Melodies And Celestial Visions From Outer Space: An Interview With Mondkopf And Trafik
After working on the visuals for Mondkopf‘s performance Rising Doom, graphic design and multimedia agency Trafik is teaming up with the French DJ and electronic producer once again. Their latest collaborative work Eclipse (see the trailer above) features black and white minimalist visuals, highlighting the young musician’s latest mesmerizing tracks while paying tribute to master of ambient music Brian Eno.
We spoke with Trafik and Mondkopf to find out more about this hypnotic project.
The Creators Project: When looking at Mondkopf’s earlier works, we notice that there are barely any features. How did this collaboration come about?
Mondkopf: I was discussing with people from the Gaîté Lyrique about presenting Rising Doom for their opening night, and I was introduced to them by the artistic advisor Vincent Carry. I gave them a few keywords related to my music and we agreed to use visuals functioning as lights, and to conceive something very energetic That’s pretty much all I asked them. I saw their earlier works, and I didn’t want to restrain them. As soon as I saw the first drafts, everything seemed to be flowing perfectly. Overall, we understand each other without arguing on artistic details, and I feel very lucky.
A glimpse of the audiovisual performance Rising Doom.
After working on this first performance together, how did your collaboration on Eclipse take place?
Trafik: This format is completely different from the first live show, because this performance is composed of two main parts, as opposed to Rising Doom which is a 10 track album that we illustrated with several visual sequences. We wanted to emphasize the contrast in sound between both parts, and this is why the beginning is very luminous and spatial, while the other part is darker and closer to the eclipse notion. Light was at the core of the live visual writing—we didn’t want to show the light all at once, but rather reveal it very slowly in order to make it stronger and almost blinding. Light is mostly hidden behind the matter in this performance, consequently increasing the musical tension that is tangible throughout the live show.
How did the music influence the visual design, and vice versa?
Mondkopf: Actually, this collaboration brings together music and visual creation, as I didn’t work with other musicians or singers but with designers/programmers—it didn’t really affect the way I make my music. I consider it an extension of my tracks.
Trafik: During the first listenings, we tried to understand the emotions conveyed by the music. Then, we attempted to recreate them with strong ideas. For Eclipse, we wanted to underline the ecstatic vibe of Mondkop’s music, and the textured aspect of his sounds made it pretty obvious that we needed to work on light and matter.
The illustrations you previously made for Mondkopf are in B&W and rather minimalist — how do you think that this aesthetic preconception can serve his music?
Trafik: We’re not detrimental to the use of colour, which we actually tend to deploy in our everyday projects. In the case of Mondkopf’s lives, the use of B&W helped us to focus on the most important part, the writing of the shapes and the movements. Minimalism or formal simplification seems to be a great way to make the visuals more “haunting”, just like his music.
Mondkopf: When it comes to concerts, I love performing in the dark like Autechre, who does great shows focusing on visual effects.
What inspired you in this project?
Trafik: We were inspired Pierre Soulage‘s works with light and the color black, and the way he makes light very present by obstructing it behind black layers. We’re also great fans of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, with his space views sublimated by slow camera movements which become truly contemplative moments for the viewer.
Since everything turned out so well, are you thinking on collaborating with another artist?
Trafik: Sure, why not! As long as the artist’s music inspires us and that we have enough liberty to do things. This implies that we have to see the artist regularly, of course.
Mondkopf: I had the opportunity to work on an improvised live performance with Charlemagne Palestine. It was extremely cool and I’m starting to really like these “commissioned works.” It allowed me to try different things and it gives me a lot of new ideas for my next releases.
Check out our original profile on Trafik below!