Hello Jeff, we are delighted to ask you some questions. Where do you live now ?
I live in Chicago. While in Europe, I typically stay in Paris.
How do you feel after many years of career in the music business and after such a success ?
I’m staying busy and focused on what I’m doing so I’m not always aware of the full results of projects and events. At 50 years and nearly 30 years in the music industry, I feel fine.
From your personal point of view, is there any difference between the 90’s Jeff Mills and the one of 2013 ?
Yes, of course. I’ve lived more life – seen more places and witnessed more things so, as music is really an extension of the producers thoughts and feelings, it is logical that I would not be the same as in the 1990′s. I grew up.
What do you think of the perpetual renewal of technical means ? his impact on music ?
I think that the new technology is fantastic and giant leaps forward as compared to the 1970/1980′s, but I’m not convinced that today’s DJs and producers are really using the technology in ways that advances the translation of the genre of Electronic Music to audiences. If I compare DJs from decades ago, the ones then were much more creative and more technically advanced. More methodical and strategic in the way they approached mixing. I see that DJs today rely too much on the computers.
“I think that this is how we collectively as artists, move forward. By borrowing and expanding on ideas.”
The boundaries between the different artistic fields tend gradually to merge. And how do you imagine the future of artistic & musical performance ?
I see it as a slow process. Not because of what is possible, but rather slow because of what people think is possible. I think that its OK to not be so aware of everything and everybody all the time. I found that sometimes working and creating blindly can have advantages because there is less of conscious and sub-conscious measuring of the activities of others. I believe its OK to imitate or copy the work of others, but only if its re-created with a new spirit. A new thinking attached. I think that this is how we collectively as artists, move forward. By borrowing and expanding on ideas.
Does it have an impact on your music, on Axis ? (Discogs)
A little. I’m pretty isolated and detached in my surrounding, so that it doesn’t affect our ways. When I’m working on something, I work to the point of convincing myself. After that, its all a matter of procedure. “Convincing myself” generally occurs before I begin to record the music. There have been occasions when I second-thought projects and had to cancel the release or totally re-do it. For better and worst, the movements within this industry has little to do with what we do at Axis. The “channel” were are on is one by design, not by coincidence.
“these “human vs. future” subjects are enough to keep me busy for a long time”
Your creations usually lead to a reflection on the relationship a man has with his future. What other strong themes you plan to deal with through your work ?
I’m not sure when and where I may take a turn, but these “human vs. future” subjects are enough to keep me busy for a long time[unfortunately]. I guess the best way to imagine how long I’d be occupied at looking at humanity and try to make an assumption of whether we think we’re all headed in the right ethical and moral direction. Is there too less regard for human life and suffering? Do we care enough to prevent things that we know will come back to affect us later? When we leave Earth, will we pack our problems with us? Who or what will make people listen and believe? At the moment, I working on a project about time after humans. It’s difficult to imagine. I haven’t started recording yet, but think it should be interesting to work on.
“Techno Music never died or went away.”
In the 90’s, you wrote what you thought be the music of the future, a little less than 30 years later, what’s your analysis of the resurgence of this fascination about techno music ? this renewed of hype around detroit & chicago sounds ?
I’m not really sure. It’s near impossible to collectively look at this industry at one view point. A renewal in one city isn’t necessarily a renewal in another. I believe that the idea of territorial boundaries dissolved with the emergence of the World Wide Web. From my perspective, Techno Music never died or went away. It just seemed that way because certain Electronic Music media sources, certain DJ/producers were hopeful that this would be the case. The names and titles changed, but the music stayed practically the same.
In your new project « Where Lights Ends », you worked with astronaut Mamoru Mohri, could you tell us more about this collaboration ?
I was to begin to work on a album about Space flight and I had the idea to try and speak to someone that had actually had that experience. I was directed to Japan’s first Astronaut, Dr. Mamoru Mohri through a chain of connections in hopes that I can have time to speak to him and ask him a few questions about the experience. He accepted the invitation and we met in Tokyo at the Space Museum his directs, The Miraikan Space Museum. We had numerous conversations about his trip aboard the Endeavour Space Shuttle in 1992.
From one particular question about the effects of the Sun on Earth and humanity. Morhi-san indicated that the greatest threat to humanity is the Sun. I followed up that answer with the question: Well, is where light ends the best place for us[humanity] to be? This is where the title of this release comes from. It means a place of salvage and protection.
Could you give us some informations about your next performance in Rennes with the Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne ? (link)
The performance is a rendition of the album that was created from the conversations with Astronaut Mohri. From sitting idle of a launch pad to free floating in Space to returning to Earth, it embodies the feelings and sentiment of such an incredible experience. This will be the first time to perform it and also my first experience with OSB. I’m very excited about it.
What song would you recommend to someone that doesn’t know you ?
Gamma Player. It’s a composition that I made many moons ago when I finally realized that I wanted to make Electronic Music for my career. From that point onward, I felt that making music and DJing became much more meaningful. That, there is a much greater purpose to all this. That, its just not “party for a few hours and go home”. Actually, its the opposite.
”I would have spent less time in Berlin and spent more in Paris.”
What would you change in your career if you could ?
A few things. I would have spent less time in Berlin and spent more in Paris. Not so much because of the Techno scene, but because there is so much more to learn about “living” a life. I would liked to live in New York again [being older and having a bit more money to enjoy the finer things there -- that would be nice!]. There are many other things, but overall, I’m reasonably happy with the way things are going, but it can always be better!
When you came in France, did you have the time to discover our culture ?
This is on-going process that doesn’t seem to stop. There is always something new or old to discover. It really addictive.
:) nice to hear. So, thanks a lot Jeff. Hope to see you soon in Rennes. Best.