Australia loves French producer and electronic music all-arounder YUKSEK—and, if the frequency with which he visits Australia’s golden shores is anything to go by, it seems that he loves Australia, too.
“It seems like every other week you have another big festival,” he tells me, just days before we’re both due to hit Byron Bay for Splendour in the Grass. And, to all intents and purposes, it seems true. Other countries can certainly lay claim to festivals that are bigger, crazier, and perhaps even more infamous, but no country embraces year-round festival culture quite like the Land Down Under.
For the past two years, Yuksek has helped Aussies ring in their New Year at Sydney’s Field Day on New Year’s Eve, and three years ago he played Splendour to triumphant success. This year, he tells me, he’ll be finishing the big tour for his new album in the land of sun and surf. “It’s very exciting because the album has gotten a very good response from you.”
Check out Yuksek‘s Field Day Mixtape HERE
To be fair, Yuksek’s work has gotten a good response from everyone, and particularly the taste of Living on the Edge of Time that’s been on offer. But Australians seem to hold special places in their hearts for him (known as Pierre when all the lights and buzz fade out), who was born in the French musical hotbed of Reims. In fact, when I told a friend that I was going to be chatting with him, she implored me to ask a few questions on her behalf.
As such a striking figurehead of electronic music, Yuksek is in constant demand around the world, playing both festivals and smaller headline shows. As an artist, he considers the diversity of both to be incredibly important.
“But, you know,” he adds, “there’s something about festivals where maybe the atmosphere is different and where you can wander around and go where it takes you, and maybe you end up seeing an artist you never thought to see but you discover that you really like them. That’s very different.”
Excitedly, I add that I, too, love to see an artist I never thought to see and discover something really special. “It must be so amazing to be able to do that regularly.”
“There are worse ways to live,” Pierre agrees.
His live shows have certainly been altered now that he has embraced being the only musical artist on an album. On Living on the Edge of Time, he moved away from working with swathes of guest artists and it was a move that paid off. “On the first record, the guest artists almost became a problem when it came to the live performance,” he explains, detailing the effect it had on the live show. “And, of course, it was really cool to try that for myself.”
“There will definitely be a lot more of my vocals on the next album,” Pierre assures me.
Of his process, he says: “I think I just want to do something new every time. I understand that it’s difficult, maybe, for the audience, that it’s not always the same thing; that there are changes. But I think that’s important, and I think it’s important that I be patient with myself and my process.”
With that said, Pierre values the collaborative work that he does with other artists (regularly, The Magician and fellow master of ceremonies, Brodinski). “I didn’t work with Brodinski for some time so it was great to collaborate with him again; with The Magician, we were able to work a lot quicker, as well.”
Check out The Magician‘s Magic Tapes HERE
“It’s harder, I think, to work on your own. It takes a lot more time.”
Before talking to Pierre, I had read that he tended to be ‘old-fashioned’ when it came to production, with more of a passion for more traditional equipment and less of a focus on computerized production—something that piqued my curiosity, naturally. I enquire about it.
“I don’t want to be stuck in the past. Of course I use the newer technologies. I also think it’s important never to forget the older technologies. It’s a question of not forgetting the way that things have been produced before.”
“It’s been interesting not to get too stuck on one side of my career,” he tells me, speaking of the diversity of his work. “Doing, you know, the production and the remixes and the original work… I think doing other things fits me. It helps me discover new things about my own work.”
Our phone interview ends with well wishes of safe travels to Byron Bay. “See you soon, maybe,” Pierre tells me cheerfully as we say our goodbyes.
One thing’s for certain: I’ll be seeing him, from amongst the crowd in a few days time. I doubt very much, however, that he will see me amongst the crush of sweaty festival-goers bound to gravitate towards his unique and unassailable sound.
Words by Cheryl Billman