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Speaking Music, Art, And Creativity With French Pop Rock Band AaRON

Romain

AaRON is a Pop Rock band from Paris. You probably heard their music in some YSL fragrances commercials. We had the chance to meet with the two members, Simon Buret and Olivier Coursier, a few days before the release of their new EP Odyssée on February 7, including two titles in French. In our conversation, we discuss their love for Art in all its forms, how their creative process works between them and who they would love to collaborate with.

Our series“French Independence” is about creative independence in France, can you tell us where you come from?

Olivier : At the age of 6 I touched a piano for the first time, it was a revelation for me, I discovered that I could create emotions, landscapes with an instrument and that’s what still interests me today.
Then, I did a lot of skateboarding in the early ’90s, it opened me up to a unique culture which mixes art, music, videos and a different way of looking at things. Then, I became a graphic designer but never stopped music until we created AaRON.

Simon : I am originally from Paris, my mom is French, my dad is American. I come from a creative environment, I went to art school in Paris, started cinema quite early. I also played the violin for 10 years, and then I met Olivier. My plan was first to be a painter, a more silent life, surprisingly. Besides, I do love Greece, I have been going to Greece since I was a kid, I recognize myself in their mentality, they are a sharing population, I love the light there, their language, their writing, the landscapes always have also a perfect harmony there. I am going to stop here because I could speak hours about it! [laughs]

What’s your mantra?

Olivier: Stay curious!

Simon: “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are” from Anaïs Nin.

pop rock band AaRON for Good Manners and Unfiltered
AaRON for Unfiltered x Good Manners
Photography by Sylvie Castioni

Creating a group is a strong commitment, what made you decide to work together and create AaRON?

Olivier: We met by a mutual friend, it was a time when both of us had a lot to express and we decided to try to make a song. Then everything became obvious and we continued until we got our first album.

Simon: When we started, the motivation was just to make music together for fun. The strong commitment is our longevity, all those years together.

You are both painters, how important is this form of art for you?

Olivier: To me, It’s as important as music. Projecting my inner world in images is a need that becomes more and more important for me in my daily life, and which complements the musical composition with a harmonious necessity. What I cannot transmit in music, I transmit it in photo or drawing, and vice versa.

Simon: I need this balance too. Olivier and I met on a Basquiat exhibit, (where the word Aaron was written on most of his works) and for me, a song is like a musical painting, we really create our music based on emotions and images, rather than pure technique. When you are creative, you are rarely fulfilled in a single mode of expression, that is why I paint, Olivier, you do a lot of photography, and we started to direct our own clips too. What I like about painting is I can look at my work, I can touch it.

How does your creative process work between you two?

Olivier: There are no rules between us. This can start from a piece I send to Simon that will inspire him for lyrics, or sometimes, we can start from the text and build the title step by step together, as a sculpture.

Simon: Yes, it really depends, we like to go to the unknown. For example, For The Flame, Olivier sent me a sound sample he was working on, and I started to work on the lyrics and the melody. For other songs like Odyssee, we first found a rhythm together and I got very inspired, wrote the lyrics when I was in Greece, and we finally built the instrumental from that text.

pop rock band AaRON
AaRON for Unfiltered x Good Manners
Photography by Sylvie Castioni

You are releasing you new EP, including two songs in French, can you tell us more about it? Why Odyssee?

Simon: When we started to think about our fourth album, with the success and the nice adventure on the third album, Olivier and I wanted to get out of our comfort zone and again, try to push our limits and get excited. It was first scary to write in French, because we didn’t want to do French music, but rather our music in French. Our purpose when we do music is to create emotions for our audience. I wrote Odyssee when I was in Greece, there is something very inspiring and powerful there and the message is really to refocus and reconnect with yourself. I really want to empower people, give them power and confidence!

Between writing, composing, recording, concerts … what part of your work excites you the most?

Olivier: It’s a balance, one cannot go without the others. I like to get lost on the road as much as I love creating new songs in the studio.

Simon: This moment when we find the harmony for a song, the right beat, the right lyrics, and listening to it for the very first time, that’s super exciting!

Unfiltered is an independent project based on self-belief. How important is this in order to develop projects?

Olivier: Self-confidence is an asset, but it seems essential to me to stay connected to this vital need to create, like a necessity against which we cannot fight. Fear and doubt can be just as strong as self-confidence.

Simon: Yes, I don’t think self belief is necessary to develop projects, you need to be convinced in what you do first. For instance, I don’t know if I believe in myself but I am obsessive about things that are beyond me and I feel the need to express them. As long as you are convinced, there is no closed doors. Everything around you was created by someone who was convinced about it. Perhaps, not being aware that it is impossible is more powerful than self-belief itself. [laughs]

“When you are an artist, you are hypersensitive, you do things because you have this strong need inside you, and confidence is secondary. “
Simon Buret about self-belief
pop rock band member Simon Buret for Good Manners and Unfiltered
Simon Buret for Unfiltered x Good Manners
Photography by Sylvie Castioni

How would you define independence?

Olivier: Independence is freedom and that freedom is fundamental for creativity. We have always made sure to respect this with Simon.

Simon: I spend my life chasing the illusion of freedom, I do want to be free. To me, independence and freedom consist in 3 main things. Financial first. Moral, but it is complicated to think you can do everything you want without people’s approval and intellectual which is almost unattainable. My parents always told me freedom stops when we start giving something a definition. Also, we are evolving in a world that is changing, certain chaos, that brings us things we can no longer ignore, and independence is almost an illusion.

Olivier Coursier from pop rock band AaRON for Good Manners and Unfiltered
Olivier Coursier for Unfiltered x Good Manners
Photography by Sylvie Castioni

You write and compose your songs, direct your own clips, but also paint and draw. What advice would you give to someone who would like to manifest the same level of freedom?

Olivier: Try, fail, learn, start again and everything will take shape and make sense at some point. Do not limit yourself, especially not the limits given by people around you, embrace your difference.

Simon: You have to be convinced that you have something to say. An artist is someone living with some obsessions and who doesn’t fit completely in a world that wasn’t made for him. It implies you want to change the world in a way, and while you may not change it, you can change your own world, and it is already a good thing!

There is something dramatic, melancholic, and charismatic in your music, revealing some vulnerability. Is it necessary for you to embrace the part of this personality in order to be able to create?

Simon: Yes, I think you have to embrace everything. In literature, music, and art in all its forms of expression, the point is to extract something that “bothers” you in a way and that you want to recreate in order to feel good. Melancholy is almost like a superpower when you accept it, it is a feeling very close to happiness.

What is your definition of success?

Olivier: Success for me is learning to find your center and accepting yourself, it’s also sharing in your life, exchanging, accomplishing yourself artistically.

Simon: As an artist, success is when you know you created something that moved you and moved people.

Who would you dream of collaborating with? Maybe a guest on an album or a clip?

Olivier: Bjork as a guest and Willem Dafoe for a clip!

Simon: It depends on the project, but I love collabs. We just shot the new clip yesterday for Odyssee, we cannot say too much about it, but it was interesting to collaborate and create with other people on set.

Olivier Coursier AaRON for Good Manners
Olivier Coursier for Unfiltered x Good Manners
Photography by Sylvie Castioni

You’ve made hundreds or concerts, any desire to come to the US?

Olivier: Yes of course, I would like to go for a road trip across The United States in an old car with Simon, like Johnny Cash! [laughs]

Simon: We have this obsession for the road! Coming to the US would mean giving up Europe for a while and things go very fast! But we would love to play in LA for sure!

Your music is very cinematic, from your collaboration on films like “I’m fine, don’t worry” with your Lili tube to the iconic YSL commercials, do you think you will return to the cinema soon?

Simon: We have done it a few times, that is something I love. Like you said, our music is related to pictures. We will do it again it if the project speaks to us.

What is your biggest dream?

Olivier: Let’s stop enslaving nature!

Simon: My biggest dream is to fly! [laughs]. I have too many, I am a big dreamer and it is often the start of my projects actually. I would love to know the real meaning of dreams.

Simon Buret from AaRON for Good Manners and Unfiltered
Simon Buret for Unfiltered x Good Manners
Photography by Sylvie Castioni

Who should we interview next?

Olivier: Jean Jullien 

Simon: I will give you two. Damien Blottière, he directed one of our clips. He is a photographer and such a powerful artist. He carves with cutter bodies or objects, it is just fascinating. And Bela Silva who is also an artist who does ceramics and has studios in Lisbon and Brussels.

Music duo AaRON Olivier Coursier and Simon Buret for Good Manners and Unfiltered
AaRON for Unfiltered x Good Manners
Photography by Sylvie Castioni
AaRON takeaways

Read the full UNFILTERED Series [/mepr-show]

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Romain
Romain

Romain Wawrzyniak is our Editor-in-Chief. His enthusiasm and kindness make his guests feel comfortable creating intimate conversations and priceless insights.

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1. a way in which a thing is done or happens.