As one of the founding fathers of the French touch scene in the '90s, Alex Gopher has seen his fair share of clubs, studios, and odd experiences. On the tail of releasing My New Remixes (Go 4 Music), the prolific producer, DJ, and Air collaborator took time out from working next door to Etienne de Crecy to tell us about stolen identities, live snafus, and why he fancies himself more of a ground squirrel.
XLR8R: What are you listening to right now?
Alex Gopher: Etienne de Crecy doing a new track. We have just one door between our studios, and this door is often open. It gives us the opportunity to help each other and share advice.
What band did you want to be in as a teenager?
Bass player of Joy Division, and so New Order...
What's the weirdest story you've ever heard about yourself?
Ten years ago: "Last weekend Alex Gopher played in New York City." I was in Paris. Somebody played as a DJ under my name. He should have called me, we could have figured out a good deal together!
Favorite city to play in?
These days it’s Paris, at Social Club.
Name one piece of gear you couldn't live without.
Worst experience at a live show?
It was in Belgium. I was supposed to play live in a club with my band for my 2007 album, which was more rock influenced. People were waiting for commercial dance music and were really disappointed, then half of my equipment broke down... I stopped the concert and ran to the DJ booth to play records. Big, big shame.
Worst experience recording in the studio?
For my first album, we were recording voices with Michael Payne, who was singing on a track. He wanted to erase the tape because he was disagreeing with my manager over contracts during a break in the recording. It was horrible for me, as my manager was very [difficult] and I actually thought Michael was right! I was so happy with the track. I was very depressed, as it was horrible to think that a contract issue might prevent it from being made. But gladly, after a long discussion, they found an agreement, and we kept the track.
Of the two types of gophers in the world (pocket gophers and ground squirrels), which do you most identify with?
If we talk about physical appearance, the ground squirrel! I'm tall and slim more than small and round.
What were Air like as kids?
Exactly like now, without the money. They kept their hair, I did not...
What other artist would you most like to collaborate with?
Marvin Gaye, John Lennon, Curtis Mayfield, Jimmy Hendrix, Serge Gainsbourg, Ian Curtis. More simply,
If you had to listen to one song on repeat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
"Things Behind The Sun" by Nick Drake.
Alex Gopher Remix of Shinichi Osawa's "Push"
If you had to use one word to describe your tunes, what would it be?
Versatile, even if I should say solid.
So you're about to start on a remix: What's your morning routine that day?
Waking up, [eating] breakfast, taking my two sons to school, checking new emails, riding my Vespa, and going to the studio. Erasing everything that I don't like in the original track in my Pro Tools. Switching on my MPC1000, my Future Retro Mobius sequencer, and my Korg MS-20, [then] having fun.
Of all the tracks on your upcoming remix compilation, which is your favorite?
Shinichi Osawa's "Push." I have played it in all my sets for two years and always with the same pleasure.
If you could've spent your life doing anything outside of music, what would it have been?
Photos. I would like to have a second life for that.