True House Stories® Youtube & Spotify Video Podcast
TRUE HOUSE STORIES W/ CERRONE
Cerrone interviewed by Lenny Fontana for True House Stories™ # 048
On this episode of True House Stories we are joined by legendary French Drummer, Producer, DJ Marc Cerrone. He shares with us his humble beginnings with the start of receiving his first drum set from his mother to working with his first group in the early part of the 1970’s called The Kongas.
He also gives us the inside story of how he made his drums be the most important part of the recording and working on the songs such as “Love In C Minor”, “Give Me Love” and “Supernature” and how they became a big part of the American Dance Music culture. He explains how important the role of the arranger was especially with his songs and the role Don Ray played in the Cerrone sound.
Cerrone YouTube Video Part 1
Cerrone YouTube Video Part 2
Ever talkative, passionate and daring, Cerrone continues to run on desire. For him, nerves and fear will always coexist with ambition and self-assurance, an ambivalence that has enabled him to prevail. “Right time, Right place.” This idiom perfectly sums up his experience – he’s even got it tattooed on his lower arm. He’s received multiple awards (Grammys, Golden Globes), performed a dizzying number of collaborations, tackled some impressive challenges, earned a collection of nicknames (such as the disco maestro) and has had instinctive bursts of creativity that often win the jackpot. Here is someone who has travelled across cities, countries and generations – going everywhere except the wilderness.
Cerrone’s music has been covered, sampled and revised hundreds of times, today giving it a particular sort of status, which is firmly cemented in the heart of the collective conscience. The sixty-something-year-old works tirelessly on his compositions, never recycling old formulas but instead is always striving to push the envelope of electronic music forward, a reflection of his eternal youth.
So much so that over these past few years, Cerrone has followed the path more towards DJing, at the suggestion of his record label and manager. “I got caught up in this whole reinvention game. I started putting together snippets of music to feature in my sets. These sections then started to take shape, building into four-and-a-half even six-minute-long songs. Over the space of a few months, I quickly began to totally immerse myself in these sounds, little by little. They sounded vintage yet frighteningly current, with the kind of spirit I had at the beginning of my career, which is to create musical atmospheres rather than pop songs.”
He continues to follow his own rules, distancing himself from marketing diktats and trends, just like he did when Love in C Minor was released. The result? The record DNA, which represents everything he put into it, all his effort, skills, old desires and new dreams, and also because he created it entirely himself, with his loyal sound engineer, Richard Turek. “I always aim to never be like anyone else.” He puts this declaration of intent fully into practice, delivering for the first time a quasi-instrumental record which was written, produced and recorded in the space of four months.
Atmospheric and filled with tension and fissures, DNA panders to the imagination, incorporating film score premises. He leap-frogs between the past, present and future, with his fascinatingly epic, unsettled sounds like monotonous electronic chants. “With this album, I reconnected with a musical period that I’d pushed somewhat to the wayside. This was basically my whole electronic period at the end of the 70s for example, Supernature and the series of soundtracks for Gérard de Villiers’ and Brigade Mondaine’s erotic films.”
Cerrone’s 17th album – DNA – opens with The Impact, a throbbing track of bendy entanglements all with an environmental stance. Halfway through, we’re treated to an excerpt of a speech from Jane Goodall, the world-famous primatologist and ethnologist: “Every single day we make some impact on the planet. We haven’t inherited this planet from our parents. We’ve borrowed it from our children. If we get together, then we can start to heal some of the scars that we’ve inflicted.”
It’s hard not to draw comparisons with Supernature, in which Cerrone declared his first warning about man’s impact on the planet, 43 years ago. This nine-track concept album is built on wandering contours and magnetic sparkle, from which bursts saturated oppressive synth pads (Obsession), a nod to Pink Floyd (DNA), and dramatic soundscapes (Close To The Sky, Experience) and clammy atmospheres that are delightedly languid. “What if I told you that the idea for Air Dreaming came to me after watching a video of a parachute jump featuring naked parachutists?
When people ask me whether I’m still inspired by love and sex today, naturally my answer is yes.” Cerrone doesn’t deprive himself either of pushing Kraftwerk’s logic of unleashing robots on the dance floor (“I’ve got a rocket”, ”Let Me feel”), as his songs appeal to both the intellect and the body’s desire to move. “Let me dream, let me see, let me feel.” What better mantra for bringing this album full circle.