The Sun King

DJ/producer Tristan Garner talks self-improvement, tattoos, eyeliner—and he has a message for Paris Hilton

DJs are the new rock stars, and Tristan Garner definitely looks the part. It wouldn’t be surprising if ladies started throwing undergarments at the booth. But beyond the fashion and sex appeal, the charming French producer is more than just a pretty face. His 2009 collaboration with Gregori Klosman, “Fuckin Down,” is still a great club-banger without the overkill, and Garner’s recent releases give an edge to the big-room house tunes. To get a taste of new sounds from his forthcoming EP out in September, join Garner for Sunrise Sessions July 21 at Hyde, where he’ll keep it going from 1:30 a.m. until the sun sheds light on the Bellagio fountains.

Back in the day you used to hand your demos to David Guetta and Bob Sinclar. What were their reactions?

They did not even give me any feedback. To be honest, my music was really crap. [Laughs] David Guetta and, of course, Bob Sinclar refused to sign me. But there was this guy Antoine Clamaran. He was the first guy to sign me. So I just want to say thank you, Antoine!

From your early productions “The Game” and “Smash” to the more recent “Fuckin Down” and “Punx,” how do you feel you’ve evolved as a producer and stopped making “crap”?

Every year I try to evolve. It’s like a sport. It’s like mountain climbing—I don’t know—like a real professional sport. Every year I have to train, train, train. I do a lot of tutorials on the Internet. I study a lot of music. I’m not fully OK with my music to be honest, because I think I could do better. So that’s why I “work out” in the studio every day, every night.

“Raven” has this great grittiness going into an anthemic sound. What was the muse for that track?

It’s music I made for manga, a Japanese animation. For this animation I saw on YouTube. It’s called RedLine. It’s a really famous Japanese animation. And I wanted to create the music for this animation. It was a totally new process, and it worked. I really love this track.

How do you think the electronic dance music explosion in the U.S. is affecting the quality of what’s being released and played?

I love the fact that it’s exploding in the USA. But I’m just a little afraid. I opened up my YouTube browser and saw Paris Hilton behind the decks! She is not a DJ. She is not a producer. This is the kind of [thing] I don’t want to see in dance music. Please, for God’s sake! [Laughs] Please Paris, stay where you are! I love the USA. I love the scene that is coming to the USA because it’s really new. You can feel it. But you have to remain true, not by exploiting music. OK, it is a business, but it’s also music.

So aside from Paris trying to be a DJ, how can new DJ/producers make their mark and be respected in the industry?

Be a producer first. The main thing to success is not about [being] a DJ. It’s all about the music. Nobody cares if you’re a DJ, actually. The people will care about your music. So start caring about your studio first. Forget about the DJ thing. Focus on your music, your production. That’s the key to being a DJ. Do your own music.

What’s the meaning behind some of your tattoos?

Everywhere I go I try to get a new tattoo. From Miami to Brazil, Iceland to Japan. There’s no real meaning, it’s just rock n’ roll. I’m going to do a new one, a full-arm next month. I love rock, I love the futuristic stuff. It’s a mix of all of my interests actually.

The ladies want to know: what’s the key to that perfect smoky eyeliner look that you rock sometimes?

(Laughs) It’s a secret! No, I don’t know how to explain in English actually. I will explain to you next time.



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