Composing music for both film and space, Daniel Junior Thibaut’s thoughtful and ethereal music style has led him to compose for fashion heavyweights like Dior, Givenchy, Fendi along with other captivating projects, such the Kimono Roboto exhibition (featuring Björk). When he’s not composing, Daniel also runs Echoe Studio “a sonic boutique dedicated to bespoke music & sound for digital installations, experiential & events.” We sat down with Daniel to talk about his unique style, sound design and the future of Echoe studios.
Q. Hi Daniel, thank you for joining us. Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself and your career to date?
Hi, I’m a Belgian / London-based composer published & represented by Warp. I’ve been composing & producing music for about 15 years and I’m mostly known for my work within the fashion industry having directed or composed music for brands such as Nike, Hermès, Diesel Black Gold, Bugatti & others. I’m also the founder of Echoe Studio, a studio dedicated to bespoke music and sound for experiential installations, special events & new media.
Q. Your music has a very organic and enveloping feel to it. Do you use a lot of analogue or modular equipment in your work, or do you mainly work in the box? What are your key pieces of gear at the moment?
Thank you! That’s interesting because as a film composer, my main focus is often on how I’m going to express a certain emotion on a theoretical level first. I’ve developed my passion for analogue, FM synthesis and gear quite late. Maybe it comes from the fact that I couldn’t afford it when I was younger but it took me a while before I get bitten by the analogue bug.
When it comes to textures, I don’t like to be limited creatively as I like to experiment a lot, therefore I tend to go VST’s giving you a wide range of possibilities while having very intuitive UI.
Q. In 2018, you composed for Kimono Roboto, an intriguing exhibition featuring Björk showcasing “sound and motion to present an artistic exploration of the kimono from its early beginnings to the present day.” I’m curious to know about your inspiration behind the sound. Were you largely influenced by Bjork’s Utopia album, or as a composer for video and media, did the visual elements of the exhibition inspire the timbre and texture of the music, as a sort of auditory mimicry?
‘Space’ painting, as like to call it, is very important when composing for exhibitions but you have to be careful about not being too literal. You want to elevate the whole experience for the viewers but also want to leave some room for them to make their own opinion and not influence their moments of reflection too much. Sound has a drastic impact on the way your brain interprets what you see so it’s a matter of finding the right balance and using the right harmony tricks.
I usually tend to be inspired by the space, lights, design and of course the main topic of the event. As this exhibition was showcasing the work of other visual artists, I had to take this into consideration and create a general atmosphere that could fit it all.
Q. In terms of your general compositional work, would you consider yourself to be a formulaic songwriter (adhering to strict forms and set formats), or would you say that your music comes together in a more fluid and instinctive method? How does working to film affect your process?
My process tend to be more instinctive but directors often have a precise idea of what they want so it’s often a combination of emotional expectations, experimentations and... muscle memory.
Q. Do you like to sample within your work, or are you more of a sound designer?
If I sample, it’s usually my own field recordings but I’d say that I’m more of a sound designer.
Q. A lot of artists that we talk to have a specific sample or production technique that they like to incorporate subtly across their works. What’s your “Wilhelm Scream” of sounds/techniques? Do have a consistent one that you like to slip consistently into different tracks?
I don’t think I have one but if I do it’s probably on a harmonic level. I’ve always been passionate about how harmonic expectations violation can impact musical emotion so I’d say modulation has an important role in my music, along a couple of other techniques.
Q. I’ve heard through the grapevine that you’ve recently picked up Zone. Can you tell us a bit about how you’ve been incorporating it within your work?
I’ve recently used Zone for the pads of a mapping projection soundtrack I did for Dior, I loved how easy it was to get that ‘Blade Runner’-ish sound instantly.
Q. When you’re sitting down to create a new patch, can you step us through your usual process? Do you experiment with sounds, or, do you have a clear idea of what you want before you begin?
I like to experiment with sound a lot but as my work is usually combined with visuals, I often have a predefined idea of what could work or not.
Q. Do you have any favourite presets, or do you prefer to make your own?
I usually make my own. but I love the ‘So Sheen’ one Sharooz has designed.
Q. Described as: “A sonic boutique dedicated to bespoke music & sound for digital installations, experiential & events.” Echoe Studio is your brainchild, encapsulated outside of your compositional work. Can you tell us a bit about the conception of the space and inspiration behind it? What can we expect from the space in the coming months?
Echoe Studio was born out of the idea to provide ‘special’ event producers with very unique expertise. Besides offering regular bespoke music services, I wanted to provide music concept developments such as 360 sound installations, conceptual orchestral performances or sonic installations ideas in direct connection with their events.
Q. What’s next for you and your work? Do you have any exciting projects on the horizon?
We have a couple of exciting projects coming up with Echoe, which I can’t really talk about yet but I hope I’ll find some time to work on personal music soon!