Actualites Electroniques - Your daily dose of electronic music  
Actualites Electroniques

You will find in this category each week, an interview or a biograhpy of a Dj or artist which is breaking the news. All styles are on the “menu” of this category: minimal, house, electro, techno or even trance in some cases.

The topic will be supplemented by other Djs following the latest electronic music news.

John Lord Fonda - Interview

Native of Dijon like Vitalic, Cyril Thevenard aka John Lord Fonda, became famous with the French Touch wave that touched him with full force and sailed him to the activity of producer. His first release was the maxi "Vulcan" on a local label, Choice Records, in 1997. John Lord Fonda then tries with the Vitalic's Citizen Records. “Voltage” (2004) attracted the great French DJ that released it. In 2005, he produced "Erase My Anger", a dark house track that gets some success on the dancefloors. It was followed by the album "Debaser", that contained an amazing version of the song "Personal Jesus" by Depeche Mode. So today we have the chance to interview one of the iconic producers of the French electronic scene! This interview follows the ones of other known French DJs/producers like Da Fresh, Muttonheads, Rodriguez Jr., Paul Nazca. First of all, I wanted to thank Cyril and Citizen Records.

"Hello Cyril,

Frankly, it is a real pleasure and an honor to interview you because I discovered your music almost 10 years ago. And yes time flies. It was a party at the Cabaret Sauvage with Vitalic, a day with torrential rain and a lot of waiting time. But what music slap you gave us with your set notably with your track rehabilitated for the live "Personal Jesus".

But let's go back first to your news. You’ve just started a new project with Veronika Nikolic, with a first release mid April on A-Traction Records, "Electronic ballet". It included remixes of Enola (Correspondent Rec.), Pierre Delort and Remi Maurin (Skryptom). Could you please give us more info about this EP and this duo project with an artist that I know a few?
> First, I would like to introduce Vero. I would start by saying that she is my love and she is also a great producer. She creates music less based on energy than me, but around the hypnotic side of techno. She brings to this project the feminine touch that is sometimes lacking in my music. She produces since 2001 and has recently released few EPs including one on A-Traction.
Concerning our maxi 'Electronic Ballet', it is composed of 3 tracks very different from my old productions. It is melodic, with a building footprint linked with classical music, such as the use of counterpoint, and as you say, there are two remixes more oriented DJs. Let’s say it is more peaceful and made for home listening. But it also goes well in a club, I know that because I’ve already played them live. This EP is based on the theme of dance and classical music, two artistic worlds that are important to us. It follows the track "Ibis-A" which was a kind of a test.

Is this a collaboration that will happen again with new EPs, or is this a one shot?
> In fact, it took a long time before you take the plunge, as many people suggested us to do so, but we did not really know what musical direction to go or how to manage this creative process. Finally, I think we're doing fine, because working with your half can be a source of conflict. In fact, we have circumvented this problem in a simple way: one starts, the other bounces on it, then we gather to finish the track. Leaving some space to the other is the thing that has allowed us achieve our goal. So, I do not know how it will be in the future. We will do it step by step, avoiding the rush because it is risk to shit. We will defend this EP as much as possible on stage with a fairly light but classy live. We will also develop a picture around dancing, Vero is equipped on this stuff. I let her develop this point, because she is better than me.

And concerning your next release more generally, do you know already what will it be? Some of your own productions or maybe some remixes?
> For my solo project, I did a remix for the Southern producer Nicolas Cuer, very effective, but also a remix for Alex Snow on the Police Records, it is Detroit techno style, and an upcoming release on Boxon called “Ondes EP”. I took some time to sign this EP, because it is a very violent techno, a borderline techno that is no more likely to be released by imprints too ;).
I also started another duet with one a member of Teenage Bad Girl, Greg, but for now we do not have enough tracks to move forward.

2012 is over. If you look back to it, what do you think? What is your vision of the past few months? Lots of tour dates or a more production period?
> 2012 is a special year because in fact this is the first time I work outside Citizen Records, so I had to go out of my old automation that I had with this team previously, either in production but also in the relationship, hence the importance of working as a duo (like my project with Vero for instance). I also did many pieces alone. Most of them will not be released because it was not necessarily in line with the artistic direction of labels. This was also the first time I did a musical piece 'ordered' for the fireworks in Dijon for the 14th of July. I had a few tour dates but it was not my most relevant activity for 2012... In fact, I came to the conclusion that I had to rebuild step by step after the Citizen period; even if I had to change my nickname. And if I do so, it will be without qualms.

After you gave us the information about your news, we would like to go back to your musical roots. Could you briefly tell us how did you become a DJ and producer?
> In fact, I'm not DJ at all, but more a classically trained musician. It happens that I mix for fun, but I'm mainly a live performer. Concerning the activity of producer that holds a prominent place in my life, it’s because of a nightclub in Dijon, the An-Fer, where I discovered unconventional sounds at the time. It created my passion for techno and house. I did some productions in the 90’s but very sporadically, nothing ambitious. I then met in 2004 Citizen Records, it was much more serious and then John Lord Fonda was born, with VoltAge and DeBaSer.

And besides, if it is not indiscreet, where does your nickname come from?
> It was after a trip to the USA, where I discovered the great desert areas of the American West. I decided to take this nickname from it. It constantly reminds me these landscapes I found so powerful. There is also a porn connotation in this nickname. I find it very ambivalent, John Lord Fonda is my double, in a little trash way!

At the beginning, did your family understand what you wanted to do in your life? And now are they proud of what you achieved along the years?
> Let's say they have always pushed me to study, and have been very adamant about it. This was the price to pay for not being pissed on a lot of things. I’m a teacher today, although sometimes I regret this choice because it is no longer totally exciting... So I compensate with music, which gives me a great satisfaction but also frustration. I'm not always the one responsible. My parents have always supported me in my artistic process, whether in classical music or techno, and follow me in my business. I am grateful because this is not the case for everyone.

Unlike many people in the midst of the current electronic music world, if I'm not mistaken, you started your career as a DJ before moving to production. What is, as an artist, the position that please you most? Your love of the turntables or the creative work on hardware and software?
> And no, I'm not a dj that produces techno! This is the creative process that I like most. The fact of not being a DJ could be feel in the music I produce because it is not necessarily designed for DJs who play straight techno, and they are many. It is a compromise, a dancefloor techno but nonlinear and not so hypnotic.

As I said earlier, I really discovered your music in 2006 at the Cabaret Sauvage, a magical place, with the Micronauts, Jojo De Freq and Vitalic with a stunning visual show. He was evolving behind an interactive web. Do you have a particular memory of this special evening? I remember seeing you live singing "Personal Jesus". A great time of clubbing! One of my best, with no doubt.
> I do not remember too much this evening as I was ripped off. There is prescription but frankly, I was in such a state that my manager wanted me to play at the very end of the party. But I knew by heart all the transitions, and I made my set at the scheduled time and it worked. I remember the part with George and Universal machine. I read then very good criticisms about this performance. It was a successful set while being drunk.

Previously we talked about your releases on Citizen Records. I wanted to know a little bit more what are the relationships between you and the other artists of the imprint, including Vitalic that you know for a long time. Do you share your ideas or is it more a situation of independence between the artists?
> We know each other pretty well. I have more affinity with some, like Pascal or Greg from Teenage, maybe because we come from the same background and also because we feel the music the same way. It's hard to say why we get along better with some than others. Anyway, we did a lot of parties together and always in good humor. For me the best exchanges happen on stage!

More and more readers ask us questions about the gear used by the DJs and producers that we interviewed. What are the software or tools you use to produce and create a track?
> In fact, I work mainly with Ableton Suite and some analog synths, the Polysix, or the Minimoog for example, but I also use the virus and the jp 8000 which are analog modeling. Same for live. I play my tracks in separate parts with Ableton. I no longer use external synths, just internal plugs and controllers, including the ipad.

The interview will be published on a website mainly read by French. Are there any artists that you know personally or just like the music? We can think to Vitalic or artists from Citizen. Who are the others?
> Yes, I know some producers as Electric Rescue or Gesa. I like their music, even if I do not like it at all. I met a lot of other artists like Rone. But from a human point of view the one I really know personally is obviously Vitalic.

John, before we conclude his interview, we still have a few questions for you. Sometimes one word is enough!

The track you advise us to listen to in your discography?
> Brunette tatoo, album version.

An artist you would like to work with one day?
> Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode.

Your best live souvenir?
> Industrial Copera in Granada in 2011, but there are others such as the Printemps de Bourges in 2006 also.

3 words to define your music?
> Energy, power, explosion.

A privilege that gives your DJ status gives you access to?
> Access to the open bar.

Your favorite song right now?
> Michael Mayer – Voigt Kampff Test (Barnt Remix) for Kompakt.

The title you always brings with you for a DJ set?
> In live, my cover of Personal Jesus is always well received by the public.

A few words about the site that I created and where the interview will be published: Actualites Electroniques?
> I think it's great that Actualites Electroniques is part of this network of blogs that give access to alternative music, away from the media in collusion. It is a good investment in terms of time to share something else. There will always be people to get rid of the ready-to-listen that will go to your website, although it is not the majority.

John, thank you very much for the time you have devoted to Actualites Electroniques and in particular for the complete and exclusive interview. We look forward to hear your next productions! "
 > You’re welcome and see you soon!

Dj Aroy


Written by Dj Aroy
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