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France's Scan X- Techno is More About Attitude Than Style

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Monday, 23 June 2003
6 years after walking away from releasing records, pioneering electronic artist Stephane Dri (aka Scan X) is back, with typically intelligently titled new album How to Make The Unpredictable Necessary. Coming out on Laurent Garnier's superb independent label F Comm, the album is both innovative and entertaining, marrying dark, melodic Detroit-style tunes with metal machine style electronic beats. Though whether it's strictly 'techno' is a question Stephane's happy to debate.

"When people like Underground Resistance or Derrick May or Juan Atkins started to make techno, they didn't say to themselves 'OK, I'm doing techno' rather they set out to make music in a new way, with new tools," he points out.

"Those people were listening to different styles of music and making it in a different way and that was a new attitude that became known as techno. To me techno represents making something different.

Skrufff: You had a six year break from making your own music, why did you stop for so long-

Scan X: "For many reasons. I'd been making techno since 1993 and by 1997 when I took a break I'd become tired of all the loopy techno that was around. That was the period when everybody had adopted Jeff Mills' style, which was often boring. I remember going into record shops and there would be ten tracks by the same artist at the same time and when I'd listen to them all only one or two would be interesting- the rest would be identical. So I started working on different projects, such as film soundtracks, and music for Playstation videogames and commercials.

Skrufff: Did you leave your own music behind altogether-

Scan X: "I was still performing techno PAs during this period and from doing that I've also totally changed my way of making music, I've started testing tracks on crowds then just developing them at home. So the new album is much more spontaneous. There's always that strange aspect of making electronic music, certainly when you're not a DJ, that you're making music intended for a big crowd but when you're actually creating it you're by yourself in a tiny room, which is a totally opposite situation."

Skrufff: I see you name checked Lady B on the sleeve notes, what do you make of electro and eve electroclash-

Scan X: "The electroclash was born from a frustration in my generation not to know what was rock & roll at the time. It's a new way to make rock & roll with new tools. I know Michel from The Hacker and his background, and I know he used to like The Cure and Siouxsie & the Banshees and bands like that. In electronic music it's easy to introduce all of your background. The first time I heard techno was 12 years ago and at the time, the kind of people you'd find at the parties were completely different types, who were listening to different music at home. Some were into jazz and others rock, so for me techno then was a new way to federate people (ie to bring people from different groups together). People like Carl Craig brought jazz into the music whereas now someone like The Hacker is bringing Gothic rock to electronic music."

Skrufff: How To Make the Unpredictable Necessary, is a very unusual title, what's it about-

Scan X: "There are many reasons but one serious one and one jokey. The serious one is that loopy techno was boring me because all the records were so predictable, you'd know the sound, the style. A track becomes necessary when it brings something to your life; when you really love a track you need it. The funny reason was that my album was first scheduled for release two or three years ago and has been delayed many times so it was unpredictable in that sense. But I don't want to explain the title too much- the liberty of music and art is that you can see whatever you want to see in it- that's why I love instrumental music, it's not about bringing messages but rather an atmosphere."

Skrufff: Do you think of yourself as an artist-

Scan X: "I don't know,
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