Masomenos are a French music-loving couple who met seven years ago. During those seven years they’ve created the label, ‘Welcome to Masomenos’, released a string of outrageously good EPs and three successful albums including the exceptional 'Balloons' LP last year, all produced by gifted musician, Adrien de Maublanc. Of course, the package wouldn’t be complete without the beautifully bright artwork of Joan Costes, the other half of Masomenos who illustrates every vinyl sleeve and piece of Masomenos merchandise with glowing neon colours and cartoons. Together, the pairs diverse talents and artistic perspectives are the perfect match. So with a new ‘Technocolour’ album out in a few weeks and a Room One return with fellow frenchies Dyed Soundorom and dOP on November 19th, we wasted no time in catching up with the marvellous, Masomenos.
Talking Masomenos art, the mix CD debate, a new album, back-to-back sets and future collaborations with, Jay Haze, San Proper Tobi Neumann and a whole lot more...the pair have also delivered us an extra special podcast this week. Get your taster after the jump:
Hi Adrien & Joan, how and where do we find you today?
Right now we're in Aveyron, it's the last day of a great week of family holidays we had in the French countryside. We've been off gigs for 3 weeks and its been really nice to be able to reload. We're back on track this Sunday in London and we're impatient to play again.
Can you give our readers a quick rundown of who you are and what you do?
We met 7 years ago, started dating and pretty soon after started working together to create the project called Masomenos. During those 7 years we've created the label WTM that releases our music (well the one Adrienn is producing) with our artwork (that Joan is drawing). We also started to tour regularly, proposing a live act (Adrien) and a DJ set (Joan) under that same Masomenos name . We've developed what we can call today a brand/ art & design company, where we make everything from T-Shirts to bags, to lamps and limited bespoke items.
Can you provide us with a couple of your favorite pieces so far for the Masomenos art collection? Joan:Concerning our favorites, that's difficult to choose. Of course the kidswear is super cute but I have to say I have a crush on the balloon lamp and the latest shoes -a pair of Nike I've drawn for my friend Charlotte.
Also, what's new and exciting is our unique Masomenos basic clothes. We have t-shirt tank tops and zip hoodies designed with American retro with a really nice fabric and cut. Last but not least the helmet we did in collaboration with Ruby is eventually going to be out before Christmas - we started working on it a year ago.
Where does the inspiration behind your illustrations come from?
Well most of the graphics that are on the vinyl we create are at the same period of time (not the Balloons LP though) so usually, all our projects, like the live mix, The Third Eye, or Technocolor are a summary of the spirit of that time.
Joan: I often have a marker pen in my hand, and draw on whatever. Sometimes I forget about them and find them a couple of months later, when it's a good time to finish them. We're both inspired by all kinds of psychedelic art with neon colors and crazy patterns, and on my side I have lots of pop art and cartoons influences also. Vivid plain colors, bold shapes, black outline and right now I think of Guy Pellart. I always forget to quote him when I've to answered this question...
Whose artwork do you also admire in music? Joan: I was on the Circus company website recently and they have a pretty amazing collection. Also, Karat, Ghostly Intl and Perlon for the simple typographic and color pattern that can be used over and over. More old school is Blue note. And for fun and style, cheesy disco album covers, have tons of them!
Tell us about your new album, ‘Technocolour’ released on your own label, 'Welcome To Masomenos', which comes a year after ‘Balloons’. Describe the collection of tracks… Adrien: This time I rearranged some of the tracks a bit more dubby so that they feel better for a CD release. Like chopping off some hi-hats and breaking down the beats. Some of the tracks are a bit different on the CD than on the vinyl version.
Doing this is now a process that I do every year, the process is to assemble all the tracks produced within the past month and try to tell a story with it and the featured artists are the people we share time and feeling with.
In what ways is the album special to you?
It reflects our 2011 mood which has been an intense year for us. Its been influenced by the 3 previous albums and "Curro Savoy" is back, but this time no whittle only guitar.
There is often a debate saying that a mixed CD isn't an album, when in fact with our music and more generally the club sound, a mixed CD is precisely the best thing to do in order to share this music like it's mostly played - mixed in a club, telling a story.By layering tracks together you end up creating a new piece, and that’s where the journey starts.
It features guest appearances from artists such as dOP, Argenis Brito, Pier Bucci and the guitarist Curro Savoy, how did you all link and do you prefer working with other artists? Adrien: Working with other artists is always a great experience. We give our best to each other in a very short time! It isn't a preference though, it's more like an opportunity to share emotion and learn, most of the time it's a very brief session where they come one day earlier to Paris for a gig, or I drop by their studio one afternoon and we do some recordings and that's it.
Is there a reason why you release mostly on your own label, Welcome To Masomenos? Adrien: Yeah the label manager is very loose, he's always enthusiastic about our tracks. Joan: Plus WTM has great artwork.
Describe your live/DJ set up which you’ll be bringing to Room One at the end of the month? Adrien: One name two acts... As always Joan does a DJ set, and I DJ only my music within Ableton Live (since it's only my productions it is called live but in fact it is definitely more the flow of a DJ set.) Joan: Sometimes, if promoters give us enough time at one point we play back to back ...that happens more often these days, and we both enjoy when it does.
Would you say the Masomenos sound is closely linked to the kind of beats you like to make and play out?
No, the beauty about sharing our name is that Joan as a DJ digger constantly brings new sounds and inspiration in our world! Also music has so many things and styles to offer, it’s impossible to stick to one.
What are the future plans for yourselves and the label?
The next record on WTM is the last technocolor vinyl WTM029 TECHNOCOLOR 5 with Argenis Brito and Pier Bucci, then there is WTM030 MASOMENOS&KARAT. There is some new music coming with the French Cabanne, Ark, and Laeticia Katapult, followed by a project with Jay Haze, and one with San Proper. We've also got a new project with the dOP boys and a new one with Tobi Neumann. These are produced for most of it and I am already playing those tracks in my live set.
What’s your life like in Paris?
FAMILY / STUDIO / HOME / FRIENDS / CHILL /SLEEEEEEEPPP.