Catherine Herve is a producer, DJ and vocalist who purrs her lyrics in French and English. In the early ’90s, she started performing in her native Grenoble, probably best known as the snowy mountain town that hosted the 1968 Winter Olympics. Born five years later, the girl who would be Miss Kittin was less interested in figure skating than she was in figuring out the pop and proggy records (Genesis, Pink Floyd, Beatles) her parents played at home. Fine art, graphic design and music — increasingly becoming wilder and more danceable — were her favorite sports.
She met a guy who called himself The Hacker in a new-wave club in the French Alps. The pair developed a minimal acid-disco-rock sound inspired by European electro and Richie Hawtin and Rob Hood in Detroit. Their collaboration produced “Frank Sinatra,” a song that satirized the “suck my dick/lick my ass” arrogance of Hollywood/Vegas high society. Miss Kittin and the Hacker’s “1982” was one of the crowning moments of Berlin’s Love Parade in the summer of 1998, catapulting the duo to a steady schedule of club and festival appearances — and international stardom for the squeezable Miss K. In 2002, Herve moved to Berlin, where she’s still based.
Miss Kittin’s star has continued to rise. She’s collaborated with some of electronic music’s highest flyers, including Steve Bug, Felix da Housecat, T. Raumschmiere, Chicks on Speed and Sven Vath (with whom she did a remake of 1969’s “Je T’aime Moi Non Plus,” Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin’s smoldering whispering submission to illicit sex). Her releases include the full-length “Miss Kittin On the Road,” which reveals her love for Chicago, Detroit and some of the sickest electro/ghetto bass on the planet, and last year’s I.Com LP, her first solo production effort. I.Com produced three club hits, “Professional Distortion,” “Happy Violentine” and “Requiem for a Hit,” the last featuring dirty-ass vocals by Chicago’s L.A. Williams (“Show me your tits/and let’s make a hit”). Kittin is a strong woman in an underground overpopulated by egomaniacal men. As a live performer, she can go toe-to-toe with any dude and kick serious ass, but good. She shows up, plugs in and lets her records scream from the belly.
Dance music’s reigning anti-diva returns to Detroit Friday, April 29, performing at the first anniversary party for Oslo and Soft Curls, the promotions crew behind the bookings at the downtown sushi bar and nightclub. It’s fitting that Miss Kittin would play at the party; Soft Curls promoter Sharif Zawideh brought her to Motor a few years ago for her only other Detroit appearance.
Be prepared to sweat. Herve recommends you inhale, exhale and drink lots of water. We’re listening, bitch. Look for us up close, where the bass meets booty. Welcome back to the D, baby.
Inside the shrinking head of Fuse-In
Fuse-In? Who gives a shit? Well, we do. Here’s the freshest word we could get on record (though the word and the record continue to change day to day): The Underground Stage for Detroit’s planned Memorial Day weekend festival is being booked, by highly reputable local programmers with international connections, as we speak. The programming is proceeding despite the fact that no official OK has come down that the festival will even take place; at the time we went to press a Fuse-In presentation before Detroit City Council had still not happened. (Council President Maryann Mahaffey’s office told us they didn’t know of any upcoming agenda item regarding the festival. When we brought up last week’s front page Free Press article about the chaotic state of Fuse-In, Mahaffey’s assistant said, “What article?”) Still, whispers are getting louder that promoters are promoting without promise of funding, under the assumption that parties will still rage throughout the Detroit night and morning even if Hart Plaza remains dark all weekend. DJs are once again being asked to play for nothing or for future payoffs (the same scenario occurred during previous Movement events). Favors are reportedly being called in to DJs who would likely miss a very lucrative kickoff to the summer season at Homelands, a huge electronic festival in the UK held the same weekend. The caveat: If the festival becomes a series of parties charging $10, $15 or $25 a head, performers, promoters and technical people will get paid.
Speedy J conferencing the Motor City
While bumming over the future of the global dance society, we turned our attention to the upcoming Motor City Music Conference and started feeling, oh, what? Better? Yes, we actually did when we focused on Speedy J (née Jochem Paap) and his electro-tech fusion of pleasure and pain. The high-flying hammering Dutchman makes an MCMC appearance at the Masonic Temple’s exquisite Fountain Ballroom on Saturday, April 23. A native of Rotterdam, Speedy J helped reimagine and reshape the sounds of Detroit with the European in mind. In the early days, he hooked up with Windsor’s Plus 8 label for a series of searingly elegant 12-inchers that brought the scene full circle and reconnected it with Detroit. The night comes courtesy of Paxahau, which also booked Kero (Detroit Underground), and residents Rich Korach, Tony Zadonia, Tom Newman and Rex Sepulveda (D Records) for the Motor City Conference event.
We scoured the list of electronic performers scheduled to appear at the MCMC, but found little else to recommend. More announcements are promised. We think a night of straight-up booty, featuring DJs Assault and Godfather, at Good Life Lounge (Thursday, April 21) could be fun; an unfinished print of a documentary of the Detroit dance scene, High Tech Soul, screens at Bleu (Saturday, April 23); and then there is the so-called techno everyman, Richard Hall (er, you know him as Moby), at the State Theatre (Friday, April 22). Go to Motorcitymusic.com for show details.
Wednesday, April 20: Paul Randolph, Andres, Peoples Team at Oslo (1456 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-963-0300).
Wednesday, April 27: Soft Curls, Slym Fas, Andres, Peoples Team at Oslo (1456 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-963-0300).
Thursday, April 28: Emotional Joystick, 000, Kero at Foran’s (612 Woodward Ave,, Detroit; 313-961-3043).The Subterraneans is a biweekly column devoted to dance culture. Send comments to email@example.com