The 6 most revealing quotes from Gesaffelstein’s new interview

French producer Gesaffelstein makes the sound of anxiety – that next-level throbbing industrial techno sound that gave Kanye West’s Yeezus its menacing edge – and his carefully controlled image is as mysterious as his music. Dark, handsome and always photographed wreathed in cigarette smoke, Gesaffelstein (AKA Mike Levy) hasn’t been particularly forward as far as interviews (in English) go, preferring to let his intense music and video clips speak for themselves.

But with his (excellent) debut album Aleph set to drop on October 28 through Warner, Levy sat down with Mixmag to talk about his influences and reveal some insights into the man behind the finely crafted image – we’ve cherry-picked the six most revealing quotes below. Australians can catch Gesaffelstein in the flesh when he tours Australia next March with Future Music Festival.

#6 On his early influences

“I wasn’t into dance music when I was young. I wasn’t attracted by music in general, it wasn’t a hobby. I was more into art and drawing,”

#5 On his forthcoming debut album

“The main idea of the album was to translate different styles with just one sound. It was really hard to do that. It’s exactly the same when you see a guy – he’s one guy but he can have several different emotions. That’s the best way to explain it.”

#4 On working with Kanye

“In general I’m not a big fan of hip hop, even though I worked with Kanye. I did the Kanye stuff not because I’m a fan, but because for me it’s interesting to make some new music in an old style.”

#3 On the influence of The Hacker

“He is the most important thing in my music. If The Hacker didn’t exist I’m not sure if I’d be here today. He explained a lot of things to me; it all came from him… I had been obsessed with his sound, because for me his music is the perfect combination of the past and the future. It was the only music I understood because everything he made was so logical for me.”

#2 On not being mysterious

“People think I’m mysterious but I’m not – that’s just what they think. I’m just me. For me the real mystery in electronic music is the artists who try to be cool when they aren’t cool. When I see a DJ who… [throws up his mainstage DJ hands] that’s the real mystery.”

#1 But actually being quite mysterious

“I don’t think I’m in this game – the EDM, techno or electro game. I have the thing that I do and I try to do something different but I don’t want to try and find a place and just stay in my chair… I have no idea what I’m going to do, but even when I do know, I’m going to keep it to myself.”