Perry Farrell - November 25, 2005 - Earthcore Global Carnival, Goulburn River, Victoria, Australia
|Date:||November 25, 2005|
|Location:||Earthcore Global Carnival, Goulburn River, Victoria, Australia|
|Recorded:||No known recording
Show ran through the 27th
Beat Magazine: # 989 - 23.11.2005
[ Perry Farrell (aka DJ Peretz) ]
nick snelling talks to perry farrell about his new addiction
"It can lead you into places, where you can be lost for days to your friends." The voice is quiet, American, and mildly velvet in tone. "You're trying to work out exactly what sound you should use."
DJ Peretz, otherwise known as Perry Farrell, is talking about Earthcore. Well, sort of. He is referring to the kind of pitfalls, headtrips and musical detours inherent in making electronic music, and the merry path it may lead the composer on, rather than any psychedelic adventures whilst getting lost in the bush during the three day summer festival.
Rock fans shouldn't be surprised to hear Farrell, best known as the vibrant frontman with LA alt-rock pioneers Jane's Addiction is now headlining a major DJ event as a solo artist. He's been dabbling full-time into electronic music for years now.
"I started DJing back in 95. I guess I really fell in love with electronic music in about 91, when I was turned onto the band The Orb. That's where it all started."
So what drew him to make his own?
"I really wanted to figure out how they were making those sounds," he says passionately. "It was so new and fresh, that I wanted to add that to my musical repertoire. So I would go out to clubs, when DJs were coming into town, and I purchased a lot of equipment, and started to hang with people who were producing electronic music. I felt I really understood it. It's very scientific and exacting work."
Farrell has also witnessed first-hand the slow transition in attitude from musicians who were initially quite purist in their approach to live instrumentation in the creation of music, to eventually embracing the new technologies of electronic music.
"When I was getting into it, there were rival opinions in the musical world. A few people really loved the electronic music and saw its potential, while others only thought of live playing and rock 'n' roll as real music. This was back in the day, when people used to say 'oh well, I would never record digitally.'" He utters a light laugh. "Now, they hardly even make 16" tape for the old machines anymore."
It is not the time to be reactionary, he says, about the development and advances in the construction of music. "It's kind of like cars," he metaphors. "The olden days cars may have been great to the people that drove them, but they don't compare to the cars of today. Music is the same. If it's done right, of course," he clarifies. "Just because something's put together digitally doesn't necessarily mean that it's superior. There's some really stale, obnoxious psytronic sounds. But, if you do it well, you can create the most beautiful music, because what you can manipulate sonically with machines, the depth and consistency of sound is amazing."
Farrell has never been one to rest on his laurels. From Jane's Addiction, through Porno For Pyros, the wiry singer has been constantly setting himself new goals. Now, is no exception. "I've always loved hybrids," he articulates. "I have a project at the moment which is called Satellite Party, which is very much a hybrid of both sounds, digital and analogue, and rock and dance." Hybrid, it may be. It also constitutes somewhat of a supergroup, featuring some heavyweight musicianship in the likes of Nuno Bettencourt on guitar, No Doubt's Tony Kanal handling bass duties, Steve Ferlazzo playing keys, and Kevin Figueiredo on drums. "In brief, Satellite Party began as a story I wrote." Farrell elaborates. "It's a play. A musical based on a collective of musicians called Solutionists, and they put together 'flash mobs'. Basically, a flash mob is a party. You get online, and or log in your cell phone number, and you're texted the location of the event. The text will give the time, and might say '105 Main Street. Wear yellow and carry an umbrella. We're going to stop the traffic, and all starting singing Dancing In The Rain.' So people show up, do it, and then everybody splits. So basically a flash mob is like a quick assembly, and then it's gone. My project, Satellite Party, is about this group of people. It's a hybrid of rock, electronic and theatre. "
It sounds almost subversive.
"Exactly," he affirms, and then adds, in slyly humorous tone, "I'm not afraid to say I enjoy being subversive. It's a pleasure." Indeed, a close look at the phonetics of his adopted name, Perry Farrell, hint that the singer has always lived his lived on the 'peripheral.'
Speaking of subversion, years ago Farrell had expressed qualms at the commercialisation of direction the festival Lollopalooza (an event he'd been a direct part of staging) had taken. Does he still have reservations about alternative music not being really that alternative anymore? "We actually did it again this year, and held it in Chicago, and turned Lollapalooza into a destination festival. All things considered, " he says carefully, "I was very happy. In booking a festival, you can only draw from the music that's out there. If there's no alternative music, well, you can hardly book a festival for it, y'know?" As someone who has been so influential, the artist is also pessimistic about the future of music. "I feel there's a lot of really great young bands out there, but I worry about what the industry is going to do with them." He seems sad. "They're coming in at a very odd time. The industry here in America is in shambles. Things like the MTV Awards aren't music. They're a joke."
Would he agree 'alternative' as a genre is almost passé? It no longer means what is once did? "Well, I like the word," he muses, "and I think there should always be an alternative in every dimension. An alternative to eating crappy food, and an alternative to listening to crappy music. But, I know what you mean. Before Jane's Addiction there wasn't a term for what we did. We weren't fitting into a format that people understood, so they came up with that term. We opened up a door for beautiful groups like Nirvana, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains, and all the other groups that followed." He pauses, and sighs. "I don't know what to call the new music today. I like some of it. But let's not worry about giving it a name, let's just enjoy it."
What Farrell doesn't enjoy is any mention of his former bandmate, guitarist Dave Navarro, and in particular his involvement in the INXS Rockstar? reality TV show. With the demise of Jane's Addiciton, does Farrell think Navarro has sold his soul, along with his alt-rock credentials?
"Luckily, I only saw one episode, so I don't really have any thoughts about it. But I'm sure in Australia you have your own thoughts. Let me just say this?" There is an uncomfortably long pause. Then he speaks in a steely voice. "I no longer have anything to do with Dave Navarro. You can print that. I don't help him with any of his decisions. I don't stay in touch with him. I don't know or care what he's doing. My priority is following up Satellite Party, and bringing that project to fruition. It's a couple more years in the making, but it's coming so watch out for it."
The artist is also more than happy to detail what punters expect from his set at Earthcore. "Because I'm expecting it to be in a large outdoor event, very late at night, to a massive crowd, I'm going to play music that's more in the progressive house area," Farrell explains. "Time and day, I think, calls for big beautiful breaks mixed in with progressive house. But then, of course, what I do that's unique, is that I sing over the music, which adds to the live and natural element. As both a musician foremost, and a DJ second, I can do that, and it makes it a lot more organic."
Perry Farrell, aka DJ Peretz, plays Earthcore on November 25-27, Undera. He will also so be playing with Will White (The Propellerheads) at Room 680 on Friday December 2.