Even if you don't know his name, you've possibly heard Lewis Ofman's music. At only 19 years-old, the French musician, songwriter and producer has created tracks for some of Paris Fashion Week's hottest runway shows, including Sonia Rykiel, Afterhomework, and Maison Sentinel. Now, Ofman has everyone in Paris talking, thanks to his first solo EP “Yo Bene,” which is for sale at the concept store Colette. Here, he opens up about how he became a musician and more.
How did you become a musician?
I started [playing] music with the drums when I was 11 years old, it began a passion really quickly. One year later I started to play with a band as a drummer, and I bought my first keyboard (which is on the cover of the EP). I started to make my own compositions on Garageband iPad version, which is better that the laptop version in my opinion. I have even put some of these songs on bandcamp with an unofficial EP called Disconsolate, then I finally moved on a real computer software, definitely better. The Lewis OfMan project really began to exist three years ago when a friend of mine, Theophile from the Cactus Club crew, made a video for my song "Try." For me this is the starting point, I truly began to take my music seriously. I did my first gig for an AFTERHOMEWORK fashion show and I started up to make a lot of remixes (The Pirouettes, Hypnolove, Poom, Housse de Racket), productions (Vendredi Sur Mer with La Femme à la Peau Bleue) and finally I decided to get my songs together to make an EP, this is how Yo Bene came up to the world.
You just launched your EP “Yo Bene”, selling at the famous concept store Colette in Paris. What inspired this song?
I would say that '70s Italian film soundtracks are a huge influence for my music. This is where you can find the most beautiful and touching melodies. The soul and funk music are also very important for me, all my childhood was rocked by this type of music because my father is very found of it.
How would you describe your music in general? What other artists do you relate to?
The Yo Bene EP is a mix of many directions: pop, electronic, dance and soundtrack music. My aim when I compose a song is to get this wistful feeling, I want to create images and dream for the listener, a special mood and an stirring energy, I want to reach the deepest of people, produce those shivers that you have when the music really step inside you. This goal is my only direction when I create a song, this is why I don’t stay in only one direction, I go where the feelings go. If I don’t have any feelings when I compose I stop the song. I would say that I make an electronic-pop music, not for the style or the aesthetic of this kind of music, but more because I believe this is the best kinds to allow this emotions passage I want to create. Right know I am really inspired by Frank Ocean, Ennio Morricone, Lee Fields & The Expression and Jamie XX . Frank Ocean is the greatest artist I ever known, his way to create is incredible, all the contrasts and mysteries you can find in his music are very interesting, I really love his album Blonde and ever more the video album Endless, which is for me an incredible performance of talent and standards exit. Ennio Morricone, with his melodies, his choice of chords and sounds which are perfect, guides me a lot. Lee Fields have a special mood in his songs that I love, a really good energy that gladdens what you are doing at the moment you are listening to it. Finally, Jamie XX, because I feel in his music a huge part of spontaneity and sincerity, just groove and sounds experiment, I love that, he is not following a movement or something he really has his sound, and this is the artist goal for me.
You have already mixed for different runway shows. How do you like to associate your music to fashion? To associate music to fashion is something that I really love doing. To compose for an entire show is incredible, this is probably what I love the most, it is like a kind of essay, when it is 15 minutes you really have to create something huge, it is an invitation to do something that you would never do for a normal song, you can develop everything and explore yourself because you don’t have any limits (commercial limits) I take this as a performance and an occasion to break some standards.
The song you produced “La femme a la Peau bleu”, which played during the Sonia Rykiel runway show, has been a real success, did you expect it to be so popular within the fashion cloud?
Absolutely not, I did this song without fashion though or anything, I just composed it by following the lyrics and the sound of the voice of Charline. I was not even aware that the song had been chosen for the Sonia Rykiel show before Charline sent me videos!
Do you have a favorite designer?
My favorites designers are probably the guys from Vetements, exactly because they dare doing things that nobody does and that nobody would dare doing, their show for Fall/Winter 2017 is the perfect example. They made portraits of different part of society with perfection, very normal model walking with the most normal clothes but the contest create the absolute contrary, being dressed like a secretary at a fashion show is a very special thing. I love this fashion standard breaking experiment.
How would you describe your own style?
I don’t really know how to describe my own style, all I can say is that I love thrift shops, oversize clothes and contrasts, clothes that seems luxurious or expensive but not all in reality, to be dressed more or less normal but putting a strange detail that elevate everything.
How has your music and aesthetic evolved in the past year?
At first I was really inspired by electronic music, way too much. I was more on the simple fact to play music than to create a real project with a real reflection. Then I began to listen a lot of different types of music, discovering and really taking an interest on the artists approach I was listening to. This completely changed my personal inspiration. I have to listen what happen inside of me instead of the outside world, the point is the mix between my personality and what is surrounding me outside, currently I am trying to reach this disposition during the composition process and I must admit that this is quite tricky.
Do you have a favorite song?
This might be the hardest question I ever replied and after a day of reasoning I think I finally have a favorite song, "Sospesi Tra Le Nuvole" (Ripresa Seconda) by Ennio Morricone. I cannot resist to mention "Walk in the Park" by Beach House, which is definitely my other favorite song.
What places do you find most inspiring to your work?
I don’t really attach importance to the place where I work, this is something very unconscious. I think the inspiration is more about what is going on inside of you (how you feel, what you are living). The place question might even be an excuse, I believe it is really about the artist himself more than the materials elements.
If you could perform anywhere, where it would be?
I would love to perform at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris in those very huge and deep halls with big white walls, I think it would create a really pure atmosphere. It may be the occasion to use a lot of sub bass in order to form something really majestic.
What are your future plans?
I am currently working on my next project, I am also producing the next EP of "Vendredi Sur Mer," and I am working on other artists productions. I would love to produce more artists, rap, pop or electronic, I love doing this. In five years I would love to have my own studio and producing for artists, fashion show or cinema. I hope music will be the only thing I have to do for a living.
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