Antonin Lemiere, aka Airmow, is a Parisian electronic artist and producer. After proving himself within the Trap/Future Bass scene with his remixes on Trap Nation and Trap City, Airmow never stopped pushing to develop and tweak his sound, ultimately emerging with a more fully fledged sonic divergence, albeit, in addition to his repertoire, with his debut EP, entitled “RUPTURE,” which he signed to CloudKid in 2021.
His latest releases ‘NUIT’, ‘ROUGE’, ‘MARBRE’ and ‘HALLUCINATION’ mark an interesting renaissance to the start of his next project « DYSTOPIE », an album of 9 tracks to be released at the end of May. With bold, brash, enigmatic and threatening sounds, Airmow aims to create ultra-modern productions that transport listeners to a wonderful, yet skeptical and oppressive world, paying homage to the outside world we live in today.
1. Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how you got started?
I’m from Paris, France ! I decided to start music 8 years ago when I saw a video on YouTube: Madeon – Pop Culture. I was immediately impressed and amazed by this video. Madeon was super young and already extremely talented . In this video he plays a mashup of a lot of different famous tracks and creates something totally new with it. The performance was also amazing.
I asked my parents to buy me a Launchpad for Christmas to make my own mashup ! I was absolutely amazed and excited about this word of music production. It was a totally new word that I discovered.
I then spent entire evenings learning about music production, watching tutorials etc..
I was only 15 and I already knew what I wanted to do with my life ! I wanted to make music.
2. Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
My father is a pianist and I have been surrounded by music since I was a child. My father tried to teach me piano many times but it was impossible. He was too perfectionist and It wasn’t fun to learn piano with him. It wasn’t fun for me and it was more like a boring piano lesson instead of a “game”.
On the other hand, Music production was a real game for me , it was a real pleasure. I played a lot of video games before 15yo and I totally stopped when I discovered music production. So for 3 years, I learned music production by myself . I was extremely naive but that naivety helped me to be motivated and move forward without knowing the immensity of the things I still had to learn.
1 year after that I started to make music. I told my parents that I wanted to make music all my life . They weren’t sure at all about that but I repeated it to them for 3 years and they directly saw how motivated I was. They decided to enroll me in a school of sound engineering after the baccalaureate and it was an excellent choice ! I am really grateful and happy to have had this chance because it is always complicated to explain to your parents what you want to do in life when it is something other than “traditional jobs”.
These 3 years of school helped me a lot to learn things about sound and technique. It’s super important to know your tools when you want to create something. Even if you are really inspired and if you have a lot of ideas, you can’t do anything if you don’t really know how to use your tools.
I also developed my musical culture, my knowledge in different areas thanks to this school. It helped me to be more versatile.
3. Who were your first and strongest musical influences and why the name ‘AIRMOW’?
As I said before, my very first real influence was MADEON, it was a real trigger for me. I then started to get interested in electronic music in general and a lot of big artists like Martin Garrix, Daft punk, Avicii etc…
I was also hanging out a lot on YouTube where I was listening to tracks uploaded on Trap Nation, Trap City, Cloudkid , Mrsuicidesheep etc … (channels that uploaded me and put me in the spotlight afterwards).
I was also influenced by many beatmakers (when I started beatmaking) such as METRO BOOMIN, SUPERSTAARBEATS (Ytb), CashMoneyAP.
My first alias was Technix Beatz because I liked to release instruments with a lot of effects etc… and I thought that my tracks were “technical” (it’s extremely ridiculous we agree haha).
My intrusions became more and more complex and started to be full-fledged tracks. It was almost impossible for a rapper to do it haha.
So it was obvious that I turned to electronic music which was a way for me to have more fun and to impose myself as a producer and not a beatmaker. I wanted to make my own tracks and not work FOR a rapper who will just upload my track on YouTube and put his voice over it.
I had to change my name and honestly I took the first thing that came to my mind: AIRMOW
This name sounded good and contained a lot of letters of my first and last name Antonin Lemiere. The W was to give me a little American touch and to make it sound better in the mouth haha. With hindsight I would have preferred to have a “more Frenchy” alias but my influences at the time were not the same as today and I didn’t realize how good my country is in terms of creativity. (my influences at the time are mostly French artists such as JUSTICE, daft punk, Gesaffelstein, Sebastian etc.)
4. What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners, and how would you personally describe your sound?
My latest tracks are oppressive, threatening and enigmatic. I try through each of my works to immerse my listeners in soundscapes that I shape/ create. Each piece is in a different mood / atmosphere. My music is composed of organic sounds, digital sounds (virtual instrument, plugins etc..) and analog sounds (real synths: Prophet V & JUNO 106)
These last pieces are the fruit of the discovery of new sources of inspirations and interest on my part towards the cinema (Blade Runner, Dune, Tenet, Jaws, Shining…), the fashion industry (with ultra creative fashions shows of French luxury brand such as Yves Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy), the architecture (Tadao Ando, Le corbusier, Jean Nouvel)
The majority of my last pieces were composed with visuals (fashions show, shooting scenes of films etc..) that I make turn in the bottom of my studio on a screen to plunge me in an atmosphere favorable with the creativity.
5. For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and music maker, and the transition towards your own style, which is known as EDM?
One year after I started doing music, I started to upload my first rap beats on YouTube under the alias TechnixBeatz (you can check some of these beats on YouTube haha) and then I met other kids my age who were making beats. One of the kids that I met was called Ohkin. We learned a loooot together and from each other. We were always competing to see who would get their beat in, who would get an upload on a YouTube channel etc… Thanks to this guy we were both extremely motivated and we always wanted to make big things. We believed in each other and we always pushed the other to do their best. Now , 6 years later , even if we took different music “careers” (he signed on Internet Money and he now works for a lot of rappers and artists)( we have a track coming on my next project DYSTOPIE. We still learn from each other and we still push the other to do his best).
Step by Step, my beats became more complex and started to be full-fledged tracks. It was almost impossible for a rapper to work with it haha.
I started to produce remixes and I was quickly spotted by Trap Nation who decided to upload my first remix “jon bellion – woke the fuck up that I had done with afterfab). I then took advantage of this launch and I followed up with a lot of other singles and remixes that I released on labels such as Trap Nation, Trap City, Tribal Trap, Chill Planet, Chill Trap, Sony Disco:wax etc… One of my remixes has reached more than 50M views on Trap Nation. During this stage of my life, I was overwhelmed by the numbers, and the stats. If my sound wasn’t uploaded to Trap Nation or signed to a good label, it wasn’t a good sound. I made a lot of tracks with the goal of getting them signed and presented to labels. So I was trying to make music “in the style” of a label and not music that I really wanted to make. I didn’t realize it at that time and with our friends, we were always competing and comparing ourselves with our stats, uploads etc… Unlike the competition game I had with Ohkin at that time, this competition was actually bad for my evolution. I was inspired a lot by what was going on on the labels, what was fashionable, with the only goal to sign and be happy. I then “developed” my project in this way until I started to run out of steam and feel less pleasure about my music. I had then a big phase of questioning and of “down” with regard to my music. That’s when I took a step back from my tracks and decided to enjoy myself more by releasing remixes without taking my head and without any specific goal. I participated in 2 remixes contes on the platform skio music that I won and that were uploaded by Cloudkid.
It is then that I started to make a first piece more “with my sauce” by taking me less head (it’s a french expression, english one is “headache”, pls re write it well haha) compared to the fact of signing in labels etc… The piece in question is called Nobodyknows. I proposed it to Cloudkid and they decided to sign it (I had been sending all my tracks to this label for a year already). I then released a second single “Time” with them. Little by little I became more and more unblocked about my music and I felt much more free, free to create what I really wanted to create. So I sent several more tracks to Cloudkid. They trusted me and they were ready to make me evolve and to accompany me on this project. The boss of cloudkid, Yiannis, then proposed to me to make an EP. Cloudkid accompanied me on the communication, on the search for singers, on the promotion, on the strategy of the project etc… It had absolutely nothing to do with all the other labels I had worked with before, their team is much more invested in the project and thinks more about developing their artists rather than developing their platform. At cloudkid it’s the artists that are most important! In the meantime, I have surrounded myself with a friend who now has a very important place in the project: Valentin Houee. He helps me to develop my visual image and my communication. Valentin accompanies me on all the airmow projects in a general way. I then felt more and more free in relation to my project. I have a label to help me on all the promotion and the development of the project and a friend who accompanies me on all the visual artistic direction and the communication of the project.
In parallel, I started to produce and compose for other artists and I was able to put a foot in the music for image (by working on briefs for commercials, syncs, and brands in general). These experiences allowed me to gain maturity, to discover other ways of working, composing and producing (by learning from other artists), to have a new approach to music but also to be able to generate incomes that allow me today to live fully from music. So I felt more and more free with regard to my music what allows me today, with the experience that I acquired, to make a more sincere music, more authentic, to make a music that I like under Airmow.
7. Do you feel that your music is giving you back just as much fulfillment as the amount of work you are putting into it, or are you expecting something more, or different in the future?
Obviously, like any artist, I would like my music to be heard more and to reach a wider audience. I would like to play live a lot more, propose bigger projects, propose videos, meet and work with new artists etc… because these are exciting and thrilling projects! Again, this is selfishness. I’m going to develop my project more and more on the musical level as well as on the visual level. This project is a project that I really care about and I want to push it to the maximum in order to be as proud as possible. However, I don’t have high expectations from my audience on this project. I’ve spent several years getting away from the stress of numbers and stats and I want this project to remain/become as authentic as possible.
I don’t have any financial issues or constraints that would cause me to steer my project towards something more lucrative or to steer it towards a single goal of pleasing everyone. Working on projects other than Airmow allows me to meet these financial and credibility needs and thus give me more freedom on my own project.
For the future, my only ambition at the moment is to push this project as high as possible while continuing to have the fun I’ve been having this past year. What is exciting is to realize that nothing is taken for granted but that everything is possible.
8. Could you describe your creative processes? How do you usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a tune, a beat, or a narrative in your head? And do you collaborate with others in this process?
Through the years of producing, I have found that I am much more creative and come up with more interesting things when I start a project without really having a specific goal. However, I have put in place some personal routines and techniques to push myself to give the maximum of what I am capable of doing (obviously I am still developing, I have a lot to learn and these automatisms will be refined later on).
First of all, as I said before, I really like to put visuals in the background (fashion show of brands, movies, clips that I like) in order to get in a mood that is conducive to creativity.
I also start a lot of sessions with the sole purpose of creating sound material. I call these sessions “sound design sessions”, during these sessions, I tweak synths, samples in order to create my own presets that I will realize later on for other tracks, when I need them. This way, I’m much faster when I’m in composition sessions and I need a particular sound, I only have to pick from my personal sound and synth bank. By starting sessions with this mentality, I often get carried away and finally start a new composition. Very often, a particular melody can give meaning to certain sounds. This can allow me to jump in and start a project in a more “natural” and fluid way.
When I need to motivate myself, I also start some projects with an acapella in order to build around it, it’s a constraint that allows me to narrow down the fields of possibility and to overcome the blank page syndrome (a syndrome that I still find too often)
Finally, lately, I work a lot with randomness. I randomize some parameters on a synth for example, and I let my computer run. I record for a while (I do something else during the recording) and I discover what the computer suggests. From time to time, I find very interesting passages and sounds that I reuse later in my compositions.
9. What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or music career so far?
The music industry can be really rotten at times, there is no one thing in particular that has been hard to endure but negotiating contracts with artists, record companies or agencies is at times very stressful and painful. Since I started music when I was young and I’m still young today, a lot of majors and other artists think they can walk all over you because you don’t have much experience in the business. With my school I had the chance to have law courses, which allows me to defend myself in certain situations. Finally, I have also surrounded myself with a lawyer who defends me in really complicated situations. Some of these situations disappointed me a lot and were a real disillusionment for me with the music industry.
10. On the contrary, what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your life or music career so far?
I’m proud of several projects I was able to accomplish this year:
First, I co-produced and co-composed the new Rosenfeld project (1M Monthly listeners on spotify) containing Body, Till Death DO Us Part, Gimme Love + 2 other tracks (unreleased)
Then, I could compose and produce for many brands such as L’OREAL, XIAOMI, Philosophy etc..
Finally, I am obviously very proud of my next project DYSTOPIE, containing 9 tracks and which will be released at the end of May. It’s a project that represents a lot of work and that is very close to my heart! I can’t wait to share all this with you!