“Breaking norms, blurring the lines, and creating an immersive universe of sound for the listener to get lost in, but even more, travel around in.”
Over his twenty-five years of musical exploration, taking him from the beginnings of the techno movement to composing music for the cinema, Holeg Spies is best known for his duo Savage & Spies, which composed the soundtracks for the cult classic The Human Centipede, The Outsider with Oscar-winning actor James Caan, and Raindance film festival laureate Apartment 407.
But beyond the shape-shifting discography (Universal Japan, Polygram and numerous indie labels such as French electro-star Vitalic's Citizen, 3 time Grammy Award nominee Paul Oakenfold's Perfecto...) and filmography that have punctuated his career, Holeg Spies has an amazing backstory that must be told.
Holeg is one of the trail-blazing electronic music producer in France. He was part of the very first generation that was won over by techno music in the early 90s at the time he was studying law in Paris. By 1994, having become one of the DJs hosting the fast-multiplying, sometimes gleefully illegal raves of the time, Holeg and Jeff Mills joined the French DJ booking pioneer Outsoon, and flew off to India for the first official tour of electronic music there. Not just a trip, but an adventure. And it was followed by many more.
First there was the music production adventure, managing a division of the trailblazing techno music label Omnisonus (BMG/Polygram), but especially composing his own music. In 1996, the Spies project introduced the intermixing of musical genres that Holeg is still pursuing today. These unshackled works escape all classification, getting lost in the confines of electronic, industrial rock, symphonic and psychedelic music. Spies will morph through different versions throughout the 2000s and even move into avant-garde audiovisual creations, exhibited not just in the Paris Pompidou Centre, but also in Tokyo, New York and Geneva. This would be Holeg’s first brush with the world of film that would become so important to him.
In Japan in 2001, where he was regularly invited to perform thanks to the British group Juno Reactor (which contributed to the soundtrack of the Matrix film series), Holeg crossed paths with his first filmmaker, the notorious Takashi Miike, for whom he made an audiovisual remix of one of his most famous films, Ichi The Killer. Then one thing led to another. First composing music for the trailer for the remake of The Hitcher, produced by Michael Bay, then the encounter in 2007 with Australian violinist Patrick Savage, first chair of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London, with whom he created Savage & Spies, a tandem as complementary as it is creative.
The first Savage & Spies soundtrack had a lasting impact. In 2009, a mysterious Dutch filmmaker, Tom Six, contacted them to compose the music for his film. The film is called The Human Centipede, and the concept behind its horror is so macabre that it instantly became a cult classic. Building on this success, Savage & Spies carried on from one production to the next.
After 5 albums, dozens of EPs and multiple film scores, it took two more trips to the far corners of the world, one to Arizona with the Hopi Indians and the other with the nomads of the Mongolian steppes, for Holeg to create his new opus in 2019, Axis Mundi: a powerful musical collection in the form of an invitation to an amazing “trip” where he combines all his influences. “A disk with no kick, but where you’ll still find techno, a touch of ancestral ritual, psychedelic hypnotic power, and themes developed like a movie soundtrack”. An open door to the imagination that one cannot help but enter for a fantastic journey of the senses.