“Most of the time I produce when I’m in love. I need to have a muse, a woman in my life who inspires me. Because without I am just not creative”
On the second day of ADE I sat down with Parisian DJ/producer and creator of some of the more rugged house music you’ll find today: DJ W!LD. The man whose music is described as “deep, dark, acid, a little bit w!ld and always sexy” has been in the game longer than I initially thought. It already started in late 80’s Dijon, where a young W!LD – real name Guillaume – was heavily inspired by then still obscure Laurent Garnier. Garnier’s unique and all-encompassing style encouraged him to develop his own perspective on the music emanating from Detroit and Chicago.
DJ W!LD relocated to Paris in 1996, where he gravitated towards the DJ booth, playing at popular Parisian clubs Palace, Queen, Rex, and collaborating with Peter Rauhofer as House Heroes, on the international hit “Magic Orgasm”. Around the turn of the millennium, DJ W!LD crossed paths with Chris Carrier and Guillaume La Tortue, which led to their EP Carnaval/Comestible. The music of Catwash, the duo made up of Chris Carrier and DJ W!LD, became an instant favourite of DJs around the globe, with tracks finding their way into the sets of Andrew Weatherall, Ricardo Villalobos, Richie Hawtin and Josh Wink, and licensed on Detour, Visitor, Crack & Speed and Get Physical.
DJ W!LD established his own solo imprint Catwash Records soon afterwards, but was marginalised in the beginning through the heavy electro-focus of the industry around that period. In 2009 DJ W!LD was announced as the new resident DJ for DC10’s Circo Loco, and the following year he made his debut at WMC and Sonar Festival. Not long afterwards, Sven Väth invited DJ W!LD to join the Cocoon family, and he went on to show-stopping debut sets in Japan with Circoloco, and at Fabric London or Panorama Bar. This rich history has led Guillaume into becoming one of the most sought-after remixers and DJs in the scene to this day.
As I walked towards ADE’s headquarters You could see, hear and feel the ADE craze had already fully erupted. To get to the epicentre of ADE’s organization, the Felix Meritis building on the Keizersgracht, was a bit of a struggle as hundreds of journalists, promoters, organizers, DJs and random tourists were blocking the street. Once inside it was like walking into the New York Stock Exchange. People were running around frantically to get to their appointments, queue up for the service desk to ask them where the hell the location of their next appointment was or to catch up with acquaintances they hadn’t seen in a year.
At the very back of the building there was the media room, where Guilaume was just finishing his previous interview with a hung-over American journalist from DJ Mag. It wasn’t hard to tell that she would like to do more than just interview him. After a hug and a selfie with the French DJ she was on her way, and I was hurried inside the surprisingly tiny media room. At that moment three other interviews were being held – with artists I had no idea of who they were.
So how have you experienced Amsterdam so far?
Well today is all about the interviews. They seem to just keep going and going here. Yesterday was a lot of fun. After I arrived I went on to smoke weed the whole evening with Sneak at a coffeeshop nearby. We’re both part of the group of DJs that mainly smoke weed.
What’s the scene like in Paris and the rest of France nowadays? Still very much focussed on electro or is there more room for house and techno?
I’m not sure about the taste of the French crowd, but artist-wise for sure. Before, it was only Laurent Garnier and then you had all these electro artists. Now you can see a lot more artists starting to pop up. But it is still very difficult to make a name for yourself as a French artist, as the promoters there aren’t very good in promoting you abroad. That’s why you don’t have that many famous DJs from my country, I think.
Was it hard for you to get established as an artist?
Yes, definitely. It took me a very long time. But even so, I wanted to get known outside of the comfort zone of my own city. A lot of artists from France do not really want this. There are a lot of things that have to do with it, but being a DJ and ‘making it’ is completely different there than it is in Britain or Germany for instance.
What is the single greatest danger for an artist who just broke through into to the big league?
To lose your head. To get out of touch with reality and becoming arrogant. Turning into someone else than you were before. This in my opinion is a real danger. It is of course dependent on your age. If you are very young, it will be much easier to lose yourself than when you are 35 and start to break through.
But also physically you shouldn’t lose yourself. This job can be a professional sport sometimes, the travel, the hours; it asks a lot from your body. If you don’t sport and keep your body in shape then a lot of shit can happen.
What has been your greatest achievement up to now?
To still be in this business after all this time.
The last album. For sure.
Always the last album?
Yes! Always haha. One of the reasons for that is that you test yourself to keep progressing if you consider the last work to be the best, you won’t repeat yourself in the studio.
Do you feel that the Amsterdam Dance Event has helped your career?
Well of course my manager takes care of all the networking here. I just do the interviews and play gigs. But I think that it certainly helps. You meet everybody here. And above all, through ADE I now have my dream gig tomorrow.
To play with Jazzy Jeff?
Yeah, it’s really a dream come through for me. I come from hip hop and Jeff has been one of my heroes throughout my life.
How did you end up on this line-up by the way? Did you already know him?
No, not even. So I was really happy when I found out that he wanted to book me. But you can hear the hip hop influences in my productions, especially in my latest releases. So I think the guys behind the event thought I would be a good match there.
You visit Amsterdam regularly. What has been your favourite experience here would you say?
Too many to name. But I think that Friday, which is also my birthday, after the gig I will have a new best memory here.
Where has the crowd pushed you and the set you played into another dimension?
DC10 for sure. From the first record you play down to the last beat the people support you into a new high. They create this magic that makes it impossible for any DJ to play bad. You’re being pushed to give it your very best, always.
Edith Piaf or Serge Gainsbourg?
Serge Gainsbourg, and the Love On The Beat album in particular. He is an idol to me. The way he composed his music, his creativity. He was a genius. And his character also, was very important to him as an artist. He has inspired me in making the music that I make today. I like music that is sexy, or aggressive; music that you can feel.
How do you create that emotion in your music?
Most of the time I produce when I’m in love, when I’m angry or after sex. I need to have a muse, a woman in my life who inspires me. Without it I am just not creative. Some people take their inspiration from other stuff, I get it from love.
Is there a muse in your life at the moment?
It takes time but something is starting to grow with somebody back home, yes.
So we can expect a lot of new albums coming out soon?