AM is the name of the collaborative sound design agency run by Aimée Jagou and Marie Trifault. In this interview they discuss musical curation, linking images to sound and why the concept of outdatedness doesn’t really work these days.
Aimée, you have studied music, and Marie, you have studied fashion. How and when did you come up with the idea of creating the concept of AM - essentially combining both of these fields?
For few years after High School, we have been talking about setting up our company one day and make a living from our passions: music, fashion and art. From our respective schools, we decided to work on the concept and business plan of our agency and we created AM, a sound design agency dedicated to fashion and art, bringing together our favourite interests. We worked hard on how to propose a different vision of musical identity to brands, designers and curators, in order to offer something different and unique. During this last year at the University, we finally decided to launch the project as we were working with Études already. Then more and more projects emerged and we decided to dedicate ourselves entirely to AM.
Working as an agency that covers such a broad range of tasks and clients, how do you approach the individual projects and their specific challenges?
Each project is so different! Because of the inspirations, the target, the designer or artist’s character etc… It’s very interesting because we never offer the same thing and every time is a new opportunity to surprise people. Delivering the right message of each brand is the priority and the music must perfectly reflect it. In addition we add an AM touch to make the overall thing unique. Obviously, each project usually begins with a meeting with the artist or designer and the presentation of his/her inspirations. We really use all the elements of inspiration to be as consistent as possible and work on the details. For example, for a fashion show, the collection, the scenography, the time of day, the duration of the show, the history of the brand, the casting of the models, the target clients and the message delivered - these are all elements that will feed and lead our sound research.
You frequently do music curation for fashion brands and showrooms. With fashion being such a fast-paced industry, how does this influence your sound?
For sure, it is a permanent challenge to react to the needs of the fashion market and all the new trends. We work carefully to bring a very special touch to the soundtrack, so that its originality can make it timeless and unique for each client. It’s the same in the music industry, with the Internet, there is plenty of new music released everyday. We realize that a lot of these new releases are similar, and our job is to filter the music offer in order to get the best out of it. The right choice of music will make a collection unique and lasting beyond its time. It’s also interesting to see that nowadays the idea of outdatedness no longer really makes sense since we re-use again and again the styles from years 2000, 90, 80, 70… etc. It’s like a giant mix of both, new and old influences, as if we had to make the past modern again. If we follow this idea, it gives us considerable freedom in terms of creation! The main challenge is to surprise, to attract curiosity.
Apart from your work as an agency, you also do audiovisual performances with AM Visions, having recently collaborated with artists such as Lambert Duchesne. Tell us more about the working process of AM Visions. How does it differ to working as an agency?
AM visions is a side-project that we wanted to launch based on our desires to see more links between music and images during gigs, but also between clubs and museums, between music and art in general. With AM Visions, we offer audiovisual performances in collaboration with media artists. We believe in immersive experiences that appeal to a maximum of our senses. Sometimes during a dj-set, you can get a little tired by always facing the same frame: a dj behind his turntables. And, as we loved the works of some media artists, we proposed them to get involved with AM Visions in order to create something different to clubs and festivals. We recently played at Meakusma Festival with Lambert Duchesne, but we are also looking forward for new performances with our other collaborators: Sabrina Ratté, Eva Papamargaritti, Jonathan McCabe and Arina Makhova. Each of them has their own style and each performance is therefore totally different from one artist to another. Also, musically, we can express ourselves and bring our own sensitivity without having to respect a certain brief, image or expectations from a certain client. We wanted to differentiate ourselves, linking images to sounds is a different approach than using visuals made by a VJ. We want to offer a special experience of mixing music and art.
Your work takes place within diverse spaces, as well as the internet. Do you consider and approach these settings differently?
Space is very important for our work indeed, and a soundtrack will always have a different form and content within an exhibition, a fashion show, a store, a showroom or an online music platform. We are also interested in working on the way of listening. For example, for our first exhibition project, we created a sound environment that guided the visitor from room to room. The visitor was able to follow the sound spreading from work to work in a space where usually the eyes make you go through. This time, we wanted the ears to make you walk.