25 years is a long time in any industry, especially so in the music industry. In that time French producer Joachim Garraud has seen it all; the life and death of the CD, the creation of the internet (and in turn wholesale piracy), the advent of digital DJing, the rise, and probable fall, of EDM, and now a new frontier: streaming. Somehow he’s managed to sail the good-ship Garraud through it all and still be the same enthusiastic person who started out in French radio way back in 1989.
During Garraud’s 25 years he has spearheaded David Guetta’s career in 2001, worked with household names including Paul Johnson, Deep Dish, David Bowie, OMD, Kylie Minogue, Cassius, Kid Vicious and Moby; he runs his own festival in Paris, Inox Park; he’s hosted hundreds of radio shows, and now with his latest album, he’s set himself his biggest challenge yet.
Instead of a normal digital release he decided give away all of his music, his knowledge, his plugins – everything – away in a custom-built 1TB hard drive alongside a portable keyboard. It’s ambitious challenge that he will be taking to kickstarter on November 27th, where 1,000 backers will get every last note of his music alongside stems, tutorials, and even plugins. In a way he’s quite literally selling his soul – but that’s not a criticism, far from it in fact, it’s more his way of passing on his knowledge and experience onto the next generation. It’s a bold proposition and if he, and his fans, can pull it off it might well be his crowing glory in a impressively long career.
Garraud’s output has always been varied and fairly eclectic, the Frenchman is just as at home with furious big-room as he is with electro-house and techno, and that’s what you get with his latest track, ‘DJ Play That Beat’, which we’re premiering today. Taken from his forthcoming album ’96/24′ – where Garraud returns to his techno roots – ‘DJ Play That Beat’ touches on a range of influences including compressed 2006-sounding electro, plump hip hop and hypnotising techno, and is just a taster of the next chapter of his career.
We managed to grab 5 minutes with Garraud to find how the Frenchman has survived so many seismic changes in the music industry, and why he’s decided to give away his entire life’s work on a custom-built hard drive.
HBF: Hi Joachim – where are you today?
Today I am in Paris, France. I am putting the final touches to my annual electronic outdoor festival in Paris, called Inox Park. It’s for around 25,000 people with 5 stages. It is located in the middle of the Sienne river on an island. This year we are playing with Steve Angello, Carnage, Tocadisco but also more techno acts like Slam, Sam Paganini and Tiga. I look forward to producing the festival every year. So you will find me in Paris every September focussing on the final touches.
HBF: Your new single ‘DJ Play That Beat’ is a monster – do you find it easy to stay on the top of your game after 20 years?
I am still really enjoying producing and making music everyday for the last 25-years – and this is amazing because when I started it was like a hobby, just to make music and to make people dance for free. It is crazy today how the DJ world has changed compared to 25-years ago. I can’t say I find it easy to stay at the top but it is easy to enjoy the everyday DJ and producer life.
HBF: What was the first thing you listened to this morning?
To be honest I am just finishing my next track, a track I’ve made with Chris Willis – so this morning I was listening to the track because I am still finishing it. In fact, I have been listening to the track non-stop for probably one week – every morning, afternoon and evening I’ve been focusing on this track. The track is called ‘Cry’ and is going to be my next baby, and will be out around November / December.
HBF: You’re are a serial performer – playing over a 100 live shows a year – how do you keep your shows fresh?
Every gig is more or less different, especially because I am very lucky to have a classical music education – I learned to play piano and drums at school when I was young. So when I am on stage I am not doing a pre-recorded DJ set. I am doing a live session. Live means I am making loops on CD player and I take the Keytar – the black Roland X1 – and I improvise with the loops live. I think people come to my show because there is a huge gap between playing a CD and playing real notes. I don’t worry about making DJ sets different because of this. They [the crowd] can feel the difference.
HBF: When are you coming to the UK next?
We are working on making some gigs in the UK next year, probably around January, 2 or 3 I think.
HBF: So we hear you’ve got a new album coming out – tell us a bit about the Kickstarter concept behind it?
YES! YES! YES! I am so proud and happy about my new album! It will be released November 27th via Ultra. The very good news is that I worked 20 months to produce a special edition of this album, as I wasn’t satisfied to release a standard digital album on iTunes or Beatport. The shelf-life can be short and limited plus it can be pirated for free online.
So, I have produced a special physical edition of the album called ‘Producer Box’. It is a big carbon box that comes with a USB keyboard, plus inside a 1TB Hard Drive with 25-years of my production experience loaded onto it. 25 years of my music will be on that Hard Drive. It means that for the first time if you buy my album you will have access to all stems, all tracks and have access to the master session of all the songs as I’ve made a special deal with all the people who make the plugins. So it means that all you have to do is connect the hard drive to your laptop and access everything from source file to master file, plugins to pre-sets, my sound banks and also 20 video tutorials on the step-by-step production process in making music with my 25-years of experience. The Physical album will be sold exclusively on Kickstarter and limited to just 1,000 copies.
HBF: Who have you been listening to recently that has impressed you?
Today I was listening to the new album from Hatiras. He is a Canadian producer / DJ and a very talented guy. His sound is amazing!
HBF: What’s your go-to piece of studio gear?
My favourite piece of kit will be the ‘Producer Box’ – because you have everything! A must have.
HBF: With 20 years of experience – what’s the one piece of advice you’d give to young and up-and-coming producers?
You have to be in love with what you are doing to have more of a chance to be successful – if you focus on making the kind of music you don’t like, if you just want to produce a radio hit, have a private jet and travel the world you will not be successful. If you make the music you love and just focus on what you feel deep inside you, I think it will be easier to be a success, but even if you’re not successful you will be proud.
Be proud of every sound and show you are doing and if you don’t feel it just say no. There are so many DJs who all play EDM, Dubstep, house or future house. If you don’t feel it don’t do it. The same is for remixes and collaborations. Don’t do it only for the name dropping. It is stupid. Think about doing this all your life not just one or 2 months.
Joachim Garraud ‘DJ Play That Beat’ is out via Ultra on September 25th.
Joachim Garraud ’96/24′ is available digitally November 27th, or the Limited (1,000 copies) Physical Edition, Producer Box, via Kickstarter starting December 1st.