Words by Mr Derek Blasberg
The DJ, music producer and, yes, former president of France's son, Mr Pierre Sarkozy, has DJed all around the world, from Ibiza to São Paulo to Kiev under his stage name, Mosey. That is, until two weeks ago, when he took to the decks at Queen on the Champs-Elysées. "It was so emotional," he tells me in Paris' Voltaire over Coke Zeros, which were comped by the bartender, an apparent supporter of the country's former Union pour un Mouvement Populaire government. "I was nervous at the beginning because it was my hometown and in front of so many people. But once I started to play it was all pleasure."
It was a fulfilling homecoming, if a long awaited one. But why had he never played in the French capital before? "When my father was president I didn't want that to be the big issue. I wanted to prove my value outside of France first," he says of packing gigs around the world. "Now I can play in France because I've showed people that I'm good at what I do, and not because of who I am." To this end Mr Sarkozy is reluctant to talk about his family.
When my father was president I didn't want that to be the big issue. I wanted to prove my value outside of France first
Music was Mr Sarkozy's passion long before his father became president and married the Italian supermodel Ms Carla Bruni. When he was nine years old, he was already doing remixes of his CDs on cassette tapes and giving them to his friends. "I was a music lover since I was a child. French House was big, Daft Punk, Étienne, Alex Gopher, that Parisian Versailles scene, so I was trying to do this even before I knew it was a career."
His next musical milestone was when, at the age of 14, he was an exchange student in Atlanta, Georgia, which is the Mecca of hip-hop and R & B culture in the US. "I discovered this underground hip-hop scene, and their style," he says, noting that he had heard the music but didn't know it could be an entire lifestyle on the other side of the Atlantic. "I came back to Paris with the baggy pants and the do-rag, and I got a bunch of my friends at school to start a hip-hop band with me."
His band, TK, would rehearse at his house but, he says, they weren't good enough to attract the eye of an actual producer so he started cutting and editing the music himself. "The band was so bad no one wanted to do instrumentals for us, so I started to do it myself," he laughs. "Which I liked much more, to be behind the scenes."
His amateur production experiments lead him to DJ gigs. "Four years ago I went to Ibiza for the first time and was like, yes, now it's time to do both," he smiles, adding that it seems a logical way to promote one's own music. "I figured I could DJ the tracks that I produced too." While he says his personal musical tastes range from Corsican to classical, he mostly creates House music: French House, soulful House, a bit of deep House. He prefers to champion new French artists who haven't made it abroad yet, such as Gesaffelstein and the scene from Reims: Yuksek and Brodinski, and the techno collective known as Shiny Disco Club. "But the track that I love right now is from Amine Edge: 'Going to Heaven with the Goodie-Goodies'."
Michael J Fox in Back to the Future is my style icon - I still have the pump-up sneakers that he wears
Our chat turns to the DJ's wardrobe, and, specifically, Mr Sarkozy's personal style icons. They are amusing, if not a little shocking: "Michael J Fox in Back to the Future is my style icon," he says. "And Johnny Depp in 21 Jump Street." He's smiling when he says this, and pulls his long, shaggy blond locks behind his ear, but he's serious. "I still have the pump-up sneakers that Michael J Fox wears." No, really? "Yeah, I promise. They're hard to find, but I have many pairs of pump-ups." He pairs his sneakers with jeans and T-shirts, which he culls mainly from a T-shirt shop in the 8th arrondissement of Paris but won't divulge the name of. "I'd like to grow up one day, but I'm still into the jeans and the sneakers." In the meantime, he says he's still looking for the flying skateboard that Mr Fox used in the second film, which was set in the "future" year of 2015.
Not that he doesn't understand the importance of a wardrobe, even though he spends most of his time in a DJ booth or a recording studio. Perhaps this politician's son subconsciously learnt the power of a sound bite because he leaves me with a serious final thought. "I've always thought style should be a way to express yourself, but not something that you're devoted to. It's like what we say about money: It's a good servant, but a bad master."