An Unforgettable Interview at Amnesia with DJ Joachim Garraud

Face it: Time isn’t on our side. Nobody with any real get-up-and-go has time enough to get it all done. Not really. So what to do? Prioritize, for one thing. Then bust ass. That’s why I found myself out on the street in front of Amnesia on Saturday night chatting with superstar French DJ Joachim Garraud. DJ JG, as I’ll call him, was one of two crowd-wowing headspinners — Bob Sinclar was the other — slated to mark the Ibiza nightspot’s return to South Beach.

Thing is, Bassnectar, Miguel Migs, Matthew Dear, and Little Dragon were also in town that night, and I’d arranged to interview each of them, too. No easy feat, even for someone as relentless as myself. Thank Zeus, JG has the good sense to be in cahoots with Amnesia Marketing Director Gianfranco Dussena, who acts like getting things done is his entire raison d’être.

JG and I had earlier knocked off an email quickie for NBC Miami, so I already knew that he’d been in on the design of Amnesia’s over-the-top light set up, as well as the club’s very own in-house studio (in fact, he was instrumental in its creation). He’d also told me that this Saturday night’s spin would be the first of many more to come. What I couldn’t see in his eyes via email was how downright excited he was about the show he’d put together for Amnesia’s opening weekend, a show that owes as much to prog rock as it does to the pump-and-grind of the Parisian dancefloors where he made his reputation.

Okay, so not quite. But JG tells me his “keytar is the same one used on Pink Floyd’s Animals tour” (“That’s history!”), and that the show’s ultra-vivid visuals track back to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (“my all-time favorite”), right down to its scene-stealing homage. Add the circa-’78 Space Invaders from which Garroud’s “Invasion Tour” gets its name, and you’ve got the kinda fuel that’a powered many an epic spectacle of the era — and then some.

Also fueling things is arch French explicitist Michel Houellebecq, who’s both punned and honored on JG’s “We are back” t-shirts (really). Whether folks get the reference or not is anyone’s guess, but it’s a kick he’s keen enough to put it out there. It’s also encouraging to know there are DJs who are with it enough to allude to low-slung high lit and not let it get in the way of the wow.

Later that night, just as promised, Joachim Garraud swooped down from the skies and transported a packed house of alien-masked dance fans to a place well beyond any ordinary final frontier. From what I hear, a large part of that party still hasn’t returned home. I, for one, can’t wait for the day when they all can meaningfully tell Houellebecq “We are back!”

Photo by Jeffrey Delannoy

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