The Voyager: An Interview with Jean du Voyage
French beatmaker and turntablist, Jean du Voyage recently stumbled upon Manipal during his maiden tour in India, supporting the release of his debut album Mantra. The veteran disc jockey, who has etched his sounds around the world since 1998, is also an eclectic audiophile with a keen interest in various cultures. The event was organised by Alliance Française de Manipal with Department of European Studies, MU, as their exclusive partners. After an enthralling performance at the Amphitheater where he showcased the sounds that make up a vivid catalogue of mixes, samples, and songs, the Post caught up with the man himself.
Tell us the story behind the set you played tonight.
Most of tonight’s set is off my first album. The album was released two weeks ago, so, you can find those tracks online. The first forty-five minutes were my own compositions and after that, I moved to a set which had songs that I like and that I wanted to share with you all.
You call your first album Mantra, why is that so? And do tell us about the writing process behind it.
Yes, my first album is very important to me because it’s like when I’m producing music, every day, it became like a mantra. I like the music to be charming, relaxing, and sweet, at least for the first forty to forty-five minutes and after that, I like to bring in the high energy music to cap the build up. I think Mantra is more like the first part with lesser energy but more charm and beauty, and hence the name.
There was a lot of Indian music being sampled tonight and it was amazing to see that coming from a French artist. Tell us something about your Indian and Arabic influences.
[Laughs]. It’s a long story actually. I love old Bollywood movies and especially their soundtracks, for example, Devdas. So, I would like to mix it with a soundtrack from a modern film and that’s what I did on most of the remixes. It is great to take an old song and give it this new form. I deeply admire and respect the traditional Indian music and believe it or not, since my first visit to India last year, I’ve been learning to play Bansuri, Tabla, Mridangam, and Kanjira. I love these instruments and I am trying to use them to make some fusion music of my own.
So, do you sample your own sounds?
Yes, I love to sample these instruments on my own and other times, I’m usually sampling from Bollywood movies.
We heard so many different Electronica elements here tonight, tell us how they got into your music, or rather, how you built your set around them.
Starting with the various genres, I love Drum n’ Bass, Dubstep, Hip-hop, and Bass music. And to name a few artists, there are too many to tell just a few names actually [laughs]. In every kind of music, there are so many artists that I like. For example, right now I like Flako and so many others. I like the music when it feels good no matter who the artist is or the time period that it is from. If it feels good then it is good.
We’re sure most people here were pretty new to electronic music, anything you’d like to suggest for someone who is just getting into it?
There are so many suggestions that I can give because there are new artists every week, every month, and even every day, these days. It’s really hard to name artists particularly but I can recommend you to be curious and go to see different kinds of artists and take their influences. Don’t forget to use Shazam! [We all laugh].
Tell us about your Manipal experience so far. How do you like the place?
It’s my first time in Manipal and I arrived just a few hours before the gig. I can definitely tell you more tomorrow when we hit the beach and see the place. But it’s nice to see that there is a big university and young people enjoying themselves. Actually, yesterday was my first gig in India and this is just the second gig. I’m really excited because I will be touring about eight cities inside a month, so, it is very nice.
Have you ever been to an Indian wedding?
[Laughs]. Not really, why?
We think that people will love it. Your music at an Indian wedding, bringing them a mix of both the old and the new and of course, the electronic elements that everyone seems to dig these days.
[We all laugh]. You really think so? Get me an invite to one of them, it will be fun. Hopefully, people don’t say who is this friend of yours playing Dubstep at a wedding!
It was a real good performance you put up tonight, thank you so much for being here.
Thanks for coming guys, I really enjoyed and hope to see you again.