Words: Staff Writer
As Hennessy releases a revolutionary collaboration with France’s Les Twins “Hennessy Very Special in Motion” and the Very Special 2021 Limited Edition bottle, we connected with the french trailblazers to talk about how they continue to innovate after so many years at the top.
Frankensteined boybands, lacklustre magic tricks and poorly styled hopefuls. These are just a few of the Y2K flashbacks that come to mind when someone mentions the phrase “National television talent show finalists”. So when an act becomes an exception to a rule and breaks the established expectations of Saturday night television they often hold a special place in people’s heart.
A quick glance at Les Twins’ career will tell you they don’t do conventional. Their unparalleled success since finishing eighth on on France’s ‘Incroyable Talent’, in hindsight, highlights the brothers from the outskirts of Paris were ahead of the curve. Their journey from self taught dancers from the streets of Sarcelles to collaborations with Jay-Z, Missy Elliott and Beyoncé to modelling for Jean Paul Goutier is the kind of come up story that blows Hollywood’s finest out of the water. Moreover, cultural currency is a precarious commodity in the rapid pace of the internet era and while most vanish as quickly as they go viral, the Twins have maintained a serious presence both sides of the Atlantic for well over a decade.
Never happy to rest on their laurels, Laurent and Larry are constantly looking to the future and how they can push the envelope. While you’d be forgiven for believing their collaboration with Hennessy was grounded in the brand’s rich history of supporting hip hop and adjacent cultures, the pair are adamant in their desire to write a new chapter in dance on their own terms.
Speaking from Paris on Zoom, the pair joke and squabble exactly as you would expect two brothers would. Speaking about the collaboration, which includes a limited edition bottle and a bespoke dance piece as part of a virtual reality experience, they explain it was the perfect exercise in expressing their distinct personalities and embracing the intersection of art and technology. Additionally, they admit it makes sense given the parallels between Hennessy’s creative process and dancing. Both entail lazer precision and talking over each other enthusiastically they compare the way they coalesce in routines to the careful blend of eaux-de-vies into a harmonic cognac.
Laurent explains that the move to tie artistic and innovative threads together in an interactive event that showcases their personalities was a key motivation in the collaboration.
“Literally, what we are doing with them right now, we are showing so much about them and so much about our lives. We never just put our lives into anything, and I’ve done many things in my life. To me, it’s exciting to mix my real life, not just the dancing, my real life...”
“The VR, I looked at it and forgot it was me, that’s how good it looked… We moved onto technology that people hadn’t even thought about before.”
Literally, I learnt about myself. Things I liked and how I want to be seen in a collab actually and how I deal with my brother’s vision. It’s beautiful.Laurent Bourgeois
While the brothers are used to expressing themselves in dance, the process of looking inward to create an experience that represented their values and would be showcased to the world was a little more unfamiliar. However, in the journey they were able to evolve into creative directors and learnt how to execute their ideas in new mediums.
“Literally, I learnt about myself. Things I liked and how I want to be seen in a collab actually and how I deal with my brother’s vision, it’s beautiful.”
Much of the vision was grounded in the motto for the collaboration “Move Out Loud”, which Larry explains was aimed at “disturbing people’s ears or thoughts” and shaking up conventions. Laurent continues and explains that equally important for them was putting France on the map. Early in their career, in a way not dissimilar to how Irish stars are frequently co-opted by UK media outlets they were often wrongly dubbed as Americans. For the twins, they wanted to be loud and clear they were making a mark globally, from France.
“Move out loud, for me is more about the flag, because finally, cause some people don’t want to talk what is behind Hennessy and Les Twins, is the flag – we’re french”, Larry says.
Taking over where his brother left off, Laurent continues saying while Hennessy is often associated with Nas and hip hop culture in America, for them they are keen to forge their own recognisable path.
Likewise, while they acknowledge their similarities as twins, Laurent and Larry are keen to highlight the fact they are different people with their own distinct styles and personality and this often gets lost in the noise.
“I’m tired of this ‘ying and yang’” Larry says, noting their relationship is more similar to the paradoxical rival-allyship of Mortal Combat’s Scorpion and Sub-Zero.
“You need to see us dancing and fighting to just understand the process and how to work with us” he says.
This riotous, symbiotic and intuitive relationship comes into full focus on their original dance they created for the collaboration.
“Just knowing, Les Twins, as dancers can achieve [something like this] matching up with brand like that and move on and go next level with our art… there’s nothing better than that right now, this is an avatar movie moment”.
You can purchase the Hennessy Very Special In Motion By Les Twins here. Please drink Hennessy responsibly. Visit drinkaware.ie