slow magazine the revolution will be photocopied
     

slow #3/summer 1999

Jean-Yves Prieuer AKA Kid Loco. Parisian exponent of well you could call it trip hop, whose album A Grand Love Story debuted over here at the same time as some record by Air or something, so limelight is not exactly his natural shade. Persuaded to take up the decks, he mooched into town in a fog of Marlboro smoke as a surprise addition to the Moloko tour, and what with being top deejays ourselves, we thought weíd make the boy welcome. And tell him what the pitch control is for.

What do you think of the UNKLE record?
(long silence... clearly heís thought about this one) I donít like the hardcore track, Blackcore? I donít know what it is. Some tracks are good but maybe itís too much. Thereís no real songs, itís much more like "I can do this ó listen to me" and itís not funny at all.
Style over content?
Yeah, and itís a mistake because MoíWax used to be great when it was funny, you know? But today itís a little bit pain in the arse. I know friends of Tim, the guy who used to do the drums in Unkle. When he was in Unkle he wrote a song, afterwards James Lavelle took the song and asked a Japanese guy to do a remix. So he takes the remix, asks Tim to do some more drums and then asked a jungle producer to do a remix; and you had to wait three years to have anything on vinyl. Itís very annoying. I think DJ Krush left MoíWax; James Lavelle just thought about Unkle for too much time. Itís a pity you know, because Iím a big fan of DJ Shadow, a big fan of Unkle, but you put the two together and I am not a big fan of this LP.
We really liked the Tortoise remix.
Yeah, even the Agent Orange remix is good, the Can remix is good ó all the remixes theyíd done before are really great.
But James Lavelleís remix of The Verve was awful.
Itís the same song, you know, just with another beat. He did a remix of Hurricane #1, I think, and thereís another mix on the CD by Terry Farley, and itís exactly the same as Primal Scream six years ago; a rockíníroll track with just a small beat with the bongos on it.

Youíve said before that you donít make music for the dancefloor ó how have you ended tip as a DJ?
Iím not a DJ. I used to play guitar, and I am a DJ for one year now because people asked me to DJ at parties, or before gigs like tonight, and so I have to practice at home. Before, I was just playing what I like and one time I completely cleared the dancefloor playing hip hop records when everyone wants something happier. So now Iíve changed a little bit, I try to be more... It depends. When you start for a gig and play slow songs they donít mind; if you play after people have to dance, but itís different things, you know? The first time I DJed was for Stereolab in Paris. I never saw the turntables before and each time I put the needle on the record my hands were shaking like this (yes indeed, shaky hands). Today, to be a DJ will change my music for my next LP I think.
Was that just because you were in front of a load of people?
Yeah yeah, I was just on the stage in front of everybody. I was paid, and I feel stupid to be paid for something I donít know a thing about. I used to DJ at home with one old turntable, for my wife — I pull a record, I take the needle out, take another record; Iíve got time, itís great. But if you are in front of people you canít do this. The first time I tried to DJ I even put a record on and when I played it was the end of the song before. But now itís better.
Youíre more comfortable with it now?
Iím not really comfortable with it, I prefer to play live. I played live with Pulp in Finsbury Park, at the point we played it was 13,000 people and I was not scared, but when I DJ in front of even 50 people I have to drink beer before.
Do you play live very much?
No. Last summer we were playing in festivals, but now we have stopped. Weíll play live next year on the next tour. We are three on stage ó one guy on bass, another playing keyboards, and I play guitar and sing ó but maybe for the next tour we will have somebody on percussion. More live. because sometimes when youíve got computers itís always the same song, which is boring at the end of the day. Thereís not a lot of vocals so I have to play lots of guitar, and sometimes for me I feel like Carlos Santana and I donít play like him, thatís true. Itís harder on stage.

Have you started recording the next LP yet?
Nothing. I did a lot of remixes this year and Iíve got more to do when I come back to Paris. I will end everything in January and start working on the next LP, but itís a complete blank, I have to say.

Can you choose your remixes, or is it all record company stuff?
Yeah, because I refuse a lot of remixes, lots of people ask me. Sometimes itís strange, you know? Who got the bad idea, but sometimes itís interesting, when it comes from the band; like Pulp. When Jarvis Cocker was in Paris he did a radio show and he played two of my tracks, so a friend gave me a phonecall and the day after somebody at the record company asked if they could give my phone number to Jarvis, and one day after he was phoning me. When itís like this itís great.
Sometimes itís the record company and the band donít know a thing, so if the track is great why not? But I did 30 remixes this year and with nearly every band I am friends with them so I am lucky because I could do a lot of remixes just for money but I donít need millions.

If you really like a band do you find it difficult to touch what theyíve done?
Yes. Iím a big fan of Beastie Boys and Primal Scream, I think if they asked me to do a remix Iíd say "No thank you sir. Next time." It depends on the track, but if the track is really good and Iíve got a good idea, why not? For example I did a remix for the Pastels and it was easy for me because they are a rock band (ever heard them called that before? us neither) and I just take the vocals and do another song, like a producer. If itís a little bit like me or I fit in the same area it can be difficult.
What attracted you to the Pastels?
At the end of when I was recording my LP they asked me to do a remix. I said yes and asked for lots of money and they said we are not so rich, so I said I donít mind but I want your singer to be on one of my tracks. Katrina said yes, so I sent a tape and one week later it was finished. She came to Paris, we played the song two times in my main room and then went to the studio to record the vocals. It was the last track done for my LP, I was searching for a singer for one track and asked lots of French singers, but to have them first youíve got the lawyer before you can hear anything, so I say I donít want to work with them. It was really easy with the Pastels.
Do you think youíll work with them any more?
Maybe, I donít know. I want to do a guitar band with Stephen and the guy from Stereolab. Just guitars.

You said on MTV that the compilation Le Flow didnít represent French hip hop very well. Where has it gone wrong?
Itís not that it doesnít represent, itís hip hop made for the kids. All those records are in the charts, you know? Itís like Puff Daddy for me. Puff Daddy can be great ó Iím a big fan of the last one with the Jimmy Page guitar, itís funny, thatís all. But Iíve got three daughters and the older one is 15 years old, they listen to this kind of music and the words are stupid, the music is stupid. They use samples, but if you work with computers youíd say I donít want to use this kind of sample. If you donít understand the words maybe it can sound OK. For example thereís one song with just the name of a TV series; in ten years nobody will understand what it is. Theyíre just copying US hip hop.

Whoís Kid Bravo?
Thatís my name before, when I was a punk. I had to change the name to protect the innocent.

How do you justify being called Kid Loco when youíre clearly neither very young nor very fast?
Iím sorry? Before, my name was Kid Bravo so when I started doing music alone I wanted to change the name a little bit. I saw a commentary on TV with a guy doing the locomotion. Loco sounds a bit like Bravo, you know? And Kid ó well Iím not a kid anymore, but everybodyís telling me I look so young. Itís like Kid Congo from the Cramps ó heís not a kid, itís just a name. Iíve got millions of different names, so maybe next LP I will change.

A Grand Love Story was released at the same time as the Air album. Do you rate their work?
I donít think a good thing about them, I am always telling shit about them. I was a big fan of Premier Symptomes ó the compilation of the three singles ó and now they just play with synthesisers and for me itís just empty music. And I think the words are stupid: thereís one song where they have three people to sing the words. There are four words in the song.

As somebody connected with the Yellow label in France, what do you make of the whole Bob Sinclar thing?
I donít like the music, Iím not into house music at all and for me itís not serious at all.
Isnít that the point?
Yeah, but what is funny today is all the problems with Daft Punk, but itís difficult for me to talk about it because I know in this kind of story youíve got the truth and youíve got all the stories all around. The two of them signed a contract to do this track and for Bob Sinclar to do a remix for Stardust. And today everything seems fucked up for Bob Sinclar canít release Gym Tonic on vinyl, the other Punk has done a remix which has sold I think 400,000 copies and he didnít earn a franc, so itís a difficult

Do you play your own records when DJing?
No, I donít play them, but maybe tonight Iíll play some remixes Iíve done at the beginning. Itís hard to mix my songs because thereís a lot of music. I realised this when I was trying to mix my record ó I need more beats at the beginning and less music. and Iíve done this in reverse.
Does this encourage you to write more with this in mind?
Yeah maybe, or do another version for when I DJ, just for me.

Youíve come through punk and hip hop to get where you are today; where does your heart lie?
Itís what I do today, but Iíve got really good memories from anything. I was 16 when I was a punk and I remember every night when I was out. Thereís not a great break between punk and what I do today for me ó Iím dressed the same. I donít care about the look Iíve got. I work in my studio and itís a punk thing ó 'do it yourself' ó nothing has changed. The music has changed, but when I was a punk I was a big fan of the Supremes. Iím a big fan of music. Punk for me was great for the energy but I was not a fan of the Ramones or groups like this, and at home itís hard to listen to punk records. I was a big fan of the Clash, but I canít play their records today.

What was Catch My Soul like?
I did it 5 years ago. Itís kind of downtempo but without really beats, itís really acoustic. I was really proud of this LP, but nobody bought a copy. The radio didnít play it, so the record company said "bye bye".

The Kid Loco LP was your first release outside France?
The first time abroad. What is good is that my dream was to have a record released in England. For maybe 15 years Iíve been reading the NME and things like this, so the day I was single of the week I go to the drug dealer and bought some drugs. It was great!

Do the French radio laws (stating that at least 40% of the playlist must be French) work in favour of a spread of French music, or just French artists producing US rock music?
It works for people like commercial hip hop, or for the people doing music for 50 years, like Johnny Halliday. But the good radio stations donít play this, they donít care. In Paris weíve got two radio stations playing house music and techno and thereís nothing French. Itís stupid this law because if youíre French and you sing in English youíre not French, but if youíre French and you sing in French youíre French. If youíre French and you sing in Spanish youíre French, because when they made this law a famous French band was singing half in Spanish, so they say itís French too. Itís a kind of racism.

Whereís the best record shop in Paris?
Rough Trade, itís near Bastille. And youíve got a second-hand shop called Parallel (something French and indecipherable) and you have to go every day, theyíve got incredible things sometimes and not expensive. They have the really expensive records but at a good price. Iíve been touring a little bit all around Europe and itís exactly the same — youíve got the same clothes, the same shoes, the same fast food ó everythingís the same. Itís really strange, ten years ago when I was going to London it was to buy some creepers, you know? And today you go and thereís no creepers anywhere, just tennis shoes.
Do you still find yourself searching out record shops when on tour?
I try.
And do you check to see if your records are in stock?
Thatís the reason I donít want my face on a record, because Iím always in record shops, so if you are looking at a record and your face is on it you are stupid. I think a guy went into Rough Trade in London, itís not a real name but for example the guy from Oasis ó but itís not him, you know? ó and when he left the shop all the first records were all his own records.

And with this, he steals my lighter and strolls off in the direction of the wheels of steel, refusing to play any Rasmus and trying to get his head round the fact that the gig is less than packed. Welcome to Norwich, our kid.

 

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