to Tim Burton at the Cinémathèque; I am moved by his world that looks familiar to me, Edward scissorhands being one of my favorite movies. But that’s not all. Regarding movies, my latest crush goes to Xavier Dolan‘s Laurence Anyways and Leo Carax‘s Holy Motors. And more generally speaking, I like films by David Lynch, Wim Wenders, Michel Gondry, Greg Araki, Fassbinder, Wong Kar Wai and Jeunet .
You are getting more and more notorious. For the insiders, can you make an update of what’s coming up next?
Haha! “La notoriété est à la gloire ce que le moineau de Paris est à l’oiseau de paradis.”(Translator’s note: literally, notoriety is to fame what a pigeon is to a bird of paradise, meaning that notoriety is often mistaken for fame)
I like to be both. Never forget my roots, how much music feeds my soul and heart, and get closer to paradise from time to time. I’m realeasing my 2nd E .P “I walk to the beat of my own Drum” under the label Reiz Musik on August 24. There will be several tracks including Sometimes, Orage, and I walk to the beat of my own drum. It sounds more and more like me. I involve my true self more, my true personality comes out. In that sense, this E.P – as opposed to the previous one – is a truer representation of who I really am. It reveals my thoughts, my likes, and the way I picture life in general. It’s honest in the sense that it represents how I feel today.
How did you start mixing?
I started mixing when I was 11, during an improv break-dance contest at a skate park. I would compose music mixing different beats –like Punk, Rock, New Wave, Hip hop – with old movie samples (cinema is another great passion of mine). But I didn’t have any mixing gear so I needed a little help to be able to turn my ideas into music. It all started with when my parents got our first PC. It acted on me as a trigger: I started “cooking” music, using samples of tracks I would listen to at that time, which were far from being techno music.
Then I met interesting people who trusted me and who got me my first turntables and electronic music records. One thing led to the other, it really worked like that.
I’ve always been a cratedigger. I did my first steps trying to find the breaks in my favorite hip-hop and rock music records. Then I started looking for tracks that had never been used. I got used to working with lots of stuff I would find with my turntables. Later on, I got into rave parties and underground clubbing in Berlin, Barcelona, and London where only a river marks the separation between the north (Detroit) and the south (Windsor).
You have to show your passport to go from one place to the other, but it’s actually easy to go through the boarder. I went on a more electronic path and I started using samplers and keyboards. I already wanted to make lots of my ideas a reality, and I was eventually able to do so thanks to the special people I met and the particular atmospheres I was evolving in.
Ever since you started, any strong notable moments?
I was opening for the 2010 Sziget festival in front of a crowd of over 10,000 people; that was memorable. Communing with the audience and getting their energy has remained a true inspiration, even today. Crowd surfing and seeing a standing ovation for a mash up of Maria Callas and Ez3kiel, these are magical and precious moments.
Apart from your DJ life, do you have any other passions?
Making electronic music is also a way to show people your multi-faceted personality. If you truly like music, then you must be able to experience it fully. Music has the power to develop and reveal the inner self of the composer; it translates their state of mind, their personality, and their feelings. No one is completely happy or sad at all times. I swim (a lot), I take the bus (sometimes), I write, I take pictures, I listen to music, I have sleeping phases; basically, I live my life. Either I lock myself in to make music or I just do nothing, but that’s quite rare.
I like to escape, see different cultures and get new energies during weekend trips to London, Berlin, and Barcelona. Going out to dinner parties with my friends. Seeing exhibitions, going to the movies, taking a walk on the docks… discovering and meeting human beings.
Whenever I can, I spend time with my family, especially with my younger brother Romain to make him discover new music and films.
Otherwise I like to write posts and conduct interviews for the blog Local Suicide and more recently, feed the blog I just launched Wish you Were Hear. I have a secret passion for karaoke, all the more so since I saw Lost in Translation (but that’s not the only reason).
What is it like to spend a regular week the Em way?
No two days are alike with me.
Do you have any tips for young DJs?
Now is the time to make some changes. In my early career, people liked what I did, even though it took some time, as my music was different. It’s time that the audience is offered something new. It’s the young producers’ role to bring out new sounds. At the beginning, we developed music, we were looking to innovate and find new ideas… And that’s what we’re all supposed to be doing. We didn’t get to where we are today through playing the same loops, the same samples over and over again. We have to move forward, even though the outcome doesn’t respond to the expectations of the audience. Even back in 1990, people were not expecting us, yet we’re still around today. We still have to take a leap if we want to stick around and be part of the universe. I don’t have any specific feelings or message in mind, but I do know that I want to share my experience as a human being.
A statement, a motto, words… to conclude?
“Through the darkness of futures past. The magician longs to see. One chants out between two worlds.”
Become a fan of Em : Facebook Em
Follow Em on Twitter: Twitter Em
Listen to Em on Soundcloud : Soundclound Em
Listen to Em on Beatport Djs : Beatport Djs
Follom Em on tumblr : Tumblr Em
Follow Em on Local Suicide : Local Suicide
English Translation : Fabienne Le Parc