How did you get into music?
When the time came to decide what I really wanted to do, I initially quite fancied the idea of working in the fashion world, as a designer/producer for fashion shows for I truly enjoy the spectacle of it all—and fashion too! Music was already there in my life but I was a self-taught musician with no connection whatsoever in this world, I didn’t know how to make it a reality, so I did shy away from it; for a long time it remained my secret bedroom hobby. But eventually I discovered Brian Eno: not through a record or a concert, but through an art installation he’d done at an art fair in Lyon. It was a blinding revelation to me: how much visual arts and sound could interact. Visuals play a key part in what I try do as an artist; they matter as much as music, it’s an integral part of the project!
What has most influenced your personal style when it comes to fashion and the look of your videos and album covers? How important is fashion for your work?
I’ve always been inspired by fashion designers. Fashion and style are key components of what I try to achieve artistically—I believe both worlds provide constant inspiration for each other. I’m a big fan of Alexander Mc Queen. It’s majestic and very strong. Visually, in general, I love extravagance, theatricality (not disguises, though), something a bit dramatic. Fire under the ice, in short!
I’m hugely inspired by photographers, too: I actually had Man Ray in mind when we did the photos and designed the cover for my album!
Your music is a mix of gloomy, dreamy pop. What ideas go into your approach to writing songs?
I like mixing different, or even antagonist, atmospheres. Lyrics come last, actually. I’m a self-taught musician, so the process always starts quite organically, anyway, not with an instrument or a machine beside my voice!
Some of the world’s most successful musical artists—David Bowie, Madonna, Lady Gaga—have been able to prolong their careers through interesting collaborations and complete image overhauls. Do you see yourself going through any major transformations in the future? Are there any other genres or images you’d be interested in discovering for your career?
Transformation is good! I don’t want to be confined to a specific genre, image or style.
(If you were wondering, yes, Cara Delevingine is a fan of OWLLE – she posted “Ticky Ticky” on Valentine’s Day”)
Interview by Alex Brown