Woodkid Press Assets

Woodkid Press Assets



Blending music and moving images into a creative utopia is a great artistic achievement. The kind of feat which generally requires big teams. Or a single ingenious visionary! Somebody who has shot music videos for artists such as Yelle, The Shoes and Moby. Somebody who has produced videos for Katy Perry‘s Teenage Dream, Lana Del Rey’s global hit Born To Die or Drake & Rihanna’s Take Care. Somebody who’s music was used for a Dior fashion show. Somebody who has been showered with prizes in Cannes and who is nominated for a Grammy now. Somebody who must be some kind of Time Lord because he still manages to find moments for his second life.

His life as Woodkid. A life for and in music. His own music.

Music creates new worlds

“My video shoots have given music a whole new significance,” Woodkid explains. “It’s been like a maelstrom which pulls me towards this art form. And last but not least music has created new and different worlds.” As a result, Woodkid released his first EP Iron in March 2011. Somebody with a creative eye like Woodkid’s doesn’t allow others to produce a video, he has to shoot his own. The finished product had been on the Net for hardly six months before more than 25 million people had been fascinated by it. And there’s no end to this fascination in sight. One of the reasons for this was that Ubisoft, the leading game studio worldwide, used sonic images from Iron for their global campaign to launch their blockbuster Assassin’s Creed: Revelation in autumn 2011. Naturally, that sort of thing motivates an artist. May 2012 saw the arrival of Woodkid’s second single, entitled Run Boy Run. The video to support this release picked up where the “Iron” sequences had left off. So seamlessly that it was also used for the recently launched Assassin’s Creed 3 campaign. In the meantime, Run Boy Run’s professional fan community has continued to grow. Nike decided to use Woodkid’s sound not only for their current TV campaign in the UK, but also in the cinema and on the Internet. What better proof could there be to corroborate Woodkid’s statement that “music creates new, different worlds”.

A passionate live affair

A visual artist like Woodkid allows his notes to jump off the big screen with radical directness; and like he would compose a film he composes a live performance entering into a passionate affair with the stages of this world. So passionate that he, together with a 30-piece orchestra, turned the venerable Le Grand Rex theatre in Paris into a place of ecstasy in front of 3,000 listeners last September. “Music played a major part in my clips even before I started making my own music,” Woodkid points out. “When I started playing my own music, I wanted it to be as tall as a skyscraper. Images can achieve that. A really big orchestra can also achieve that, and that’s my answer to this question.” And it’s exactly the right answer; after all, what better way could there be to express that diversity of emotions which a person is capable of than to allot them to the different instruments of an orchestra. This concept has a tradition. Just think of Sergei Prokofiev’s musical fairy-tale Peter and the Wolf, where each character in the story has a particular instrument. Woodkid operates in pretty much the same way. He takes emotions and allots them instruments.  “That was the most plausible way for me to get a sonic cosmos to glow in Cinemascope format,” Woodkid continues. This way, his notes become as big as his images. “Take three chords which are played in sequence and you can illustrate an emotion,” he continues. “It feels to me as if the chord which has just been played simply provokes the subsequent one and so forth. I can’t help it. The sounds run through my head, instrumenting each number in a very precise way. I can hear each individual instrument. That way, the strings are the harmonic foundation of the numbers; they are not used as accompanying instruments, they act as the focus. Then I hear the wind section which lends an amazing power to the melodic arches and the timbales which propel the song on.” Finally he has created that sonic image in all its glory on his first full album “The Golden Age”.

Ground down between adolescence and adulthood

It’s not just any emotion which Woodkid ministers to. It’s about the storm and stress of emotions. “It’s all about that time of passage between adolescence and adulthood, into that confusing hyper-reality,” Woodkid notes. “I talk about those perceptible changes of the body, that budding sexuality, wanting to be different from the norm, like in the first line on Run Boy Run: ‘Run Boy Run!/This world is not made for you’.” It’s about love, life and death. Striving for your own identity. Those basic crises of adolescence. “I always play the part of the sympathetic observer,” Woodkid stresses, “never that of an annoyed or angry observer; possibly that of a critical observer.” Woodkid‘s lyrics are the expression of an experience of crisis and at the same time they offer a strategy for crisis management. Woodkid’s poetry follows Rainer Maria Rilke and his multi-layered logic registers losses as gains, defeats as victories and injuries as awards.

Woodkid’s musical versions of intoxicating happiness and the brutal return to reality could never sound technically clinical. They are always full of instrumental warmth. And again, there’s no way past that ensemble which is the orchestra.

By the end of each piece, the listener has experienced a tour de force which always consists of deep colours, never of black and white, be it musically or in terms of the lyrics. A tour de force which may have clear contours, but its edges are so blurred that they inspire the listener’s wide-screen imagination. That things get to be pretty wild in the process is due to the songs’ opulence and sparseness. Both at the same time. They have the accessibility of pop numbers which work in candlelight with guitars, piano and vocals, yet every simple note explodes into a grand fireworks display of symphonically epic sounds.

Every now and then a hero comes along that has the ability to affect the course of time.  There’s a new one: Woodkid. The inspired passion that drives him is not about temporary heroism. No, The Golden Age is an album for eternity.

Franz X.A. Zipperer

Current Release


“Golden Age”
(Interscope Records)

Click for Album Lyrics

Pics (click for high res)

Picture 1 Picture 2 Picture 3 Picture 4 Picture 5
Photo Credit: Ismael Moumin

woodkidbyMathieuCesar01  woodkidbyMathieuCesar02  woodkidbyMathieuCesar03
Photo Credit: Mathieu Cesar


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