Daft Punk-Endorsed Kavinsky Isn't A Musician, Has 30 Million YouTube Views
Photo by Vincent Desailly
French producer and DJ Kavinsky has provided a song for Grand Theft Auto IV, shared the stage and studio with members of Daft Punk, and amassed over 30 million YouTube views for "Nightcall," which scored the opening credits to Nicolas Refn's 2011 film Drive. That's a pretty impressive CV for a 37-year-old man who goes by Vincent Belorgey by day, admits to producing only four singles in a decade, and still doesn't think of himself as a musician. "I don't know how to play piano. I can't read sheet music. A true musician can do that," he tells me in the second-floor lobby of the Soho Grand over a glass of Balvenie whisky. "Logic is just a big trick. Everybody can make music with that kind of software."
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Belorgey wears sneakers, a jean vest, and blue jeans, and his arms are covered with tattoos both self-referential (his moniker and song "Dead Cruiser," off his recent debut full-length OutRun, are spelled out in '80s brush paint on his right inner arm) and fanboyish (the logo from Survivor's Eye of the Tiger and a profile of the deceased, beloved French DJ Mehdi on his left). He does not sport the driving gloves he started using, for the record, before Ryan Gosling. Except for his stubbled cheeks and graying blond hair, Kavinsky could pass for an extra in a retro ad for Casio keyboards.
The youthful quality of his appearance extends to his gloriously bastardized Italo-disco techno, which is rooted in the movies he watched and video games he played growing up in a suburb of Paris. "The Pong, all the Nintendos, all the Segas. The Goonies, G.I. Joe, the Spielberg movies. I'm truly a sponge. When I watch something and I like it, it stays inside me. And at one time it comes back." It came back nearly 20 years later when Belorgey's friend and director, Quentin Depieux-- who goes by Mr. Oizo-- gave him his first Macintosh computer in 2003. "It's very late for a 30-year-old man," he admits. Depieux was about to throw away the old Apple when Belorgey offered to take the computer instead. Maybe he could make music with the Logic Audio software inside, he suggested. And thus, Kavinsky was born.