Photo courtesy of New Fkin Yawk for Momentum
"Unpretentious". "Sexy" "Super- talented" Some of the adjectives one can use to describe the French dj Miss Kittin. Appearing at SRB's in Brooklyn recently courtesy of our friends at Momentum (with Ambivalent also on the lineup), c'etait un grand plaisir to grab some time with the 'purry one" before she hit the decks for a stand out set.
CGNY: I’m here with Miss Kittin aka Caroline Hervé. It’s Jan 26 at midnight and we’re having a little chat ahead of her set here for Momentum at SRB’s – thanks for chatting to us Caroline!
It’s a little bit warmer today than yesterday here in NYC. You just came from playing at Igloofest correct – how was that?
MK: It was amazing. It was just such a unique experience to make people dance at minus 40 degrees celsius. There were heaters around me but people were dancing outside and there was a blizzard and they were jumping! It was an obligation to dance otherwise you’re going to freeze! Canadian people are very friendly and so nice. I was felt so blessed.
CGNY: You’re not a stranger to New York as you’ve played here many times but it is the first Momentum party and first time at this venue (SRB’s) and my first time to hear you! What can we expect?
MK: It’s hard to tell what I’m going to play because I can’t ever describe what I do. I like so many things and that’s my big, big joy as a dj – to try to mix all of these influences together. But let’s say that basically I like strong beats, good bass lines, good melodies. It has to be uplifting but with an edgy side – not commercial or trance-y you know – not in that meaning. It stays still in the style of underground music. We are in New York. I may play a Blondie cover of Rapture (she did – it was swell and she sang over it!)
CGNY: You’ve been djing since you were young…
MK: Well I was not that young (22) but nowadays kids are djing when are fourteen/fifteen.
CGNY: But you must have seen a lot of changes over the years with the advent of digital technology – what do you use to spin?
CGNY: Now I use USB keys or SD cards because it just makes it so much easier (to travel). Also when you don’t have a computer you look at people more because you stay in front of the people; you don’t have to turn around or have your eyes on a screen and in the fact that its lighter – it’s almost more friendly in a way. But it doesn’t really matter with what you play. Technology never made the artist so it’s not because you have USB keys that you are going to play better. That’s not the point but I travel light now – it’s nice!
Click here for footage from Saturday night!
CGNY: Stick it in the backpack and go! After you leave New York where is your next port of call?
MK: I’m going to LA for press, San Francisco for a gig, then Toronto and Miami.
CGNY: For Winter Music Conference?
MK: No just for a regular gig. I’m not doing WMC this year because I’m too busy with the album.
CGNY: Tell us about that – what are you working on?
MK: It’s going to be released in April, it’s a double album. (Calling from the Stars) It has one part more pop songs and the second part is more ambient. I wrote everything alone for the first time so I’m very proud of it. It’s out on April 23rd.
CGNY: Congrats – looking forward to that! I’m sure you get asked this all the time but are there any particular things about being a female dj that are more or less challenging? And have you any advice for young women getting into the business?
MK: You know it’s always challenging to make a career in any field as a woman. You have to work double. You have to shut your mouth. If you shout, they will say you’re a diva; if a guy does that he is respected. So all that kind of thing, we experience it too. Even if it’s a very open minded world, clichés persist. Like a woman cannot drive better than a man! And it’s the same for djs. A lot of people will think that a girl cannot mix better than a man
CGNY: Or that she needs help to set up etc?
MK: Totally. When you’re playing festivals very regularly, you have to have a strategy to put the sound guy in your pocket so to speak, so he respects you, you know? So you have to “stay in your shoes” – you have to be very careful how you speak, what you say and your position and make your way with a lot of humility and it’s only with time that you get respected. But it’s in every other field of life the same
And the problem, for a man it’s easier to have a family life because there is always a girl at home to take care of everything. If you want to have a man to support you and let’s say you want to have kids and on weekends on a Saturday night you go spinning, there is no guy to support you. That’s why there is not so many female djs. Because at some point we are busy with other things and that’s not fair. I don’t want that for myself. I want everything! I want the same as the boys. I don’t want to be like them, I want the same things. I want my freedom and I don’t want to be in the kitchen and I don’t want to be in the shadow of a man. I never wanted that. It’s a hard way but I chose it
CGNY: And you’re still enjoying it?
MK: Yes it’s a lot of sacrifices but thank God there are women like us to push things forward in a way. If I have any advice, believe in what you do and never listen to what people say and work, work, work!
"It makes me a better person to be a dj. It’s not the fact that I’m playing records; it’s that music brought me to these places and made me grow I think."
CGNY: Do you think it’s possible to be at your level in the music world without being a producer? Do the two have to go hand in hand these days in order to reach a certain peak of success?
MK: Nowadays, yes it’s very difficult to only be a dj. I think for example my friend Heidi; she has a label and a show on Radio 1. She is promoting that life as a dj and she’s not producing and it’s good that there can be still be djs who are famous without producing. Because to dj is a real job. And you can easily just only do that and djs are not necessarily good producers and the other way round. Musicians turn into djs because it’s more practical to earn money; you earn more money djing than selling records nowadays besides David Guetta or ..
I just happen to make music by accident. I never thought I would be a dj, I never thought I would make music. I never thought I would sing. All these things happened and I did them very seriously because I was interested but I never thought it would bring me here today! And that’s great! But I was very serious at doing it even if I considered it as a hobby for a very long time.
CGNY: In terms of your gigs have you had any that stood out good or bad? Or is there ever a night where you don’t feel like doing it? Where you have to psych yourself up to get onstage and perform?
MK: its part of the job and every job has a difficult side and this job has a lot of difficult side. Like you’re away, you’re alone on the road. I don’t always take someone with me because I like to be alone. I like to walk alone in the city. It nourishes my inspiration. You see so many things, you meet so many people that you need these moments alone to digest all the things that you experience. So, you know, it’s healthy.
I cannot choose one amazing moment. I remember once people made me cry of joy in Spain… I just stopped the music, walked around the booth and sat down on the stage in front of them, listening. I was listening to them for a short while. They were listening to me for years and this time I shut down the music and I was listening to them. I have this image right now coming to my mind. It’s not really the parties – it’s the people, it’s the places. It’s all the places that I never thought I would ever go like Peru or Japan. I was always fascinated by Japan for a very long time and when I went to play there… It’s the school of life; this is my school of life. I could have done anything else like painting, writing, filming documentaries. I don’t know. Anything that would make me discover the world… would have been amazing. Because you learn who you are and learning who you are you learn about human beings and that we are all here for that – to live together to see that we are not so different and that someone who has nothing is sometimes much happier than you are. It makes me a better person to be a dj. It’s not the fact that I’m playing records; it’s that music brought me to these places and made me grow I think.
Right now and I’m turning 40…
CGNY: You look amazing!
MK: Without any botox yet! I’m joking because a lot of my friends did it already at 25 or 30 and I never noticed! I have good genes anyway!
CGNY: That you do – thanks Caroline!
For all things Miss Kittin visit her official website - http://www.misskittin.com
Miss Kittin continues her tour - details here
Click here to listen/buy her new single - Bassline - out now!