Profiles: Héloïse

What was your personal motivation for forming The Hermes Experiment?

During my time at university, I was very involved in both the performing and production sides of various musical and theatrical events. I really loved doing both, though I would sometimes get frustrated when I didn’t have any artistic input into the shows I was producing. I knew that after graduating, I would somehow want to combine performing and producing to make it my job! So after spending a long time over the summer thinking about how I could make it happen, I came up with the idea of forming an ensemble which would somehow involve all the things I enjoy doing: performing, producing, music and theatre …

Apart from the instrumentation, what would you say makes The Hermes Experiment unique?

As a result of our unusual instrumentation, the music we play is very ‘unique’. Indeed, none of the pieces we perform have ever been played by anyone else before, since we either commission them or create them ourselves. So yes, what we offer artistically is pretty special!

What do you see as the key to The Hermes Experiment’s artistic identity?

The great thing about Hermes is that, apart from the instrumentation, we haven’t set any limitations: we can arrange pretty much anything for our combination as we want. For example recently, we came up with the idea of arranging Bach preludes and fugues from the Well-Tempered Clavier (both ourselves and by collaborating with composers). And it really works. When talking to composers, we also like to give them a lot of freedom as we are all extremely keen to try out new things and explore new sound worlds. Because there isn’t any existing repertoire for our combination, we’re having to build our own as we go along; and that I believe is one of the keys to our artistic identity.

What would you say is the most interesting part of the creative process you go through with each commission?

I find all stages of the creative process really exciting; but perhaps it becomes even more exciting once we’ve all got to know the music well and can properly start work on interpretation and performance. It’s truly fascinating to be able to work, with the composer, on the performing side of things to try and really make the piece live. And often, this relies on understanding how the different parts interact with one another. This requires so much focus and energy (which might be why I am always starving after two hours of Hermes…) but to me, it is the most fun!

Thinking of the ensemble’s future plans, what are you most excited about?

I think we are currently in this great position where all of us are very keen to make Hermes a major part of our musical career. Whenever we discuss our future plans, which include projects involving collaborations with other art forms such as photography or dance (those are the ones that I’m looking forward to the most and are to be revealed soon), we get so excited and I am confident that we will make them all happen in the near future…