Introduce Yourself: Nicolas Jaar

Posted in Interviews on Tuesday 26th January, 2010 by Tom Jones

f="http://www.myspace.com/nicolasjaar" target="_blank">Nicolas Jaar is a talented, young producer whose idea of dance music is a little different than most. He has arrived onto a stubborn scene with his own take on how to please a dancefloor, not succumbing to your average run of the mill club music – an attitude that has got heads turning already. His unique approach to dance music has made him the perfect match for burgeoning New York label, Wolf + Lamb, famous for its eclectic, relaxed take on music. A close-knit community, Nico is an integral part of this creative family that yielded so much influence in 2009...so much so that his “Time For Us” EP has been chosen as the first Wolf + Lamb release of the decade, picking up from where the label left off with an intelligently composed, intimate release for music lovers of all tastes. Ahead of the release we caught up with Nico to discuss ethnicity, music and to get the inside information of what goes on inside the infamous Wolf + Lamb fake hotel, The Marcy.

What kind of reactions has ‘Time For Us’ been getting from dancefloors around the world?
I think Seth (Troxler) has ended every single one of his sets with it since he got it.

Can you tell us about the process behind the making of the record?
I lived at the Marcy during the summer and slept every night on an inflatable bed in the middle of the dance floor. But like all inflatable beds, this one progressively deflated throughout the night. During the day I would make dance music. Time for us happens to be the musical interpretation of this existence.

What do you make of world music’s recent infiltration of techno?
I actually don’t think world music has infiltrated techno at all - this new trend is just another example of cultural hegemony. “World music” has just become techno’s favourite shiny new toy. Most of the music seems to be a cheap appropriation of what the Western World thinks world music is.

Do you think your music will always keep some sort of Latin feel because of your up-bringing?
I’m French, Chilean, American and Palestinian. I’ve never thought of making music that has a certain national identity. The more blurred the lines are between all my influences, the more effective the music is, in my opinion.

How has the influence of Santiago affected you in comparison to New York’s influence?
Santiago made me hairier. And tanned.

It must be great working with a label like Wolf + Lamb, where you can express yourself without some of the constraints that often come with dance music. Do you feel that they are only place this EP could go right now?
Yes. Sadly, people still think of dance music as a grid of genres. “Time for us” is being marketed as “Minimal/Tech House”, for example. At W+L, we don’t really think of genres. This freedom is an integral part of the music making process. It’s what makes W+L unique.

Tell us a little bit about your experiences at The Marcy.
A dozen or so decapitated rodents, ham and cheese croissants and the best dance parties of my life.

Your father is a film maker and an artist - do you think that growing up alongside this creativity has helped you form a unique and interesting sound, rather than just being another formulaic techno producer?
I’m definitely influenced by my parents. But I would have to say the passion for music comes from my mother, who was a dancer in NY in the 80’s. She studied at Merce Cunnigham’s dance studio and stopped the moment she had me. In a way, by making dance music, I’m continuing her dancing.

Your sound seems to draw on elements of classical music – have you always been interested in different types of music other than just dance music?
I never really liked dance music until I got involved in it through W+L. On a typical day, I usually listen to Ethiopian jazz, instrumental hip-hop or Grizzly Bear.

Will you be coming across to Europe to play some shows? Would that be something that you would look forward to?
Yes. And yes.

Following this release at the beginning of 2010, is now The Time for You?
Hahaha, only time will tell. Look out for my label Clown and Sunset in 2010 - the next release is my song Russian Dolls with a remix by Ryan Crosson!

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