Artist InterviewsInterviews

Tristan Garner

Between his double header at The Estate Boston and RISE After-Hours, we got a few minutes with Tristan Garner. The French DJ/producer has been touring for six years and broke into the US the past two, so we got to ask about his thoughts on our electronic music scene, what skills he thinks an artist requires and goals for the year.

Describe your style with three adjectives.
Electro, crunk, French.

From your experience, how would you say the electronic music scene has evolved in the US?
It’s booming. I’ve been touring for six years now and have been getting into the US market for two. I can see it changing in the music, even in pop and rock music you can see EDM influences. It’s really cool and I cross my fingers it will be like this for the coming years.

Is there one crowd that’s particularly memorable to you?
Ibiza, of course. It’s the church of house music for me in Europe and I get a chance to play every year at Amnesia in Ibiza. It’s 8,000 people and an amazing experience.

Is there anywhere you haven’t yet played but want to?
I would love to play Ultra, it’s my biggest dream and I’d love to play next year. Also, I played Tomorrowland last year and would like to again this year. And on the moon one day in the future.

Do you have a goal for this year?
I’m going to change my setup. Live, I’m going to have machines on stage to do all my bootlegs and crazy things. That’s my big goal this year.

Between DJ’ing and producing, are you more comfortable with one over the other?
I like to do both. I’m a geek and will spend hours and hours in the studio. But you cannot produce good music if you can’t test it in a club. You need both skills so you can test the track first and figure out if it’s cool or not good and needs a rework.

What’s something else a DJ/producer must have?
A musical basis. I used to play piano and guitar, which helped me a lot. You also need to be a rockstar on the decks, not afraid or be shy, and focus on what you want.

If you weren’t in this industry, what do you think you’d be doing?
Maybe in the fashion industry. I like fashion and art; I’m an artist, so designing things.

Can you pinpoint a time when you realized this was going to be a career and not a hobby anymore?
I was at a really big business school in Paris. For me, [music] was a hobby first. I got a couple of gigs in Paris but I wasn’t a pro. I told my parents I was going to stop my studies and take a one-year break… that was six years ago.

What advice would you give an aspiring DJ/producer?
Spend hours and nights in the studio first, you will have time to work on your DJ set later. If you want to be a big artist, you need to produce music.

What’s the most difficult thing about touring?
Jet lag and drinks. I’m a party boy but sometimes when you have 15 gigs in one month, it can be bad. The most important thing is to know it’s business first, even if you’re there to play music, you need to focus on your business.

How did you get into house music?
God sent me house music one day. I was more into the rock scene before. I think it was Daft Punk‘s first album in 1997 for me. I thought it was cool, and I was not so much into DJ’ing but more producing music. I bought a computer and started producing music on really crappy software at the time. When I started I was 12. Now I use Logic 9 and am waiting for Logic 10.

What’s your favorite part about performing?
It’s all about the people and their energy. I can play for 20 people or 20,000 people.

You have a lot of really great mashups. There are a lot of producers who produce great tracks but cannot make really good mashups, or it can be the other way around. What’s your thought process behind making one?
It’s my crazy brain. I’ll hear one track and can sing another track over it. Most of the time I’m on the plane realizing I can combine this track with this track. I just take the best part of a track and combine it, like having two of the best tracks in one big track.

Is there anything we should watch out for?
I’m going to post a preview of my new track, “Machine Gun” and play it for the first time in the US tonight [February 15]. It’s really hard and banging, it’s electro and rock.