deVour Magazine: One of my favorite quotes from Tim Curry is in the movie Legend, “There’s no light without dark.” Do you think that the public understands that someone being so dark can genuinely be happy and shine a bright light?
Audrey Napoleon: I think that! I didn’t realize it was from that movie, but I say that all the time. I say that to my fans all the time and I post that on pictures all the time. There is no light without the dark and there has to be a little bit of dark for the light to shine brighter, if that makes sense. I think that the public is very confused. I always come back to our childhood and Disney movies; all evil characters, they’re always in black, always. They’re always dark hair, they always wore black clothes, and they’re always pissed off. So I think that from childhood you’re just kind of programmed to think that darkness is bad. So I think that people are confused I define myself trendy, I call myself a lot. I am a happy person, I just like dark. I’m just attracted to darkness.
My first EP Ornamental Egos, was kind of about that but the reason behind the name is I think that in order for people to face reality, go out into the world and deal with their daily life, they need to wear certain egos on their sleeves, or kind of wear ornaments of defense, so that’s why I call it Ornamental Egos. So for me and my darkness, for me not to hold it all inside, I kind of put it all on the outside; you know, my clothes and things that I like to look at in art or that I like to read-- all very dark things and I’ve always been drawn to it and I think it’s because I’m trying so hard to be happy and trying to put the darkness on the outside and that’s what it means. ‘Cause I’m happy because I wear black all the time. I think everybody’s a little confused.
dM: Do you ever feel out of place within the whole EDM sphere or does knowing that you resonate musically make you feel more at ease, even though aesthetically your world’s different?
AN: I love being the odd one out because at least I’m doing something different. I’ve become very OK with being not the popular one in crew or whatever the fuck. I’ve just become OK with it. I think that there are a lot of ‘em-- Steve Angello, a friend of mine from Swedish House Mafia, they’re always in all black all the time; he’s probably one of the happiest people I’ve ever met in my life.
dM: It works like that.
AN: And he’s known, like, one of the kings, I mean on a royal court, but... no I’m OK with it. I like that everybody kind of looks at me. They have to take a second look at me because everything seems to be rainbows and butterflies until I walk in the door. I’ve always been like that and people have always gravitated towards me because of the music that I play and the music that I make and the way that I perform because there’s actually a performance going on-- singing live and doing dances and all this shit.
dM: I think that it’s good because sometimes you take them by surprise. They don’t know what to expect. And then you give it to them and they’re blown away so it’s always that level of satisfaction has to have a serious amount of gratification for you at the end of your performance.
AN: Yeah, exactly. It definitely does. The main comment is, “What the fuck was that?” I don’t know. My tour manager is my sister so everyone comes up to her “What the fuck is going on?” She’s like, “I don’t know. This is a normal thing for me and I see that you’re impressed. I would be”.
dM: And you’re like, “You’re welcome.”
dM: So many people want to place the fact that you’re a “woman doing this”, in regards to your expression, your art, and that’s got to be annoying after a while. As more emotional creatures, we’re gifted with a more intuitive ability and it would stand to reason that our artistic expression would be a bit more intense, would it not?
AN: Right, I completely agree. I agree 100%. The female thing, I get asked that question a lot and you know, I personally don’t see gender-specific, I just see talent. So I think that if you have talent, then that’s all that really matters. I’ve just never faced the problem of feeling-- of being the female in the male industry thing because I’m just focused on making sure that I hone in on my talent to where I can be on a level with those people. You know?
dM: And that’s how it should be, it shouldn’t really be about gender. It should be about-- can I do the job? Am I doing it and what are people taking from it?
AN: Yeah. Exactly.
dM: How did you like composing for the Necessary Death of Charlie Countrymen? Are you interested in doing more film work?
AN: Yeah, absolutely. That... OK, so the director contacted Bonds, he’s the one that directed Charlie Countrymen an -the Heineken ad that’s ending this year. So that’ll be three years and twenty-eight countries and I sing in it and I wrote the music for it. So I spent two and a half weeks filming that out there in London and Frederick Bonds was the director for that commercial and it’s famous-- I guess he does all the Heineken adverts and he’s always been known for commercials, so for his directorial debut he asked me if I could write the music for it. It was a really cool experience as I got to go to the editing studio and watched him edit this music and I just sat there and took notes on what was happening in the movie and they’d change parts of scenes up and I’d go back in and write along to that. It was really interesting and actually very easy for me because I’m a very visual person, so to see what’s happening almost makes it easier to write the music. I could see where the music had to go. When I’m just sitting there writing music I don’t really know where the fuck music’s going, I’m, like, just writing. But I’m visual, so it’s like, this is what it needs to look like then I can process that a little bit better and it will come out that way.
dM: So, do you think that it is the process that’s helping you more or the actual finished product, visually? I know that people write scores for film after the film has been completed or close to completion.
AN: I think it’s the process of it. Yeah it’s the process of it, just sitting there writing. I did four short films-- a minute and a half and the final was a five-minute video. I call it a short film but it was a video for my music and I think that visuals make the music come to life even more so the process of watching the visuals of the movie and seeing how it was going to turn out kind of helped me along to write the music and see how that was gonna turn out from the beginning. ‘Cause I know exactly where I have to go, I have direction.
dM: I read an interview that you did recently talking about your fans and you said, “I need to impress them every day.” Now, it’s impressive, the love and adoration that you have for your fans, and it’s commendable that you do what you do for them but when it comes to writing your music, how much of it is written for your own expression and satisfaction, as opposed to for the fans?
AN: When I first started writing music it was just for me because I didn’t have any fans I was writing it for. Then people started listening and I started to gain more and more fans and I think after a certain point the fans are your responsibility, they look up to you. I’m very close with my fans, I know pretty much all of them. I’ve talked to them as much as I can. Every post that’s on my wall is answered. Every comment I try and write back or at least I like it so they know that I’m reading. I’m always responding to them. They tell me things that they like and they leave comments on my music and tell me what they like about it. So now it’s a mixture of both because I want to impress my fans and I also want to express myself. I definitely listen to them and they have a lot of influence on every second of my life, really.
dM: Does it become overwhelming?
dM: How do you deal?
AN: I don’t know. I don’t know. Turn my phone off. Have sex with my boyfriend. It’s not really over-- I mean, sometimes it gets overwhelming because I’m so busy on certain days. It’s like some days nothing happens and other days everything happens and then something and everything, it comes in waves and it gets overwhelming on those days that I’m answering emails or doing interviews or directing. I have to-- I need to Tweet today, I need to Facebook today, I need to Instagram-- that’s when it gets overwhelming.
As far as the actual fans themselves, it’s never overwhelming to have them talk to me. I think it’s fucking-- it’s cool. I think it’s the coolest thing that people pay that much attention to me. I have fans that have tattoos of my face on their arm and the Napoleon Nation logo-- it’s crazy. Those are die-hard fans.
dM: It sounds like they’re respectful too; they respect your privacy, they respect your time, they’re not trying to push too much.
AN: No. No. They definitely respect my privacy and they respect my time. And we trust each other. Some of my biggest fans have my phone number, they have my personal email. A lot of my fans I follow on Twitter so they can send a message to me any time. They don’t ever text me unless, you know, I’m coming to their city and they just wanna say they’re so excited to see me. They never step out of what’s appropriate. It’s a really interesting relationship we have.
dM: A lot of people can’t say that about their fans so it’s good that there’s that mutual level of respect. Speaking of time, how do you manage to stay so productive and innovative with all the multiple facets of your brand?
AN: Traveling. I think that traveling helps me stay inspired, because you always see different things. That becomes my inspiration and when I’m inspired I’m productive. So... yeah I would say traveling. Just getting out and seeing the world. I think that that helps a lot with inspiration, ‘cause if you’re in the same place all the time it’s difficult to find inspiration.
dM: Is there anywhere in particular that you feel resonates with you the most when you travel?
AN: Italy. My family are immigrants from Sicily so I feel very at peace when I’m visiting. I feel very at peace and incredibly relaxed and I always leave there just feeling refreshed and inspired-- I just wanna do shit.
dM: Besides musically, how else do you express yourself artistically?
AN: The makeup line I just launched in Sephora with Ardency Inn, I directed that campaign, that’s a way for me to creatively express myself. There’s the music videos, I make treatments for them and co-direct. I make collages a lot for all the SexTape series that I do, I make all of those covers; I get a bunch of magazines and I cut them all and I make collages. And even clothes. I sit with my sister, Andrea, and we make headpieces or we make outfits, play dress up, pretty much. We put on different things, “What does this look like?”, “Oh this would look cool with this”. It’s an interesting way to see our creativity and it’s definitely a part of my expression, everything that I put on. And cooking, sometimes I cook.
dM: Do you cook well?
AN: Yeah. I’m Italian, I cook well.
dM: So how do you keep grounded within this world where everyone wants a piece of you and will say ‘yes’ to just about anything that you want? Is it difficult?
AN: In my daily life, I’m such a normal human being, I don’t know. I don’t think, I mean, I’ve never had, like, a problem being grounded because, you know, I’m still getting bitched at by my dad for doing something or I’m walking to the store to get my own coffee. I do normal everyday things. I happen to live in L.A. and New York, I have an assistant, there’s those kind of things but then when I take a step back, I’m like, “Holy shit!” There’s my lovely boyfriend George-- I call him boyfriend but it makes it sounds so juvenile. George helps me a lot with that, too. He came from nothing and I came from nothing so we’re very grateful for everything that we have, so I guess I can stay grounded because I know what I come from and I still get treated like a normal person.
dM: That’s good. So what made you decide to go into cosmetics and how did that pairing come about?
AN: Oh, god, I’ve always loved makeup! Always, always, always loved makeup and always wanted to do a collaboration with a makeup line and Ardency Inn. Their brand is very interesting. It’s about music but it’s a makeup line. Their ambassador would be somebody that is a bit more of bold person, edgy, in music, has something to say. That’s what their line represents. So when I met with them it was a perfect match! That’s exactly what I am and that’s exactly what they are so together our brand fits. They asked if I would be in the campaign and then it took a little over a year to get finalized. They asked if I would art-direct the campaign and I came up with the idea of a modern Cleopatra. Cleopatra’s bold and she’s daring and, you know, she’s Cleopatra.
dM: She’s powerful.
AN: Very powerful. That’s what I feel my brand represents and that’s an opportunity I want. She’s very inspiring and so beautiful on so many levels, you know. I thought that that would be perfect for their brand, for my brand, and that’s what I came up with.
dM: That was the one thing I noticed about Ardency Inn; their brand was specifically tailored for those who are really into the hard, edgy, dark aspects of music. I’m just in love with their BADDEST eyeliner, that big fat eyeliner pen that they have. I’m like, “I’ll never fuck up my eyeliner putting that on.” I can do it as thin as I want and as thick as I want and then noticing the stuff that you brought to it with the pigments and the pigment collection. What are your favorites from the line?
AN: Yeah. My closet is full ‘cause I really love the line. I really love the eyeliner, I love the black obviously and I love gold. Those are amazing and they’re highly pigmented and they’re all pencils and you get such a nice color with it, which you see in the pencils. You get what you draw-- that’s not normal to me. I’ve used a lot of makeup and I’ve never had something come out of the package and onto my face and it’s the same shade.
dM: Which is weird because you’re light-skinned.
AN: Yeah. Never the color that I see on the box. Maybe my eyes are fucked up, who knows. So the black, gold and I really love the dark blue eyeliner. As far as shadows, I love Heaven, Punch, Oriole, Peacock, and the Coco one’s really nice. Oh there’s a vintage gold one that I love. And then the eyeliner that we were just talking about, I love that eyeliner, and then I really love the mascara.
dM: So you love everything?
AN: Yeah, I really do. I really do. It’s a fucking-- they do such an amazing job. They don’t even know. I really love everything in the collection.
dM: So are you good at doing your own makeup?
AN: Yeah. I am. I always do my own makeup, always-- pretty much always. For the campaign I had somebody do it. He’s the head makeup artist of Ardency Inn and even after he did my makeup I went in and went over it a little bit. I’m like, “Don’t be offended, I’m just very particular on the way that my eyes are.” And he’s like, “No, no, no, no go for it.” I’m like, “Cool”. And just took the makeup and started fixing. I’ve always loved makeup and I’ve always had the passion and I’ve always loved music so I tried to figure out how to do them myself.
dM: Yeah. It’s good you found a way to mix it all together.
AN: Yeah and that way I don’t have to rely on anybody else, because that is the worst, having to rely on people to do your makeup for you and then different people and they don’t really know the how you shade your face. I know the shape of my face, I know what looks good on my face, I know that if eye shadow sits a little too low on my eyes, my eyes look like they’re really droopy, they have to go a little bit, you know, above on the lids. But I can say different things about my face that somebody doing my makeup for the first time wouldn’t know so... I just do it myself.
dM: So, let’s switch it up a little bit. I hear that there’s a song in the works? Or has that already come out?
AN: I actually released it a couple days ago. This song, it’s called, “Bring me light” and I am doing all the vocals on it now. I’m doing vocals on pretty much all of my music now. I’ve been singing since I was little and that part of me went dormant for a while, artistically, and now it’s finally come back. Now I’m singing on everything and this song was the first full-length and it’s not just some words or a little phrase, it’s songs. I put it up on SoundCloud for my fans to have.
dM: Definitely have to give it a listen. I guess one of the advantages of being a woman and having a good voice when it comes to production is you can do your own vocals if you want to. Are there any other vocalists or anything like that you have on your wish list, for your music?
AN: Honestly, I love Rihanna. I love her. I would love to have Rihanna on something. She’s just consistent-- her music is consistently good. It’s very good music and I love her voice. I admire her a lot and I love her attitude behind her voice. Oh you know what? If I did have somebody within my genre? Allana Watson from Nero.
AN: Her voice is IN-SANE. Insane. I even asked her, I was like, “Please can you Allana...” She’s like, “I would love to sing with you but I can’t”, because, they are a group and she doesn’t do anything solo but that would be number one on my list. Forget Rihanna. Allana, that’s who I want.
dM: Yeah, I love her vocals. She’s pretty fucking cool. It’s interesting she won’t do anything without them. That’s also extremely loyal as far as that team goes.
AN: Yeah, she’s incredible. As a human being she’s incredible, as well. She’s very kind and she’s funny, very funny. I always love meeting people I admire, becoming friends with them and they are as great as I would hope they would be.
dM: It’s gotta be kind of wild. You go through your career listening to other producers, artists and then you actually get to-- I don’t want to say rub elbows-- but you get to be in the same space with them and experience their process. It’s got to be kind of surreal at times.
AN: Yeah, very. When we went to Sweden to visit Isabel Adrian, she’s married to Steve Angello, they invited me to come up to their house in Sweden and Steve’s sitting there at the table and he’s like, “Oh do you wanna hear the new album?” And I’m like, “I’m sorry, what?!” “You wanna hear the new album?” I was like, “Fuck yeah I do!” I ended up crying afterwards, I was like, “This is fucking crazy. This is someone that I look up to so much, and I think that he’s brilliant and oh my god”. I’m still friends with them both now and still, every time I go to Isabelle’s house and Steven’s there and he’s writing in the studio and he’s like, “Hey, you guys wanna come in the studio?” And I’m, “Uhhhh.... Yes! I’d love to!” It’s like, “Oh my god, what’s happening in my life?” They did a remix for my full-length and I didn’t even ask them to. We were at Identity Festival together and so we spent eighteen weeks together. It was like, “Hey, can I get some stems from your album?” “Yeah, sure if you want.” And then the next day’s like, “Oh, I just remixed it.” I was like, “What?!” So yeah, it’s really cool. It’s very surreal all the time.
dM: Are there any up and coming producers that you have your eyes on?
AN: Up and coming... There’s a couple of kids. Two Swedish guys, they go under the name React Unit and they sent me a promo and so I listened to their music and thought that it was incredible and they have like nine hundred fans so they’re brand, brand new.
AN: There’s a couple guys from Jersey, they’re called Admonic & Davies. And this other kid in L.A., Jessie Warren, all of them, they’re so brand new. They’re only on a thousand plays on their SoundCloud, just brand new and fucking talented-- they’re so fucking talented. They send me music and I don’t know if I’m necessarily taking on a mentorship, they’ll email me asking questions and I’ll watch their social media and kind of say, “You need to do this, this, this and this. This is social media and you need to put things out at certain times of day. And watch your statistics and see when your fans are online”, and just kind of help them. People need to hear them.
dM: Well they will now, for sure! What do you have in the works? What’s coming up for you?
AN: I have another single coming out, among other things. I have written a bunch of music I just haven’t had time to finish it up and get it ready for release so another single coming out in the next few months called “Breathe Your Love” and it’s with a producer called Comets We Fall -- really incredible producer so we did a collaboration together. Because I had written some things and I didn’t like the way they were turning out so he was like, “Well let’s try some things”. So that’ll be out in the next few months. I wrote the lyrics and melody, with JustinÿTranterÿ of Semi Precious Weapons, he’s a new talent, he’s amazing. He’s an amazing lyricist and I let him write the lyrics I guess. So he and I wrote the top lines together and I sing it. So I’ll follow up at the beginning of the year with an EP. Finally.