Avril (Frédéric Magnon)

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Fred Avril, aka Avril / Frédéric Magnon (4 December 1974) is a French electronic musician and film composer. 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 Prix 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 Film Awards and Golden Horse 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, shaping 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 "Wrestling Queens" (La Petite Reine / Kare), where Avril got to work with an amazing team (singers Alice Lewis, Elsa Kopf, Brisa Roché, musicians Ben Symphonic Orchestra et Thibaut Barbillon, and mixing engineer Yann Arnaud). 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 spending hours listening to "Fantastic Planet" OST (Alain Goraguer, 1973), and as a young adult he was exposed to the rich and vast world of film music through 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.


[1] His first album was That Horse Must Be Starving on the label F-Communications.[2] It won the Prix Constantin prize in 2002.[3] His second album was Members Only (F-Communications, May 2004). One track from this album was included in the seminal mix album, Late Night Tales (17).

In December 2005, Avril's remix of British electronic pop band Temposhark's song Invisible Ink was released as b-side to the single It's Better To Have Loved. A short edit of his remix called Invisible Ink (Prelude) was added to their debut album The Invisible Line in 2008 whilst the whole remix was later re-released on their mix album Remixes & Rarities.

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