The Creators Project: You’ve been DJing for over two decades now. Does it excite you as much as it did when you first began getting gigs?
Laurent Garnier: For me, DJing is my drug. I still love it as much as I did 20 years ago. Apart from the technology, nothing has changed for me as a DJ. I do it for the same purpose: to share my love for music.
What kinds of software and technology are the most important to make your music?
I really don’t have a set way for making music; it changes every day. I could start with a sample, a bass line, a kick drum, or a new sound from a new machine—a click, a crack, a whizz. I always work on the musical base before I ask any of my musicians to come and join me in the studio. I also like to work alone. I have always worked with Cubase to make music, and I use Ableton Live for the live show. My setup in the studio is pretty basic: a computer, Cubase, a few good plug-ins, a remote control, Adam Audio speakers, and some hardware that I have been using for years—a Juno-106, a Nord Lead, a DX-100, and an SE-1.
You also spend a lot of time working on your online radio station, Pedro’s Broadcasting Basement or PBB. How did that come about?
I have been working at radio stations since I was 14 years old. In college, I was doing a pirate-radio show every Friday. In 1990 I joined the team of Radio Nova in Paris. I became the music programmer there in 2003, for a year. Then one of the bosses asked me to make the playlist a bit more “commercial.” God, I hate that word. He actually changed, behind my back, the playlist I’d programmed on a weekend to try a more commercial format. I couldn’t accept that, so I left on the spot. Out of frustration I created PBB. I wanted to share my music collection with people. The mood of the music played on PBB takes the time and the day of the week into consideration, with a different vibe during the day and night. But unlike other stations, the tracks on the “playlist” cannot be played more than twice a day on a 24-hour basis. We also just released a free iPhone application for PBB.
Do you have any non-musical projects you’re working on at the moment?
Yes, we are putting together an English translation of the book Electrochoc, which I wrote and released in France in 2003. The book has been translated into German, Russian, Japanese, Spanish, and Serbian, but never into English. That should be done sometime in mid-2010. We are also working on the cinema adaptation of the book, but that takes a long time. I will be able to talk more about that later in the year.