Avec Sans
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Avec Sans

London, England, United Kingdom | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | INDIE

London, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Pop Electro




"THE GUARDIAN: Ones To Watch"

‘The pair have built up quite a reputation as "ones to watch"… with more interesting production touches and melodic hooks than most bands can muster in a career.’

You might assume that the pop world probably doesn't need another female-fronted electropop duo who are quite big fans of the 1980s ... but you'd be wrong. When it works well – as it does with London-based duo Avec Sans, aka Alice Fox and Jack St James - it's sort of all pop needs. Having released a handful of songs onto the internet, including the excellent Hold On and a slightly improbable cover of Bon Iver's Perth, the pair have built up quite a reputation as "ones to watch", not only among the music blog community but the fashion world, having been featured by the likes of Vogue and enjoyed a collaboration with London designers Swear. All of this would have been a bit besides the point if their latest single Shiver had been a bit rubbish, but thankfully it's a sophisticated slice of delicate synthpop with more interesting production touches and melodic hooks than most bands can muster in a career. - The Guardian

"CLASH: Gloriously Uplifting Electro-Pop"

Avec Sans is a name which shouldn't be taken literally.

A pun - in basic French it would mean 'with / without' - it's a phrase which would never really be used in the native tongue.

Yet it sums up the London duo's approach. The team tend to focus on pure sound rather than meaning, on feeling rather than anything cerebral.

Gloriously uplifting electro-pop with house overtones, new release 'All Of Time' drops on September 14th. A pin-point introduction to Avec Sans' music, 'All Of Time' has been handed to various guest producers for the remix treatment.

Clash is lucky enough to be able to premiere Mausi's take on the track, and it's a fluorescent, full-on rush. - CLASH

"VOGUE- Song of the Day"

It’s the rare electro act that covers Bon Iver. In fact, Avec Sans might be the only one. But we’re more interested in their original material- “Hold On” is the first single to get a proper release- which packs the most punch. - Vogue.com

"INDIE SHUFFLE: Avec Sans - The Answer"

What's so good?

The only time we’ve ever covered London-based Avec Sans was for their cover of Bon Iver’s “Perth.” It was one of the more original we’d heard, heavy on synth (with just a splash of darkness).

“The Answer” is the second original single to be released by the band (I missed the first, otherwise I’d have known what to expect). Turns out they sound a bit like Tegan and Sara, with all the modern synthwave flare of Haerts and/or Kopps.

The track definitely demonstrates that the group hold big promise for the future. - indieshuffle.com

"LES INROCKS: A New Electro Duo Who Bombard Frontiers"

TheLondoners resume with their cubist rhythms and melodies from their cover of Bon Iver's Perth. On this new single, the duo gets tough in the sewers for an electro-pop spree. In line with Purity Ring, the evil within, or AlunaGeorge, a new duo they bomb borders and blur the lines between the stiffness of electronica, the sweetness of the R & B and lightness of pop music. They are called Alice St James Fox and Jack: even their names are class.

(Roughly translated from French) - lesinrocks.com

"ELLE MAGAZINE: Indie Music Sensations"

‘Indie music sensations… killer sound.’ - Elle Magazine

"CRACK IN THE ROAD: Confidence and Ambition"

Returning with their first original material in seven months, UK duo Avec Sans (featuring 1/3 of Run Toto Run) are showing no signs of letting up. Another indie-disco floorfiller in waiting, Hold On isn’t quite the UK’s answer to Purity Ring like I originally predicted, and wanders a far more pop-orientated path, however there’s few electronic acts around at the moment writing with such confidence and ambition. - crackintheroad.com

"NYLON PREMIERE : The Perfect Sonic Pairing"

Alice Fox and Jack St. James, better known as Avec Sans, are a London-based duo whose music landed on the internet just year ago and have since scored a spot top 10 LISTS, bloggers’ favorites tracks, and have even been creeping onto BBC radio and XFM. The two literally put their first track on line and hours later had e-mails in their in box offering gigs (that’s beyond rare). The perfect sonic pairing of Avec Sans is obvious in their sound and is probably due to the fact that they met repeatedly at gigs, and as a duo they’re their the total package. When they hit us up with a first listen of this “Hold On” remix, we were beyond stoked and asked if we could have the premiere. We like the original but hey, it’s Monday and the punched up remix has the energy we need right now. St. James’ chopping of Fox’s vocals coupled with a driving bass line and the new drum arrangement are perfect. Listen and download both versions below and check out more on Avec Sans HERE. We’re looking forward to seeing and hearing a lot more from this sonic powerhouse. - nylonguysmag.com

"PHOENIX MAG: Dark Synth-Pop"

Electro-pop duo Avec Sans emerged onto the London scene early last year, when Crack in the Road picked up their cover of Bon Iver’s ‘Perth’ only an hour after it was posted on their site. Since then they’ve garnered increasing support from music blogs and critics alike with their dark synth-pop and beautifully crafted electro melodies. PHOENIX’s Maisie Skidmore caught up with the pair in an East London underground Victorian prison whilst filming a video to debut the shoe they have designed as part of London based footwear brand SWEAR’s SWEAR by Music collection; a limited edition capsule collection designed by five of the scene’s most dynamic brands. The shoes are available to buy on farfetch now. - phoenixmag.co.uk

"THE 405: Making Waves"

Another duo making waves meanwhile are London-based Avec Sans, who formed only last year and comprise Manchester born vocalist Alice Fox and Trinidadian Jack St. James on electronics. Fox's hushed tones recall Alison Goldfrapp's whilst the overall sound makes up another brilliant, unabashed 80s throwback. Think simple but sweet electro in the Chvrches and Chew Lips mould. Below is new single 'Hold On'. - thefourohfive.com

"NOISEY - You Need to Hear This"

Avec Sans make glossy electro. You know, the kind that would have shimmied its way onto the Drive soundtrack had there been space for more nocturnal behind-the-wheel BGM. ...an effortlessly intriguing example of how synth-pop can still usher in waves of chandelier suave. - noisey.vice.com

"FIASCO Music: Forging their Own Path"

Avec Sans came to attention through posting a cover of Bon Iver’s ‘Perth’ which now boasts tens of thousands of listens and opened the door for their original material; ‘Hold On’ being their latest offering, a slice of their already signature moody electronica and delicate vocals.

Their name means With/Without in French, and Jack St. James and Alice Fox embody this delicate balance, coming from entirely different musical backgrounds and working on the Avec Sans sound for over 12 months before agreeing it was finally ready. The London duo, their friendship and working relationship much like that of siblings, are the latest electronic act to come along in as many months alongside the likes of MS MR and Chvrches, but whatever you do, don’t just lump them into a genre; Avec Sans are forging their own path, their own way.

They came together because of a mutual friend who suggest that Jack and Alice – both having music projects coming to an end – get together and write some music. Despite having met at various gigs around London, their influences differed wildly, particuarly as Jack is a fan of and played in several punk bands. You can imagine their first musical forays didn’t quite gel.

Jack: We both got on immediately but musically it took a while to find the sound. I think it’s because we have a lot of musical interests that overlap in the middle but then a lot that are way out. I’d being trying to pull things more aggressive and Alice would be trying to pull things more ethereal and beautiful and it was trying to find the bit in the middle we liked. When we starting working on the Bon Iver cover, we thought, that’s how we want to sound like and it went from there.

Was there a lot of compromise? It’s not always a smooth path to finding that middle ground.
J: Sometimes it wasn’t smooth, but that’s ok. (laughs)
Alice: We have quite heated discussions about things.
J: Discussions, yes.
A: We do! The very first song we did took a long time, almost a year effectively.
J: Rewriting it and rewriting it.
A: Once we agreed on that song everything became a lot more easy.

At first there wasn’t much, despite the flush of interest, that you could find out about you both. This ‘mystery’… was it intentional? Mystery can piss people off because they see it as pretentious.
A: At one point, we did publish a whole massive biog online and it felt like people don’t always find what they’re looking for, do they?
J: Our old PR did a press release…
A: I think it was maybe quite well- hidden… but it (the mystery) wasn’t intentional, like when we put a track online for the first time, it was just us putting something online.
J: I think perhaps it’s a personal taste thing – we concentrated on putting the product, the art out there and just didn’t think it mattered.

Are you surprised or disappointed that people got hung up on that?
A: I think it’s because there’s been a lot of people intentionally doing it… and it (the music) was quite a fully formed product and when something arrives online fully formed now people think it’s a big label or a scheme. But when we put the track online we didn’t do anything with it, it was just there, then this blog happened upon it. It did it’s own thing. We didn’t have a chance to do anything with it but in the first week it had 17,000 plays. We were actually in NYC and we were getting major labels emailing us and all we’d done was put a cover on Bandcamp. That’s the power of the internet.
How’s it been coming through the rush of attention and a sudden sense of expectation?
J: We didn’t think about it. We just kept going and it lit a fire under our arses.
A: We just thought, oh we better write some songs!
J: It hasn’t affected us really, if anything it’s made us slow down a bit because it’s not about the hype it’s about doing it properly with the right team around you.

Are you writing now?
A: All the time but I think we’ve possibly got the whole album recorded now, we’ll keep on recording but I think we’ve got the best part of an album done. Next year for it to come out sounds right. Whenever is right to do it.

You have established your sound through the cover, several songs such as ‘The Answer’ and ‘Heartbreak Hi’ and remixes of other groups – is this intrinsically what the Avec Sans sound is?
J: We got a couple of slow ones, we’ve got the hip hop beat one..
A: No, no, no, no. I disagree. (laughing). I think it sounds really consistent.
J: No, I meant it’s not all going to sound dancey! I’m thinking of it from the producer angle. So, yeah, our sound is consistent, it sounds like it’ll all come from the same album.
A: There’s no curveballs. Not like Chvrches who feel like they’ve thrown a curveball by getting the guy to sing some of the songs. For us that would be a curveball cos Jack is tone deaf.
J: I can sing perfectly when I’m pissed.

You live together and write together?
J: Yeah, we’ve go the whole studio in one little flat.
A: We live with a French - Fiascoplus.com

"THE LINE OF BEST FIT: A Rare Fleeting Glance"

Secretive London duo Avec Sans returned this week, after some seven months of silence, to premiere a distinctly 80's-flavoured new track ‘Hold On’.

We were given a rare, fleeting glance at Alice Fox and Jack St. James in the song’s accompanying visuals and now they’re peering over the parapet again with the first ‘Hold On’ remix. The effervescently poppy original has been warped into a basement club banger at the hands of Northern production duo Tom Lord and Dougie Brown aka VS//YOUTHCLUB. Alice’s pinwheeling sugar-coated vocals, now drenched in echo, pool around stuttering industrial beats and distantly slurred synths. This night vs. day rework peels back Avec Sans’ hopeful, neon-lit pop facade to reveal subtly sordid nuances.

‘Hold On’ will be released on Avec Sans’ own imprint Little World Recordings later this year. - thelineofbestfit.com

"HUNGER: A Significant Force"

The sophisticated, electro-infused sound of Avec Sans has already seen them grace Dolce & Gabbana’s Swide Magazine, who claimed to be actually obsessed after hearing them cover Bon Iver. This, added to a swirl of some of the choicest music blogs, gives you a hint of the kind of hype attached to duo Alice Fox and Jack St. James right now. Why? Because they combine authentic, glassy 80s synth sounds with the punchy heat of hard-headed London youth.

Perhaps heat is the wrong word to use. Avec Sans exude a rare refinement and elegance over their debut release ‘Hold On’; comparisons to Glass Candy and Chromatics are actually less aspirational and more worthy. If there was a picture beneath Alice Fox in the dictionary it would be a slickly-arched eyebrow. Rarely for such an aesthetic-led act, however, Avec Sans have the blogosphere stats to back their style. A significant force on Hypem and picking up props on Indie Shuffle, XFM, BBC Introducing and The Guardian, they’ve already been placed on remix duties for Swiss Lips whilst earning their stripes at showpiece venues like The Nest and Birthdays in Dalston.

Rumour is that at their gigs Alice gives her fans free haircuts and tie-dyes anything that comes within range – could they be bringing back actual fun to gigs? Elegant production, a vocalist with natural poise as well as a little crazy; Avec Sans are making dark, brooding pop music beyond their years for a future world where all pop music looks and sounds this good. - Hungertv.com

"NOTION Video Premiere: Chiseled-to-Perfection"

With a passion for icy, electro atmospherics and gliding gossamer vocals, London duo Avec Sans – comprised of Alice Fox and Jack St. James – craft lofty peaks of chiseled-to-perfection pop music. The pair’s latest single, ‘Hold On‘, is no exception: boasting immaculately glistening choruses and earworm melodies that rattle in the mind long after the its final ringing synth has fallen out of the ether.

‘Hold On”s accompanying video, which we’re bringing you the premiere of today, feels perfectly in keeping with the track’s frequent veerings between lucidity and opaqueness. At times, it presents the two-piece as mysterious creatures hidden behind all manner of audio-visual effects, at others they’re crystalline figures bounding around possessed by the music. In either case, ‘Hold On”s weightless synth-pop is clear-cut in its intentions: to captivate and intrigue with equal measure. What’s more, it succeeds stunningly. - Planetnotion.com

"DOLCE AND GABBANA Top Band of the Year"

London’s Dark Pop duo Avec Sans blew me away with the powerful cover of Bon Iver’s track, ‘Perth’. After that, I ensured that I kept a close eye on them. Two releases later and they are hitting the lists of ‘ones to watch ’, carving out a neat fanbase of dedicated followers and taking their work on the road. When I got a chance to ask them a few questions, the dynamic that Alice Fox and Jack St. James have is something rather special, not to mention the sound that these two produce. - swide.com

"GIGWISE: Transports You to Another World"

"The best music does more than drives you to dance, it transports you to another world entirely. Luckily for Avec Sans, they can do both pretty damn well. “ - Gigwise

"DIGITAL SPY Playlist: A Talent to Keep Your Eye On"

Full of early promise and surrounded by blogger buzz, it's easy to see why the duo have drawn comparisons to Chvrches. Their combination of an airy synth-led chorus with roaming beats places them as a talent to keep your eye on and enjoy. - Digitalspy.co.uk

"POP JUSTICE: Like a Two-Person Version of CHVRCHES with Better Songs"

Avec Sans are Alice and Jack, and they’re one of our favourite newish bands. We first got into them last year and like a lot of the best pop things ever they make smart, straightforward electronic pop with proper choruses, good lyrics and a lady (that’s Alice) doing the singing. They’re a bit like a two-person version of CHVRCHES with better songs.
‘The Sans’ have just premiered their new video, for a tune called ‘Hold On’, over on Notion and now here it is on Popjustice.
“‘Hold On”s weightless synth-pop is clear-cut in its intentions: to captivate and intrigue with equal measure,” say Notion. “What’s more, it succeeds stunningly.” Very true, and very useful too because it means we don’t have to faff around figuring out how to discuss the song and can, instead, spend the time embedding other examples of Avec Sans’ amazingness. - Popjustice.com

"ARTROCKER: The Forefront of the Movement"

"I predict a similarly bright future for this chic two-piece."

Synth-Pop is a genre that continues to captivate the modern audience, and haunting female vocals such as those of Avec Sans' Alice Fox are at the forefront of the movement. The song is surprisingly progressive for a pop ditty, with layers of synth subtly building up to the crescendo of an outro. Fans of artists such as Grimes and Purity Ring will be right at home in the Avec Sans sound judging by this single.

Fox's entrancing vocal really drives this song, no overproduction to be found here, just raw female energy-there's something refreshingly feminine about this track. This femininity is matched in the single's video, which seems to scream 'I don't need to cavort around with no clothes on to create allure'.

Fox's white hair juxtaposed against the dark background and pulsing lights of the video create an image of a beacon of female presence in murky circumstances, also reflected in the lyrics. I predict a similarly bright future for this chic two-piece, after all, you aren't named as band of the year by Dolce And Gabbana for no reason! For folks already familiar with Synth-Pop, Avec Sans are one to keep on your radar, and for those new to the genre, are a fantastic place to start. -


Perth (Bon Iver cover) - Free D/L
Heartbreak Hi - Free D/L
The Answer - Free D/L
Hold On - Digital stores & Free D/L



Avec Sans are Alice Fox and Jack St James who hail from Manchester and Trinidad respectively. 

Avec Sans started performing live in 2013 and quickly gained recognition for their energetic shows. Aiming to break down the walls of electronic laptop performances, Jack hacked his Novation launch pad to display a light show and uses three of them in tandem tilted towards the audience. He’s filmed performances using 16 launch pads at once and has helped Novation demo and launch new products online. 

Avec Sans have released three official singles: Hold On, Shiver and All of Time, achieving national radio play and acclaim from the national media. They have remixed artists such as Swiss Lips (Epic), Haerts (Columbia) receiving praise for these from the likes of DJ Sasha and have played alongside acts such as Little Boots, Capital Cities and Kate Boy. 

They have been taken into the hearts of many in the fashion industry; before they’d performed in public they were asked to design a shoe for London fashion brand Swear. Their music has been used on the catwalks of New York Fashion week. They were also named band of the year by Dolce and Gabbana, have been Track of the Day on Vogue.com and have been featured in Teen Vogue, Elle Magazine and DJ’d for the Milan launch of luxury brand Sandro. Avec Sans have been touring and DJing internationally and are currently finishing work on their first album. 


Band Members