Jean Michel Jarre: Metamorphosis
RA’s Aaron Coultate talks to the iconic French artist about vintage synths, vaporized techno and society’s fear of the future.
Read complete interview – Here are excerpts :
Which other contemporary artists do you listen to?
I’m listening to lots of different music. I really love Zomby’s work, I’ve listened to a lot of his tracks over the past two years. And there’s Actress—I’ve been appreciating his style of music recently. Then there are more established electronic artists in France like Air, Vitalic, M83, Justice or Sébastien Tellier—actually in fact I’ve just finishing a recording session with Sébastien today, we are working on a track together. I also really like Fuck Buttons. (…)
How much time do you find yourself spending in the studio each week?
I try to spend as much time as possible in the studio, but it’s never enough. There are always other things to do. My dream is to be like a writer, and spend four or five hours every day locked in the studio, but I can’t really do that, I don’t know why. I’m a workaholic in short spurts—I’ll go into the studio and work for three or four days and nights, then I’ll stop, take a break, and go back to the studio a week or so later. So for me, it’s three or four days on, then three or four days off.
Speaking of the next generation, I recently read an article that mentioned you might be starting an academy for electronic music in London. Can you tell me about that?
This is a project I have been proposed in relation to the development of Tech City in East London, part of this new digital and multimedia hub they want to develop in the area. The idea would be to have a school that gave the opportunity to people to approach electronic music from various directions. You could use a totally analogue set-up with tape machines, like the approach taken in the ’50s; the analogue instruments used in the ’70s and ’80s; through to a total digital approach. I hope this will be the best way of preparing for tomorrow, with a dematerialized approach to music. The other aim [of the academy] is to have established electronic composers coming in to share their experience, and to offer them a special environment where they take that knowledge and work in English schools, using the tools of the academy. The third thing would be to have an online element to the academy, which would allow people to work collectively on the same piece of music remotely. Let’s imagine you have one demo, and people can add to it online, they can collaborate and participate on a collective piece of work.
And how far down the line are the plans for the academy?
It’s being talked about by the people developing Tech City. I just recently spoke with them about the academy concept and they seemed excited. It’s an idea that’s been around for quite a while. Two years ago I did a fairly big outdoor concert at the docklands in East London. It was the first big cultural event to happen in this part of London, an area that had been going through difficult times. After the concert, I discussed the idea of creating an academy of music in the area. So it’s an idea I had and we have thought about for quite a while now. Obviously this school or academy should also involve the local community. That’s what makes projects like this work—they need to be both local and international, and create ties with the local community. That’s very important to me.
What other things are you working on at the moment? Do you ever see yourself releasing another album?
I’m actually working on two different album projects. One is a solo album, which is something quite special that will feature some guitar, while the other has more collaborations. I’m really in the middle of all this, it’s all quite exciting and I’m hoping it will be finished by the end of summer, and released by the end of the year.