When I first listened to “Bon Voyage” and “The Third Eye” by Masomenos, I was mindblown like I hadn’t been for some time by music in the techno-minimal scene. In a world of (sadly too often) excessive repetitiveness and unoriginality, for the first time in years I was listening to something deep yet magically colorful at the same time. Punchy and soft, dubby and enthusiastic, mellow and vigorously jumpy, Masomenos have the consistent ability of tingeing their productions with nuances that carry to a rainbowed parallel universe that is cheerful yet playfully mysterious at the same time. Venturing in the Masomenos universe, is not only a delight for the ears, but for the eyes as well: a captivating collection of jolly, bright little animals and multicolored artwork, a concoction of miniature companions and more abstract figures with beaming smiles and exuberant expressions. As a breeze of fresh air, for over five years now, Joan and Adrien of Masomenos have been able to passionately combine their talents to bring to life a new experience. One that, with its brilliantly fun graphics and incredibly textured sounds, makes bodies dance and minds travel with a smile.
Graziella Buontempo: Who are Masomenos?
Joan & Adrien: Joan Costes + Adrien de Maublanc = Masomenos
GB: Describe each other in 3 words.
Joan about Adrien : Spirited, intense, optimistic
Adrien about Joan : Colorful, inspiring, clever
GB: You are a married couple, how are you different from one another, both as artists and at home in your more private life? How do you influence and complete each other, in your artistic projects and everyday life?
J&A: Well, not married, just under Masomenos and that’s already a lot We are indeed really different, but weirdly we have the same taste for almost everything. I don’t remember anytime we disagreed on a movie, an exhibition, or a style. For sure, since we met, we have influenced each other a lot, and started on some level to look alike. It would be too long to describe and to give examples on how this all fits, but it does for sure, considering how many things we have done since we met.
GB: Describe a typical day in the life of Joan & Adrien.
J: Well, during the week we’re not early birds. We do wake up around 9:30…then the days are different…more based on music, drawing, or office work. I exercise often, so it’s part of my daily organization. We also have a family routine Tuesday and Wednesday. Weeks fly by, especially when you travel on the week-end.
A: Pretty much the same…except I don’t exercise lol
GB: Welcome to Masomenos is not only a music label, but a creative project that includes colorful T-shirts, jumpers, stickers, clutch bags and much more. What are the reasons behind your choice to be more than just a music label? In the world of music, how does this diversity help?
J: It is not a choice, it’s a reality. We do make music and image. We do stuff, then it gets organized. The first t-shirt was only for Adrien to wear. Then friends asked us if they could have one. Thus we started proposing them online. We were asked to do some collaborations like with Pellat-Finet (cashmeres), or Sylvia Toledo (clutch bags), because they had seen our graphics and liked them. Now we have what we can call a brand, and considering this, we’re getting organized to make it good. We just founded Masomenos-Art with our third partner, Antoine, who is going to help us to display and sell all these “products” we’re making. Nothing of all this was planned. Diversity doesn’t help at all, in any world, because people can’t classify you. We did it because we wanted to, not because we thought we could get an advantage from it.
A: I think this has answered the next question…
GB: Do you think the vivacity behind your artwork influences the relationship you establish with your audience? Aren’t you afraid that having developed so many different outlets (t-shirts, candles, even Iphone cases) will make the audience see you as more of a brand rather than an artistic couple?
J: Well, to keep on what I’ve said before, we know it doesn’t help us in this specific underground scene, and being part of this doesn’t help the “brand” development either. But, we don’t look in this direction to please an audience, we just do our stuff. We keep on working, developing our project, having fun, getting challenged and excited. We were already like that independently before we met, experimenting different medias to express ourselves. So in a way, it’s kind of natural we keep on doing it this way.
A: Didn’t I say clever?
GB: How was the “Masomenos & Friends” project born? How did working with such diverse artists like Lemos, Tobi Neumann, Vadim and dOP change or influence you in any way?
A: Definitely it is super inspiring to work with others, you learn a lot from this experience. In the “& friends” series it is based on one or two sessions in the studio. It happens very fast. It has this nice feeling you have when you have only a little time with someone and therefore you give your best.
GB: What is the inspiration behind your last project “Technocolor”? How did you come up with the name?
A: We often use Masomenos as an adjective referring to colorful tinges, especially picking up items for the shop, I guess our music sounds a little techno and we are trying to put color into it…like every year putting together the music in a project Technocolor sounded cool, even if we spelt it wrong…
(Click on the player below to listen to Masomenos’ new album “Masomenos & Karat” featuring collaborations with Ark, Cabanne and Laetitia!)
GB: After “Technocolor”, what lies in the future for Masomenos?
A: A few “& Friends” are in the pipe, next one is Masomenos & Karat (Ark, Cabanne, Laeticia), and for the next project, nothing defined yet…
GB: The majority of your projects are released on vinyl. In an industry that is growing digitally, where do you think lies the future of vinyl and analog? Is it only for nostalgics of the past?
A: Quality doesn’t get old, but nowadays everything is designed and thought to have a limited lifetime. And then quality is not a priority value any longer, but it cannot die I guess. Soon we will propose all of our catalogue on our website welcometomasomenos.com, if you order a vinyl there you will get immediately the .wav files. We hope it will make everyone happy.
GB: Your productions are often characterized by a collection of small, detailed sounds that for their particular color and warmth seem taken directly from the real world. When you’re in the studio, do you only record and produce with Ableton, or do you also build your sounds “naturally” with what is around you?
A: Ableton is like your pencil, what you write with, although the different colors and textures can come from anywhere. Of course I like to have different sources, I use analog machines (mixer, synt, fx) but also cheap digital plugs, and terrible recordings from YouTube or my cell’s dictaphone…in the end what matters is to decide what you like or not and make a choice. There is music everywhere, I have seen tow guys with irons and a table performing an amazing jazz piece the other day.
GB: Is there one of your productions to which you are particularly attached and why?
J: I’m emotionally attached to “Bon Voyage”, as it’s our first baby. Though, listening to Adri’s production evolution, I’m impressed! Masomenos & Karat to come is dope!
GB: You have traveled around the world, performing in cities and at festivals like Sunwaves, Intifest and Timewarp. What is one of the best memories from your performances?
J: Our first real gig in Romania, for Sunwaves. Golden bubble! I still have goose bumps when I think about it. And also, recently, one after party in London where we played back 2 back, and this doesn’t happen so often. It was a really nice moment, with few people, super intense.
A: London for sure, and Robert Johnson two years ago…speechless!
GB: Where do you find inspiration for your art, both music and graphics? J: Everywhere, just depends on how you look at things.
GB: What are five EP’s you couldn’t live without?
J: Ufff, 1 is too much 1000 never enough. I could not say.
(Click on the image above to visit Masomenos’ Soundcloud page and listen to more of their amazing tracks, sets and exclusive collaborations!)