(Paris) His dentist heard his music in Thailand: St Germain, a discreet figure in electro, is still amazed at the global success of Tourist, album which reappears remixed for its 20th anniversary this Friday.
When we talk about French Touch, the names of Daft Punk or Stardust often come up, despite the 4 million copies sold of this opus released on April 18, 2000 (therefore still in its twentieth year).
A retreat that befits Ludovic Navarre, fifty-something behind the alias St Germain, who has always fled the light. Evidenced by his first meeting with his turner, initiated by his manager, which he told AFP. “” And so you want to do live ? ” and I answer him “ah no, not at all!”, he must have said to himself “I’m in front of a pretty hallucinating guy there…” ”.
Finally convinced for “two-three shows, to try”, St Germain will turn for nearly two years. “I didn’t suffer, but it’s just that at the thought of showing up in front of people, it was ‘panic!’, I always put myself in the back of the stage, in the dark if possible. , from behind on the photos… ”.
While we imagine him a hermit in his own state-of-the-art recording studio, he cuts: “you would be disappointed, it’s in my room, a normal room, where I can find my bearings, with the same speakers and the same amp as 35 years ago ”.
“Without this accident …”
The homebody in the ponytail, however, has fond memories of distant concerts, notably the sense of “partying” in Australia. It is only in Africa and South America that it has not set foot or its consoles.
He might have sailed around the world, the first passion inoculated on nautical plans in the Paris region and extended to Glénans, a great Breton sailing center. But a teenage moped accident turns everything upside down.
“When I got immobilized because of that, I got into computers out of curiosity, then I started plugging in a synth, etc. ; without this accident I don’t think I would have become a musician, rather a professional sailor ”.
It is finally Tourist, this house tinged with jazz and blues, which crosses the oceans. “I wasn’t expecting that at all, and I still haven’t understood. Maybe we were in a period tired of too hard techno, ready for the musical mix ”.
“Blue Note, is it possible?” “
The mixing of horizons has always been present in him: “playing more Cuban on reggae or more blues on salsa, for example”. The inspirer is probably called Bob Marley, “the first music I liked was reggae, Jamaican dub; it helped me for the mix, to hear the whole thing in a song, even the things well hidden at the bottom ”.
He was first a member of the FCom crew, a pioneering electro label founded by Laurent Garnier and Eric Morand. “We had a good time, it was the early years, carefree, we didn’t even think about selling”.
Then St Germain comes out Tourist on the legendary jazz label Blue Note. “It was the CEO of EMI, who signed me, who asked me which label I wanted. “Blue Note, is it possible?”. It is the pearl. Like what, sometimes it is enough to ask ”.
For 20 years of Tourist (at Warner / Parlophone), St Germain invited old accomplices like DJ Deep for remixed versions; sprinkled for example with Maloya, sound from Reunion Island (where DJ Terry Laird lives) or South African beats (with the duo Black Motion).
A rereading of his driving force for the future. “I would like to start again on an album in the continuity of Tourist, but I have a problem with the leg – still a consequence of my accident – which returned, even if I do not despair for this year ”.