Grace Carter: Your real name is Erhal Lacroix. What made you decide to adopt a pseudonym?
Kije Manito: Like 90 per cent of artists in Electronic music, I decided to adopt a pseudonym. I already had a clear idea of the one I wanted to choose.
GC: How did you go about choosing the name ‘Kije Manito’ and what does it mean?
KM: I was looking for an original name. And in the book Les Fleurs du Mal by Charles Baudelaire, I rediscovered the story of The Peace Pipe and the main character Gitche Manito was fitting exactly to my universe. By changing the syntax a little bit, I chose Kije Manito, a symbol of solidarity and unity.
GC: What role do you think anonymity plays in the music industry?
KM: It's a question of choice. Some artists use anonymity to protect themselves, but when you want to reveal your music to your main audience, you become a public character in any case.
GC: Does any of your French heritage seep into your tracks?
KM: Several years ago, I started to mix in different clubs in Paris and the main artists I liked to play were Mr. Oizo, Alan Braxe, Daft Punk... So, I am inspired by French influences in my tracks.
GC: How would you describe your sound?
KM: Atmospheric, Bangerz and Subs!
GC: Your debut EP, Majestaju, was released on 8th September. What
were the inspirations behind it?
KM: The main inspiration behind my debut EP project was to gather digital and organic instruments. The main goal was to mix different sound textures in order to create a unique sound, my signature. For example, in the track ‘Cause My Love Is Dead’, the main instrument played is a real harp, and then there is a big beat added in through a digital process with some analogue bass.
GC: Can you talk me through the process of making your tracks? What is the starting point and how do you build on it?
KM: The starting point is very often a melody. From the moment I pick up on one, everything becomes much easier. However, when the first line is not quite right, I never manage to complete a track. Since my childhood, I have listened to music from Curtis Mayfield to Bonobo. It's always very symphonic and melodic.
GC: Which musicians influence your work and in what ways?
KM: A guy like Gramatik has really inspired me with his sampling technics and his beat signature. Also a guy like J Dilla, who had a huge influence on my way of working when I was younger.
GC: What do you think the music industry is missing that you are trying to fill with your music?
KM: Nowadays, you can find all kinds of music from all over the world by digging on the Web and it's great! But if mainstream radio, etc, could broadcast more original music, I think it would be a cool change!
GC: Where do you see yourself headed and what’s next?
KM: I would really like to continue advancing in the music industry and continue to progress in my own work. My next step is my EP going live from September and in the course of next year, I will release my first album.
Listen to Kije Manito here.
Words: Grace Carter
Photography: Audran Sarzier