One hour outside of Paris, somewhere on the Seine, stands a chateaux which boasts more Moogs and Mellotrons than you can shake a stick at. But that’s not even the half of it. As I step foot into this electronic music haven, I reflect on the first time Jean-Michel Jarre and I met, almost exactly 10 years ago - in his green room at Wembley Arena in 2013 where, unannounced, I wandered in and asked him for an interview. Somewhat surprised to see me sat on his sofa before he made it from the stage, the electronic music pioneer was a true gent, and gladly gave me 15 minutes.
I asked him what his vision was for the future of electronic music, and will always remember his reply, and how true it became: “In my opinion, the next step [for electronic music] is to mix analogue synths with digital equipment. We have already carried out a number of experiments such as comparing new ‘virtual’ Mellotron sounds against the original, and the difference was amazing. It’s like playing a Stradivarius and having the sound of a violin on a virtual synth; two different worlds.”
As I sit down with Jarre today, this time in his beautiful studio, he smiles as I remind him of that moment. I ask him if he has a habit of making such profound predictions…
“Well, maybe… [laughs] It’s kind of a living animal, this place, with all the chaotic vibes that it defines,” Jarre reflects, waving an arm towards the control room which houses an abundance of analogue kit. And that’s not including the ‘museum’ of equipment I’ve been gawking at in the adjacent room prior to this interview. “I always thought of this as a place of constant mutation and change; soon I’m moving into another studio quite close to here, and re-designing and repurposing the old cabin.”