Pablo, can you tell us your story so far?
I was born in Paris to a Chilean father, Teo Saavedra, who was highly involved in the armed struggle against the Pinochet dictatorship, and a mother who was a war photographer, Marie-Laure de Decker. I grew up with her and Thierry Levy, who was a great lawyer and a very erudite man. I stopped going to school when I was 14 and went to live with my older sister in Chile. I started to paint and play percussion, and then I travelled in Indonesia and India to study gamelan and tabla. I learned to sale on an old sailing ship in the Caribbean, then I studied music in a jazz school in Paris. After that, I travelled to Central America with a theatre company, where we went to perform in orphanages. In the six years that followed, I regularly went to spend a few months with a nomadic tribe in southern Chad. Being with them, in the bushland, was a unique and very powerful experience. Like returning to the origins of humanity. I also studied theatre at the Jacques Lecoq School in Paris, then in London, was an assistant decorator for Hermès, then one day I got on my bike – literally – and left Venice for Athens on pedal power alone. I lived in New York, where I met the mother of my two wonderful children. After some wonderful, intricately constructed years of challenging everything, I was suddenly faced with the obligation to join that society. It was not always an easy transition!
As a musician, you define yourself primarily as a performer – can you tell us more about that?
I naturally took a different approach to the DJ set. I don’t stay behind the turntables, stressing about the perfect transition; I’m just not that bothered. I am in front of the turntables, on the stage and I try to bring the crowd with me through music, sharing the effects that it has on me. I dance non-stop for five hours and I go into a trance. In the old days, people used to come together to celebrate their god, life. That is what a DJ set is all about for me! A spiritual communion between the audience, intangible mystery, and the music. I try to create a kind of collective catharsis, pushing my own limits, both physical and trying to seek out a certain vibrancy, a feeling that I share with all my soul and all the energy that I possess. It’s what Aristotle called the “purification” effect, shared with an audience via a dramatic representation of the music.
What are your sources of inspiration, both in your everyday life and in your work?
Everything. But I’ve always been defined by three people who were the pillars of my existence. My father, my mother, and my stepfather. Between the three of them, they represent strength, courage, and doing the right thing, and a fairly an very good example of the ideal Being. It’s very difficult to meet the standards you set for yourself, and sometimes you fall short, but I think you have to do all you can via a process of reflection and daily action to create an image of yourself that goes above and beyond what you think you are. Our ultimate goal, I think, is to shape the being that we are becoming, with energy and courage. Then, I’d say that literature and cinema have profoundly inspired me. The great characters are like springs from which you can sate your thirst. More specifically in my work, I’d say the men and women who created the 20th century, and to mention just a tiny handful, I’d say Fela, Nina Simone, and James Brown. And then the great orators, who create a very powerful vibe that I admire. In short, people inspire me daily. Humanity and silence. As I said, everything. Today, I don’t see anything that can’t be a source of inspiration.
What is the story of your place?
This house is on the estate of an eighteenth-century château. I’ve lived here for three years and gradually my friends have moved into the other neighbouring houses. We are in the middle of a 40-hectare forest, 20 minutes from Fontainebleu. It is an enchanted location, overlooked by magnificent, 250-year-old sequoias.
Which item do you have here that is most special to you?
There are four symbolic items. My father spent three years in concentration camps in Chile. While he was detained, he made little objects for my mother out of bone or metal. A guitar that my mother gave to my father when I was born. A signet ring that belonged to my grandfather, who fought in three wars. I would like to have known him in my adult life; he was as straight as a rod. And, finally, a knife that I had in Chad. For me, they are sacred objects that are imbued with powerful memories.
And what is still missing from your life?
Nothing. I’m happy with what I have. Oh yes, a potato peeler. I’ve been looking for one for months!
Where is the place where you spend most time at home?
All over the place, but mainly in my study, where I read and I write.
How would you sum up your world in a few words?
It’s difficult to describe in a few words; that’s everything there is. Talking about it would be to deprive it of its essence and lock it in a box. I don’t like that. Perhaps you could tell us about the decoration you have. I like things that seem to be alive.
What are your plans for the immediate future?
I am working on two projects: a series of videos and photographs about dance and shamanism. As well as putting a visual set together. A project that would combine everything that I’ve done to date; a kind of theatrical, musical and dance performance.
Photography & Text: Eve Campestrini – Translation: TextMaster @thesocialitefamily