PHAZE INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVE
Written by Amber Shemesh
For Clément Briens, music has always been a constant.
From obtaining a classical piano education from his grandmother to listening to CD’s from his parents, Briens has grown up embraced by music in one form or another. While others might have listened to the catchy pop songs on the radio, Briens was captured by the instrumentals and electro beats behind the music. So much so that six years ago, he decided to venture into the world of DJing. And while the presence of music in his life has remained persistent, it has manifested itself into a new form: producing.
In the process of developing his own music persona, Briens was inspired by nature and its features. In particular, a mountain: Arbois.
Located in the Alps, Mont Arbois is a site Briens frequents to ski during the winters. In what has served as a personal symbol for Briens, Arbois naturally became the name of his musical project that is equivocal in its personal roots.
Briens said that making his own music serves as a creative outlet. In high school, the height of his inspiration to make music was in the moments he faced the most external conflict or internal conflict (which he credits to “teen angst”).
“What I love about music is that, unlike sports or unlike school, there’s no grades; there’s no score; there’s no final objective; there’s nothing,” he said. “There’s no right or wrong. Whatever you do, you can guarantee that it’s gonna be you, and it’s gonna be authentic.”
As a producer, Briens’ experience of listening to music has become more nuanced and analytical, observing the technical aspects of the sounds while still appreciating the art itself. However, he finds the sounds of other artists - particularly Flume, Madeon, and Porter Robinson - a source of inspiration as well.
“I know that there’s so much that’s possible to be made,” Briens said, “so it just pushes the boundaries of how creative you can be, hearing other people’s work, especially when you listen to artists that revolutionize a whole genre, like Daft Punk for example. There’s always room for more creativity, so that inspires me in a way.”
To him, a similarity between the listening and composing processes is that they both confer emotions. In Briens’ own music, he seeks to do just that: make emotions audible.
Initially, Briens’ music was more aligned with house music. His music goes by the name Arbois, and the sound of Arbois has changed since the inception of Briens’ project. He’s focusing now on future bass, a genre which he describes as a “mix between trap music and pop… cheerful sounds that have hip-hop elements to them.” In his current music, Briens tries to incorporate ambient sounds, as evident in “One Other,” a song of his that was inspired by his girlfriend and the setting in which he met her.
When it comes to the practicality of his production process, Briens said that now, all he needs are his headphones and his computer which allow him to make music practically anywhere. While the locations of where he makes his music vary, he finds that he’s calmer and more creative when he produces outside.
“I think [being outdoors] has an impact on the way I feel… so I just feel better in my mind… more at ease, and making more of what I want to make,” he said.
Ultimately, Briens’ withstanding ardor for music is what fundamentally fuels his work and accounts for its authenticity. As written in his Soundcloud bio: “Arbois is just a name - music is the project.”
Clément Briens is originally from France and is a current student at King’s College in London.
you can listen to more of arbois music here:
Edited by Elyse Notarianni