Interviews in the flesh make up a more enjoyable part of being a journalist. It beats sending off questions in an email for obvious reasons. Face to face, the answers are immediate and impulsive and there is the predictable element of unpredictability. Oral exams when studying a language spring to mind, except perhaps this time round, I’m the examiner.
We had an email from a press manager asking if we wanted to come down and interview Santé, a DJ and producer who has had large amount of releases on a variety of labels, ahead of releasing his album “Current” on 28 October. My colleague Sam and I agreed to do the interview. In my mind, I associate Santé a lot with Sidney Charles’ sound (they are label mates on Santé’s imprint Avotre) consisting of charged peak-time dancefloor bangers all about speedy tempo, spinning hi-hats and big head-nodding drops. It jacks pretty hard.
However, after speaking to him it’s clear he is trying to change this perception of him with the album release. Alongside launching your own label, it seems more and more that albums are essential if you are to be considered a serious artist, even for electronic musicians who may consider themselves first and foremost as DJs ahead of composers.
We were invited to the supremely poshhipster locale of Shoreditch House to meet our new DJ friend. I was pleased to see him sporting a moustache too, albeit a far more bushy affair than mine. Being German, English was not his first language, but this presented few problems apart from the occasional sense of nervousness and measured intakes of breath to buy himself time before answering.
Like many artists these days, he is adamant that he shouldn’t and moreover, can’t, be pigeon-holed to one particular style or genre. He cites the album as evidence for his versatility since it uses more conventional song-writing skills, those which are well rehearsed in pop music as opposed to sequenced dance music. It’s always interesting when an electronic artist releases an album to see what impact it has on the album’s concept. One obvious effect was the number of vocalists there are on the album. All but one of the tracks (excluding the 20 second “Interlude”) feature singers.
I was interested to see what challenges working with so many singers brought up. Instead of locked up in your room by yourself with a laptop, keyboard and other hardware, using a singer is direct musical interaction and dialogue that actively affects the song-writing process.
It’s not often I get the chance to sit down and chat to DJs, but by the end of the 30 minute interview, it’s clear he’s a down to earth guy. He responds well to Sam’s question about describing himself as a “party animal” and he gave us a promo copy of the album. Happy days.
The full interview can be found on MEOKO here.