How did you get your start? What was your first project?
I was completely passionate about music and started producing bands when I was in college. Music was really my big thing. Then I started going into fashion, but I have a big background in print.
[Admiring his new Chris Christenson surfboard, he says, "I only really shortboard."]
So your career path has never really changed.
I actually studied political science. So it has nothing to do with it. I think our generation really feeds off of these things. I like surfing as much as I like music or fashion or anything. So you may have started out with these different projects, then you meet all these people. It just becomes this self sustaining thing. If you’re able to surf and produce music, then why not? I was fortunate enough to have parents who understood that I wanted to quit college and start managing rock bands and they were like “Okay.” But I finished my degree. I had this deal with my dad, if I finished my degree I could do whatever I wanted and he wouldn't ask questions.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up outside of Paris, then my family moved to Texas.
Where in Texas?
It seems like a really big difference.
It was huge!
Like total culture shock. Then we moved...back to France. Then I came back [to the United States] for college. I went to Columbia. I was 17 and my family was living in Spain. I started work with music and bands. The thing for me was about staying independent. I didn’t want to work for a record label. I didn’t want to work for anybody else. I just wanted to do it on my own. I think that was a big decision for me. I was really influenced by a couple of people who started their own business. I just wanted to be independent. I didn’t want to have a boss. You make a lot of sacrifices. Staying independent becomes more important than anything else. For the same reasons, I was able to work with my brother, Vassili and my sister Julie. Not having a boss and choosing who you work with becomes so important. The projects that you do and the artists that you work with.
When I started in the music business... I knew that if I worked for a record company, I would end up making music that I didn’t like or having to work with music I didn’t like, which is completely contradictory. There’s a lot of music that I like in the industry and there is a lot I don’t like. It was simple for me, I had to be independent. So I worked on a couple of other things, to make money, so I could make the music that I liked. It worked. There were some really tough years, but it’s never easy. The thing about being independent is if things go well, you can appreciate it a lot. But if things do not go well, then you have to take responsibility for it. That’s something that I have passed on to my brother. It’s an amazing luxury to have your own business. It’s been good. It’s been interesting. I travel a lot. I’ve spent a lot of time in Russia. I’ve spent a lot of time in Japan.
Is this photo of you in Normandy surfing?
Yeah, it’s really cold and murky. It’s kind of like New Jersey. It's really cold and rocks everywhere. This is how Normandy gets in the winter.
That’s super cool. How old were you?
I was like 12. It’s insane. But like Normandy never gets like this, never... This was the best wave of my life.
Wednesday, June 19
We sat down with Anne Pasternak for a few questions about Creative Time's past and future, as well as the importance of having an awareness about public art in the city.