On a visit to India in 2000, you said you would like to perform in rural areas on your next visit. Are you happy to be performing in a valley surrounded by vineyards?
The music in India has grown; people around here are open to different music and appreciate it as well. I want to perform in rural regions as I want to see the heart of folk in the country. The folk roots lie deep in these regions and I want to inspire them and show them how their music has evolved. I am ecstatic to perform in a vineyard at Sula Fest. It is just so much better to perform in an open air setting.
The nature of ‘world music’ you have created, is unique in that it mixes and incorporates music from different continents and cultures. Do you actually travel the world to look for such examples?
From all the time spent in the studio I have learnt that the best things in music is created by improvisation, hence the formation of ‘Deep’ projects. It is very exciting to meet up with artistes from around the world and collaborate. There is a wide pool of talented performers in this world and I am hoping to create tunes inspired from various regions and bring them to my listeners. For instance Rahul (Santoor maestro Rahul Sharma) visited every part of the country to get the best folk talent for Deep India (my new album where we have collaborated together). You have to explore various regions for amazing talents and inspirations.
Deep Forest arrived with a bang by winning the Grammy in 1995 for Boheme and followed it up with the World Music Awards. But while your albums have sold over 10 million copies, subsequent big awards have not come your way…
Boheme is what has put me on the world map and it presented me with the opportunity to look out for artistes with amazing talent and produce some magical tracks. I have the love and affection of my audience, their support is the only thing I am interested in and I think I have both of that with me. The artist only needs fondness from the audience and everything else is an addition.
Is it true that in the past decade Deep Forest has gradually shifted from dance to a more rock- influenced music?
I think I like to experiment a lot with my music and that is why you can see this transition. Whatever music strikes a chord with my heart I go in that direction to mix it, tweak it and then create magic with it.
How did the idea of teaming up with Rahul Sharma come up?
Sony music approached me with tunes played by Rahul and his santoor. After hearing his performances, I just knew I had to collaborate with this santoor wizard.
Have you had a chance to learn any Indian instrument? Maybe the santoor?
I would let the masters of the instrument do what they do best with them, but if given a chance to learn, I would definitely love to learn an instrument or two.
How has your India trip been so far? You have visited quite a few cities as well as picturesque locations I believe…
It’s been a wonderful experience in India so far. I had the opportunity to perform at Bangalore and Coorg last year. The locations were incredible with wonderful views. I can’t wait to visit other places in the nation where my concerts have been scheduled.
You come from the land of great wines. Is it tough to perform before thousands of wine soaked music lovers?
I am pretty sure that I would be playing to a completely different audience here than in France. I hope they enjoy the music and wine.