Names: Mimi Xu, Gillian Maguire
Occupation: Producer and electronic composer (Mimi Xu), Multi-instrumentalist, vocalist (Maguire)
Nationality: French (Mimi Xu), British (Maguire)
Current release: Awkward Moments' new single "Reaching For The Sky" is out now. It will be followed by another single, "Gamma Rave" and the EP A Strange Time on 31st March 2022.
Fashion recommendations: Prada re-nylon bumbags as they’re sustainably made, and Pangaia white Nylon matching tracksuit and hoodie. That’s our look.
If you enjoyed this interview with Awkward Moments and would like to stay up to date on the duo's work, visit their website. They are also on Soundcloud, bandcamp, and Instagram.
Fashion and music are often closely related to one's identity. Can you please tell us a bit about your own sense of identity – and how it motivated you to take an artistic path?
For us, what we wear is an extension of our storytelling. It’s part of a visual language that we use to emphasise the narrative.
We have a strong sense of identity, yet one that morphs as we grow and change into better versions of ourselves.
In which way do you feel your identity concretely influences your creativity?
Our personal identities are separate from our artistic personas – a distance that allows for intellectual liberation as they’re not a direct representation of our real selves.
Describe your personal style, please, and how your choice of fashion allows you to express it. Which fashion brands or style icons do you personally find inspiring - and why?
We work with the concept of uniforms, and yet find diversity within this aesthetic construct.
We often work with eco brand Pangaia because we believe in their sustainable ethos, and their minimalistic approach to clothing is refreshing.
Fashion can embody ideals that extend far beyond aesthetics, reaching into ecology, politics and social issues. Does this apply to you as well, and if so, in which way?
Yes, it does. Our use of matching uniforms goes against trends and few which are inherently unsustainable. We aim to recycle and reuse our costumes infinitely.
What was the relationship between music and fashion for you like personally? When was the first time that you became aware of the connection between fashion and music?
For Awkward Moments it’s always been essential from the start. Our vision of fashion is an extension of our self-expression on stage so from the off we not only connected our musical identity with fashion with the visual language of lighting, set design, and projected content.
Our artistic practice uses multimedia and fashion is one of those mediums.
What do fashion and design add to your perception of music?
The two are intertwined and there are icons that we look up to like – David Byrne, Talking Heads, David Bowie, Grace Jones - who seamlessly combine all the art forms.
Fashion can project an image, just like music can. As such, it is part of the storytelling process. What kinds of stories are being told, would you say?
We tell stories that move between worlds and states of consciousness – transcendence is key.
What can fashion express that music can not?
It seems obvious that fashion and music are closely linked, but just how that influence works hasn't always been clear. Would you say that music leads fashion? Is it the other way round? Or are they inseparable in some ways?
Historically music has always led fashion, not the other way around. Nearly no one has written a song about a dress.
Fashion and music can be expressions or celebration of identity, but they can also be an effort to establish new ones or break free from them. How would you describe your own approach in this regard?
We use fashion as a tool, not so much as a celebration of our identity. It’s a useful and beautiful tool.
Does what you wear change your personality – and thus the music you create or the way you perform?
Yes, it gives a certain amount of freedom on stage when you embody a character through costume and styling. It’s empowering and liberating.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you personally feel as though designing a fashion item or even putting together a great outfit for yourself is inherently different from something like composing a piece of music?
Sure, designing clothes is of course as creative as writing a piece of music as it makes something out of nothing, whereas putting an outfit together is like DJing. Both require different talents.
Are you currently active in the fashion industry? If so, tell me about your experiences, please.
We are working on a couple projects with Pangaia … watch this space
Fashion extends to the artwork of releases and promotional photography as well. Could you talk about your approach in this regard and what some considerations were for some of your most recent cover designs and images?
Each release has a story around it and the visual journey echoes the musical journey.
This latest release, A Strange Time EP, tells the story of two inquisitive aliens landing on planet Earth to dissect humanity. This humorous lens allowed us to bring a retro futuristic style to the artwork. We worked with London-based photographer Em Cole for this EP.
There is a fine line between cultural exchange and appropriation. This is true both for music and fashion. What are your thoughts on the limits of copying, using cultural signs and symbols and the cultural/social/gender specificity of art?
Exchange is inspiring, appropriation is not. We love collaborating but always come up with fresh new ideas and push boundaries. We don’t do sampling.