AvA is a French singer-songwriter, musician and composer. She’s back with a new track called “Summer Blue” which is an ode to the solar tranquility of a season that turned the artist’s life upside down. According to the press release, The song tells the story of the summer that witnessed the birth of the artist’s romantic encounter with her companion 19 years ago. The symbol of a turning point that marks the end of a troubled childhood and the beginning of an artistic love life. The musical production takes on the bare bones of the theme : grand piano & vocals depict the appeasement born of this new intimacy. Elise Bourn, who accompanies AvA on stage, carries the backing vocals and piano interpretation.
Check the official video directed by herself and Zoé Cavaro and read our chat with the artist below.
Today we share the new track “Summer Blue”. Tell us more about the track and the video. It is an ode to the solar tranquility of a season that turned your life upside down, right?
I wrote the track at home, with my piano, thinking about how much an encounter can change a life. This summer, sitting on the beach around midnight, in the delicate insouciance of our youth, I kissed a man that was going to be my lover for the next 19 years. I didn’t know that at the time, but it was also going to be the beginning of my artistic life. We started to work together immediately, creating our first band, touring a lot. We recorded our first album, created our label and studio Znprk ; then our interdisciplinary company, the Collectif Øpera. And then our first opera « The Young Man and darkness ». We shared millions of hours composing, writing and so on. So back to my piano, creating this song, I was feeling emotional traveling in time, thinking of how much this solar season meant to me, how much this summer grew in me to this day.
The track is part of a series of 5 Singles & 5 short films which will be published as an album, right? How was born the idea of this audiovisual project?
When I started to compose and write for « AvA », I saw the songs as a collection of short stories about our post-modern world, painted in full contradiction between beauty and brutality. I also slipped in autobiographical secrets, like in « Summer Blue » for example, or « Orage » the 1srt Single released which talks about my epilepsy. I started to work with France’s finest of the production world, 20Syl and Grégoire Vaillant for the musical arrangements. I wanted the orchestration mostly with analog synthesis, acoustic instruments and major melodic themes, delivering a collision of melancholic and blissful tones.
When we got the first tracks produced, I realized I needed the project to be as visually powerful to serve my ultra-poetic vision of this project. But it really bloomed when I met the incredible photograph and director Zoé Cavaro. We started with a simple photo shoot. An artistic and human connection immediately happened. And I called her a few months later « hey, do you want to come on stage with me as a VJ ? » She laughed and said she’d never done this before. And our collaboration began. We created all the visual contents for the live show as for the music videos so they are intimately connected. We imagined a surrealist and an aestheticizing world for the project. The concert is now an immersive experience, leading the audience into a hypersensitive audiovisual performance, served by a feminine team with also Elise Bourn who performs the instrumental and vocal part with me.
Our music videos have their own path in Film Festival. « Orage », an emotional dive into the feverish mind of my epileptic brain, has already won a few awards (LA Independent Women Film Awards, Berlin Indie Film Festival, Toronto International…)
You also write for cinema. How different is the approach when you write for yourself and when you have to work to someone else ?
I have a passion for words. I love to write for a song, or a play, or screenwriting. Though the technique is really different. To roughly summarize, I would say a song is a very tiny short story in poetic form, and a feature film is a very big longer one where poetry must also bloom with images. When I write for cinema, once all the characters are in mind, I can hear them dialoguing all the time. It is like an internal battle going on. For now, I write my own stories, and for the other directors of our crew in the Collectif Øpera and Wizard Pictures. We are a team of 4 directors/screenwriters, each working on each-other’s projects, in a collective and mutualization spirit. I’m currently working on my first horror/thriller full-length movie « Spirite ».
You are from France. I’m very interested to the connection between the places we live over the years, our roots and the art. How do you feel these theme connected to your music, your way to think music? What are your favorite places which inspired the most?
Interesting question. I grew up in a port town, by the beach (Saint-Nazaire). As a kid, I was very free, biking anywhere whenever I wanted. I think the landscapes we grow up in are tied to us until the end. We all have dreams back in our childhood home or street for example. I think for me the endless view of the ocean, its majesty, but also its wilderness, dangerous side (my sister almost drowned when we were young) soaked into my artistic vision. My creations are always painted in full contradiction between beauty and brutality.
More generally, in France, we learn a lot of poetry at school, and as a hidden nerd, I was probably the only one enjoying it… a lot. I mean I chose to take up Latin from secondary to high school for 6 years. I feel a strong connection with this preciosity in language, words, symbols, metaphors and literature in general.
And about my favorite place for inspiration. Right now it is the mountain. In France, we have this immense privilege to benefit from very different landscapes. Ocean, sea, deep forests, lakes, amazing cities with spectacular architectures and… mountains. As the story of the movie I’m currently working on happens in a hidden chalet in the mountain, I will spend some time there – in the Alpes probably – to finish it.
Let’s talk about the current situation. How are you living these strange times and what are the main concerns as an artist?
Last year and a half was the opportunity for me to shoot the music videos for AvA, write new songs and also start producing the musical arrangements of the last tracks of the album on my own. When the lockdown started, we took our gear home with my partner and dedicated a room to it. Like back when we only had a home studio. We had shifts to use it, and I started to produce new tracks with our analog synths.
It was a very productive period. Although I’m quite concerned about the music industry. As live shows were cancelled, a lot of artists couldn’t make a living with their creations anymore. But this problem goes way back. The economic downturn in the record industry and the beginning of streaming market was a turning point in artists’ economy. I suggest an excellent article from the BBC about that. After a six-month inquiry into music streaming, the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee is calling for a « complete reset of music streaming to ensure fair pay for artists » (https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-57838473?fbclid=IwAR2ck5OFw_Tu8CZ1vblxP6wdXGoCEN0t7amPGCKZe1BcNoeDaQutqxHnPq8)
I hope this period will make our ecosystem realize we do have a huge problem with the salary of composers and we have to negotiate a decent fee for artists with the streaming companies.
Ritual question. Have you seen or heard anything good recently?
I will answer with a very partisan way : Elise Bourn ! We’ve just integrated her in our company, the Collectif Øpera, she’s from New-Zealand, she’s creating her first indie-folk album and it’s going to blow your heart.