Laurent Garnier
Laurent Garnier

Man With The Red Face

Techno stalwart Laurent Garnier opens up about his full diary, the need for proper musicians and why modern electronic music is "rock and roll's answer to rave"
Feature by Chris Duncan.
Published 04 February 2010

“We’ve been going since about March last year and it’s been really amazing and experimental. I tour with a lot of musicians and the set allows them to shine. We have some great fun in some really big rooms. People who haven’t seen it before can expect something eclectic performed by people who are really into it. Musically, it goes from dubstep through to techno and jazz with the musicians I’m on stage with given time for solos.”

From within a studio in the South of France, Laurent Garnier is talking about his ongoing tour and live show that has gained a reputation as being something rather special. For the duration of the phone call he apologises for the fact that he has to prepare for his radio show throughout the course of the interview, yet for someone so preoccupied and in the middle of a hectic schedule he speaks calmly and surely. Even as he reveals that the tour has been extended until September or October due to popular demand, Garnier remains upbeat about a particular date in the tour where he will appear at a Parisian concert hall usually frequented by orchestras. When the seemingly endless tour finally does grind to a halt Garnier still has no intention to rest.

“I’m working on a show for an event between France and Russia in 2010 and then I’m doing the soundtrack for a film. I haven’t seen the film yet but I’m quite excited about the prospect of doing that. After that I’ll be working with a contemporary choreographer and then continuing doing my radio show.”

So how does a man with this many commitments in terms of creating music manage to stay in touch with what is going on elsewhere? After all, Garnier has been making music for the best part of 20 years and has been called a “techno dinosaur”. When asked about his favourite artists or tracks of the moment, he simply replies that he “receives over 1500 tracks a week through the radio show” and is “unable to focus on any one in particular to recommend”.

It is because of the amount of time Garnier has been around that it is important to ask him for his opinion on the more recent developments in new electronic music, most notably the trend for overly stylised, image obsessed output.

“You know, stuff like Ed Banger, it’s energetic, but it’s not my thing. I’ve also noticed that they have to be in a pair now; all these guys seems to want to be on stage with their buddies. I love Boys Noize, I think what he does is great but not the rest of them. It’s just a generational thing I think, it’s kind of like rock 'n' roll’s answer to rave. Kids care about image, energy and attitude, not the content. I was on tour with Bloody Beetroots and Crookers though, although we played in different rooms, and they made these kids go crazy."

How does Garnier’s sound translate across to an audience who came to see acts such as the Bloody Beetroots? Did he win over any new fans?

“If only 20 people out of 100 pay attention, that’s all that matters. We enjoy and make real music that doesn’t lie. We don’t cater for kids, so what? You’ll watch one of their sets and it’s massive, but at the end you feel empty because there is nothing to take from it. I’d much rather be myself than seduced by the trend.”