Jean-Jacques Perrey is a pioneering electronic musician who was born and raised in France. In his youth, he had asked his parents for an accordion and he taught himself how to play popular French songs. He eventually had formal piano training and performed jazz around the village as a teenager. While he was in college, he discovered a brand new instrument called the Ondioline, which was a predecessor to the modern keyboard synthesizer. Jean-Jacques took a job demonstrating this unusual instrument throughout Europe. A New York music industry businessman named Carroll Bratman, who specialized in supplying unconventional percussive instruments to the local recording industry, heard of Jean-Jacques and the Ondioline and persuaded him to move to New York, where he built a new experimental electronic recording studio for him. At this time, Mr. Bratman arranged for him to appear on the TV show "I've Got a Secret" hosted by Gary Moore to demonstrate the different sounds provided by the unique instrument. At the studio, Perrey experimented with sequencing sounds by tape splicing techniques, paving the way for today's Hip Hop genre. He then met Robert Moog and procured one of his first Moog synthesizers. With all this new emerging technology at his disposal, Perrey and his colleague Gershon Kingsley were producing new "space age sounds" for radio and television commercials. They also recorded experimental albums for the Vanguard label. Jean-Jacques eventually moved back to his native France where he continued to work in the entertainment field and developed music to help with insomniacs. In the 2000's, he returned to touring with a close friend by the name of Dana Countryman. The young, hip crowd really enjoyed the timeless music and danced up a storm during these performances. Today, Jean-Jacques Perrey enjoys his retirement in Switzerland with a wonderful view of the mountains. I recently had correspondance with Jean-Jacques.
R.V.B. - What kind of music were you exposed to around the house as you were growing up and what did you do for fun as a child?
J.J.P. - I heard popular French songs, songs for kids, opera and classical music. I liked to play jokes on people, such as hiding behind a tree and scaring them (but of course they knew I was there!)