If life was a laboratory, Jacques would be its maddest scientist. His expertise? To sublime ordinary noises and turn them into extraordinary sounds. His tools? A table tennis ball on a platter, a tape measure, a fan, a plastic chicken or a pair of scissors. For Jacques, ‘tout est magnifique’ (everything is magnificent). Around him onstage, an endless landscape of electronic machines, lights and buttons of all colours and sizes, three keyboards, a guitar and a microphone.
The true beauty of things appears when you look at them from new perspectives. Performing live at Sónar last week, Jacques invited us to a mind-blowing trip into perceptions where noise becomes sound and sound becomes music that touches your soul. Travelling around textures, shapes and the soul of each of his instruments, he always ends up creating something purely chemical, experimental, transversal. We’ve talked to the guy with no hair in the middle about Sónar 2017, the existence of vortexes and the relationship between matter and light.
Tout est Magnifique (‘Everything is magnificent’, in English) is the name of your first EP. It reflects well your music philosophy: to sublimate the aesthetic of little things from everyday life. By sampling glass shards, the creaking of wood and rubbery of paper’s noises you create magic from the most basic items. How does your creative process work?
I have been doing music for years, and at some point I tried to have fun by inventing the music of the future. And as all my attempts failed, I started to think logically: what will be music in the future is not music today; what isn't music today is today’s noise, so my clue to create the music of the future may be the noise of today.
Your music project Jacque + Jacque = Jacques is also inspired by your multi-faced identity. Can we talk about your artistic schizophrenia?
I am multiple, but one of us tries to make me believe I am not.
Two years ago you were still unknown to the general public. Everyone from the French crowd has now almost once heard about Jacques, ‘the weird guy with no hair in the middle’, and it is not over yet. You were last month performing in Seoul and Hong Kong for your first Asian tour, and you’ve recently played at Sónar too; and very soon in Paradise Festival between Âme and John Talabot. How do you feel about it?
It feels quite good to realize that people around the world start to be sensitive about the point of view I offer. But I think that not caring too much about people's reactions gives me the force to face the crowd with love. I usually play in festivals that I didn’t know before, and with artists that I've never heard of. To take your example I didn’t know that Paradise City was a big festival – now I can't remember where it takes place –, I don’t know Ame and never listened to a song of John Talabot. I discovered Kompakt at a dinner with Mickael Mayers and Matthew Herbert by giving interviews. Playing at Sónar was not a big deal either because, to me, music has to keep its useless aspect. I’ve noticed that when I give too much importance to a particular show, it gets worst.
Your set up for Sónar was one of the most complex of all the live shows. Can you share with us the list of instruments you brought on stage?
Honestly it's too long and as nobody will get what it refers to, I let you just imagine a very long list of names that includes numbers and technical references.
You’ve recently recorded an album from a ten-hours improvisation performance at The lot radio NYC, which you’ve shared live with your audience through Facebook. Why did you make this choice? Do you think music should be free?
I am having fun with a bunch of inventions, and some of them are Facebook live and the radio. To be honest, all the process was tiring but globally exciting. I think that buying music in 2017 should be like donating. You can allow people to listen your music for free, but you cannot stop them from donating.
On social media and Youtube videos many people like to say you’re the reminiscent of British producer Matthew Herbert. Is he a source of inspiration to you? Have you ever thought about collaborating with other artists?
As I said, I didn’t know his music before journalists talked to me about him. I don't feel close to his music even today. The artists that inspire me a lot by these days are Flying Lotus, Tame Impala and Frank Ocean.  And I think that producing music with all of them at the same time might be a good experience.
Talking to Nova Radio, you said that music is a happy coincidence situated between matter and light. What is matter and what is light?
I consider everything as one thing that moves on different levels. Matter is slow, light is fast; between them, there is sound, and above them, there is the soul. We can only see the light when it touches the matter. And music happens when the soul touches the sound.
You’re a kid of the Paris underground scene. You’ve always been involved into the creation, the rehabilitation of artistic spaces and squats. Now based in The Wonder Liebert in Bagnolet, you work and live in an alternative atmosphere. How does the space affect your creativity?
I don't know, I can't tell. I'm just doing my ideas in the places I am.
You’re not just a sound scientist. With the Centre National De Recherche du Vortex (National Vortex Research Centre) you question metaphysical aspects of things in a project made in collaboration with Alexandre Gain. A vortex is defined as “a dynamic created by the energy it generates, a phenomenon whose consequence is at the same time its cause.” Dressing as laboratory experts, we see you sanding a sander, watering the water, licking a tongue, etc.
The Centre National de Recherche du Vortex is a way to study and promote the existence of vortexes. It helps people to develop multiple degrees of thoughts and also to accept the unobvious relationship between serious and fun.
Let’s create a vortex. Would you interview the interviewer?
Yes, I’ve already done this experiment to make an artificial vortex. But this appears usually when a war reporter gets killed, and then others interview the other war reporters. Vortex.
Last one, what’s next for Jacques?
From September to next August, a big pause of everything that involves a mass of people. Then I don’t know!
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