Creative Spotlight: Bec Adams of Les Filles
As an all-female collective of DJs, Les Filles aims to bridge the gap--i.e. the massive gap in gender representation within the music industry as well as the gap between the importance of soundtrack in cultivating a brand's identity and how much attention is often actually paid towards it. Founded by Bec Adams, each artist represented by Les Filles brings a strong sense of artistry and an understanding of how music impacts our perception of an experience. Ahead, Bec talks us through her musical upbringing, her dream brands to curate music for, and the up-and-coming musicians she’s got her eyes on.
Interview by Alexa Wilson
Was there a particular moment where you decided you wanted to pursue this project or was the whole group and idea behind Les Filles something that came together organically?
Well, it was probably about a year ago. I was working as a music supervisor with a background in law. I was DJing on the side which was sort of more of my creative outlet apart from my full time career. There's just 4% of music supervisors who are female and, as DJs, there’s only 10% of us. Not only that, but when a female DJ gets praise, the whole build up to them is how many Instagram followers they have. It’s not about the artistry. Whereas with men, it’s always about “oh this guy’s a DJ? He must be a really good”. When a woman DJs, it’s just a totally different view and misrepresentation. So there was a group of girls that were my peers in the DJ industry and I was just sort of thinking that they didn’t have day jobs aside from DJing, they were all really great musicians and me with my day job. I was like “why don’t we create this collective and push the barriers of what music can do in the world and what music can do in fashion?”. I signed a group of girls to begin with, and the whole premise of the agency is to do two things. The front facing side is the DJing--you know, we do the DJ gigs and we’re at the party and that sort of thing. The second side of it is we’re starting to do sonic branding. We just sonically branded all the Edition Hotels. We’re doing music supervision, we’re working with brands, and we're gonna do something to score their runway show. You know, more like a musical day job sort of thing.
Right now, I believe there’s about 8 artists on the Les Filles roster. What do you feel is the most challenging aspect of managing a team?
Just trying to have the time and resources to make everyone feel like they’re getting the attention they deserve, but it works really well. At the end of the day, every girl is really autonomous with their passions and their projects. They know that I’m not exclusively just going to be bringing them everything, they’ve still got to be out on their own and working hard and getting their own shit. It’s not just a one way street. Every artist still needs to be passionate and still needs to be working as hard as the people that are working with them.
What music did you grow up listening to and how has it affected your personal taste in music?
My mom’s a pianist and my dad collected records. My mom loves this beautiful music from Africa, like African drum beats, and my dad was such a music head. I grew up with everything from The Beatles to Talking Heads. I grew up in a very musical family and it's always been the forefront of my life. My mom also played a lot of classical music like Chopin. I understood the energy behind music and how it affects everything.
I was going to ask--do you feel your own sonic influences affect your personal style?
Yeah, 100%. I think that fashion and music go so hand in hand and I think music really influences fashion. Like when you think of disco music, you think of disco fashion. When you think of hip hop fans, you think of streetwear. I’m more of a laid back person. I like new clothes and vintage clothes--that’s sort of what I wear--but with a really chilled out aesthetic and I think that’s sort of my musical taste as well. I’ll play old music mixed in with newer house music.
Les Filles is a bridge between fashion and music. What are your dream fashion shows to produce music for?
I would love to work with Chloé'. So Chloé', Dior, and Oscar de la Renta. Brands like Oscar de la Renta, they do a lot of classical music so it could be amazing to find one of the world’s best pianists and have them create a brand new piano track while you looked at Oscar de la Renta gowns walk down the runway. That would be like a dream to help curate and produce something like that. I mean, there’s so many avenues that a runway can have music incorporated into it and it can be as creative as you want it to be and just as simple as you want it to be as well.
And each brand has their own identity so the music really helps convey that during their shows.
Yeah, I mean that’s the number one thing we’re trying to educate people about. Your brain receives five senses equally, you have a 20% capacity for each. If you touch something, your brain receives 20% of that object as a whole. Your hearing is just as important. It’s more so of a subconscious thing, but your hearing really affects your overall understanding of something. In fashion, everyone is so caught up on the visual elements. If you include really amazing music, it just enhances the experience tenfold. That’s something we’re trying to educate a lot of brands on. If you have a runway show, if you have a party, if you hire people that look at the brand understanding the sound that brand visually represents and then you absolutely nail that sound, have a great DJ set, put some amazing music to a runway show, or have an amazing track to video content; it’s just going to enhance the whole campaign they're trying to put forth.
Historically music has served as a way to protest and push for social change, what role do you see female musicians in particular playing right now? Especially when you put in the context of the #MeToo movement and Women’s March?
It’s kind of like, you grow up and all of your idols are predominantly men. In music, female musicians are only 10% and I think with this whole world that’s coming through now, females now can grow up and they don’t have to look at just seeing men as the domineers. It’s going to be females that are empowered as well. Equality is not having to think that there’s a difference between men and women in any situation and I think that is the role music is going to play. It’s all going to become even playing field. Females are just becoming more and more empowered and I just think that’s how it’s developing. Emma Watson had a speech at the UN a few years ago, I think that’s gonna be completely enforced in all areas of the entertainment industry.
In that same spirit, are there any up and coming female musicians, DJs, or producers we should check out?
Oh my god, so many! Obviously, Les Filles (laughs). No, Odalys from Les Filles is incredible. There’s this band that’s this really cute band that’s coming through, it’s called Super Organism. I have my eyes on them. There’s this artist also called Kelsey Lu who’s coming out from London. Kelsey Lu’s really cool. My friend Rodaidh McDonald’s producing her album--he produced for Sampha and The xx. I’m really excited for her stuff that’s coming out.
So, What’s next for Les Filles?
Just keeping on going. Hopefully, next for Les Filles is to really start getting every girl doing as many runway shows as possible and working with brands, curating the music for their store fronts.
A song that makes you feel confident.
Only You by Steve Monite. It’s from this album called “Doing it in Lagos” which came out on Soundwave Records, which is this amazing record label from South Africa.
*All images via @lesfilles.cc