Since 1999, when he released his debut album as Joakim Lone Octet (an electro-jazz exercise in style on Future Talk, the experimental sub-label of Versatile), Joakim has been a tough musician to pinpoint. An ex-piano student at the Conservatory, the man has taken great efforts to avoid being pigeonholed and has grown on the outskirts of the french touch and international club scenes, becoming one of their major players but refusing to permanently associate with any crew, current, style or genre.
Electronic Groove: Hi Joakim, thanks for your time and congratulations for your new LP. There is a strong theme running through the visuals and music. Did the album begin as a singular vision or did the concept evolve over time?
Joakim: A few ideas were there from the beginning. The idea of the portrait with makeup, the intimacy. The Japanese ideas came later when I found that this concept of the Samurai could be a good metaphor for the album. I’m always trying to have concepts to structure my creative process, but it doesn’t mean it’s a conceptual album, it’s really not actually.
EG: What were you reading or listening to while making the album?
Joakim: I was reading this Mishima book about Modern Japan and Samurai Ethics. Also, I was listening to a lot of stuff, as usual, including some New Age things, like the records ‘Music For Memory’ reissues, some Japanese avant-garde, some weird electro-funk, etc.
EG: Japan seems to be a huge influence on you and have referenced it a number of times in your work. What is it about the country that interests you?
Joakim: I just realized with this record that I did reference it a few times. I’m not sure why it is like that, or I should say there’s a million reasons. I mean most people who traveled there were as amazed and in love with the country as I was so it’s not very specific. I think I’m interested in otherness in general and Japan is the ultimate otherness from a western culture point of view. I’m kind of a nerd too and Japan has that Otaku culture. I grew up with Anime cartoons on TV as a child. My dad was traveling to Japan every year, bringing back fascinating objects every time. I love their sense of details and extreme dedication. And I love a lot of music coming from there obviously.
EG: How do you plan on performing this record live?
Joakim: I did the first show last week. It’s me with keyboards, effects and a mic, a bass player who also does synths and a drummer. Power trio. I first thought it may be difficult to adapt the record to a live show with a band, but it turned out it really works as most songs have these live instruments elements and leave space for improvisation and extended versions.
EG: When listening to the new album, it has a very cinematic quality to it and easy to envision it as the soundtrack to a film. So, if you could write the music for any film in history, what would it be?
Joakim: I’d love to write the music for Michael Mann’s next movie.
EG: Is there anything we can look forward to after the release of the album?
Joakim: Well, apart from coming to one of my gigs, DJ or live, the next thing for me will be to finish a few production works I have started, can’t say for whom, but I’m quite excited about it.
Joakim’s new album ‘Samurai’ is already available on Tigersushi Recordings