Telling Stories

Interview with Jean Pierre Enfant

Telling Stories

07-05-2014 | 16.33

Jean Pierre Enfant, is a busy guy at the moment. He is sought after DJ who travels the world and is in the process of releasing his first EP. He is also a full-time Political Science student on the verge of graduation, pending a couple of exams. If he’s not behind the decks he has to be in a lecture hall, but he’s taken some time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about his new night, Psychedelic Romance at Trouw. The first installment saw A Made Up Sound headline and we are very excited to see Pearson Sound at the next event. I caught up with Jean Pierre at his local café and the talk soon progressed into more than just the night.   

You’re a political science student. How did you get into music?
It started when I was fourteen, or something. After I bought my first turntables, I started playing Trance and Big-Room-House kind of stuff. My dad pushed me to get into that New York Garage sound, like Kenny Dope and Kerry Chandler. He used to go to a record store in my hometown, he was a Disco guy and that type of music closely resembled the Disco sound, so he started buying those records for me. After I got a Jeff Mills mix CD, it all changed and I started playing Techno. It was fresh and surprising for me. It was music from the future. 
Psychedelic Romance. What does that expression mean to you and how do you see it applied to what you are trying to do?
I had an idea for a night in Trouw. I usually play Techno, and what I saw was that Techno was becoming more functional and rational, which I didn’t really like. It was very masculine. I liked the more feminine and soulful side of the genre and I thought ‘romance’ is quite soulful. We should be dancing from the hips and not the fists. I think the name reflects my sound in that way. I like it twisted and a little bit edgy – the psychedelic side – but also soulful, the romantic side.

So your night will move away from the four on the floor Techno and into more soulful elements. Is this part of the reason you’ve booked Pearson Sound for your next show?
Yeah and also because he has a very experimental side to him. He still has a dance floor mentality, but he does a lot of different stuff and that’s what I like about him. The night itself will not necessarily move away from the four to the floor techno, but from the, now prevailing, Techno cliché, showing other sides to the genre.

I am busy compiling an interview with Pearson Sound. If you were to conduct that interview what would be the first question you’d ask him?
The influence of Techno on his current music, since he came from a dubstep background. What I’ve noticed is that the whole Hessle Audio crew are moving into either House or Techno. Ben is going into House while Pangaea is definitely more Techno. And why they’ve moved away from dubstep.

This will be the second Psychedelic Romance. How did the first one go in your opinion?
I was quite happy, but I felt, for some people, A Made up Sound was a bit too difficult. But that’s fine, because sometimes you have to curate a little and educate. I don’t think that’s a problem for me. He played the whole spectrum of his output from the Housey stuff to the more 2562 break kind of music. I really liked it of course. 

You’ve had some success with your LET nights at Trouw. Why did you want to start another?
Well, I was discussing it with Olaf (Boswijk). I felt, I wasn’t always in the right position within the line-ups. We either do House or Techno and I’m not a House DJ, so sometimes I had to do opening sets for DJ’s and I simply didn’t have the records to play ahead of them. But LET is a collective, and that means that sometimes I don’t have to be in those line-ups when we do more House orientated nights. Olaf suggested profiling myself more as my own sound, and that’s how Psychedelic Romance was born. 

Les Terribles Enfants is not a very happy story by Jean Cocteau. I am curious how that name relates to your organisation? 
My surname is Kind, which is Enfant in French and that is how we came up with the name. I started the collective four years ago to get more exposure as a DJ. We wanted a name that reflected my link to the organisation and also the feel of the parties. Well, we were quite rebellious at that time (and still are). 

Did you see yourselves as horrible children?
Yes! (laughs)

For the moment, you guys are mainly focussing on events and bookings. Is there any ambition to start producing and releasing music?
Well, my first release is scheduled for the summer and we are slowly investigating possibilities for our own label. 

Can you tell me a bit more about this upcoming release?
I am going to release on A.R.T.less, which is a sub label of Mojuba. It’s a more Detroit Techno orientated label. They do new releases and re-issues. That was actually my first choice and I had a lot of contact with Thomas (Don Williams), the guy behind the label and he immediately said yes. 

You mentioned earlier how Techno is a bit formulaic at the moment. I am of a similar opinion and I find the innovation is currently lying in music that doesn’t really associate with distinct genres like that anymore. What is your opinion?
I think there are two sides to this argument. You have the purist side that sticks to the four to the floor variety and you have the more progressive side, which incorporates bass and dub. I think the aesthetics of especially bass and Techno fit together and it pushes the music forward. I really like this progressive kind of influence. On the other side however, you’ll find the purist guys, which can be a bit more narrow-minded. That’s what I meant by the functional element. I am drifting away from that more. 

How have you adapted as a DJ?
DJing is not necessarily about genres. It’s about how you want to shape the night and about how the crowd enjoys the music. You can do that by mixing up genres in a way that it fits together like a story. I was actually discussing this with Don Williams. I was telling him about how I’ve introduced more Bass music in my sets and he was a bit sceptical at first. After he heard me play at Tresor he understood what I meant with it. It goes for any genre. As long as it fits together and tells a story it’s fine. And, that’s what brings the progression to music, I believe. At the moment, I see different camps in Amsterdam. You generally have the Deep House, the Bass and the Techno scene. Most people don’t think about mixing up different genres. They stay with what they think they like and I think this leads to a stagnant situation really. 

Text: Mischa Mathys