Interview dengan Ivan Smagghe: Functional Dance Music

Berbicara dengan orang dibelakang It’s A Fine Line, Blackstrobe, Kill The DJ, Volga Select, dan Les Discques De La Mort.

Secara gampang, nama Ivan Smagghe sering di labeli dengan panggilan “The DJ’s DJ”. Gelar yang mencakupi tapi juga menyudutkan posisinya di ekosistem dance music, yang ironisnya merupakan satu-satunya titik dimana Smagghe mau bertempat. Dengan urutan rilis jenjang lebih dari satu dekade, kepala dari sejumlah label dan project dengan berbagai nama ini merupakan sebuah enigma. It’s A Fine Line, Blackstrobe, Kill The DJ, Volga Select, Les Discques De La Mort. Belum menghitung remix, edits, dan kolaborasi lainnya, terutama dengan Rupert Cross—seorang komposer yang karyanya mencakupi Music Programmer untuk 20th Century Fox Studios dan konser orchestra Kanye West untuk album 808s and Heartbreaks.

Tapi memang akarnya tidak jauh dari seorang kolektor vinyl. Pada awal karirnya, ia kerap dengan panggilan Ivan Rough Trade, dari domisili pekerjaannya di toko record Rough Trade di Paris. Namun persepsi stereotype selektor dengan bank informasi luas telah melampaui Smagghe dan ia sepenuhnya bergerak dari nuansa genre. Di spektrum yang mendekati nama nama seperti Andrew Weatherall atau Erol Alkan, namun tetap orisinil. Sering merangkai set dengan lagu-lagu yang dimainkan di kecepatan yang abnormal, pemahaman musik peak-time yang alternatif, dan tentu filosofi utamanya: bahwa dance music bersifat fungsional untuk membuat orang gerak.

Dibawah terlampir interview kami dengan Ivan Smagghe. Tanpa terjemahan.

FA: First, congratulations on the release of Smagghe & Cross – 1819. It’s your second full lenght album on Offen Music with Rupert Cross. What is the idea for this second LP and how did this album came about?

Ivan Smagghe: It was quite a long process, but a natural one. We did not have a plan as such but not to repeat we had done with MA, our first album for Vladimir. It’s some kind of mutation/continuation/disintegration of the ideas of MA. In a way it’s a more positive record, some kind of sun breaking the clouds.

The label says it’s “a record free of uncouth nostalgia but laced with ethereal melancholia.” Is this the personal aspect that you want people to feel when they listen to Smagghe & Cross?
We are not musically nostalgic but there is a certain quaint aspect to the record, our “industrial” roots balanced by something elegiac. It’s a record of contradictions that we hope make some kind of sense. Ghosts of things, of melodies (or even resampling ourselves) is another important idea. All of these are not imposed on the listener though, everything is faded.
Offen Music is run by Vladimir Ivkovic, with releasing your second album on his label, it seems that you both have a lot in common in regards to music direction. Can you tell us how you guys connected for Offen Music?
To keep it simple, Vladimir and I share a lot of musical grounds: shoegazing, emo-idm from the 90’s… I guess it’s a generation thing. When we started working on MA, we did not know where we were going but it seemed like an evidence for Vlad to release it on Offen. He’s the least intrusive label A&R ever, totally trusting and committed. It feels right working with him.
Cosmo Vitelli, Manfredas, and Fabrizio Mammarella have performed here in Jakarta. They also release music on your label Les Disques De La Mort. By seeing this, do you have some sort of predetermined view about Jakarta?
I actually played in Jakarta a few years ago already :). The Dekadenz crew are the natural choice. I try to shy away from preconceptions though.
You’ve been to most countries in Europe, US, Australia, and also Asia. Club cultures are variant within each countries. How do you prepare yourself when you are on tour?
I think it has more to do with the club or the party than the country or the city.
On an RBMA lecture you mention “functional dance music.” How do you define this?
I meant that some music has a function, dance music to dance. But that does not mean you can’t push boundaries, make me people dance to stuff that they would not necessarily have considered as classic dance music.
It seems that journalists like to say that you are the connoisseur of rare music, finding it from travelling, from friends or online. Do you have plans to look for music while you’re here?
If I have time, yes.
Looking back from pre internet days, bringing vinyls, or even playing CDs. Now everything is connected through social media. How do you feel now, when all information is accessible?
It’s complicated. I sometimes feel there is too much music around but that has to be a ultimately good thing right? I really do not want to be the guy who says “it was before back in the days”.

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