In the world of music, there are those that follow all the trends and latest sounds, hopping opportunistically to the next big thing once a goldmine has been plundered. Then there are those who remain loyal to their aspirations, with their periods of doubt followed by moments, often more fleeting and unexpected, of public unveiling and criticism. Loyalty and integrity form part of the qualities that might best be used to describe Michel Amato, aka The Hacker, often nicknamed “man of shadows”.
At the end of the 1980’s, strongly influenced by Joy Division, New Order, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, The Cure, Cabaret Voltaire, DAF, Throbbing Gristle and even Einstürzende Neubauten, Michel started a New Wave rock band. When he discovered the first wave of successful house music, including S-Express, M/A/R/R/S and Inner City, he left his group, convinced that this music would change everything. He started to mess around with a few tracks on some rudimentary equipment, and LFO and Belgian techno were like a wake-up call to him. From this point onwards, Michel started to produce techno tracks purely for his own pleasure, finally proving himself as a serious artist when he mixed music for the energetic Jeff Mills.
He took on the name of “The Hacker” in homage to a track by the Master of Detroit. He became interested in the Underground Resistance, in the 88 and the entire US electro sound. In 96, an old friend, Miss Kittin, asked him to co-produce a track with her, in an electro-pop vein, entitled “Gratin Dauphinois”. Discovered by DJ Hell, Miss Kittin and The Hacker went on to produce several tracks on his label “International Deejays Gigolos”, including the future hits “Frank Sinatra” and “1982”.
The track was huge hit at the Love Parade of Berlin and the record also saw success throughout Europe. While all this was happening, The Hacker set up his own label with his friend Oxia, otherwise known as Goodlife in reference to one of Kevin Saunderson’s first big hits.
The year 2000 saw the release of his first album “Mélodies en sous sol” (Basement Melodies), a skilful blend of electro and techno with a melancholic and introspective edge. The Hacker, just out of what he describes as his “Jeff Mills period” had finally found his own sound, influenced by Detroit, Kraftwerk, the German rave sound of PCP, and the synthesized sounds of the new-wave era.
In 2001, working once more with Miss Kittin, the duo released the “First Album”, starting the electro-clash craze. The record would go on to sell over 50,000 copies and even Elton John and Karl Lagerfeld claimed to be fans. However, hype was lying dangerously in wait for them and the duo preferred a temporary separation. The Hacker continued on his path, always in the shadows, working with big names on several French and international labels: UMF, Dancefloor Killer, Sativae, Missile, Rotation, Turbo, Error 404 …
He released a new album “Rêves Mécaniques” (Mechanical dreams) in 2004 on which he affirms his love for analogue sounds. This album is considered by many to be his most mature to date. His accomplice Miss Kittin even features on one track. He has since continued to produce music regularly and to perform in public on DJ sets, in major venues as well as in more exclusive clubs, always with the same humility and integrity that has made his name over the years.
The Hacker Top 10 October 2015:
01. Gesloten Cirkel – Dented (Murdercapital)
02. Morgan Hammer – Killer Nighter (Optimo Trax)
03. Rework – Overdosed (Meant Records)
04. Amato – Physique (Cititrax)
05. Helena Hauff – Sworn To Secrecy Part II (Werk Discs)
06. Frak – Synthfrilla (Dark Entries)
07. The Juan Maclean – Here I Am (Tuff City Kids) (DFA Records)
08. Philipp Gorbachev – The Weeping Tune (PG Tune)
09. Automat – Bangkok (Mille Feuilles)
10. Matt Walsh – Shake The Mind (Clouded Vision)