interview by Hunter Sanders
I took a rainy early afternoon to talk to Zimmer, Parisian DJ and producer. His debut album comes soon and he has a tour coming in November. We were connected long distance, Oklahoma to Paris, and chatted for a half hour.
I asked him about his most recent single release, Landing, which holds ties to his dad who was a part of the discovery of gravitational waves. I was curious about the narratives that may play into his creative process. He described his interest in a story’s emotion as the prime drive in his music. “Landing is one story. Human stories are what influence me.” He describes how he thinks of them like movies. “I want to try and create the emotions of the story, like a movie. With Landing, I wanted to create that openness, largeness, in outer space.”
This debut album, which I had the pleasure to sample, certainly holds an ethereal but epic space. Vastness, energy, transcendence — all play into Zimmer’s unique, and moving sound. I asked if he tries to convey a specific narrative. “I don’t sit down with a plan, before, about what it should be. I start with emotion, the story of others. The emotion, the story of the music. For example, Landing builds to this big drum with not much else and that’s the feeling of discovery.” Zimmer’s music truly achieves this, drawing us into a slow slow build. You can feel yourself being pulled, like into a wave. A gravitational wave, if you will.
Aside from transcending and arching over narrative, Zimmer’s music also seems to defy genre. While certainly electronic and seemingly EDM, his sound is altogether separate, unique. When asked about influences and process, about the ways contact with stories or other music alters the unique world of sound he has created, Zimmer replies, “I try not to think too much. Block everything out and just play. Sometimes there’s a chord progression or a sound that I’ll experiment with and make it stronger. An artist is a big sponge. Anyone can make music. Anyone can play piano, but ten people can play the same song, the artist is to be unique. Everything goes through the filter of me being me.”
Coming from a DJ background, touring alongside other artists, Zimmer had plenty of time to work on that sound. He told me that he intentionally waited until he felt skilled enough as an artist to produce a great album before he produced this first album. It shows. Every moment of his music is a moment out of time, out of the body.
I ask, then, what he looks for in his own music, what he wants others to get out of the new album, what he believes makes his music special. “Mostly, the number one thing I’m looking for is peaks. Those magical moments where everything is aligned — melody, beats — where you let go. It’s actually like sex, those moments like orgasm. Not in every track, but most tracks I’m trying to make those moments where you let go of everything else.” For this reason, Zimmer loves playing live, and is excited to begin touring in November. “I love playing live, creating those moments. Music is a sensation, live shows are for sensation. It’s a special combination. We forget about that. There are so many sensations. We usually just think we only use our ears to listen to music, but there are sensations in your eyes and body too.”
All told, Zimmer is an artist dedicated to the purest of experiences. Pure sensation. Pure emotion. Original thought. Original sound. I cannot wait for everyone to here what I heard. Honestly, even in talking to him, you can feel it. You can feel that place out of time, out of worry. You forget that you’re typing in the rain, or that there’s a slight static on the long distance phone call. You’re talking to an artist that knows what he wants, knows who he is, and it takes you out. It takes you from Oklahoma to Paris.