The unfettered zeitgeist of Andy Warhol’s studio, The Factory, infuses the indie artistic collective Kamar & the Bugged Mind Crew, which includes the likes of Nicolas Ouchenir, Julien Bachelet, Marc Ange, Charles Helleu, Biggie, François Rousseau, Marck Ronzier and Nicolas Jouanneau Dario.
BMC — the brainchild of Paris-based Canadian music executive and artist Cyril Kamar, aka K-Maro, and his French wife, Anne-Sophie, a luxury and fashion consultant — sets out to portray its own vision of beauty and aesthetics in today’s structured world, mixing Kamar’s songs with the visual arts.
The first project for the 16-person group — a musical film, called “Mary,” including a single by that name — launches exclusively on WWD.com.
Kamar said he had missed the act of creating music for himself, which ended a decade ago, but was looking for something more than a solo endeavor. “I’m like, why can’t I do a music project, but surrounded with the people who I respect and [enjoy] to create stuff with?” he explained.
So the Kamars started calling friends in their wide network — directors, photographers, choreographers, calligraphers, street artists, contemporary artists and p.r. strategists — to see if they’d be interested in teaming up on the venture.
Cyril Kamar told them they could “do art the way we like to do it. I said: ‘I have no money, no budget. As the executive, I’m telling you guys I don’t even know what this is going to be or where it’s going to go. But we have good taste, I think. We know art. We are a cool bunch of people. So let’s get together and do stuff and see where this can lead us.’”
The music he started composing again was played to members of the collective for inspiration.
“I said: ‘What kind of image, what does it depict to you, and how would you translate it into a performance?’” Kamar continued. “I didn’t feel like doing videos like we see in the music industry today. I’m not saying [they’re] bad…that’s [just] not what I was looking for.”
The spots were to be sans Kamar crooning before the camera, bikini-clad women, Ferraris or Lamborghinis. “I don’t want to put no gangsters,” he exclaimed, adding the creation process was atypical. “It’s like if you write a movie, but heard the soundtrack first.”
“Mary” the song, which kicks off the upcoming EP “Mirrors,” is fusion hip-hop inspired by the color black. For it, Kamar mined the black works of French artist Pierre Soulages with its many shades, aspects and meanings. “That’s what’s ‘Mary’ speaks about,” Kamar said
He and his wife asked Soulages if dancers could be filmed with the painter’s artwork at the Musée Fabre in Montpellier, France, and — to their surprise — he agreed.
“Mary,” which runs for three minutes and 15 seconds, is described as a “beyond black”-themed dream. Its series of shots in black-and-white and color include people dancing before monumental oeuvres and close-ups of undulating, gleaming tar-like surfaces.
Givenchy’s L’Autre Noir color cosmetics collection — based on black — caught the Kamars’ eye. Cyril Kamar considers the label’s artistic director for makeup and colors, Nicolas Degennes, “a genius creative with his hands.”
The brand donated kilos-worth of makeup and Degennes crafted masks and body art, mixing textures and materials, which he layered on the dancers, who were also filmed in a studio.
“Mary” the film was collectively conceived with people such as choreographer-director André Atangana. Various media outlets will run it online, as will Givenchy, among others.
About six musical art works are currently under development by BMC. Buccellati collaborated on one upcoming film. “It’s fantastic, because, again, it seems to be so far away – their DNA and ours – but actually it’s so close,” said Kamar, referring to the group and the jeweler’s highly artisanal approaches to creation. “This is not product placement.”
On Oct. 12, the collective plans to hold its first “art night,” in Paris, like a vernissage where more films will be unveiled and live performances shown to local creatives and members of the general public, who can sign up for an invitation on buggedmindcrew.com.
Right after the event, at midnight, BMC’s first EP will go live.
Art nights also are expected to be held in New York, London and Berlin, with what’s likely a culminating fete scheduled at Art Basel Miami Beach in December. Each party is to be different in terms of what it reveals — EP- and performance-wise. Ultimately, an album will be released including the EP’s songs, and a new type of event cycle will begin.
The artist plans to keep writing music and revealed some other types of collaborations — including with a fashion brand — are in the works. BMC, in other words, continues to be a constant work in progress.
“When I started this project, honestly I thought that its audience … was like maybe seven, 10 people,” said Kamar, who believed few others might be into such freestyle performances. “The more we are moving forward with the project, the more we realize that people are calling us [for] another perspective.”
He named the collective Bugged Mind Crew in reference to a twisted mind — “probably with a bug somewhere that we are not very excited to actually unbug,” Kamar said with a laugh.