Wednesday, May 9, 2012 | 12:20 p.m.
This man is a classically trained pianist. And yes, that is a keytar in his hands.
It’s not so weird, if you think about it. French DJ/producer Joachim Garraud grew up with his hands on the keys, playing and composing music. Around 16, he turned his passion to his computer and started exploring electronic dance music, but his instincts for live performance never went away.
- The Invasion Show
Today, Garraud dedicates his time to DJing, producing and remixing for artists like Moby and David Guetta, but his classical roots and live-act attitude come out in his performances, which go well beyond putting odd outfits on the backup dancers. Before his Tao Group residency kicks off at Marquee on May 11 (and before he returns to town for Electric Daisy Carnival in June), Garraud broke down the ingredients that make up his live set and his favorite event to play way out in the northern Nevada desert …
The keytar: Garraud got bored. That’s the short explanation behind the fabulously retro instrument he plays over different tracks. “This keyboard was really sexy, from the ’80s, and it was white and black, very cool. You just cut the music down, and everybody’s looking at you, and you take the keyboard and start to play a classic bassline from Queen or a very famous bassline. … When the show is done and people come to me and they say, ‘Oh Joachim, I loved your concert,’ it’s the best word for me ’cause it just explains that I’ve moved from the classic DJ set to a live act.”
The alien masks: “By giving an alien mask to some people, they’re not shy anymore. They’re just behind these small pieces of plastic, but they’re completely somebody else by wearing this mask. And they party like hell.”
The videos: You know that video wall at Marquee? Garraud will put it to good use. “I have six people doing videos for me, and we’re working every day,” he says. “We’re doing six to 10 movies per month just to be able to have some fresh cuts, fresh video. Three years ago I decided to work with Serato, and we wrote some plug-in together to be able to play video at the same time as you’re playing audio. ... I’m spending a lot of time and a lot of money on this kind of production, but it makes my show different from other shows.”
The favorite gig: Garraud doesn’t hesitate. Burning Man. This will mark his fifth year in a row. “And I’m going there every year. I love that place because there’s nothing like it. You can’t compare it to any place on Earth; it’s like everyone is coming from another planet. It’s like one week completely out of time. And every year I’m doing a crazy show and crazy party because people just enjoy each party like it’s going to be the last day of their life. For me, it’s just the best audience ever.”