Franz Kirmann and Roberto Grosso

Famous for his work composing scores for BBC series’ such as McMafia, Locked In and Man Behind the Microphone, French composer Franz Kirmann  teams up with Kanye West’s artist of the month Roberto Grosso on the ‘In Waves’ EP and augmented reality venture. The project implements the Artitive app, an app that anyone can download to bring augmented reality artworks to life with their phones. When using the app on the album artwork, listeners are given a unique glimpse into the composer’s secret world. DMCWORLD dive in to discover more…


Hi Franz and Roberto! Where in the world are we finding you today?

Franz: I’m in London

Roberto: And I’m in Sao Paulo!

Can you give us a little background information on the ‘In Waves’ project? How did it come about and how did you two meet?

Franz: We met through a mutual friend who thought we would get on, and he was right! Roberto creates Augmented Reality artworks based on music and we decided to collaborate on a new project. We started working on music together that would then inspire Roberto to create new paintings. We have recorded quite a lot of music and lot of the songs are still unfinished. The 4 tracks on “In Waves” made sense together and are quite different from the rest of the material we have

How old were you when you discovered electronic music and how?

Franz: I was 8 or 9 when my father bought a CD of Jean Michel Jarre’s “Oxygene” and I was blown away by the sounds, the whole thing was very mysterious and fascinating to me. I was already really into music thanks to my parents Beatles and Elvis cassettes but I’d never heard anything like this before.

Roberto: I have a rock background, so it took me longer, but once I heard Depeche Mode and how they were mixing electronic music with great sounding guitars, that got my full attention and I started discovering a world where my guitar could not only play rock riffs but also cascading movements and lately granular loopy sounds.

Was the life dream always to be involved with music or were there other life careers you were interested in?

Franz: Music has always been a passion but I went onto study film in London and was an editor for a few years and running my own production company.

Roberto: Yes same here, music has always been my passion, but once I moved to London I’ve been developing my design career and later into my visual art career.

The best piece of new music you have heard this week, apart from your own!

Franz: Floating Points and Pharoah Sanders’ “Promises” is amazing.

Roberto: Gavotte by Christian Loffler.

What was the creative production process behind the EP? 

Franz: We improvised pieces with me on a modular system and Roberto on guitar and pedals. All improvisations were recorded live as we played them and we then took the best parts and built upon them. It was a very spontaneous process.

How did you find working across both audio and augmented reality?

Franz: Roberto will probably have more to say here, all I did was giving my feedback on the artworks Roberto was bringing!

Roberto: Mixing visual, music, and augmented reality has been my main artistic process since 2011, and it requires a lot of work, so I was happy to collaborate with Franz as his musical experience made the whole process effortless. That let me focus on the album artwork and its augmented reality experience. By downloading Artivive and pointing your phone at the album cover, you will see it coming to life, showing the video I made for each song.

How have you adapted to life in lockdown? Has it had an impact creativity and productivity as artists? 

Franz: It definitely did yes. I was lucky as I had a composition job for a BBC documentary. I was already working with Roberto on the EP as well so he helped on the documentary, recording guitar parts for it.  We had to work together in between lockdowns which had its challenges.

Roberto: For sure, it was and still is quite a challenge. We had to stop going to the studio, during the first lockdown last year. We used it to our advantage, as once we saw each other again we changed the process and produced new music, on the spot. That was a good way to kick away the creative block.

Can we expect more collaborations between you two in the future?

Franz: Definitely, we were working on lots of other pieces that should surface on a future album. Weirdly In Waves was a break from the compositional process of that album. We decided to stop working on the compositions we had and jam some fresh ideas to shake up the creativity a little bit. So In Waves happened like that, but we are now going back to the other compositions that are quieter and more melancholic, and sometimes more songs like… Roberto has forced me to sing…so let’s see how that comes together!

Roberto: Yes, we both found this experience very spontaneous, in the comfort and non-comfort zones of our creativity. We pushed each other the right way. We are working on the rest of the album, with a more cinematic approach. Another collaboration will be an immersive experience I’ll be working on, and I want Franz to create his unique blend of frozen textures for it. So, in not so many words, yes.

If you could collaborate with any other artist throughout history, dead or alive, who would be your dream artist to work with?

Franz: Hmmm… so many! Maybe Brian Eno? Or Kevin Shields, Kate Bush… Also I would have loved to be around the Krautrock scene in the 70’s with bands like Neu! or Cluster, I just love the artistic freedom they had then, I have a very romantic view of that period.

Roberto: Too many, and from different music genres. Let’s see…Ennio Morricone for the compositions, Jimi Hendrix for the creativity, and Thom Yorke for his unique way of composing the most uneasy music and still being able to make it work for a wide audience.

And finally, let’s skip forward 12 months. What do you hope to have achieved by this time next year?

Franz: Hopefully the album will be out then, and we would be looking at live dates or even playing live already, I really miss that.

Roberto: The album and playing live. With the live gig, we can really show how the music and the visuals are connected, and we want people to experience it all.

The ‘In Waves’ EP is out 9 April 2021