Ahead of his Nova gig at Sanctuary this week, Laurent Wolf talks about the pressures of fame and parties with mums
Hello Laurent. Where are you? I’m in Toulouse in France. I have two homes – I spend half the time in Miami and half the time in Europe.
Blimey, I can barely afford one home. If you get bored of the Miami one then give it to me. Ha! Maybe I will.
So you’ve been DJing since you were tiny, right? I got into dance music when I was 12 and started playing local parties and things. Then I became a DJ when I was 17. I got into it because of my mother – she listening to a lot of different music so I really got an ear for many genres.
Your mum’s into house? She was listening to a lot of stuff but not especially house or dance music. Sometimes she comes out to see my gigs though!
What, really? Yes – the last time I did a gig near her home in France she came out. When I arrived at the club it was packed, and the owner asked me who I’d brought with me. I said ‘my mother’ and he didn’t know how to react. But my mother, my brother and his wife were all backstage as I played and they really enjoyed it
Wasn’t it a bit weird, though, having your mum in the crowd? No, I really enjoy it – music has to be for everybody, not just people between 20 and 25. It has to be eclectic and for everybody. Music is free.
But didn’t you have to act differently around her? I know I’d be a bit more careful at work if my parents were sat at the desk next to me. Acting in a different way? No – when you tour a lot you cannot party too hard anyway because after two or three gigs in a row you’re really not able to perform properly. So I’m very good – when I’m working anyway.
Do you still get a little bit scared before you do a set? Honestly? No. When your name is established you feel more confident in what you’re doing and can play what you like. You don’t have to play like a resident DJ and ask the people in the club, ‘What do you like?’ and ‘What is your universe?’
So what is your universe? I like positive music – my universe is mainly electro, house and everything with a positive feel.
You’ve said that you incorporate avant-garde elements into your house music. Why is that? If you do things like other people, you don’t really develop at all. I also try to have a different atmosphere and theme in each album. So my most recent one, Wash My World, was about ecology, protecting the earth and the green generation. I try to have new sounds and new ideas each time.
You’ve also said that you don’t like being recognised in public. What’s wrong with being famous? Before I could do what I wanted and nobody would find me. But for the last seven months I’ve had trouble being out in certain areas of France without being spotted. It doesn’t happen in the rest of Europe, but in France I have partnerships with TV and radio, and my new videos have made me more visible. It used to be that I did not appear much in my music videos – I was not in ‘Wash My World’ much and in ‘Seventies’ it was all ’70s-style, so I was in disguise. But, in the last one, ‘Explosion’, they decided to do videos of a lot of gigs and after that people started to recognise me. But it can be difficult, because people can recognise you when you are not in a good mood or you have a headache and all you want to do is go to the bakery and get you bread. But if you are not gentle with them they will say, ‘Oh, he has changed since he became popular’, or, ‘He is a bad person’. So I’m happier not being recognised.
Oh, come off it. OK, I enjoy it a little bit, when girls look at you – that’s good. And it’s good for my ego. But when it’s all the time it’s exhausting.
What’s the greatest gig you’ve had? Five or six years ago I did a gig in Columbia with, I think, Sandy Rivera. The promoters drove us across the country in six Hummers, like we were presidents of the US or something, and when we got out, we played on a beach to 40,000 people. Columbia is not very famous for enjoying electronic music, but, believe me, when they dance they rock.