Techno legend Laurent Garnier, who celebrated his 55th birthday earlier this week, released the seminal Crispy Bacon on this day [3 February] in 1997 – with the track marking a seismic shift in the French producer’s music career.
While debut album Shot In The Dark, released in 1995, garnered plenty of praise, it was arguably the follow up, 30 (which included Crispy Bacon) that launched Garnier into the techno stratosphere.
And how can we forget the David Lynch-esque accompanying video, directed by Quentin Dupieux, Nightmare Sandwiches.
In April 1997, Garnier spoke to journalist and author Jean-Yves Leloup about the success of Crispy Bacon, in his usual candid style, and revealed the influence of artists like Jeff Mills, Robert Hood and Scan X on its composition.
“The hype around Crispy Bacon makes me laugh,” he explained. “I love the track but I don’t think it’s the best track I’ve done. However, there are a lot of people that say to me ‘Damn, this is a revelation! It’s deadly, it kills’.
“I like the track, it’s really dancefloor-oriented, but I don’t think it’s the most exciting track on the album; far from it. Crispy Bacon is so simple! There’s nothing to it, four percussions and a bassline, that’s all.
“When I did Shot In The Dark, I listened to certain songs, I was inspired by them, and I moved on to making my own compositions. When I worked on the album 30, I changed my tactics. […] I listened to a lot of things before doing Crispy Bacon, especially Jeff Mills’ Axis 14 [listen below] and 15. I said to myself, ‘it’s incredible what he does’, and I tried to analyse for the first time what he was doing.
“I don’t usually analyse other people’s music that much. I prefer not to analyse, and instead focus on the emotions. I’m not trying to find out how he made this break or this beat – it either speaks to me or it doesn’t speak to me.
“A few days before starting Crispy Bacon, Stéphane from Scan X came over, and I did a week of intensive lessons with him. He taught me how to engineer my mixer, and how to use effects well, because that was my weak point. He came over and played with the effects – I saved a couple of things that I liked, and in the evening I started working on Crispy Bacon. I took an hour to equalise it, to find an effect that killed on top, that would really compress it.
“I found this bass sound, I put an effect on it, and there you go – that’s all it is.”
As to the immense effect that the track has on the dancefloor, this too was part of Garnier’s thinking, as he explained.
“I admit that have always been amazed at the success of Robert Hood, for example,” he said. “You listen to the M-Plant stuff, there’s very little there – a sound, a closed hi-hat or something that lasts five minutes. The sound will change a little bit, and from the moment the closed hi-hat comes in, the dancefloor goes crazy, and that’s really great.
“It’s great that someone came up with such minimalist tracks that would freak people out as much as if you were using a snare roll or a TB-303 climb. I think that’s pretty damn beautiful. It’s true that I kept thinking about the dancefloor during the development of Crispy Bacon.”