LAURENT GARNIER with Deko-ze and Isaac S. at Turbo Niteclub (360 Adelaide West), Friday (May 25), $20-$25. 416-408-2646.
At the trendy Hotel le Germain in Montreal, French techno godfather Laurent Garnier looks a little lonely as he munches on a tuna wrap.
He's usually accompanied by his band of three musicians, but today he's chaperoned solely by his Canadian publicist. They're just getting over the fact that their gig this night at Olympic Stadium got cancelled because of complications with alcohol permits.
No matter. They quickly signed on to spin at Sona, an after-hours club, and eventually played for five more hours than originally planned.
"It's totally bullshit," says Garnier. "In France we had quite a few parties cancelled like that, but don't fool yourself. It's just some dodgy political thing. Sometimes when they don't understand something, they just close it."
The political thing he's referring to is drugs, which he says can't be controlled by cancelling parties.
"At the end of the day, if they don't do it at the parties, they'll do it in the fucking streets. How stupid is that?"
Garnier's no stranger to politics or social responsibility. His music is heavily influenced by the horrors of Kosovo and the culture of online file-swapping, and he regularly speaks about current events on his radio show on France's largest public network.
It's a little over a year since the dark, jazzy Unreasonable Behaviour disc was released, and he hasn't stepped into the studio since.
"I haven't digested the album yet. I've just started back DJing, and I need my good slice of six months of clubbing, smoky atmosphere, playing records and then thinking about what I've been living through.
"For the last three years I've been living the Unreasonable Behaviour album, and, quite frankly, I'm getting sick of it."
But the man who spawned the careers of French techno fusionists like the jazz-heavy Frederic Galliano and bass-thumping Mr. Oizo with his homegrown record label F Communications isn't tired of his slew of side projects.
He's constantly on the phone with partner Eric Morand about their artists from Belgium, France and other European pockets whom they'll be releasing in the next year, and is busy e-mailing his people about updating his Web site. It's all part of a plan to create a new type of software on laurentgarnier.com that lets listeners create an online short film.
Garnier provides the images and background noise and allows Internaughts to get creative and produce their own sequences. The best entries will be profiled on the site. It's another way to empower his listeners and offer something big business can't.
"Either you're working for the money and maybe you don't reach the right crowd and you shove your music down people's throats and you just kill yourself. Or you just choose the other line -- you respect your music and work for your career and you have a proper human relationship. There are two ways to work. Mega-companies are like ocean liners, and we're like windsurfers. So if there's a wave, we can go faster, and they're, like, ffffffttt!" he says, making a flat signal with his hands.
"But if we have to stop, it takes them hours but takes us 20 seconds."zach medicoff