The French Spring Festival 2017, currently underway in Colombo and Kandy has showcased various performances by artistes in different fields. Adding more excitement to this year's festival is Sven Løve, a French DJ acknowledged as one of the leading figures in the French electro revolution. Born in Paris, Sven is one of the pioneers in the rave generation producing 'garage' music - a mix of house, soul, gospel and disco.
Speaking to us, Sven shared his thoughts about garage music and his experiences as a DJ.
Why did you want to become a DJ?
Because of my love for music. I discovered electronic music and fell in love with it twenty years ago. I used to go to parties with my friends and then electronic music was introduced to France. It was quite different and it changed the party environment as well. Especially, since there were many people coming from Britain, and because they discovered this music before us. They had done those parties in Britain but there were new laws which forbade them from doing those parties and instead they went to other European countries. Then I met some people and I learned to become a DJ. I was studying literature and then I had some opportunities to work and earn money.
Have you visited any other Asian countries before?
I have visited several countries such as Hong Kong and Japan where I went to perform.
Are you a self-taught DJ or have you had any training?
I am a self-taught DJ, but there are some schools now which give a hand for traditional DJs. I just learned through my own passion.
Who or what were you inspired by?
Mostly American DJs because electronic music is a vast genre and it originates from America. I was particularly fond of 'garage music' which comes from New York and New Jersey. Especially DJ Tony Humphries who's a DJ at a club in New Jersey who used to play there for more than 10 years. Then there were some DJs who are from Chicago.
How does garage music differ from other genres?
It's what we call soulful. It's a mix of other electronic sounds but it also has an organic aspect in it which is mostly vocals. The singers too are those from gospel so there's a more spiritual element in this genre. Most lyrics too are spiritual. That's what is quite interesting about this music.
Do you produce your own tracks?
I used to produce my own tracks a few years ago but I stopped because it was a difficult task. But now I play a lot of music from other producers and singers. When you are a DJ you mix different songs and I experiment on that.
What's the kind of response you receive from garage music fans in France?
It differs. When we started, I used to play for a company and we were the first to initiate this concept. Back then we had a small crowd who were quite passionate. Then the audience became bigger. During the years 1996 - 2004 it was a peak time for us but then the music changed and people went back to rock music.
What do you enjoy the most about being a DJ?
Just the moment when you are playing the music and you know that the crowd is with you and your music. It's good to see that they love what you play and it's difficult to describe that feeling.
A message you could give out to upcoming DJs?
It's a difficult career and it's difficult to earn money out of it at times. There are some very successful DJs but it didn't just happen to them. If you want to be a DJ you have to realize that you have to do a lot of work and you need to be passionate about it. I always like to advise you to do another job that would give financial stability than just trying to rely only on this. Very often you are not treated well by clubs and it takes a long time for them to take your work seriously.
PHOTOGRAPH by Pradeep Dilrukshana
Below is a programme lineup for the French Spring Festival 2017