In conversation with Archive: unveiling the collaboration with Balenciaga Music


INTERVIEW Charlotte Di Qual
IMAGES Balenciaga PR
STUDIO XYZ spoke to Archive, the band that kicks off Balenciaga Music’s fresh chapter with an 8.5-minute exclusive track, “Patterns”, and a 7-hour playlist, accessible only through the interactive garments of Balenciaga’s new limited edition.

The project “Balenciaga Music” takes a significant step forward, offering a 360° immersive musical journey through NFC-chipped merchandise in collaboration with the English group Archive, renowned for its 28-year history spanning electronic, trip-hop, post- and progressive rock. In this exchange with Archive, the conversation converges on a resounding note: this collaboration not only introduces innovative sonic experiences but stands as a testament to the boundless potential when two avant-garde forces unite to blend the realms of music and fashion.

Charlotte Di Qual: How did the collaboration with Balenciaga come about, and what sparked Archive’s interest in this project?

Archive: We were approached by Balenciaga last year to make a playlist of our favorite songs over the years, and to do a range of merchandise as a partner. I’d already heard Demna was a huge music fan so it seemed like a perfect project!

CDQ: How did the creative visions of Archive align with the identity of Balenciaga in this collaboration?

A: I think the most important factor was that Demna was very familiar with our work and the vision of our music. Balenciaga has always pushed boundaries and we certainly aren’t a band who do straight up songs. We love to experiment as Balenciaga does.

CDQ: This project marks Archive’s first venture into the fashion world. How do you see it fitting into the broader narrative of Archive’s artistic exploration?

A: Where there is creativity there is room for Archive, and I believe this is a great opportunity for fans of Balenciaga to discover the weird and wonderful world of Archive.

CDQ: Were there any reservations or concerns about entering the fashion world? If so, how did you overcome them?

A: I’m lucky that my partner has worked in fashion for many years, and for some great brands, so I had, maybe, more of an insight into that world and how creative the designers are, so i didn’t really have a problem with it.

CDQ: “Patterns” is an exclusive track distributed through an NFC chip in Balenciaga merchandise. Can you share insights into the creative process behind crafting a song for this unique method of release? As musicians, how did you approach this challenge? What opportunities and limitations did this present?

A: The fact Demna was into our music made it a very enjoyable experience. If you are writing for someone who doesn’t know your music so well it becomes a lot harder. For me I wanted to really blow his mind with a song from our hearts and we are really over the moon with Patterns. To write a song for someone is actually really special for us too.

CDQ: How do you hope listeners will experience and interpret “Patterns”, especially considering its connection to Balenciaga’s visual and fashion elements?

A: We really wanted to make the song intensely atmospheric to give the listener a visual experience. I think if we had done something more uptempo or accessible it would have not reflected the ethos of Balenciaga. We really wanted to take the listener on a journey and make them think, as Balenciaga does.

CDQ: Without giving too much away, can you tease some elements or surprises within the track that fans can look forward to discovering?

A: I would just like to say that it’s one of my favorite Archive songs and is raw with sound and emotion.

CDQ: Archive has been known for its genre-blending sound. Did the collaboration with Balenciaga push the boundaries of your musical experimentation, and were there any musical styles or elements you explored for the first time?

A: Certainly doing the playlist made us really think about music that has affected us over the years, both commercial and leftfield. That was a challenge!

CDQ: The interactive garments offer a unique way for listeners to experience the music. How do you believe the integration of technology in fashion enhances the overall music experience for Archive’s audience?

A: It’s just so cool to be involved in something so original! For the fans they will love the fact it’s so exclusive and personal. For a fan of Archive to have an exclusive song like Patterns and know there are not many other people able to have the same experience, I think is incredibly special!

CDQ: Do you think this type of fusion of fashion and music will set a new trend? How do you envision the future of such collaborations in the music industry?

A: I think Demna is really smart to push this idea in this way. As music already plays a big part in the fashion industry with advertising etc. but it’s often more subconscious. This project highlights the music much more which I think is great! And shows Demna’s dedication to the music’s importance in the fashion industry. I hope it becomes more of a thing for sure!

CDQ: Are there any other interactive concepts Archive would like to explore in future projects?

A: Would love to collaborate with visual artists more as this really pushes boundaries also. We did this with our movie “Axiom” which has become one of the highlights of our career!

CDQ: The 24-hour playlist curated by Archive offers a diverse musical experience. Can you highlight some of the key tracks and explain how they contribute to the overall narrative or atmosphere Archive aimed to create?

A: As I said before, it was all about trying to find the songs that really affected you over the years. Underworld King of Snake to Ashes to Ashes David Bowie, these were songs that really inspired how we approach music and we wanted to take the listener on that journey.

CDQ: Fashion and music are powerful influencers. How do you hope this collaboration with Balenciaga will impact the perception of Archive as well as the intersection of fashion and music as a whole?

A: I want people to see how diverse fashion and music can be and to reiterate that there should be no rules or boundaries in artistic projects like this. I hope more and more bands join this adventure into fashion, its really exciting and makes complete sense.