Meet our new seed funding awardee – Vivian le Vavasseur

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Edward Bailhache, performing and producing music under the pseudonym ‘Vivian Le Vavasseur’, is a musician from Jersey, currently living and working in Berlin. He is a recent awardee of seed funding from ArtHouse Jersey and he sat down and wrote a blog post about his work and how the grant from ArtHouse Jersey has helped him. Read what he had to say below.

“I’ve been making music since I sat down at my Dad’s old upright piano, aged fourteen and wrote a song called ‘Leave Me Alone’, about a relationship coming to an end. It’s probably still the best song I’ve written. At the time I hadn’t been in a relationship or known what it was like to fall in or out of love. Yet its simple arrangement, the rawness of emotion, and the direct execution of melody and lyrics are qualities that I value in songwriting now.

My practice has been in constant development since then. In my teens I learnt as many instruments as I could and was constantly writing music. After school I went to Oxford to study music and take up an organ scholarship. There I focussed on experimental music and women composers. In 2012 I moved to London and formed TEDDY with Jersey friend Tom Falle. When we parted ways in 2016 we had been songwriting together for over a decade. TEDDY’s music was inspired largely by influences like the Beatles and David Bowie and other greats of the 60s and 70s, and our sound evolved from its origins as a four-piece indie rock band to a pop leaning electro synth duo.

At the end of 2017, influenced by two years working with electro-pop singer CASI, and experimental multi-discipline theatre company Cwmni Pluen, I released my debut album ’Snow. This was an experimental ambient album, its title a take on Sinatra’s ’S Wonderful, and was followed, six months later by a lo-fi mixtape-inspired piece called More Solar Mare, released on cassette.

Thanks to Seed funding from ArtHouse Jersey, I am continuing work with producer Steph Marziano in London (who has worked with a number of artists, including Radiohead, Sam Smith and Denai Moore). The two songs we will be developing for release will form part of an E.P. of four songs all produced by Steph. The funding will contribute to all aspects of the release; the production and mastering of the tracks, the production of a music video, cover design and digital marketing.

In the music itself, I aim at striking a balance between opposing forces that become very evident in music making. These forces can be called different things – order/chaos, logic/emotion, tight/ loose, hi-fi/lo-fi, and when resolved practically through the artistic process, become my representation of ‘quality’ – something dependent on a particular set of choices. The final result, and its position as something put out in the world to be interacted with, is what I find so exhilarating and simultaneously terrifying about creating.

More specifically, this collection of songs is relatively traditional in its structural approach and broadly fits into what most people would consider ‘alternative-pop’ – the sort of music with contemporary sensibilities, but with lyrics and sounds that perhaps invite the listener to pause and think (or click skip track). The ‘forces’ (instruments and vocals) come from a mixture of analogue (Roland TR-606 drum machine and Juno 106 synthesiser, Fender jazz bass, main vocals, minimal support vocals) and digital (Roland KR-277 drum machine and JP-80 digital workstation) sources. In the production and mixing process with Steph, the existing parts from my pre-produced demos are re-recorded. Some may be kept, others discarded and new ones trialed. At the same time the production side of the recording is developed in similar ways, as we experiment with different EQs, reverbs and so on. Once a rough shape of the recording is reached, this experimentation continues, with editing and mixing that hone the song into its final version.

It’s a privilege to be able to work with Steph and in doing so, develop artistically. That is possible thanks to ArtHouse to whom I’m indebted. It can be an insecure place at the forefront of the discussion about what music is and what music can be. I’m excited to have the full vision of this E.P. supported and to be giving something I care about to my fans and to the public.”

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