A short conversation with Ocean & Wavz about culture and creativity in a borderless world

Let’s start with a bit of background. How did the two of you come to be working together, how did Wavz as a concept and a business come about and what creative paths led to its formation?

We met in July 2018 in an unexpected situation, just like Wavz accidentally splashing at Ocean’s home door and to connect in an instant with smiles, words and mutual respect… Quickly we talked about life, just simply life. We never prioritized our relation on boring questions like “What is your field of work?”  “What is your education background?”, “How old are you?”, “Which company are you working for?”. And we truly don’t care about all these very limiting social statuses and categories.  

We rather went straight to sharing some personal emotions, in-depth questions and parallel values that we share in common like:

How is it possible for music, arts and writing practice to go beyond the often fake façade of “humanity” and cultural codes, especially in a post-pandemic context, increased surveillance, new technologies? Strangeness, weirdness, non-anthropocentric attitude, extreme multicultural combinations, constant critical engagement would be our main interests. 

We have been talking a lot about what makes of our common interests, on top of that how we can be creative with our cultural differences from Polynesia to Europe to South East Asia. Our passion for music and visual arts is going beyond disciplines, communities and genres. For example, poetry is not only about writing words, but it is the life practice when you cook and listen to environmental sounds, seat down silently, walk along etc.  We went through thousands of movies, soundtracks from classical to pop to EDM, from Polynesian to South East Asia, from Europe.

Having been working in Shanghai for 11 years now, we also experienced and faced some challenging experiences to work and live in China with “free” expression…

We then decided in 2020 to start up WAVZ as a music production house, a contemporary art company and as a label music company that encompasses multiple horizons, extensions and connections between the two of us and with other artists.

Q. What music, film and other creative inspirations do you look to for influence and guidance?

Cultural activism, especially the one developed during the 80s  when artists switched their individual creations to collective actions to fight back discriminations, racism, exclusions, inventing new strategies of  engagement and communication

Music…. Actually, we love so many old popular songs and lyrics from Asia, the Americas and Europe that are often despised by so-called art communities… And of course (hard) techno, not only because of EDM but because it bounces us back to our cultural roots like the use of deep basses, drums, vocals without lyrics, experiencing sound not only with your ears and brain but with your full body and soul. 

Movies… so many… Pier Paolo Pasolini, Andrei Tarkovski, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, all horror & sci-fi movies, Criminal Minds series. One movie is always giving us a lot of energy: Bagdad Café by Percy Adlon.

Poetry & Philosophy, just a few names relevant to our project: French-Algerian feminist Hélène Cixous,  Syrian dissident Adonis,  exiled Chinese poet Bei Dao, radical Italian artist Pier paolo Pasolini, archipelagic poet and philosopher Edouard Glissant, Pacific anthropologist Epeli Hau’Ofa, feminist and political philosopher Hannah Arendt, Vietnamese female artist Trinh T. Minh-ha.

Visual arts: Adel Abdessemed, Philippe Parreno, Paola Pivi, Valie Export, John Armleder, Ugo Rondinone, Carrie Mae Weems, Song Dong, Chen Zhen.

Can you explain what Wavz is all about, what it is you offer your clients and what makes you different from perhaps rival services?

Wavz is a platform that aims to combine contemporary art with modern music, transpiring into an event, installation or exhibition. We have recently established Wavz also as a basic music label hence the future work will involve taking the music label to another level with artists under the music label.

We are looking towards offering our clients a customized formula, where fresh and unique ideas would be presented for their consideration and comparison. E.g. For clients looking into an event/exhibition, Wavz will provide a fully detailed plan including proposed locations, custom music, custom materials & installation, themed performance, coaching and training of performers (if required), and best of all we have a good network of merchants that can offer better rates than a renown and commercialized events company.

After spending time doing our research in finding companies with similar functions, sadly we have not found any, as we were also looking to partner with one with good credibility. We strongly believed that most would not choose to combine contemporary arts and music into a business, as the client base and patronage belongs to two different worlds. 

The website is full of examples of your music videos, but is there more that Wavz has to offer, both now and in the future?

We are just starting so we want first to experience and share with our first creations and audience a deep sincerity of what we are doing and keep safe our engagement in art and life. That is the most precious. 

Then in terms of sound, we are looking forward to developing more vocals in what we are doing, from our own singing, stating, performing and with other artists who are willing to explore the unknown.

We also want to conceive some upcoming original art events that are exceeding the usual formats of DJ sessions, exhibitions, performances, lectures… We are attracted by an open and full experience where people can gather to enjoy sounds, food, words, raw materials, generous questions. And we have a lot of ideas about how to make it happen. 

We then pay a lot of attention to research, not as an exclusive intellectual activity, but rather as an intimate and collective learning process that will always reposition our certitudes, definitions, identities.

You truly seem to be a global company, both in terms of your own rich mix of cultures and heritage and the fact that such work is no longer bounded by physical and geographic constraints. How much is Wavz the product of the here-and-now?

At our current capacity, we wouldn’t dare to wear the much bigger hat belonging to a large corporation with subsidiaries around the globe, but we most certainly are working towards that goal in the near future. The worst that could happen is a ‘Hit-and-run’ scenario, where being careless in the world of business (in any discipline) could be fatal. Slow and steady wins the race!   We can only measure the value of Wavz when companies with similar functions appear on the radar, setting their foot on the very same path. And we have to say, the value of being the pioneer in a successful legacy will be deemed priceless.

And how does that blend of cultures and ability to work across the globe find its way into your work? Does it do so consciously or is it a more subliminal process?

That is a beautiful and complex question…! Actually, we are very suspicious of globalism, nationalism, regionalism, localism, multiculturalism. It is more about a life experience, an endless journey where a simple, detailed local element/material (a word, a water sound, the sand sliding, a wo/man cooking) are echoing some infinite spiritual and cultural connections, projecting us into something that we can never control… It has nothing to do with religion, cultural enclosure, truth, but more with ongoing changes and extended horizons.

Is there a typical day at the Wavz office and if so what might that look like?

Waking up very early in the morning, savouring and spending a long time over beautiful breakfast, writing a lot, focusing on electronic sounds, collecting some environmental sounds and images, working out and doing yoga, ‘resting’ in the afternoon watching a lot of movies, having work meetings… and catching up on some unfinished projects. Time is the essence for us.

Waking up very early in the morning, savouring and spending a long time over beautiful breakfast, writing a lot, focusing on electronic sounds, collecting some environmental sounds and images, working out and doing yoga, ‘resting’ in the afternoon watching a lot of movies, having work meetings… and catching up on some unfinished projects. Time is the essence for us.

And you have already hosted a major creative event in Shanghai, can you tell me more about that?

It was titled  ‘Ya Vae’ and was organised in conjunction with Rockbund Art Museum, back in November 2019 and was intended to be a way of advertising and expanding on what we have to offer and its format was unique in concept and realization in the contemporary arts community.

It was based around a one night (hopefully annual) dinner and had an attendance of 93% of the client’s patrons, with 86% of them drawn from the international arts community.

As ‘Wavz Pte Ltd’ we curated 5 performances including subjects such as theme conceptualization, dance choreography and providing dance training for their company employees. We also provided 20 themed videos for event projection, all remixed with original text, audio and video abstracts.

As a result of this event, we were given the green light from the client to repeat this event for the subsequent year as well as receiving 2 other external offers separate from the original client. Sadly, these did not happen as proposed due to the imminent arrival of Covid and the lockdowns and isolations which followed, but it was a fantastic start an area that we are keen to begin pursuing once more now that some level of normality is returning to the world.

And where next for Wavz itself and also for you as individuals?

Wavz was born in Asia, since 2020 we have been actively networking and achieving smaller goals so as not to disappear from the radar. Our 2022 path will take us back to France, and most likely relocate Wavz main office as well. The market for EDM music in Europe is over-sized when compared to Asia. And our long-termed connections are mostly in Europe, so it makes perfect sense for Wavz to relocate.

Over the last 3 years, we realized that Ocean & Wavz tend to plan ahead or set goals together. Both of us as individuals would like to improve our skills in music production, especially to create new music with the vocals from Jules. Larys will allocate more time to write as well.

But most of all we would like to dive into an ocean of freedom and never compromise with administration, bureaucracy, marketing plans and authoritarian regimes.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to me and good luck with everything in the future.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: