At the occasion of his freshest release ‘Rules of Reality’ on his own imprint, Cleric has generously agreed to answer some questions asked by the Chineurs de Techno community for Hard Life. The British artist that needs no introduction for the accuracy of his sets, always frank and brutal but never lacking to open up a space for evasion, reflects upon the current scene, his creative process, and the things that inspire him the most, never failing to bring in a touch of humor and self-deception.
What is the meaning behind your artist’s name as well as label?
I like the idea that music is like a religion to people – they each find their own ways to worship it and the club becomes like a church. Therefore ‘Cleric’ was born from the idea of a leader within this religion, and the label ‘Clergy’ reflects a group of leaders.
What was the biggest jaw-dropping live/dj set as a listener?
If I was to try and name a few – Jeff Mills at Dekmantel, Amsterdam / Andrea (Live) at Glazart, Paris and more recently Christian Wunsch at Fabrik, Madrid.
What french artists do you listen to?
There are many great french techno producers I listen to, the more recent producers are KMYLE, Roman Poncet, Shlømo, Antigone et AWB.
What inspires you on a daily basis (Music and non-music wise)?
There are so many things that inspire me but If I was to pick one thing, it would be my father. He’s inspired me musically throughout my life, constantly showing me different soul / jazz / funk movements that I should know about (don’t tell him this!). But not just musically, also creatively, he’s a quality photographer and also does a lot of the photography work for my cover art for both Figure and Clergy labels.
You belong to those artists that have an easily-recognizable imprint, would you consider that you create each track to be unique or rather to align itself within the artistic line that you have defined?
Wow, thats a big compliment. Thank you. I just try to make music I am happy with and music I would like to hear in the club. I don’t try to keep it sounding similar or within a certain template.
We often have read about your bromance with Setaoc Mass, are the both of you planning to work together in the future, be it on a collaborative label, an alias, or an EP?
Bromance! We have grown up together through school, developed a passion for clubbing and music production together and have also lived together for some time in Manchester (there has been countless hours stood next to each other on the dance floors). We have completely grown together as artists and have been bouncing ideas between each other for years now.
But yeah, to answer your question, we are currently working on a collaboration EP for Clergy (CRG010).
Do you have any ritual before starting playing? We received a lot of questions asking how come you always wear a cap – is it your lucky charm?
Funny enough when I first started getting gigs I would get really nervous. I would religiously sit down in the shower before I went to the club to try and focus myself. But nowadays I have enough experience of bigger clubs to calm the nerves.
Regarding the hat, funny enough it actually helps me with the way I place my headphones. Some people won’t believe that and thats fine. I am also a big Gregory Porter fan (before his Ibiza antics).
Blawan and Shifted recently spoke out about their opinion on a music genre often perceived as being repetitive, talking about the genre potentially engaging in a hyper-productivity dead-end, would you rather agree or disagree with them?
I would prefer not to comment on other people opinions. They have been around for a lot longer than me, so will have a more experienced vantage point on how the scene has changed for them.
On a social and artistic level, what represents techno and what role does it have in our current society?
I think its great for social society. Coming from being a clubber myself, I learnt that you look after the people around you on the dance floor. I have developed great friendships with people I would never usually speak to. People that just because there stood next to you on the dance floor all night. You share water, chewing gum etc and then once that night is over you never speak again. I think this is something the world needs for sure.
What do you think about the debate Vinyl vs. Digital?
I hear this debate everywhere I go. The only thing that matters is what’s coming out of the speakers. Don’t get me wrong, I started on vinyl and still buy records, but if you have an emotional attachment to play records and the club isn’t set up correctly for vinyl, then it’s a bad experience for the 300+ people who bought tickets.
A few of Chineurs de Techno members mentioned your edit of The Amazing – Qu’est ce que vous voulez? Do you plan on releasing it? (You would make a ton of happy people!)
(Laughs) Thank you, I make a lot of edits for dj sets but I think there best left for that certain moment in the club.
Could you share with us one of your secret weapons, as well as the definite closing track?
I love to close on Sound factory – Understand this groove (Club mix). But this has to be for the right moment.
A few questions a bit more production-oriented – How would you define your workflow?
Messy. My studio isn’t clean with neon lights all over, its more like an organised mess.
Do you write or improvise mostly?
I usually start by writing a good solid drum piece and then tend to improvise to see what works with that musically.
The motto of Dure Vie is life is hard, we make it sweet – What is your little weakness?
Catch him this Saturday at Steelyard for a techno trip with CLOUDS, ANSOME, DEFEKT, ARNAUD LE TEXIER, NDR, AXEL PICODOT, XAVIER hosted by Distortion, to get your free ticket it’s here!
Interview led by a techno music sharing community on Facebook, Chineurs de Techno. A special thanks to Adele.