“Artificial intelligence in music, it’s amazing” We met DJ Joachim Garraud at Midem+ in Cannes

            

                
                    
                        

Let’s start with a local touch: do you have any special memories of Cannes?

Yes, plenty! Between the Gotha, the Palace, the Marches, I’ve played here so many times… In the region, I’ve played in Saint-Raphaël, La Réserve, and a lot in Monaco too. I also remember a date at the Plages Electro in the very beginning, when it was smaller.

When you play so much, do you really remember a particular evening?

Of course. I must have done at least a thousand concerts and I can tell you that I remember several Cannes nights. There was one with Jean-Roch at the time, at the Palm Beach. But my number one memory is here, when the club Le Palais was there. They had a sort of chair with carriers to bring bottles to the big clients. When I saw that, I asked Patrick Tartary who managed the club if I could make an entrance with this chair, in an Egyptian style, with my Space Invader mask on my head. It was crazy, I hadn’t played a single track and people were already going wild. I’m looking for photos of that night, if a reader of Nice-Matin has any…

“I’m looking for photos of that night, if a reader of Nice-Matin has any…”

It seems that you also had a great moment with Tarantino here…

Exact, during the Cannes Film Festival. The year Tarantino was president of the jury (in 2004, ed), I was asked to DJ for the closing party at the Palm Beach. I’m an absolute fan of his cinema. For this set, I wanted to do something special. I went and got the DVDs of his films, I extracted sequences, with some cult phrases, and I manually triggered them during my show, to the beat. Behind me, they projected the images on the big screen. I could scratch all that, as if I were doing live editing. It was very handmade but quite innovative.

Tarantino’s assistant came up to me and said, “Mr. Tarantino loved what you did. And we invite you to a festival that we participate in every year, called Burning Man…”

Is it thanks to him that you played for the first time in that crazy festival, in the middle of the Nevada desert?

Exactly. And since then, I must have been back ten times. It’s the craziest festival on the planet. Even though it’s very expensive, there are 70,000 people each time. It’s so successful that they have to limit the capacity, organize a draw to select those who can buy tickets.

People go into the desert for a week, in total autonomy. There are no commercial stands on site, everything works with bartering. When I go, I bring French red wine. I invite people and they offer me to eat their curry, etc.

            

            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            

            
                

     
        
Joachim Garraud on the terrace of the Palais des Festivals, during the Midem + 2024. Photo Sébastien Botella.

            
            
            
            
                

These extraordinary moments help to avoid falling into the monotony of big tours?

I am never tired of touring, I promise you. It’s something I deeply love. Making music is like a drug. And when you have direct feedback from the audience, it’s exceptional. So you never feel tired, you just go from one show to the next.

Okay, logistics and travel are a bit tiring. But the adrenaline on stage makes you forget all that.

How did you come up with the idea of creating this mobile studio that you named L.A. Good Vibe?

I am very happy to have created it. When Covid arrived, I went from about fifty dates a year to zero. I found myself at home doing live streams behind my camera, I was a bit frustrated. I thought it was the right time to start a dream that I had, to combine several things that I really love. I love traveling, I love wide open spaces, I love good sound, and I love freedom. I’ve been lucky to live in California for a good part of the year for the past 12 years. I bought an old American bus, a 2009 Fleetwood, a little over twelve meters long. And I gutted it to convert it entirely.

With a friend, we made a recording studio that runs on solar energy, which can operate in total autonomy. Thanks to this bus, I take friends, artists. We go to incredible places to work for several days. I show all of this in a 40-minute documentary, Modular California Vibes , which is presented during the Midem +.

The places you go to with this bus have a strong influence on the music you compose?

Yes, because the energy is not the same if you find yourself in the middle of the forest, by the sea, in a super arid area, or in the middle of a city. I still stay in electronic music, but the sensations are different, they give you an artistic direction.

“We launched the platform Fnam.com, we want this school to become professional”

Your presence in Cannes will also allow you to present the training program that you have imagined with Jean-Michel Jarre…

Yes, it’s called Fnam, for Digital Training in Music Professions. We created it with Jean-Michel Jarre and two other partners. The idea was to build a platform that allows to bring together all the knowledge of music into one French-speaking platform. I had the chance to co-produce the first three albums of David Guetta, I made some music with Cassius or Bob Sinclar, and I thought it would be a shame to lose that touch, that French Touch.

A year ago, we launched the Fnam.com platform. Fairly quickly, we want this school to become professional, graduate and free. We want to select forty people, the most passionate ones, through a competition.

Like Jarre, you seem very attracted to sound research, with a geeky side. What does the arrival of AI in music inspire you?

Artificial intelligence is amazing, I use it as a tool to speed up my creativity, to go further, to test out some crazy things, to provoke accidents in the mixing of sounds. Instead of spending an hour testing these things, you’ll do it in a minute.

So you can do sixty times more tests! On Thursday at Midem +, I’ll try to show how to make a track from scratch in less than 10 minutes. This will involve writing a text, recording a virtual singer, doing the harmonies, the mix and more or less the mastering, using six AI tools

For your set during the Thursday night afterparty at Midem +, will you also rely on these new technologies?

Yes, I’m going to do an electro-techno live set with film excerpts in sync. A bit like I did for Tarantino, but more advanced. With today’s software, you can take movie excerpts, keep only the dialogues, and sync them to a kind of rhythm, at 130 BPM, for example. If you want, you can make Jean Gabin rap! There, I’ll be in a science fiction delirium. I took Terminator , Dune , Alien , all the big classics. I’m going to mix iconic scenes with house music, it’s awesome. The images are sublime, the lines are incredibly strong…

                
            
            
            
            
        
            
       
                

            
                
    

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