Mathilde Fernandez and Paul Orzoni, the duo behind ascendant vierge, have managed to unite their music belief systems, pulling off a debut album that points towards an exciting new era for both artists. Glitchy, whimsical, and heavy in turn, their debut; Une Nouvelle Chance, features Fernandez’s characteristic goth-operatic styling with the dance production Orzoni is known for as part of Parisian hard dance collective Casual Gabberz. It's a nicely awakened pop epic, high octane and punky in its own right.
Both Fernandez and Orzoni manage to highlight each others’ artistic strengths, even as pounding gabber comes more to the front with the eponymous track, or as the production sways into a sound that is more imbued with glitzy europop such as À L’Inifni. There is always plenty of room for Fernandez’s iconic coo’s and runs, just as there is space for Orzoni’s penchant for heavier electronic construction. This careful meld is well captured through the closing track on the album, Petit Soldad - live, where a loving crowd applauds ascendant vierge’s electric performance, which is as spiky as it is sensual. Embodying the range and playfulness that has defined their respective careers to date, ascendant vierge is evidently a project full of passion, one that is tenderly constructed, finding its footing with Une Nouvelle Chance, which proves itself to be a staunch manifesto of the duo’s newfound artistic pathway.

Outside of their productions, ascendant vierge are memetic and ruthless on Instagram, jumping from their chic album promotion, which featured them in orange jumpsuits next to a burned out plane, to doling out dubbed over horoscopes, to acting out their dreams, or nightmares, such as the quick vine style video where Fernandez gets pasta vocal cord replacement (for real), it’s all there. Ascendant vierge operate on a slick and silly aesthetic plane, one that is a bit untouchable whilst remaining personable. Their video for prior release influenceur,  is a strong example of both their sound and their very much online personas, albeit reluctant or decidedly irreverent; a rave unfolds and digi stickers and filters adorn the faces of Orzoni and Fernandez. The lyrics, which bemoan the influencer status and identity, demonstrate ascendant vierge’s simultaneous embrace and rejection of digital culture. They are pop stars, but they are also un-sacrificing and savvy artists, who, with Un Nouvelle Chance, are gleefully seeing their half of the universal gamble through.
Hi there, thanks so much for taking the time to have a chat. My name is Ava and I’m a Libra. I read that you guys leave it up to the plans of the stars, can you give me a little Libra oriented horoscope for summer?
Mathilde: Hello Ava, as a Libra your habits are too regulated and make you depressed, yet you loathe adventure.
Reach the end of the impasse before questioning yourself. Summer might be very cold this year, buy yourself a big scarf.
Congrats on your debut album, what was the process of production like and how does it feel to have Une Nouvelle Chance out in the world?
Mathilde : It’s such a relief! After those three years working the two of us on the production of the album it feels like a great accomplishment at the end. Watching people connect to our new melodies, rhythms and lyrics, in concert or on social media is a treat.
How did you cross paths, and in what ways do you feel your respective and somewhat opposing musical styles add to the project?
Mathilde: I contacted Paul in 2018 because I loved his music and wanted him to remix a song from my solo project named Oubliette. He accepted and a few weeks later we decided to create ascendant vierge.
I don't think our worlds are fundamentally opposed. Paul has always wanted to work with vocalists despite his hardcore background he has produced for a rapper and various other artists (Mihas, Safia Bahmed Shwartz, Moesha 13 etc.) For my part, I have always looked for electronic and rough sounds in contrast to my lyrical singing approach. I would say we were expecting each other for a long time and the cosmos brought us together.
Dance music as a scene seems to be undergoing a slight makeover at the minute, with an increased focus on unpretentious stylings, lending itself to a more fun culture so to speak. Do you feel like ascendant vierge is something of a product of a new wave of artistry?
Mathilde: There are cycles like in all cultural movements, I think we got there at the right time anyway!
Paul: I understand that bringing uplifting trance, hardstyle, happy hardcore or other mis-represented genres to the table can be perceived as [quote unquote] fun but I think we are beyond this post-irony thing. We truly respect the legacy of this harder and maximal sound and - as a producer - there’s irony in my approach.
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What’s the ideal setting for listening to your album? What sort of different emotions can a listener find within the work?
Mathilde: I personally recommend putting Une Nouvelle Chance for a big session of running. This music has to do with speed, so driving, running, dancing etc.
There is a variety of emotions and themes but it’s good just to dive in, if you don’t understand the lyrics you will definitely get the music and the moods. This is good music for people who want to revive.
You place heavy emphasis on visuals and have an irreverent and kitschy Instagram presence, do you find these elements of being an artist today fun and involving or somewhat taxing?
Mathilde: Nowadays the representation of an artist goes beyond the moment of the concert, the video clip or the album cover - it extends with social networks. It's a real challenge as an artist to find our way in all these new areas. It's a constraint, yes! But it's also a new chance to be able to experiment [with] things and to be able to touch and play with your audience.
What or whom do you take inspiration from in your work and in your daily lives?
Mathilde: Subversive artists and people!  It’s difficult to shortlist. let’s try in a weird order: Ari Aster, Isamaya Ffrench, Lil Yachty, Demna Gvasalia, Romeo Castellucci, Armande Altaï, Virginie Despentes, Gisèle Vienne, Brian Eno, Lars von Trier, Catherine Breillat, Diderot, Nostradamus etc.
You worked with producer Geoff Swan, who does a lot of production for pop stars,  what is so alluring and hit making about his work?
Mathilde: He is a great sound engineer, putting some magic in our files and a big shine on the vocals and the kicks at the same time, which is a very hard task.
Paul: It’s some kind of magic for real! I never had the opportunity to push my music that far (with the help of folks like Geoff Swan but also Krampf who put his vision, got his hands in every track and made the connection with Geoff). 
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Any other artists, producers, stylists etc. that you would be interested in collaborating with?
Mathilde: We love the director Jonhathan Glazer, Scooter, Rammstein etc. but we are already very happy and always very well surprised where the universe brings us - so we’ll see!
Where are you most excited about performing on your upcoming tour?
Mathilde: We are absolutely very happy to celebrate this new album everywhere. Berghain will be something as we were supposed to play there in 2020 on the release of our first EP. It will also be a special configuration as we will play in Berghain itself, which is a great honour and underground scene validation.
What can we expect next from ascendant vierge?
Mathilde: Music and performances, new music videos and a special vinyl edition of our album Une Nouvelle Chance upcoming in September.
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