Discipline In Disorder

Ivan Smagghe geïnterviewd door Patrice Bäumel

Discipline In Disorder

23-07-2013 | 19.40

Ivan Smagghe staat op 26 juli opnieuw in Trouw naast Nuno dos Santos en Patrice Bäumel op HiFi. Ivan stond vorig jaar al eens op Patrice's Black Magic en de twee onderhouden al jaren een goede band. Patrice praatte laatst met Ivan over zijn passies, het leven van een DJ en zijn nieuwe projecten.

Ivan, you are a man of many interests - next to being involved in running a label, producing and playing out you also have a passion for books (I have even heard rumours of you having a go at book publishing), film and art. What are the things that get you particularily excited at the moment?

Books have always been there but am not a fetishist, meaning I do not collect or archive things. This probably comes from losing my entire record collection in a fire 15 years ago. If I like something, I will search and get it but there is no more anal attitude towards cultural commodities (I am trying not to get caught back in it through photo books – a hyper competitive collector's scene where if you do not get a book in the first week of its release you'll have to pay 10 times the price). That said, the house is crumbling under books…
I co-run a blog about books of all kinds called 'Discipline in Disorder'. From this, fingers crossed, will emerge a small publishing house, translating lost gems, re-issues of weird stuff. It is the same principle as an obscure record label really, the same principle as what I used to do with all the edits.
It is a similar thing with movies, only they have become available virtually (I am not obsessed with the actual cinema screen). So less room is taken except on hard drives.
Those 'sidelines' are super important for me, if I'd do only music, I'd wither and die. Literally...

You have been playing out for a good two decades now, having travelled the world and seen all kinds of highs and lows. How do you deal with the repetitive and restrictive aspects of being a travelling dance music dj?
I've got Chloe, my girlfriend, as often as possible with me. Without her…I kind of plateaued at the whole 'let's party' thing a few years ago. You have to find other reasons, going back to the records, the music more than the actual nightlife. Do not focus on trends but focus on what you are. If you are sincere you'll make it. But yes, there are still gigs where I go on autopilot, yes, airports and hotels are boring and past 40, you can feel the pain from lack of sleep, jet lag and other things that go with the job. All in all, I feel better about the whole thing than 5 years ago. I would not say mature but...

Currently, you are now based in London but have lived in Paris for many years. Where do you see the main differences in terms of living experience between these two cities?
Paris is my hometown. I still love the city, though it has been through a strange year (the fight for gay marriage, being deceived by a so-called left-wing government, the nightlife becoming stretched between 'posh clubbing' and Berghain rave without anything in between). London is a unique city, there is nothing else like it in the world. A hard city, but a great one. So no, I am not going back for now, just trying to build a better synergy between these two ports...

Production-wise, you seem to be in a very active phase of your carreer, teaming up with Tim Paris as It's A Fine Line. Tell us a little bit about your chemistry with Tim and the idea behind the project?
I had been friends with Tim for years before we became 'exiles' in London roughly at the same time. The great thing about our partnership is total creative freedom. 60 to 170 bpm, schmaltz, techno, vocoders, psychedelic kraut things, surf guitars etc. We built our universe without that many compromises, not really caring about the club format, or rather 'stretching' that format. What is dance music anyway? We see it like that: less ego, more pleasure, less formula, more strangeness.

You and Tim have been working on a IAFL album for a while now, what's the current status?
Well, we are finishing – trying to finish, sorry. We could have gone on and on doing remixes but we are entering the focus phase now, trying to get things done. We'll go to Paris to mix with the Botox guys and that will be it. We are also thinking a lot about the visual side of things and you know what, the 'Black Magic' concept you have at Trouw was a big eye opener...

At the same time there is all kinds of activity happening on your own label, Kill The DJ. There's the wonderfully dark George Issakidis album and a new C.A.R. (formerly Battant) single, yet none of your own material. What is the intention behind all this?
Only one: releasing music we like regardless of the style. We are also going to introduce some major changes. We want to go back to our roots for the parties (expect some small venue disco weirdness), politics etc. Tightening the links that made us start the whole thing in the first place, bringing in new additions like Margot (fantastic ep, so proud of this one) or Leonie Pernet, a young parisian whizz kid. Following up on our artists is also very important (the C.A.R. lp will be ready for the winter). We are also, for practical reasons, going to open a kind of London branch to KTDJ, a kind of dance music lab with very limited vinyl pressings. Not a vanity project, but an open ground for weird experiments (german synth pop duo remixed by scottish kings of rave, turkish disco edited by french mavericks etc.). This is very hush hush for now. More news on this in October...