Interview with

Philippe Petit

Philippe Petit is interested in soundtracks, even if he creates original music he’d rather be introduced as a “musical travel agent” than a composer. Petit uses turntables and laptops to build up electronic layers and take advantage of vinyl material to fondle released sounds. PETIT has assembled what people call a dream-team of collaborators, often joining Lydia Lunch or Faust onstage, and working with: Foetus, Edward Ka-Spel, Kumo, Scott McCloud (Girls Against Boys), Cosey Fanni Tutti, My Brightest Diamond, Sybarite, Pantaleimon, Graham Lewis (Wire), Barry Adamson, Scanner, Mira Calix, Kammerflimmer Kollektief, Guapo, Leafcutter John, Simon Fisher Turner, Jarboe and many more…

Facts

1:  D.I.Y

2:  B. Y. O. B.

3:  GOD IS DOG

Questions

What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
My life

How and when did you get into making music?
I started DJing in 1983 and for years kept doing radio shows, ‘zines, record labels… Around 2005 I finally started making my music public.

What are your 5 favourite albums of all time?
Sorry no chance that I could reply to this as I have thousand s of records and my tastes change on a daily basis, though for sure CRAMPS “human fly” is my favourite song + the first eponymous Suicide might be the one which is aging best for me.
Other than those 2 of importance are: FoetuSteroid Maximus, Ken Nordine’s “colours”, oXbow, Wire, Cows, Sort Sol, Die Haut, X-Ray-Spex, Music Machine, Bernard Herrmann, Tod Browning, Black Flag, Aphex Twin, Cabaret Voltaire, Autechre, Goz Of Kermeur, Fugazi, Ennio Morricone, No Means No, Ciccone Youth, Felix Kubin, Gun Club, Nurse With Wound, Guapo, Joy Division, MBV “loveless”, The Cure “pornography”, Christian Marclay, Khanate, Syd Barrett, Godzilla, Talk Talk, Radio Birdman, Xenakis, Throbbing Gristle, Tom Verlaine, Igor Stravinsky, Soft Machine, Luc Ferrari, God (the band ), Schneider TM, Ornette Coleman, Kraftwerk, Mingus, Hint, Glenn Branca, Neurosis, Sun City Girls, Jam, Unwound, Tod Dockstader, Hasil Hadkins, Pita, Big Black, Alice Coltrane, Pere Ubu, Devo, Condense, Mouse On Mars, Jesus & Mary Chain, Steve Reich, Fad Gadget, The Stooges, Naked City, the soundtrack for Eraserhead, Andy’s Car Crash, Michelangelo Antonioni, Headcleaner, Olivier Messiaen, VU, Luis & Bebe Barron’s “Forbidden Planet”, some early Brian Eno, 13th Floor Elevators, Jesus Lizard (live), Violent Femmes, Tetsuo 1, Boss Hog, Clouddead, Duchess Says, Damned, Sun Ra, Animal Collective, Tortoise, El-P, Einstürzende Neubauten, Swamp Rats, Gastr del Sol, Captain Beefheart And The Magic Band , Tuxedomoon, Made To Measure, Slint, Alog, James Joyce, Kas Product, Bauhaus, Pebbles/Back From The Grave/Ugly Things compilations, Kim Fowley, Kepone, Thomas Brinkmann, The The, Seeds, Gvs.B, Fennesz, The Fall, Birthday Party, The Deviants, Gallon Drunk, Sun Ra, Boredoms, Mars, The Monks, Silverfish, Supersilent, Pussy Galore, early LCD Soundsystem, Bark Psychosis, Bernard Herrmann, The Residents, Art Ensemble Of Chicago, Erik Satie, PanaSonic, Morton Feldman, Pixies, Dinosaur Jr., Alarm Will Sound, Magazine, Pharoah Sand ers… & many many more…

What do you associate with Berlin?
Bar

What’s your favourite place in your town?
At home spending time w/ my family or creating some new music.

If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Music changed my life, from such an early age and later on being a Punk kid not willing to get drugged out to be able to come back home and listen to his records… It prevented me from many addictions which caused the death of some friends… I’d rather avoid thinking what my life could have been if I had not been that passionate about music.

What was the last record you bought?
Foetus “HIDE”

Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I’d love to score some a movie for David Lynch…

What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
I shouldn’t be the one describing my best gig as a performer. Regarding others, it is like the question about records, I was lucky to see so many band s that it is really difficult not to forget any. The most marking show for me was Kraftwerk, back in  1976, who after finishing the gig gave an encore where manikins where playing “we are the robots” without the audience being aware of it. Suddenly they arrived aside their replicas and the 10 year old kid I was back then got totally surprised by seing 2 of each of them… Apart that trick, the band s who really left a mark on me where The Cramps, Birthday Party, Johnny Thunders, The Damned, The Sting Rays, Gallon Drunk, Melt Banana, Guapo, Unsane, Hint, Condense, Fugazi, and dozens of others… Recently definitely Big Sexy Noise.

How important is technology to your creative process?
Whenever possible I aim at capturing field recordings, acoustic instruments and for this I need technology. Then I love to treat those sounds sometimes which again is being done by computers. Then onstage I use some electric/amplified instruments or turntables/synths so I guess that I need technology to transcribe what musically comes to mind.

Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career?
Unfortunately life has taught me that whenever you are as active as I have been throughout the years + dare express your opinion some people will be jealous or mad at you. Whatever I keep doing what I need to do and find some people being on the same wavelength, such as Lydia is. ;- )

Our Favourites: Thirsty  | Black Spring  The call of Circé

Links: Soundcloud  |  philippepetit.info