In Conversation with Fairmont as he releases remix EP of classic ‘Gazebo’
Electronic music producer, live performer and DJ, Fairmont began his career in the early 2000s with genre-defying, hybrid punk-rock-techno records on imprints such as Kompakt, Sender and Cocoon.
However, it was his 2005 smash-hit Gazebo that catapulted him to cult-like status – selling over 20,000 vinyl copies and putting him on the map in the global underground scene. He has since released two albums and several EP’s, and is rapidly gaining a reputation for his live performances and trippy, propulsive sets.
Today he releases Gazebo Remixes EP, an eclectic package featuring reworks by Patrice Baumel, Jacques, Moscoman, Stefan Smith and ANNA, as well as a new version from the man himself. There’s no shortage of DJ weaponry here, and Gazebo Remixes EP acts as a carefully curated transition from past to present, reimagined in a variety of creative and multi-faceted tones.
We caught up with Fairmont on reissuing a classic:
Before we dive in – set the tone for us. Why the arts? Why music?
When I was a kid I was always into drawing and painting. I was obsessed with it from kindergarten straight through high school. So I can’t really answer why I got into art, because I was always into art. But no matter how much I was compelled to draw and paint, I was also really frustrated with it. I was never satisfied with what I did. Somewhere in the mid-nineties, I had my first chance to working with computers and that changed everything. The ability to fix mistakes was so liberating. Then a friend showed me some simple audio stuff using computers and that was it. Everything I hated about visual art, the fact that it’s static and just sits in front of your eyes showing all its flaws was a non-issue with audio. Mistakes are either incorporated or easily fixed when making music. Compared to the risk and frustration of drawing it was so liberating. I’ve never looked back and haven’t picked up a pencil in 25 years.
You’re reissuing your 2005 classic ‘Gazebo.’ Tell us a bit more about the process of putting the material together. How did the approach differ to the original release?
Writing the melody of Gazebo back in 2005 took about 15 minutes. I think I finished the whole song in one day. I think the best songs often come together quickly. Then I burned it on a CDR with a hand-full of other songs and sent it to by post to James and Gemma at Border Community. They responded very quickly and the rest is history. It’s funny how the record that became the most important of my career was also so easily put together.
You chose a handful of artists to remix ‘Gazebo’ including Patrice Baumel, Jacques, Moscoman, ANNA, and Stefan Smith. What exactly do you look for in a remix artist?
The main goal from the beginning was that each remixer would bring something different to the package. We started with Patrice and waited until we had his version back and only then looked for the next artist. Because we moved like that we were able to get a set of remixes that have almost no overlap stylistically but also work amazingly as a concise whole. I’m always a bit wary of remix packages and I was very nervous about how the whole thing was going to turn out, but in the end, it completely exceeded my hopes and expectations.
Take us through the remixes themselves. What is the best part about having another artist put their spin on your work?
This EP is a perfect example of when remixes make sense. ‘Gazebo’ only got remixed a couple times when it was released 14 years ago. Combining that with the fact that it’s aged really well makes for a kind of golden opportunity. It’s a song that everyone knows, but would appreciate hearing in new contexts. That’s exciting to me and I think it’s why we were able to pull together such a great team of remixers. As artists, we are mostly asked to remix stuff that doesn’t need to be remixed or we are being asked to have someone remix our songs that don’t need to be remixed, so something like this is ideal.
How have you refined your craft since your original inception into the industry?
I never feel very refined, haha. Well… I think I got a lot better at mixing and arranging. Songwriting is the same as always though, about one in ten are good, haha.
What are some of your key influences in your music? Whether it be the sound created by others, imagery, films or any kind of art form.
I pick up inspiration all over the place. Usually, it’s from music, but also from movies or art. My tastes are pretty broad, but I see a definite line through what I like. Things always need to be otherworldly and exciting, but this doesn’t have to be overt. There also needs to be a balance between being challenging and being entertaining. I can’t stand things that are basic and everyone can like, commercial things, but I rarely like things that are so challenging that it’s not fun. I think an easy way to put it is that I always love the first half of a David Lynch movie, but rarely like the second half. In techno music it’s really hard to find stuff that’s not too boring or too commercial sounding, but maybe that’s why when you hear something special it’s so exciting.
What’s on your current playlist?
At home, it’s all about annoying children’s music since I became a dad. Haha! At the club, it’s often music from friends. Terr, Margot, Barnem, Raxon etc.
Let’s get technical for a moment – take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
It’s constantly changing. Since the late nineties, I’ve always been buying and selling synths. Lately I’ve been doing more selling than buying though and for the first time, I’m working much more with software than hardware. I’m really enjoying the change. I’m getting a lot more done and I’m actually happier with the sound. I’m using a lot of Arturia synths and the Roland VSTs and lots of UAD stuff for processing. Quite a different affair from when I made Gazebo. That was done mostly outside the box with a DSI Evolver, Waldorf Microwave, Jomox Xbase 09 and Boss DR100 all put through an old Soundcraft mixer and shitty rack effects.
Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?
Well, those are very different things indeed. One is very laborious and the other has such instantaneous gratification. One is completely solitary and the other is quite the opposite. A bit of a chicken and egg scenario as well. A bit impossible to put one over the other as they are so linked. I wonder if I’d keep producing if I stopped getting booked. Likewise, I can’t imagine playing shows without new material – it would get pretty boring I think.
What can we expect from you in 2019?
Music took a bit of a backseat for me the past couple years, I’ve been concentrating on other things, but I’m happy to say I’ll be back in full swing. I managed to finish several EPs this winter and I’m excited to get those out over the next year. So yeah, back to the techno life again.
Gazebo: Remixes EP is out on Sapiens, available here.