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Donna Summer

Jason Forrest, alias Donna Summer, c'est le bon pote de la bande. Son récent album, "This needs to be your style", sorti sur les labels Irritant Records et Toolbox, l'a érigé en véritable Diva du breakcore grand guignol. Ses constructions à base de samples de disco et de cock rock déchirées initient d'improbables mariages entre le plunderphonic et la bastonnade dancefloor. Freaky beats, sampladelia en pantalon moulant, disco mutante, voici du vandalisme digital rigolard et festif. Alors que sa relative notoriété oblige Forrest à oublier le pseudonyme qui lui va si bien, un nouvel album du new-yorkais est annoncé pour avril prochain sur Sonig.

You recently made a European Tour. Did you enjoy it ? How is the European audience compared to the American one ?
The US audiences are much smaller and less prone to dance or even move at all. The European audiences are usually pissing blood by the end of the shows…

How did the Donna Summer project come out ?
I started making music a few years ago, then started sending out demos, then releasing albums. To be honest, I never thought my music would have gone as far as it has!

Would you say that cock-rock is the genre that enlightened you as a teenager ?
Well, it was certainly there as a teenager, but I really became interested in 60/70's rock in the past few years.

Do you think that the soul of Donna Summer (the real one) helps you to have such a flamboyant presence on stage ?
Hummm… Not sure about that. I think that the name certainly helps to free me up a bit. It sort of naturally introduces me to being a spectacle.

Is Donna Summer deeply aimed at changing the rules of the world :) ? Or do you just enjoy fucking up beats and anthological pop music songs ?
Well, I'd say that I'm pretty serious and focused about it all, so more the first than the second. My background is in contemporary art, so I think that makes me over-analyze it n a way that some other people don't (and I can see how this is both good and bad! HA!)

Would you say that you destroy the pop tracks or that you're giving them a new birth ?
There's no irony. I sample stuff because Iove it. Maybe its not so much as a new birth as it is hopefully a witty homage to the original.

You released your first cd on a Japanese label (Omeko), how did you get in touch with Broklyn Beats ?
They live in the neighborhood. I met them at a party or a live show. I was really interested to meet Doily first because I bought her 7" and realized that she did things very differently.

How would you define the philosophy and way of working of Broklyn Beats ?
While I am certainly in the Broklyn Beats family, I'd say that that I'd be a cousin or an unkle. We have pretty different aims and agendas, and aesthetics, but we're all good friends and have a bunch in common too!

It seems to have a slight difference between the 7" releases on Broklyn
Beats and your last album released on Irritant Records. I would say that the Broklyn Beats tracks look more lo- fi; more adrenalinic and more melodic as well, while "This Needs To be you Style" is much more structured and arrhythmic at the same time. The quality of the sound is more clean, more high-tech. Exclusive Laptop music. As a former DJ don't you miss the material aspect of the wax junks and mix tapes ?
Yeah I agree with you, the main Broklyn beats folks are more low-fi, and in the past used to use a lot more hardware (drum machine, synths, etc, where as I have always just used a computer.) I don't miss mix tapes or anything! I but shitloads of old records! HA!

We can't deny that at the moment there are a very few cutting-edge artists on the electronic music panorama. Would you say that Broklyn Beats (including Donna Summer of course) are creating some new codes , like a new musical language or that they act much more as some destroyers of the shallow-musical barriers of the moment ?
Yeah I think so! I certainly am trying my hardest to push what is possible, and what expected from my music. The new Broklyn beats 12"s that will be released very soon are all fantastic, and proves that they are all trying to produce a new sort of aesthetic.

Are the Broklyn Beats crew fun or dull ?

Somebody told me that you love gardening. At the end it's what you enjoy the most.. Do you take your inspiration from the mowing machine, from planting seeds, or from watering flowers ?
No, It's just a good counter balance to all this computer geek stuff! HA! It's really nice to watch things grow and to foster that growth, I consider my garden to be full of friends.

Donna Summer selected discography :

Donna Summer This Needs to Be Your Style CD/LP (Irritant/Toolbox)
Donna Summer vs. Ove-Naxx 12" (Adaadat)
Donna Summer Fluxus Inc. (Tonschacht)
Jason Forrest/Donnasummer The Unrelenting Songs Of The 1979 Post Disco Crash (Sonig)

Interview réalisée par Charlotte Lemaître.