The specialist fashion audio artist talks to David Hellqvist about making music for the Queen of Minimalism
David Hellqvist: What’s your relationship like with Jil Sander?
Frédéric Sanchez: We’ve worked together for 20 years so there is a long history between us.
David: What do you think about when making a soundtrack?
Frédéric: That it should fit with the brand. My music works with a minimal aesthetic, it sits alongside the story of the collection. For this sesaon we looked at David Bowie’s come back; he’s got an album out soon and there’s the V&A expo in March. He’s 66 years and making a come back, it’s incredible. For me, that was the starting point and the inspiration.
David: But it isn’t Bowie singing!
Frédéric: No, Bowie made me think of Scott Walker , he’s also an amazing artist, and in the end I used his vocals. I remember when Bowie did his Outside record and Scott released the Tilt album at the same time. There is something similar about their voices. Scott Walker is often used for films but not for fashion – maybe they think is too sad? I thought it was a good idea to use him, so I proposed it to Jil and she liked it. David: What did you mix it with? Frédéric: A minimal aesthetic and electronic sound, with lots of bass. I like it to have a rounded sound, and a pure feeling. It adds quality, like the soundsystem in a beautiful car…
David: What’s the process behind developing a show soundtrack?
Frédéric: I don’t really need to see the clothes. With Jill, I know her and the style really well. It’s like a conversation; it starts with us just talking, and the soundtrack comes from that. It’s an easy process, each season is a development – it’s like an ongoing story. We could put each soundtrack after the other and they would make sense.
David: Did you work with Raf Simons at Jil Sander as well?
Frédéric: No, I didn’t – I had a seven year break from the label! It’s great to be back, it feels like I’m home. I started working with Jil in 1991. We met through her Art Director at the time, he brought me in and it’s been ongoing ever since.
David: What is about the brand and Jil’s style that you like?
Frédéric: It’s very similar to what I like myself. Even 20 years ago when we met, I felt a connection to her clothes. I understand what she does.
David: What pieces in the AW13 collection did you like?
Frédéric: The suits and coats are amazing – the quality is great!
David: What should a good soundtrack do?
Frédéric: It should tell you about the designer, and who he or she is. The worst thing is a bad collection that has a great soundtrack. I prefer if they hate everything!
David: What shows do you work on?
Frédéric: I do quite a few, and the ones I work with I’ve done for many years: I work with Jil Sander, Prada and Calvin Klein in Milan and Ann Demulemeester in Paris. I also work with quite a few womenswear designers.