What Some Of My Favourite Voices Smell Like
Certain voices—belonging to a handful of musicians I adore—have always made me think of smells. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's synesthesia (although, like everyone else, I've secretly relished the possibility), but an intimate association. My guess is, it's a rehearsed neural pathway: when I was first getting into scent and struggling to talk about smells, I always thought about words that conveyed texture, the same words I would use to describe a voice or a sound. Over time, some of these associations have become hardwired—and now, it feels like instinct.
So in terms of the objective point of this—there isn't one. But the hope is, by writing this down and sending it out into the world, someone else will understand what the hell it is I'm talking about. Or maybe not! If nothing else, mapping this out is a fun exercise.
Has a voice that sounds: Sweet but a little bitter, equal parts feminine and masculine, soft and sharp, beautiful and rough around the edges.
The scent it reminds me of: Rose 31 by Le Labo—the most unisex rose scent I know. The traditionally chaste, feminine rose is transformed into a really wild, bodily thing with guaiac wood, cumin and cedar to spice it up and throw the floral note into a whole other dimension. It's dark, it's intense: a rose that keeps you on your toes.
MATT BERNINGER (of the national)
Has a voice that sounds: Dark, woody, smoky, boozy, coal-like.
The scent it reminds me of: Memoirs of a Trespasser, by Imaginary Authors, which could feasibly be the name of a song by The National. It's complex and moody, comforting and challenging at the same time, with a hint of oak barrel that makes you feel drunk on it.
BEN BRIDWELL (OF BAND OF HORSES)
Has a voice that sounds: Metallic, sharp, dry, industrial, like licking a cold spoon.
The scent it reminds me of: Standard, by Comme des Garcons. This is a collaboration with a Finnish furniture brand, and it shows: the scent has an unusual steely quality to it that warms up into a soft wood—very true to the materials used in Scandinavian minimalism.
Has a voice that sounds: Ashy, gritty, dirty, sweet, like when you make a sound after not speaking to anyone all day.
The scent it reminds me of: Jasmin Et Cigarette, by État Libre d'Orange, an aptly-named smutty and musky jasmine with a hint of tobacco and body odor. It smells intoxicating and disgusting at once—like sex with a little side of regret.
Has a voice that sounds: Dry, woody, masculine without going deep or gravelly, smooth and textured at the same time.
The scent it reminds me of: Tam Dao, by Diptyque. More specifically, his voice reminds me of sandalwood, which shines in this perfume. Starts off sharp, dries down creamy and soft, with a strong warmth that radiates throughout. Delightful.