Known across France and amongst the global fashion scene, Inès Mélia is most frequently noted as a DJ. However, in a truly dimanche manner, she is not defined by a singular discipline or title, but rather embraces the fluidity of creative industries and moves freely from one project to the next. She’s unafraid of exploration and the journey for artistic growth. She’s currently exploring sound design and painting. As she becomes more and more comfortable with each, her projects begin to push boundaries and become more experimental. Most recently, she started painting on wood instead of canvas. In the midst of June’s heatwave in Paris, we escaped to the studio and created our own beach. Where under the cool breeze of a high powered fan, Inés shared with us the trajectory of her creative career.
HOw did you start djing?
I was studying the business of art in Paris in order to become an auctioneer when I realised how much fun I had spinning records. I did not plan on becoming a DJ or even know it could be a viable option as a career. For me, music was something spontaneous that quickly began to be my main activity.
How would you describe your music taste/DJ style?
I’ve always been into groovy music, funk disco, electro. Groove is something essential to me: no matter which track you play, if the feeling is right you can carry people on a journey.
Can you explain the process of designing a DJ set?
It depends on my mood and where I'm playing. I love feeling free, so I always create a set list that I never follow. It helps me define where I want to go with the crowd, but I never follow it too closely.
How does your set change depending on the space and audience?
It can change a lot, depending on where and when I play. I really like to play early, because it gives be the opportunity to try some old/new/obscure tracks without fearing to empty the dance floor. I also love going to bed early; sleeping is my second obsession!
How do your personal style and art preferences compare to your music taste?
I’m more and more into minimalism, raw materials, purity in art as in music.
When did you start working with fashion brands?
Very early, fashion brands contacted me to DJ during their aftershows. Then some of them asked me to create sound design for their shows which is a completely different exercise. Last July, Chanel asked me to create the music for their high jewelry show which was inspired by coromandel screens. The idea was to create a musical breath to capture the sparkle of the stones.
Why do you feel this is fitting for your work?
I am a very curious person and I like to create links between things, showing how audio and visual art are connected.
What do you think about the relationship between art, fashion and music?
That is a big question! I am actually reading a book called "Musique et Arts Plastiques" from Jean-Yves Bosseur, which highlights interactions between art and music. For me rhythm is essential; a painting has to have its own flow, just as a track. Every color has its own vibration, its own harmony. With time, I realised how much music influences my paintings. I can’t paint without listening to music.
Can you tell us a bit about your sound design projects?
I’m working on various projects right now. Two of them are : @lebrouhaha an instagram sound « promenade », to transport you in the cities I travelled to. It’s my personnel sound diary filled with memories. Another project is for a Parisien hospital. They asked me to create sound design for their waiting rooms. At first I wasn’t sure what to do; then I felt it the mix should be just like light : comforting and soothing without even noticing it.
When did you start painting?
I started as a child feeling bored as I grew up in a small village.
When do you paint and how does it make you feel?
I paint whenever I feel the need. And when I paint I feel like I’m in the right place and nothing else exists. I feel something really special and unique.
How does the experience of painting compare to DJing?
Painting is so different because as spontaneous as it seems I find it more of a process compared to djing. To start painting I need to set up my studio, then mix colors and when I am finished I have to wash the brushes I used. It’s a necessary ritual. In music, you have a immediate feedback just by looking at the people dancing or not. With painting, I don't do for approval. It's something exclusively for me and myself.
How do you discover new music or rediscover old?
I often go to my favorite record shop called Smallville in the 10 in Paris.
Where are a few of your favorite places to experience music?
Les Bains in Paris: to listen to a good concert
Radiooo.com: to experiment music like in spaceship
The anechoic chamber of Ircam in Paris : to be plunged into total silence. A place so quiet you begin to hallucinate.
Who or what are your inspirations?
The infinity of landscapes from my childhood in Provence and the particular light in Morocco where my dad lives and I often visit.
Who or what are your latest discoveries?
Etel Adnan a contemporary American-Lebanese painter and in a totally different mood, Imsouane, a Morrocan surf paradise.
What’s in your library?
Gordon Matta-Clark: Entretiens
Musique et arts plastiques : interactions aux XXe et XXIe siècles by Jean-Yves Bossseur
Humbles Paradis by Fernando Arrabal
La Prose du Transsibérien by Blaise Cendrars
Catalogue d’exposition Nicolas de Staël en Provence by Gustave de Staël and Marie du Bouchet
Vinyl . Album . Cover . Art: The Complete Hipgnosis by Aubrey Powell and Peter Gabriel
How would you spend your ideal Sunday?
Painting in my atelier in the south of France where I grew up.
Summer of Love Mixtape
This summer Inès spent her time traveling around, seeking varied landscapes and experiences to inspire her work and to allow for the headspace necessary for creativity. After time in Morocco and the South of France she will return to Paris refreshed and with a new pool of inspiration. As we reach the end of summer, we collaborated with Inès to create a playlist that can transport you to the beach at any time of year as a reminder that even a little mental holiday can be a source of rejuvenation.
Interview & Photography by Carly Smith
Styling by Paige Melkerson
Hair by Jorge
Makeup by Camille Basson