Name: Michael Canitrot

Nationality: French

Occupation: Producer, DJ
Current Release: Michael Canitrot new single "Oracle" is out via So Happy in Paris.

If you enjoyed this interview with Michael Canitrot and would like to keep up to date with his work, visit him on Instagram, Facebook, twitter, and Soundcloud.

Can you talk a bit about your interest in or fascination for sound and architecture and the relationship between them? What were early experiences which sparked it?

I’ve always been interested in architecture. When I walk through a space, I hear the soundtrack of that space.

This is exactly the experience I want to offer to the public with the Monumental Tour: Connecting history and architecture to my musical electronic world.

Which artists, architects, and approaches captured your imagination in the beginning?

I was lucky to grow up in France where history, architecture and culture are part of life. This inspired me to combine my passion and my works in electronic music with our heritage.

Then, artists like Jean-Michel Jarre and Daft Punk gave me a great impulse to create extraordinary shows. I like this way of creating a scenery to play our music.

What's your take on how your upbringing and surrounding have influenced your sonic and architectural preferences?

All those trips as a child with my parents ... to museums, castles ... contributed to my background. There is no doubt that our heritage has influenced me, as it does most people.

For sure it has inspired me over the past 20 years of creating music, to push my sound and mix further and DJ in the most unbelievable places in France … recently playing at the Palais Royal in Paris was a major highlight!

What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and working with sound? Do you see yourself as part of a tradition or historic lineage?

This is a tough one to answer … I simply feel the music, mix it up and love the journey! There are many fantastic DJs around the world and from France, and hopefully I am or will be part of them!

My wish through the Monumental project is also to continue to democratize electronic music and to make it accessible to as many people as possible. By offering it in other venues than clubs and festivals.

It doesn't seem like it, but there is still work to be done with certain institutions to have this music recognised, to break down prejudices and to allow DJs to be recognized as artists in their own right. So in a way, I don’t see myself as part of tradition but more like a leader.

For there to be connections between architecture and music, I would assume both disciplines can not be reduced to their visual or sonic dimensions. What happens in your body when you're listening and how does it influence your approach to creativity?

I am totally transported by music. This may sound cheesy but at every gig, the crowd just makes me want to take my music a step further, higher. I don’t know, it’s hard to come down from that amazing experience …

What do architecture, sculpture, and/or design add to your perception of music? How does the effect of music change when it is combined with architecture, light and projections?

Combining light / projections, architecture and music basically gives you a full experience, it requires all your senses to be “switched on” so to speak. It’s something different and quite exceptional.

I am lucky to be able to perform in such way too with The Monumental Tour.

Architecture can project an image, just like music can. As such, it is part of the storytelling process. What kinds of stories are being told, would you say?

Architecture is like a guide for me. Each line evokes an image, a line, a light ... Then, I design my scenography according to these rules.

Basically, each person in the crowd is telling their own story. that’s the beauty of music, people experience it regarding their own story … the visual context brings another layer to their story! I just support their journey. (laughs)

The combination of both can bring your imagination on how they could possibly do this. During my performance at the Palais Royal, in Paris, It seemed very important to me to show Molière in lights, especially on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of his birth but also because we were just behind the French comedy.

There are so many stories to tell with Monumental tour!

What can architecture express what music cannot – and vice versa? How can they mutually enhance each other?

For me, music and architecture follow a desire to leave a mark on people's minds, to offer them a vision while sharing it with them. They both express emotions and provoke images in us. When the two meet and they come together perfectly, it creates a certain magic and strong moments.

I remember the encounter between my track "Cycles" inspired by the raging elements and the architecture of the Whale lighthouse illuminated by a spectacular video mapping inspired by the sometimes-epic weather conditions that can be encountered at ocean. The lighthouse probably experienced its first digital storm at this time.  

Xenakis, probably the most famour achitect-composer, would often apply mathematical models from architecture to his pieces. Does this interest you as well? If so, in which way?

I'm always fascinated and very interested in how other talents have crossed boundaries, genres, themes, etc. In doing so, each has their own techniques.

In the case of Xenakis I find it interesting. He is a visionary, an artist who can transport not only the insiders, but also a much wider public. He created his own rules to get there.

With Monumental, I want to decompartmentalize, unbridle and open doors for all creators. In this line, I find myself with the same desire to inspire future generations.

Many have claimed that both architecture and music have a rhythm to them. While I understand the point, I have always found it a bit hard to truly regard these two “rhythms” as being the same thing. How do you personally see that yourself?

For sure, both music and architecture have a rhythm and have their own history. I think the challenge is to manage to balance them, to align them together and deliver an experience for a wide range of crowds, which is our aim in The Monumental Tour.

And you know the art of DJing is to learn how to mix, to combine different tempos, Why should we limit ourselves to music?

Two other dimensions often associated with architecture and music are proportions and dynamics. Do these mean something for your work as well?

Of course, it definitely does. Proportions and dynamics are essential to my work. I think there is a correlation between the structure and the shape of a monument and the shape of a track. It can bring a huge influence to my creative process.

How do you see the relationship between sound, space, and performance and what are some of your strategies and approaches of working with them?

I think no one can talk about strategies. Very simply I am inspired by space and can’t wait to go work on my music thereafter. It's always the same emotion, the same passion ... you must be like a child and want to go back to discover new experiences every time.

What role do acoustics play for the way we experience a) interior spaces and b) cities? What conclusions would you draw from this for the consideration of acoustic factors for architectural decisions?

Acoustics are super important of course as with The Monumental Tour I usually play outdoors in the Palais Royal of Paris (Ministry of Culture), Laon Cathedral, Château de Versailles and so forth, which are complex spaces.

I have to adapt to them, and not the other way round … The sound experience must be perfectly calibrated, for me it is the basis of my project. Without a perfectly balanced sound, there is no journey possible. I also have the chance to connect with a lot of companies like LAcoustics, to know and work with the most advanced technologies.

Finally, I am lucky enough to have a great technical team that makes everything work in the most atypical environments.

Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like designing a building?

I’ll let you know the day I dabble in design!