Floating through space, descending upon on a foreign planet — just some of the thoughts that may arise when listening to French DJ Baptiste Zimmer. Fusing a hypnotic blend of House, Disco and New Wave, Zimmer’s music is all about sensations; feel-good sensations that will last from start to finish. Having grown up between California and France —two culture capitals in their own right — it comes as no surprise that Zimmer’s mixes and productions reflect the myriad of musical movements birthed between the two.
Signed to Roche Musique, alongside the likes of Cherokee, Darius, and Kartell, Zimmer’s sound can best be described as spacey and it comes as no surprise. For his father is a scientist and was on the team of minds who recently discovered gravitational waves. Zimmer’s 2018 track, Landing, which possesses a darker side of the DJ’s oeuvre is a fitting tribute to his dad’s recent findings.
Having recently released Wildflowers with Australian band Panama along with frequently adding to his melodic mix series, Zimmer is currently on tour in North America where he’s debuting live instrumentation. I briefly caught up with the French DJ before his show at Los Angeles’ Moroccan Lounge to chop it up about his sound.
I’d like to know a little more about your childhood — growing up between California and France — how has it seeped into your musical style?
I think it opened me up to a different culture more than it shaped me directly musically. When you know there’s more to the world than one place from a very early age it changes your perception of everything. It makes you explore more I think, and that’s what happened for me with music.
How long have you been playing music and when and what made you want to pursue it as a profession?
I’ve been DJing for 14 years, making music for 8 or 9. I never really considered the possibility of doing music as a profession, for me it was always a hobby. I just went with it when I realized it was a viable option.
Your musical style is often described as a melodic blend of house and disco. How would you describe your aesthetic and what sounds, periods and musicians inspire you when you are in the studio?
I guess that description is pretty accurate!
This North American Tour is your debut into using live instrumentation within your sets. What were some of the motives behind this?
Playing was about offering a fuller artistic vision of my music. It allows me to build a full show, with a synced light installation. To me, light plays a massive role in the way you perceive music.
After years of touring as a DJ, I also wanted to experience something new and challenging musically. It’s very exciting to perform my own music live, finding ways to present it in a different manner than what I made in the studio.
Your tape series definitely showcases an array of your musical tastes, from those you’ve worked alongside or have been remixed by to using more french known acts. Who are some musicians you’d like to work with one day?
The list kind of changes all the time, but I’d love to work with the Chemical Brothers. They are some of my biggest inspirations ever.
Street food in Paris vs. LA?
LA for sure!
Music Venues in Paris vs. LA?
Hard call! So many great venues in both cities. I discovered Union in LA this past June and was blown away by the diversity of the building. I love playing the standard downtown rooftop too, and many others.
Apart from the tour, is there an album that we can come to expect in the near future?
Can’t say anything yet 😉
For more from Zimmer, follow him on Instagram.