Roger Molls

Lille, France

The Last Untamed Frontier


Behind the Music

I first want to convey the emotions that I myself experienced when I discovered the tragic tales of the book. Violence, cruelty, and urgency emit from each page. I also thought a lot about Ian, who saw these stories unfold in front of his own eyes. While reading, I constantly felt that I was there beside him during his adventures, which creates an epic, Homeric, orchestral and cinematographic dimension in my music. The final layer of the sound stems from my first thoughts of the ocean, requiring more poetic and bright nuances.  

Many aspects of the book impacted me. The chapter “Jail Without Borders” enticed me with its evocative title. However, its contents made me realize that the largest place in the world, and the most favorable subject for phantasm in terms of freedom, possibilities and vastness, can also be a kind of enclave, or trap. Previously, I always perceived the ocean as beautiful and serene, which made this paradoxical comparison overwhelmingly inspirational.  

Through my music I want to communicate the messages in the book to raise awareness of the current harsh realities on the high seas. My hope is to lead others to find this important book and illustrate some of the emotions some readers may have already felt. 

Roger Molls
About Roger Molls

Roger Molls lives in Northern France, where he grew up surrounded by vinyls, ‘70s stereo systems and retro movie posters. Shaped by this universe that merges vintage music and pictures, he began his career with video and photography, before inevitably making self-taught music. Since then, he has been composing the soundtrack of his life, a cinematic symphony mixing powerful hip-hop, crackling samples, dusty breakbeats and orchestral trip-hop. Became a jack-of-all-trades, it is through his three albums that he has developed, on both the audio and visual side, his own universe with ambiances full of emotions. Thereby, each album of Roger Molls is related to a kind of "audio film," which is both intense and touching.

Winner of the 2021 Scripps Howard Award for Excellence in Innovation in Journalism

The Journalism behind the Music

All music in this project is based on The Outlaw Ocean, a New York Times Best-Selling book by Ian Urbina that chronicles lawlessness at sea around the world. This reporting touches on a diversity of abuses ranging from illegal and overfishing, arms trafficking at sea, human slavery, gun running, intentional dumping, murder of stowaways, thievery of ships and other topics.

Learn More