“Jaq can sleep anywhere, she’s like a cat. When I was DJing the last years in Berlin I would play gigs from 6 to 9am or worse, which is peak time here, and she just came along and slept in the DJ booth behind me and people would pile up jackets on top of her.“
Damien is a multi-talented frenchman living and working in Berlin. He is a photographer, director, illustrator, artist, former DJ and VJ and now runs a small studio with his fiancée Jaq. Living together definitly changes sleeping routines, in Damien's case to the better...
“I sometimes have this weird feeling of having had a genius idea during a dream but can’t remember what it was. Like ... I don't even know what it was exactly but it really was brilliant. I’m not frustrated by that, I know I’m dreaming more about the feeling of those Eureka moments than an idea in itself.“
What are you doing during the day?
We work! We run a little 'family business', a studio for art direction, illustration, photography and film. We produce stories for fashion, commercials, and also develop side projects in object design. We are lucky enough to work together from home, we take care of the flat and ourselves at the same time. We love cooking.
What time do you usually get up?
We usually wake up with the sun, somewhen in between 7 and 8am, with no alarm clock. But in winter nights are long and dark in Berlin, so we set an alarm just in case.
How does your alarm sound?
Jaq sets the alarm on her iphone to a very very low volume, something with congos or soft percussions... When I was living alone, I used to get up with the ALARM sound at maximum volume, it stressed me out so much that I would eventually wake up and turn the phone off during the first vibration before the tone actually starts. That’s a bit of an aggressive method to wake up, especially when you’re in a relationship, so we've changed that. Yet if you seek efficiency...
What is the first thing you do in the morning?
For me the day really starts with the first cup of coffee. I love coffee and we are lucky to have amazing roasteries in our neighborhood so we always try new blends.
There is a tiny cafe on Rhinower Strasse called WIM, right next to our flat, that we really like. They don't make their own coffee though, for that the best is to go to The Barn on Schönhauser Allee, or Bonanza on Oderberger Strasse.
Then the workday starts with an inspiration routine, checking what’s new on the tumblr, pinterest and social medias we follow. We keep updated with what the brands and artists we love are doing.
Do you like having breakfast? And what do you have?
We love breakfast, and we make it different every day. Maybe it comes from our mixed origins. Jaq is half polish, half german, and I’m from the south of France. Sometimes we make toasts or pancakes, but most of the times a good mix of muesli and fresh juices.
What time of the day are you most productive?
I guess mornings are the best because you start with a fresh mind so it’s better to develop ideas. Later in the day we get into bigger planned tasks like editing pictures or cutting films... Mornings are a better moment for experiments and researches.
Do you think you get enough sleep?
Most of the time yes, because we try to be careful with that. I dont know if it’s something that comes when getting older (probably!), but lack of sleep (I’m talking about severe deprivation) is creativity’s biggest enemy. You need to rest in order to focus, to feel confident, to dare new things, and to be efficient in achieving whatever you need to achieve. At some point in a career you get to that amount of work where you have to take care of yourself. If you don't sleep enough, in french we’d say 'Scier la branche sur laquelle on est assis' – sawing off the branch you are sitting on. I’m thankful to Jaq for taking care of us on that matter. I used to keep working as long a I could, thinking the ideas would be gone in the morning but that’s very stupid, it’s actually way more efficient to have a good rest and keep a good rhythm on the long run otherwise you’d just collapse.
Would you describe yourself as a good sleeper?
Jaq is better at sleeping than I am, I have lots of things in my mind, I even used to really have problems sleeping and would only sleep dreamless nights out of complete exhaustion. It’s stupid to say but it took me time to realize that you sleep way easier and way better if you really get a cut from work and those stressful matters, get away from the computer and have time to cook, chill, watch a movie, read...
Where do you sleep best?
At home and together with Jaq.
Average sleeping position?
Jaq does what we call the pancake, flat on the belly, face down. Then I guess we can call my position the flipped pancake because it’s the other way around. Often with the arms above the head like a toddler.
Do you remember your dreams?
Jaq has the craziest dream and actually can remember and share quite a lot when we wake up. Me I remember maybe 1%. I sometimes had this weird feeling of having had a genius idea during a dream but couldn’t remember what it was. Like “I dont know what it was exactly but it really was brilliant”. But I’m not even frustrated by that, I know I’m dreaming more about the feeling of those Eureka moments than an idea in itself.
Do you care about what you wear for sleeping?
I actually do, even if I just sleep with boxer shorts and T-shirt, because whenever I change something, like long sleeves, I don't sleep well. Jaq sometimes wears my stuff, but the other way around is not really happening ;)
Describe your bed in 3 words.
Firm, white, cozy.
What is the most special spot you’ve ever fallen asleep.
I used to DJ a lot in between all my design jobs so I would be so tired and so used to travel that I taught myself to sleep anywhere at that time, because when it’s like that you dont really have a full night but need to make the best out of tons of little naps. I slept under a check-in desk in an airport once. And Jaq can sleep anywhere, she’s like a cat. When I was DJing the last years in Berlin I would play gigs from 6 to 9am or worse, which is peak time here, and she could just come along and sleep in the DJ booth behind me and people would pile up their jackets on top of her.
What do you think happens while we sleep?
People in the world keep on working. This would explain my guilty feeling when I'm oversleeping.
What would you like to dream about tonight?
I’d keep dreaming about the mountain house we want to build in the south of France, maybe dream about some architecture details or interiors. Now I’m just realizing that if I could choose, my sleep would actually still be work in disguise. That’s bad, or no?
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