The 'spiritual' DJ talks about his new concept album. We sit back and take it all in on the eve of his Dubai performance.
In person, Pierre Ravan is something of a paradox; he crackles with intensity and energy in a way that is almost intimidating, yet his every word is reassuring and friendly – never before will you have heard the word ‘bruv’ used so often in one conversation. Much of this intensity, it seems, comes from his passion for music, specifically the house music that has turned him into the go-to guy for names like Paco Rabanne and Dolce & Gabbana.
But for all of the high-profile work Ravan does, the thing that seems to matter most to him is KaRavan, an annual, two-disc remix of top house tunes that he has been producing for three years now, and which even he admits is ‘not commercial’. ‘The KaRavan concept is a journey,’ he says. ‘You start in the day with CD one, which is called “Sun Dance” and finish in the night with CD two, the “Moon Dance”, so the style of music changes from soulful and more vocal to more tribal and dark. That’s the journey.’
But that’s not all. The compilation also acts as a kind of spiritual guide, imparting Ravan’s beliefs about spirituality, growth and the joining of minds – hence the title: Human Integration. It’s complicated stuff, which is why we asked him to break down the thinking behind 10 of the tracks from his 24-track album.
Sun Dance, track two: ‘The Light’ by Raw Artistic Soul feat. Ursula Rucker: ‘We think of light as brightness, but in the track it can mean light and heaviness too. The song explains that the light is in your heart and it illuminates your whole universe. It is in every individual and if you see this light everything around you is illuminated.’
Sun Dance, track four: ‘I Feel’ by Ciappy DJ & Pablo feat. Savio Vurchio: ‘To me, this is very good because it reminds me that music should be felt in your heart and not your mind. It is a spiritual thing, not a body and chemical thing. It is not about drinking and taking drugs – you should feel it deep inside, spiritually. That is the intention of the music, it touches your heart.’
Sun Dance, track six: ‘Together’ by Simon Grey feat Robbie Smith: ‘A track that’s is all about unity and how it can be achieved through music. In a club we are all together physically, but in heart and mind we may not be. When you are a DJ, you are saying, “Let’s all get together, let’s share the same goals.” That is the whole idea behind house music.’
Sun Dance, track seven: ‘Find The Way’ by Ethan White and Lisa Shaw: ‘This is beautiful because she is saying that this life is just a transitional life; you are here to experience something and go further and so you are here to find your way. Also, that we all have the same blessing but you have to find your own way to appreciate it.’
Sun Dance, track 14: ‘Change’ by The Blak Beatnik: ‘Awesome, such a revolutionary track – the message is to change yourself and not others. It says that all humans are of the same creed and that we should not assume that we are always correct. Instead, we should look at changing ourselves before we change others.’
Moon Dance, track two: ‘Tribute To San Francesco d’Assisi’ by Lucca Ricci presents Ventunesimo Secolo: ‘The subject of this song was a priest who became a sufi, a very spiritual guy. Luca is a very good friend and when I found out that San Francesco d’Assisi is his hero, I had high respect for him. There are other producers who understand spirituality!’
Moon Dance, track five: ‘Hyper Space’ by DJ Pippi vs Willie Graff: ‘I really love this. He is explaining that you can transcend this life and go to another life that we call the hyper space – a different dimension of life running parallel with ours. It’s a little bit freaky, but the production makes you experience that feeling.’
Moon Dance, track six: ‘Brain Candy’ by Spirit Catcher: ‘There is an a capella piece which I re-edit on this track that says “life is what you make it”. It brings you such a strong message that your life depends on you – don’t put the blame on others, take the blame yourself. The repetition is like meditation.’
Moon Dance, track nine: ‘Shambhalla’ by Taho: ‘This is a very old Arabic/Indian mix production that Josh Wink reinterpreted and I remixed. It lasts 13 minutes and this one song is the whole KaRavan journey in itself. They didn’t want to licence it because it was the main track on his album, but after four months I sent him an e-mail explaining the concept of KaRavan and he said it was okay to use it.’
Moon Dance, track 10:‘Only Yourself’ by Johnny Dangerous: An amazing track; the original is very down-tempo and it says not to blame others only yourself – and at the end, it says it is not even yourself, it is the god in yourself. And then the journey is over and I say I hope you enjoyed your ride and I’ll see you at the next stop!’
Human Integration is out April 3 on Daxar. Pierre Ravan plays a public launch night for the album at Chi@ The Lodge on April 3, 10pm-3am. See www.daxarme.com and www.pierreravan.com.