Ivan Smagghe: The Ransom Note Mix
Ivan Smagghe is the seamlessly cool founder behind Les Disques de la Mort. For years he has been regarded as one of the leading figures in Electronic music and continues to push the boundaries between the weird, wonderful, obscure and danceable, alongside the likes of Andrew Weatherall, Optimo, Trevor Jackson and more. He slots firmly into chic French fashion culture and gritty, underground musical eclecticism at the same time. Over the past couple of years his label has released music from far and wide: pop obscurities from Israel, punk funk from Lithuania and experimental electronics from the likes of Mutado Pintado, Golden Bug and Margot. He delivers over an hour of energetic fun for Ransom Note, listen to the mix, read the interview below and most importantly, enjoy…
Please introduce yourself…
I’m too shy.
What does your music sound like? Can you draw what you think it sounds like for us, an image from the old internet is acceptable?
So, a bit of an exclusive here but you have a new album, can you tell us about it or is it still under wraps?
Well, there is an It’s a Fine Line album that is to be released soon on Kill The DJ, which I run in France. And a new project called SMAGGHE & CROSS: it’s only covers of Christopher Cross done with an 808 and is vinyl only, or it’s a concept thing with my friend Rupert C: do an album in a limited amount of time to the best of your abilities. To be continued.
How’s that NTS show with Nathan coming along?
That’s been going on for… 2 years. It’s great, I don’t have to mix, I don’t get paid and there’s no dancefloor. Only weird Uncle Nathan whispering down the mic and us playing either very depressing or very camp records. A slice of paradise. No coconut. But… There should be soon a double mixed CD called Channeling out on LDDLM.
Can you tell us what’s upcoming in the world of Les Disques de la Mort?
Loads. We have the SAVE lp (that is Marc from Colder and Mutado Pintado, the singer from Paranoid London), an EP by DJ OIL from Marseille that borders on, ahem, jazz, a new band called RHEINZAND, and Manfredas should be back very soon. Ah yes, also re-re-release of Danny Alias’ “Civil Defence” with all the edits possible.
Where was the mix recorded?
In my kitchen, with my cats.
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
In your head.
What should we be wearing?
A mixture of quickly forgotten euphoria and rage on your face.
What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location, system, format?
Vinyl only innit bruv? it’s all the fucking rage, hey? (could not care less)
Which track in the mix is your current favourite?
Hmmmm, I love that Sacha Mambo edit of Overdrive’s Tekno Talk whilst being partial to the opening accapella.
What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?
Probably one of those early Harvey ones. Then again, I don’t really listen to mixes that often.
If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?
Maybe Baldelli and nick his gear? Poltergeist in Belgium? This is a bit of a weird use for a time machine anyway. I’d rather kill Hitler or Dj with someone no one’s ever heard of.
What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?
A cassette recorder. I have to borrow the whole thing now. I only have one deck at home.
What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?
The last one is a demo of a 150 bpm kraut track from that “Christopher Cross” project. First one is that “at the disco” speech by Cornwallis.
What were the first and last records you bought?
First bought myself? Soft Cell, Tainted Love, I think. But my mum bought some for me before that. Last: an obscure LP by a band called INDUSTRIALS.
If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?
Red wine and Cayenne Pepper (unmixed)
If it was an animal what would it be?
A cat in a monkey costume eating a banana.
One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?
About 50% of the records I love but any Higelin 1976-1979 I often try and fail.
Upcoming in the world of…
Anything else we need to discuss?
Cameron is a c***t though everybody should know by now.