Wouldn't it be cool if you could hear colour and see sound? Better yet, imagine if you could taste the bass. Well, thanks to the sonic vision of luminary Lucien Nicolet, your senses could soon experience a feeling not far off. This year, Luciano will proudly present his Æther Live project; a complex mesh of music, video and lighting that will no doubt change your understanding of music forever. Over the last few years, the Euro-Chilean has favoured a definitive DJ set when playing in the live arena. However, with this world-wide tour we see him return to his laptop to orchestrate 5 musicians from the Cadenza label and a Swiss man with a hang drum, in what is essentially, a world class jam.
It was time we called up the man with the moustache to talk more about his visionary concept formulated nearly four years ago. Chatting freely, he speaks about music with the kind of passion that gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside, impossible to shake off. What's more he has best DJ philosophy about and gives a big 'Hola at ya' to house music, something he believes to be 'the best music in the world.' All of this and he has a new album out due for September....
The term "Æther " is a phrase used in both science, engineering but also in music. It's a fascinating idea and one we want to know more about. Can you tell us about your exciting new project?
"Cool, yes "Æther" it's a live concert based on technology and the senses. The idea is to finally make people understand what it is to make electronic music and what it is all about to make the laptop music and what you can do out of this. The idea is forever to grow the understanding and for the artist to see the music. I designed the idea 4 years ago and it was very expensive to build it up so I couldn't really make it happen until I met David Levy who's the project manager and we've been working on the project together for over a year and now we are about to launch it... finally!"
It's been a long time coming for you then. You must be excited for the launch?
"I'm very excited, it's a long time process that I've had in my head for a while and it's exciting to be able to realise it finally. We are doing 13 dates all around the world. Start the very first one in Monegros Desert Festival in Spain then we go to Japan, Israel, Poland, Belgium, Mexico, Holland, United States. It's a pretty intense time in August, then we have a break I guess until 2010 and then start again!"
It sounds like a big deal. Has it always been a passion of yours to push boundaries
and o pen people's eyes and ears to a new understanding of music?
"For me, always a big challenge is this. I'm very involved with all this technologies and music and stuff like that and creating. You know it's like sexual desire, it's something you must work on, take care of it and music is the same as this. You must protect it. I feel like now I have achieved things, I have been playing for 3 years at DC10 and I just finished my album now but at the same time I wanted to just involve myself in something new. Like live things which I have been doing for a long time before but also involve other people in it. People that I have brought to the agency, to the label, they are younger and they have less experience and stuff like that but you know it's also a very good meeting point with all these people that share the same passion, the same feelings about art or whatever. To bring them to one spot where we can use our creativity to break the barrier between the music, the show and the friendship, it only makes us stronger."
Who is going to be 'jamming' with you on stage?
"At the moment we have Reboot, Lee Van Dowski, Mirko Loko, Digitaline and we also have another musician who is a guy who is a drummer and he also plays hang drum! His name is Omri Hason from Switzerland and he's coming on tour with us, making a special thing happen. We are 12 people at the end, all very specific people doing very specific things. The visual guys from Micro Chunk are genius; they create a lot of the excitement."
Visual is cool but can we dance too?
"Of course! It's all about dance music and club music and the evolution of it! It's very tribal and there's a lot of space for jamming ... There are musicians on stage and new sounds but it's all about dance music."Ricardo is like my older brother!
You're working at superman standards. How are your energy levels doing?
"My energy levels are really, really good. I've had a very intense year and I'm finally recovering from all these activities. I'm letting myself now get involved in new projects that I've always wanted to do and I'm feeling great!"
Well, you will need plenty of that good feeling for the Cocoon craziness happening at Amnesia this Summer. The story of Sven Väth, the crew and Ibiza has been told in so many ways. How does it feel to be a part of the ten year landmark?
"Good, really good! I've been a part of the Cocoon thing since the beginning so since the very first years of Cocoon in Ibiza, I've been playing for them! Every season is always exciting and I really want to be there for sure every time. The Cocoon crew are like a part of my family also so of course it's something very special to me."
How would you describe the spirit of the Cocoon parties?
"It's a big show and its wild! It's great and it's like a meeting point where people come from all over the world and they know they're going to see each other in Ibiza and be with all the DJs that they love. They know they're going to be hanging out in a beautiful place."
You're playing alongside Ricardo Villalobos on the terrace. What kind of relationship do you two Euro-Chileans have?
"Ricardo is like my older brother! We have a strong relation and I've know him a long time. We've been spending so much time together music wise and friend wise, you know I'm 8 years younger than him but the relationship I have with him musically is one of the only ones I have! We really get on so well, we have similar musical direction although we are totally different. We have an understanding of our background from Chile and it is something very special when we are together."
My job is to make people dance. My job is to make people happy
Is it still a goal of yours to make people dance deliriously?
"My job is not about being a library of music. My job is to make people dance. My job is to make people happy and for the people that come to the club then go home with a very good feeling about what's happening, I want it to be special for them and if I can achieve this then my job is done. I work myself to make the people happy! This is my philosophy of what is DJing. It's about the party, its not about ' look I am this , I am that.' If the people are 'wooo', up for having fun and come home with a big smile, then I'm happy."
Tell us more about what's planned for the Cadenza showcase on July 29th at Zoo Channel. It's a must-do event on the summer calendar....
"Yes, I'm very excited about this party! That Zoo place is now the last place to dance under the sun in Ibiza. It's not yet all confirmed line up wise but we will try and have as many people as we can from Cadenza and show everyone what we do at the label.
Its going to be full on, there's a possibility of everyone coming... Reboot, Mirko Loko, Lee Van Dowski, some visual from Micro Chunk and a live performance... that's a surprise..."
You mentioned your residency at DC10 earlier. How did you take the news that the underground legend will not be re-opening this year?
"I feel really sorry and it's a real shame that the authorities are not really realising the loss and the importance of what DC10 and Circoloco means in Ibiza!"
Wise words! can you tell us more about your upcoming album?
"The album is finished and we are just working on finishing the addition of the DVD that comes with it. My album is a tribute to the sun, the music and the good vibe. The DVD is about the route of the sun and it is based around sunshine. I think you should wait and see to know more but it is special. The album is released in September I think.House music never disappeared! I've always played house music"
How is this album different to your previous projects?
Its not that different, it's a similar sound. It's music that I have been working on for 3 years and I've just taken the best tracks It's a great compilation of music, it just fits together in about 9-10 tracks and they are really feeling good together. It is music that you can hear in the club or at home also. That is the importance of my music, something that you can have at both times. Is it day time music for sure but also night time!
Ricardo played a rowdy mix of Eddie Amador's 'House Music' recently at Fabric. What are your thoughts on the genre that seems to be taking centre stage of the dancefloor?
"I think house music never disappeared! I've always played house music, some people and journalists put way too much focus on one sound, one thing. Its not back, it never went anywhere. House music is the best music in the world."
Ok, so what about techno music? Do you still feel the spark of the old school Detroit techno scene?
"Of course! Techno music in my head is Detroit music! It is a mix between techno and house with lots of synthesisers and stuff like that. This was a big inspiration in my career but 'techno techno' like 'hard hard techno' (does an impression) 'ba ba ba ba' is not really what it was about, it was always about Detroit, Chicago and Toronto music. For me Derrick Carter, Todd Terry and all these people are the routes of my music."
Let's talk about home life a bit... How is Switzerland?
"You know this is the place I decided to live because it's quiet! Every time I come back here I have my kids and my family. It's the perfect place to be in between this rock n roll lifestyle and still have fun in life. It was difficult living in a city, just too much rock n roll and stuff like this. We used live in Berlin and it was not good for our couple, our kids and our relation..."
Well you have Lake Geneva and The Alps practically on your door step. You must have some sweet family outings?
"I love it yes. I've been snowboarding for 3 years, every winter we now hit the slopes. They're really close, about 30 minutes away! I have lovely views from my home and it really is a wonderful place to live. The children love it and they're already snowboarding and skiing, they know all the tricks and this is very healthy for them."
How's the Cadenza crew?
"We have an amazing team at the label at the moment. It's about ten people now and it feels like we finally we got it running! There is also a new label Decadenza that will be announced very soon..."
Would you say you're a spiritual person? The Æther project is based on the ideas of heaven and space and the 'upper sky.
"Yeah completely, it's the way I live; it's the way I feel. If I don't get through these kind of feelings, I wouldn't make the music that I do."
Did you ever expect to be doing what you do for so long?
"I didn't really have much of a choice when I was younger and just a kid, for economical reason I couldn't go to many studies and stuff like that. Music was protecting me from a very young age. I've been doing it since I was sixteen and I never really ask myself to do something else."
Track of the moment?
"Too many to list just one but the album of the moment is Mirko Loko releasing on Cadenza called 'Seventynine' Check this..."
Æther. Live Performance of sound & colour
18.07.09 - Æther @ Monegros Desert Festival, Fraga, Spain
07.08.09 - Æther @ Summer Sonic Festival, Tokyo, Japan
09.08.09 - Æther @ Summer Sonic Festival, Tokyo, Japan
14.08.09 - Æther @ Electrocity 2009, Lubiaz, Poland
19.08.09 - Æther @ High Speed Rock Festival, Tel Aviv, Israel
20.08.09 - Æther @ Zappa, Tel Aviv, Israel
21.08.09 - Æther @ Lowlands, Dronten, Holland
22.08.09 - Æther @ Pukklepop, Hasselt, Belgium
29.08.09 - Æther @ Creamfields, Liverpool, England
04.09.09 - Æther @ Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Co, Irland
21.11.09 - Æther @ Sonofilia Festival, Guadalajara, Mexico