As a singer / songwriter / producer / multi-instrumentalist, Fred Avril has been majorly influenced by film scoring over the years. After earning international praise for his two albums, one of which earned him the prestigious Constantin Prize (the French equivalent of the Mercury Prize), and receiving comments like: “Best beats since Kraftwerk”, new adventures awaited him.
He got his start in film music thanks to an invitation from Xavier Jamaux to work with him in his studio. Johnnie To, who asked the Frenchman to handle the “Mad Detective” soundtrack, was delighted with Avril’s work, perceiving in it exactly what he was seeking for the score of his upcoming quasi-musical “Sparrow”. A year later, Sparrow’s soundtrack was nominated at both the Hong-Kong Awards and Tai-Pei Awards, the film being a box-office hit in China. Impressed with the final scene: ten minutes of music, a ballet for pickpockets and umbrellas composed by Avril, Swedish Six Drummers, known for their online videos, asked him to bring musical life to their sonic experiments and create the score for “Sound of Noise”, their first feature. Once again, the score was an essential component to the story featuring musicians rebelling against conformity who plot a “sonic bombing”. The film received various prizes and the score won the Stockholm Music Award. Working closely with a director, defining a sound identity for each character, composing chords for a particular scene, highlighting the sensations delivered on screen, have become a frantic yet riveting exercise and the blueprint for most of Avril’s works.
French projects followed: “Les voies impénétrables” for Canal+, “Les amis à vendre” for Arte, or the heavy-hitter “Les reines du ring”, where Avril got to work with an amazing team. Brilliantly combining influences like Mancini and Morricone with more contemporary ones like Cliff Martinez (closer to his own albums) and The Polyphonic Spree (“Thumbsucker”), Avril skillfully fuses together different styles. 2013: Hollywood’s calling, and Avril signs on to compose for the indie feature “The Lifeguard” with Kristen Bell, a Sundance sensation.
From vocal pop to classical arrangements, on a guitar or piano, switching smoothly from digital tools to charts, Avril is a complete “sound director”. As a kid he enjoyed getting lost in “La planète sauvage” OST (Alain Goraguer, 1973), and as a young adult he was exposed to the rich and vast world of film music trough sampling, discovering Lalo Schifrin via Portishead, a little-known Quincy Jones soundtrack via Björk, etc. It only seems natural that he has come full-circle with this lifelong passion.