Nicolas Poillot lives and works in Paris. He deals with fashion, photography, graphic design and music and collaborates with countless international brands and music bands. In 2012 he co-founded Études, a hybrid studio that, as its website claims, is a global experience of visual culture moving from clothing to publishing.
Going back to his collaborations with the music world, Nicolas has been the artistic director of several works by The Blaze, the Parisian duo of cousins Guillaume and Jonathan Alric that that has start to establishing itself around the world with beautiful songs and amazing music videos.
You were the artistic director of The Blaze’s first works: you worked on Territory and on the single Heaven. You also worked on the video content of their live scenography. How was your artistic collaboration with Guillaume and Jonathan born?
Quite simply: their manager Emmanuel Barron is a friend with whom I had already worked for his former label (Bromance Records).
It’s quite funny because I discovered the video of Virile when it was released so I wrote to him to tell that I was taking a look and I found this work super strong, that it is musically, visually, a kind of osmosis… while remaining very simple.
He called me a few days later to tell me that he had met The Blaze and he was going to sign them on his new Animal 63 label. At the same time he wanted to know if I wanted to work with him on the artistic direction of this project.
Chance would have it.
Then I met Jonathan and Guillaume, with whom everything went very well because I think we have references in common and a fairly similar vision of the image as a rule. They trust me, I think, and it allows them to focus on their video clips and their compositions.
Speaking of your works, how did you choose the imaginary for Territory? Which elements did you want to underline and why?
Things have imposed themselves.
We had thought of a visual for the Ep and Jonathan and Guillaume made the clip in parallel.
When I was able to watch the video for the first time, it was so strong that it made sense to use an image from this masterpiece. So there were photos from the clip and of course I went on the image of the group running on the beach because I like what it represents and the strength that emerges.
The Blaze‘s videos are amazing, there’s nothing else to add, everything is just perfect: from the locations, to the characters, the costumes and up to the props. In order to promote these videos, you took some pictures during the shootings. How is it to work behind the scenes? Is it difficult to capture the atmosphere that will then characterize the videos?
It’s an interesting exercise.
I am left pretty free in what I want to do. So I avoid redoing the clip via the prism of the photo which is not interesting for anyone. I just try to re-interpret what I see on the set, to give a more personal vision while respecting the work and universe of THE BLAZE.
I do the same thing when I work on their live.
It seems to me that in France, more than in other European countries, there is a great attention for every component of the artistic project. Graphic design, fashion, videos, visuals: nothing seems to be left to chance. Is it just an impression of mine? Is it possible nowadays to overlook these tools, especially in a musical project?
It depends, I will say for example that the English are better in this area, more demanding in their work. But it’s a question of point of view. Speaking about music there are indeed some entities or some French labels that do beautiful things but, in my opinion, it becomes more and more rare…
I do not think there are any rules but it’s hard as you said to overlook these tools as you said. The visual is an essential component of marketing tools in the music industry nowadays. You can do without but you had better ensure the sound.
Let’s finish with our ritual closing question: what’s the best album cover ever?
There are many…
But instinctively, when I see it I tell myself that I would have liked to make the cover of David Bowie’s The Next Day.