Miss Kittin Interview

Art & Culture

Ahead of her 8 hour journey this weekend for the A Night With series we caught up with the once lauded ‘first lady of electroclash’ for her thoughts on that whole scene, her friendship with Anja Schneider, digital music and the ‘industry’ in general. 

Where are you and what have you been doing so far today? 
I am fine. I’ve been working a lot this summer and took some days off with my family in South of France. I just came back to Paris where the weather is grey, catching back with some office work… 

How has Miss Kittin’s sound evolved over the years? 
As a DJ or a musician? As a DJ, I’ve been more self confident to keep my eclectic sound against trends, but still an open mind to play modern stuff as well. As a musician, clearly I am getting closer to become a real songwriter. Electronic songwriter if I can say so! It’s hard to describe my sound. I am too pop for the underground and too underground for pop! 

How do you feel about the label/genre ‘electroclash’ with hindsight? I appreciate it’s just a media tag but there was some incredible records and parties to come out of that scene. I remember seeing you down at Cynthia’s Robot Bar @ the legendary 21st Century Bodyrockers tearing a whole in that cavernous metal box.
Electroclash genre was labelled far after The Hacker, I-F and Dopplereffekt for example, broke through. At the time, we just called it “electro”, close to roots such as AUX88 and Drexcyia. In our mind, the only glam side of it came from our 80’s New Wave influence. We just didn’t realize what was going on, we just had fun with our pairs from Gigolo records. Later of course it boomed, with Fischerspooner who brought a more theatrical and fashion aspect. The Hacker and I decided to have a break, take a distance from all that. Of course it was an amazing time, mostly because we were naive enough not to know what was going on, we were pretty much living in the moment. 

Tell us about your relationship with Anja Schneider and Mobilee, you released your last 12″ on the label. Her A Night With last year was incredible. Is there an Anja Schneider/Miss Kittin collab in the pipeline? 
I’ve known Anja since her radio show in Berlin in the late 90’s. When she started DJing and creating her label, I thought it was brave and she was very good at it. Her sets are awesome, her artistic taste and kindness makes her a very good artist and boss. I immediately thought about her, I didn’t want to release it on my label, it would have been too easy. I thought, if she takes it, it musn’t be that bad. I have to mention it was the first club track I wrote on my own. She was surprised to receive it, as much as I was surprised she liked it. 

Where do you stand on the whole technology thing in terms of DJing. I know you said in an interview recently that you ‘focus on the soul not on the machines’ Does this mean you’re a vinyl evangelist or simply that clinical mixing is less important to your actual performance? 
Of course the soul is more important. Just look at the amount of DJs using Traktor with tons of effects and playing such a boring music you think it’s the same track for 4h? And you have DJs who are not technically the best but take you on a trip. At the end, no matter what you’re using to make or play music, you have to tell a story, share emotions. This can’t be clinical. Jeff Mills constantly talk about “the message”, he is so right. I don’t believe in artists who don’t have a message. 

Steve Bug recently said that he’d stop producing music until people stopped stealing it. Where do you stand on the whole file sharing business and how do we even begin to solve it? I realise that’s a big question! 
Yes it is. I understand him. Personally, I would like music to be free so no one could steal it anymore! But I don’t know what’s the solution. There’ll always be people to steal, and people to trust. 

On a similar note, do you think file sharing has contributed to the general feeling and unrest amongst the young that you can just take whatever you want, whenever you want? Do I sound like I should be writing for the moral panic Daily Mail?! 
Pfff… For sure, it’s a generational thing. Nowadays, with internet and fast consuming habits, yes, people want everything now, and for free if possible. It’s the whole society that has to be changed if we start talking about moral. Education. I don’t have time to debate about that… 

Where do you live these days? Ever considered London as a base or is the weather too much? This ‘summer’ has been pretty shocking over here! 
I live in Paris since a few years, after being in Geneva and Berlin the last 10 days. I just wanted to be close to my friends. 

Is this A Night With concept something you’ve attempted before apart from at an after hours? 
I had my residency nights in Paris at Regine’s for a year where I was playing all night long. In some clubs I also do the whole night once in a while. I never did it in London, I’m looking forward to it. 

How are you going to go about distilling Miss Kittin into just 8 hours?! I know its not a business plan or presentation but can you talk us through some of what we can expect? Could you maybe pick us a track to reflect each hour of A Night With MIss Kittin? 
I can’t do that! Simply because I don’t know what I will play. If I give you a few tracks, people will expect me to play if and if I don’t they will be disappointed… 

You’ve been out in Ibiza a no. of times this summer and are part of We Love’s extended family. How does playing at Space and Ibiza in general differ from elsewhere? 
We Love is keeping a certain spirit of rave parties, in THE summer location. First of all, We Love team are doing what they do for such a long time and with so much “love”, you can’t fool them, you have to be extra good. I know I have to “make the show” but I see it as a big after hour, I try to play sunshine dancefloor music if I can say so… 

“I have to write, I have to shout, I have to play records all night, I’m in a loop” I know this is a tongue in cheek song but in the space of few short years you went from poking fun at the industry (Madame Hollywood) to showing a distinct malaise for the ‘industry’ on I:Com and Professional DIstortion in particular if I read it correctly!  Has this come full circle now? On the recent We Love video you looked amazingly enthused about the whole scene in general, especially your French counterparts Ivan Smagghe & Dan Ghenacia. (sorry, that’s a bit of essay there!) 

Few years ago I felt kind of trapped between what the “industry” was expecting from me, and what I wanted to do, who I was. Major companies put a lot of hope in me as a “product” but I always ran away from it. Call me a “coward” not to go for it, but it’s just not me. I am more of an anti-hero if you prefer… When I play at Space with Ivan and Dan, that’s where I want to be, I want to do what I want, when I want, where I want. I don’t fit to the mega mass media business. 

Ever thought about giving it all up and going back to being a designer? 
I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but something artistic. I happened to end up in graphic design after few years in a contemporary art school. At least I learnt a job, but never managed to finish it as I started DJing in the meantime, it paid my studies. Not sure I would have been a good graphic designer anyway. 

Top 3 favourite clubs 
Hard choice… 
Womb – Tokyo 
Il Muretto – Venice 
D-Edge- Sao Paulo 

Musical/DJ highlight of this ahem, summer. 
Andrew Weather-all! 

Top 5 records at the moment. 
Don’t know yet… 

“Sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. I decide it’s over” When’s it over? 
Definitely over. The Hacker and I keep on saying: “Sex, drugs and rock’n’roll, once at a time”. 

Wil Troup

Tickets available for this weekend’s A Night With… Miss Kittin right here

Venue announced Friday, check the facebook for full details here.