French producer Jean-Christophe Le Saoût (AKA Wax Tailor)’s cinematic, down-tempo hip hop has been stunning critics since 2004. M3 contacted the man himself to talk about his musical background, the problems with fan-funding and how can copyright can harm creativity…
M3 – First of all, could you tell us a bit about yourself, and what it is that you do?
Wax Tailor – JC aka WAX TAILOR, musician, DJ, producer, composer, manager, indie attitude ;)
What inspired you to start making music? What is your own musical background?
My background is 100% linked with hip hop culture, I began to listen to rap music in 86, began to rap in 90, to produce in 92, I was really involved in this whole culture.
What would be your preferred medium to listen to music (eg. Vinyl, CD, tape, MP3 etc.), and why?
I love both Vinyls & MP3 for different reasons & context. I think it’s complementary like junk food & high quality restaurants ;)
Do you feel the idea of an album, as a piece of art that people will listen to from start to finish, has been undermined or forgotten about in the digital age?
No I don’t, I’ve just ended my next album that is coming back to the roots of this conceptual idea of what is supposed to be an album for me. I love the idea that an album can be considered a a whole piece like a movie. We got so much offer about music that it make sense more than ever to offer some real strong concept.
Many people have claimed that there is no longer any money in record sales, and that touring is the most efficient way to earn an income as a band. How much truth do you think there is in this sentiment?
It really depends on the kind of project & artists. For example I’m touring with a full band, sometimes 15 people on the road & it’s not so easy to defend from an economical point of view. For some other artists its different. You also got some artists who just focus about licencing or producing some illustration on the side because it’s a better deal.
A lot of artists have begun to make use of fan funding sites to sustain themselves. What do you think of this method? Do you think fan funding could ever replace the traditional, top-down record label method ofdistribution?
I don’t know what to think about that, I don’t think it can be a strong method for most artists, also because for a lot of artists now the hype is coming from another model that is spreading the web with a free music model. The more complicated issue is to get people’s attention & expect them to spread it.
Do you think traditional copyright laws are still enforceable given the increasing digitisation and re-appropriation of media, or do you think we will have to rethink the concept of copyright itself?
It’s complicated, I really think that we’re in a transition period. Maybe we’ll need 10 years to access to a new model, a new period. In this transition period you see people from the industry trying to find some short time solutions that are not answering to the new situation. Personally I’ve always thought that it would be interesting considering the idea of universal patrimony for with a different kind of licence.
Similarly, do you feel that traditional copyright laws may infringe on the creativity of artists who make use of a lot of samples?Have there ever been samples that you would have liked to use, but have been restricted from doing so?
Yes unfortunately. I often use the example of De La Soul “2 feet High & Rising” I was 14 in 1989 when it was released on Tommy Boy. I remember that all the kids were listening to this album, it was really mainstream. 20 years after it would be simply impossible to clear an album like that, it would be underground like Edan or Madlib. So yes I really believe that those restrictions have killed a lot creativity. Personally I’ve had only once the problem with a sample but I work a bit differently using more samples like texture that I replay.
What is your take on the current SOPA/ACTA controversy?
I’m not the more informed on all details, I’ve read about it like a lot of people but I think those projects are digital censorship, it’s always about the economical defense of the industry.
Finally, what does the future hold for Wax Tailor?
Like I said in the introduction, I’ve always been an indie artist, managing everything on my own, I think the future is a lot about that for me & for a lot of artists. The music world is changing you can watch behind with nostalgia or try to reinvente yourself everyday, I prefer this solution.