Q&A Jean Michel Jarre

Sunday 22 April 2007

OMM: You studied with musique concrete pioneer Pierre Schaeffer in the Sixties - how did you make the progression from avant-garde classical abstraction to highly melodic and accessible music?
JMJ: I trained in classical music, true, but I was also in rock bands at the same time. Schaeffer is the godfather of electronic and sample-based music. From him I took the idea that the crucial thing is not notes or harmonies, but sounds.
OMM: One avant-garde gesture from later in your career was pressing a single copy of the album Music for Supermarkets and auctioning it, having destroyed the master tapes.
JMJ: That was a premonitory act! I was protesting at the silly industrialisation of music that was happening with CDs, this El Dorado product in the Eighties. But digitalisation has ultimately caused the death of the industry.
OMM: You are synonymous with the word 'big': big sales (72 million to date), big concerts. Even your Unesco ambassador job relates to one of mankind's biggest problems, the availability and purity of water.
JMJ: When I started doing the big outdoor productions, it was not because of grandiosity. I just felt that electronic music sounded better outdoors - it gave a different depth to the sound. The visual spectacle was to compensate for the fact that synthesisers aren't sexy; you can't play them with the physicality of rock music.
OMM: Talking of rock, how did you get to have an asteroid named after you?
JMJ: It comes from this department of Nasa. There's me, Zappa, Lennon, and Hendrix, all with stones in space named after us!
OMM: What's the concept of the new album, Teo and Tea?
JMJ: It's to do with encounters between people. I am interested in the way we have this culture of total connection - mobile phones, and emails - yet people increasingly feel this loneliness.
· Jean Michel Jarre's Teo and Tea is out on Atlantic on 23 April

 Source: www.guardian.co.uk/

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