Monday, November 14, 2005

Art Brut interview at midnight in a bar

That day it was Eddie Argos's birthday. That day I imitated him sing Emily Kane with his south londonish accent. And Paul Banks too. That day Jasper Future the guitarist played some cds while Eddie was sleeping. No one was dancing except me and my friends.
This is an interview, with my favorite band, at midnight, in a bar.

Soon you'll be able to hear this interview on Radio Campus Paris

Did you always want to form a band?

Eddie: always since I was about...13, 14. I tried to learn the guitar, then the bass guitar, and I tried to learn...the keyboard, a bit of clarinette, then I formed a band with Jasper in which I played the hoover, vacuum cleaner.

I reminds me an episode of Spaced (an english TV serie starring Simon Pegg the hero of Shawn of the dead), where there was an art happening with an artist called Vulva and his friend hoovered while he was laughing

Eddie: yeah my band was a bit like that!

Do you have some advice for those who want to form a band?

Eddie: let's just do it. Don't recruit your guitarists in the page of the nme "band needs a guitarist" like the Killers or The Bravery. Nonsense. Let's get drunk at parties, meet people, it's not hard, look, I can do it.

You were a social worker, isn't it the same job as frontman when you tell the kids to form a band because it's perhaps the only way out...

It's funny because a lot of people know that. We played a festival in Essex, and I heard some sad stories about crack addicts and that’s amazing. And some people talk to me about the song Brand New Girlfriend, great song but my girlfriend left me. What can I do? I receive a lot of e-mails of people asking me things. They think I give some good advice.

Would Art Brut still be Art Brut if you get to have a lot money, girls and fame? Without frustration?

Eddie: I’ve got a lot of girls and money!

There’s so much freshness in your music, in your attitude. That’s why I’m afraid.

Eddie: we will never be fashionable. Well it depends of much money and girls I get!

You are quite ironic toward the popular culture in England. Is it a love-and-hate affair?

Eddie: I would love to be in all pop magazines and in Top of The Pops.

To be continued

Check also The Village Voice's Art Brut interview even though I know that you probably came to my blog from there. Thank you Nick Sylvester!

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Fallen has fallen into my ears and make my head a splode

Ca commence comme une sirène. Brouhaha de guitares.
It begins like a siren.

On me dit que ça sonne Madchester. Peut être.
Someone told me it sounds like Madchester. Maybe.

20 secondes plus tard le refrain joué avec des guitares, un son familier si espiègle.
20 seconds later, the refrain, instrumental.

28 secondes: les guitares, machines géantes, répétitives et massives. Le rythme est haché.
28seconds: the guitars, gigantic machines, repetitive and massive.

Puis il chante.
Then he sings.

Ned Ludd se relève détruit sa machine, sabre le champagne, revêt des vêtements d'aristocrate, boit dans la rue embrasse les filles. Alors que le progrès fait régresser il se révolte.

"Some say you're trouble boy just because you like to destroy"

That happens in my head when I listen Franz Ferdinand's The Fallen

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Art Brut, today's Modern Lovers?

"Johnathan Richman is my hero. The only one with Van Gogh" Eddie Argos of Art Brut told me in the Truskel bar during an interview I was doing for Radio Campus Paris.
Eddie Argos: "Johnathan Richman est mon héros. Le seul avec Van Gogh." m'a dit Eddie Argos d'Art Brut au Truskel durant l'interview que je réalisais pour Radio Campus Paris.

Emily Kane, the new single of Art Brut prove how much poor Eddie cares about his girlfriends especially the one that he loved. "I can't get over my old flame" mourns Eddie.
Take Bang Bang Rock and Roll: " I just want a girl to hold my hand"

Now compare to Johnathan Richman's Someone I care about: "Well I don't want just a girl to fool around with Well I don't want just a girl to ball alright What I want is a girl that I care aboutOr I want nothing at all."

And now the references of Arts:

Art Brut's Modern Art: "So I'm in the Tate and I'm looking at a Hockney, and wow there's something amazing about that blue"

The Modern Lovers's Girlfriend: "If I were to walk to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston Well, first I'd go to the room where they keep the Cezanne"

The disinterest for drugs:

Art Brut My little brother: "Stay off the Crack"

The Modern Lovers's I'm straight: "Look but, if these guys, if they're really so great,tell me, why can't they at least take this place and take it straight? Why always stoned,like hippie Johnny is?I'm straight and I want to take his place."

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Pourquoi il faut aimer Art Brut

Parce que la première chanson qu’il aient composé après avoir formé le groupe est « Formed a band ».

Qu’ils commencent le concert avec celle-ci.

« Formed a band, we formed a band, look at us, we formed a band ».

Parce qu’ils ont écrit une chanson obsédante sur la frustration voire l’impuissance des débutants au niveau sexuel « Rusted Guns of Milan ».

« I know I can I know I can, I’m fine when I am with my own hand, never use my rusted gun of Milan »

"It’s nothing to do with anything I’ve had to drink. There’s something wrong with the way I think."

Parce que chacun se reconnaît dans le petit frère d’Eddie Argos

"My little brother just discovered Rock and Roll There’s a noise in his head and he’s out of control"

Parce qu’Eddie Argos échange sa chaussette avec la chaussette d’un gars dans le public qui crie ensuite « You are wearing my sock!!! »

Parce qu’ils nous encouragent à former un groupe

« Go Home and form a band »

Parce qu’ils ont formé le groupe pour passer à Top of The Pops

Et qu’ils finissent par crier Art Brut Top of Pops!

Photos prises à La Route du Rock, 2005.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Love, Sleep, Death, an interview with Maximilian Hecker

Maximilian Hecker seems not to belong to our world. A little like a Ingmar Bergman film, there is an invisible border between his environments and ours. A bracket out of time. The collision between its universe and ours was not easy. The room where we discussed was parasitized by goes and come and by the taps which flee. Each interruption causing a difficult and long reconditioning which is finished fortunately by the heart of what animates Maximilian Hecker in his relation to the music. A total abandonment with another reality.

The birth of Lady Sleep
Rose , its preceding album was a difficult passage for Maximilian Hecker. He applied to himself a pressure and came from to an introspection which, with the passing days, disturbed him. The opposite was carried out with Lady Sleep .
" I had a particular pressure for Rose. I wanted that it to be successful. But the principal difficulty came from the singing process. It is the hardest part of the music. With Lady Sleep it was easier. I was better prepared and I knew which problems I was going to have to face. I felt better to do it, it was even easier to sing. I was just more trustful and I knew what I had to do . "

"I am not a songwriter"
Lady Sleep seems to be the work of a traditional pianist who, having rediscovered his compositions decided to put words on his music. Moreover for Maximilian Hecker the words are additional in the composition.
" I am more a musician than a poet. I need to sing something so I write words. I am often categorized as a songwriter but it is not the case. What is a songwriter? Everyone is a songwriter even people who play electro music. It is always the same misunderstanding. All that because I am called Maximilian Hecker. If the name on the small pocket was not Maximilian Hecker but The Heckers no one would think about me as a singer-songwriter. My sound is not like Nick Drake’s. Im am no a songwriter ».

Escape to the purity
Maximilian Hecker expresses with Lady Sleep his desire to reach a state of purity, removed from any reality, in a search without end.
" Art is a mean of creating a better world, purer, which delivers a happiness that you cannot obtain in reality. For some people it is like a religion. Each one seeks a particular state, a kind of st in utero state where the constraints of the body are not felt yet. This state is found when something is intensely wished. But we quickly realize that it is not the exact thing which we want, which we seek. At the time when I believe to love a girl for example, it is not really love, because when I am finally with her, I am not any more in this same state. There is always this need to reach it. It is similar with everyday things, we believe that when we have the object of our desire all is perfect. Then we realized that it is not a quesion of object. It is a state that you find only that when you die. Lady Sleep is in fact a personification of sleep, a state close to death. In the song which has its name, I have an intercourse with her. This intercourse finishes at the morning but I want it to remain forever . "

Maximilian Hecker with this album strips us from our carnal envelope, makes us leave the contingency. As with Sleep Lady , the adventure finishes, at the end of the album. Unless we press Play again.

Pour la version française:

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

I Am Kloot about Gods and Monsters

"I'd never thought we'd last this long". I Am Kloot. A group romantically rough. Reflected in the words of Twist, "There's blood on your legs, I love you". Today they release their third album, Gods And Monsters which they define as their best. It is. A mysterious way which makes us reach the grace. Its Creators speak to us about it.

I Am Kloot is not a group, it is a universe. It is perhaps there that the secret of its longevity resides. A group who does'nt care about what's fashion or not in a country where a group per week is elected best group of the world.
John Bramwell, the singer: "in fact, we were all in a period of excitement, as at the time of the recording of our first album, our first gigs. This album I believe, is our best album. We have found our way of working. It is more sophisticated. For this album we have rejected
all that could resemble laid down pre rules. Moreover, when one bears a name like ours, I Am Kloot, one can do what one wants! We do nothing that's in. We're proud of that! There is a distance, a large gap between what the other groups do and us, full stop."
The bass player Peter Jobson adds" I don't care about what the others make. I do not judge their work. It makes us trustful not to be concerned with this kind of things "
John adds concerning the statute of the group" I think that we have our own world. When we play all disappears around us. The good groups manage to create this effect. If that does not
happens then I do not see the interest. "

The entry in studio

The third album of I Am Kloot is definitely less intimist than Natural History and I Am Kloot. John: "The first album is as when you join your friends to drink. This one is more expansive" Peter: "the producer is a friend, he gave us freedom in the studio, called Moolah Rouge. We knew this place by another artist of Manchester, Badly Drawn Boy. There was full of interesting instruments in this studio. We could experiment. I do not know large things in music, theorically. We could make kinds of happy mistakes "
John adds: "In the studio we did not feel intimidated at all. We did what we wanted. We did not say oh my god the world is looking at to us now! Sometimes this laxism can be risky. We did not
have a crisis of confidence but in the middle of the recording, we put ourselves in question ".
The drummer Andy Hargreaves: "In fact we did some rehearsals before going to the studio"

Gods and Monsters, a strange arrangement of colors

This album is rough. Its spontaneousness appears as if the group
were at its beginnings as John explained. The group has just to spend less time in studio.
Peter: "the comparison between the groups is not a good thing. But to compare ethics of work is interesting. Many groups recorded in Manchester at the same time as us. They spend a lot of time in the studio. We could during this time make at least... five albums! We recorded ours in one month, very quickly. Fortunately we quickly found the sound which we wanted. Groups can spend one year to record. It's incredible!"
John adds: "It is as if you spent six months to prepare your interviews! "

Gods And Monsters, in addition of being rough is crossed by different moods. Stripped arrangements, as if John were alone, in an empty bar, singing his despair. Then there are intermittencies with Hong-Kong Lullaby, an instrumental song. Lastly, I Believe and this
sentence, "I would never have thought that we would last this long".
John: "I say I in this song but the group thinks it too. Then I wonder how I could live this long! "
John has travelled a lot. He seems to have drawn from these travels the musical
inspiration. The drummer acknowledges being inspired by Spanish sonorities. But what counts before all is the melody.
About the color of the album, Peter expresses himself: "When you see a group which has very popular songs, that their album have ten of these songs and that they all sound similar, it is boring. The mood changes through the album, you feel various emotions. It is funny to do that and you have to do that if you are a little talented. If you can go from an extreme to the other, that is interesting "

Gods and Monsters

From one extreme to another. A contradiction which characterizes the group, its world and ours. John: "contradictions are human. It is part of everyday life. From the moment you believe in something. It can be something in which you believe, a doctrine, a philosophy, anything. From the momen you are completely absorbed by something, it is the moment when all fall into pieces. It is as when youfall in love with somebody, that will decline inevitably if you do not keep it alive! I Believe summarizes that. From the moment you believe in something, it begins to fall into pieces "
Peter:" You have to live with contradictions. You have to be aware of it. If you live without any
problem, that you are trustful, that you do not have any idea of the true nature of the world, and then something bad happens, you cannot face. These contradictions exist and that prepares you at what will happen afterwards "

It is a remarkable summary of the career of I Am Kloot. A group which accepts contradictions, even play about it. Charm, brutality, truth, illusion. Gods and monsters.

Pour la version française:

Photos taken at the Nouveau Casino, Paris, May 2005

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Blue Van


I have read your biography. One day, I was listening to the radio and there was a Lou Reed and John Cale song called Small Town. It says: « when you growin up in a small town you say no one famous ever came from here. There is only one good use for a small town, you know that you wanna get out ». Could this song apply to the history of the band? You come from a small town too.
Steffen: absolutely, that’s the feeling I had all along.

You have a different sound because you come from a small town.
Allan: it’s because when you live in a small town, you don’t have other bands to look up to. So you just play what you want, and create your own sound.

Is music the bigger part of your life?
The band: it is now.
Soren: we could have been truck drivers or prostitutes! (laughs)

How did you form the band? Do you know each other for a long time?
Steffen: we grew up together. We met at the age of six with Soren.
Soren: we went to the same class. We were like the only two guys in the whole class who were into music at that point when you start getting into music in the fifth or sixth grade. And all the other boys were into farming, raising pigs and cows and stuff like this. We were the outsiders of the class. So we started playing together because there was no one else to play with. And luckily there was two more outsiders! Per could play the drums and Allan could play the bass. And then, that was a band!

How did you get into that sixties music? It is sometimes hard to find old records.
Soren: when I was a kid there was this TV commercial, a coffee commercial where a guy played air guitar to a Jimi Hendix song. And I didn’t know who Jimi Hendrix was. I thought it sounded great. I found out it was Jimi Hendrix and I got a cd for Christmas. That’s how it started. Then you get into that sixties music, you discover other bands.
Allan: then you get addicted. And you spend all your money on records.

What does mean « Blue Van », is it a vehicle which collects the mentally ill to the hospital or is it taken from a song by an old danish beat orchestra Steppeulvene?
The band: it is a mix of both.
Steffen: I think it was the new year’s eve, we were just hanging around, we heard the song and we just thought it could be a really good name for a band.
Soren: and we remembered what the blue van was from our History lessons, in school. Then we heard it in that song.
Steffen: and there was no discussion about it, everybody agreed.
Soren to Per: and that was at that new year’s eve you joined the band and I said « the band is called The Blue Van and you’re in! »
Per: and I thought what a fucking stupid name! (laughs)

Can you describe what you call beat music?
Steffen: it’s a classic sense I think
Soren: it’s an expression that is not used anymore. Because I wouldn’t call our music garage music or rock and roll or stuff like that. I guess the main explanation on beat is back in the sixties when the Beatles and the Rolling Stones played blues music, they heard from the black musicians of America. And they called that beat music. And then I guess that’s what we do too we play music inspired by blues, its roots. I guess.

To sound live seems to be something really important to you. In your video for Revelation of Love, we see you record live.
Steffen: just to be sincere. With the video we didn’t want some cheesy story, we wanted to show the band, to show a little bit of our energy we have when we perform live. It’s the same thing for the album. It’s a live sound, a natural sound. All the instruments are played together. It’s not drum and bass first and then guitar. It’s to get the unity of the band.
Soren: it’s the sound of a band. That’s what we miss today. All the bands are overproduced, with effects.
Steffen: it’s so strange sitting in a room, listening your friends play and try to play along. To me it’s unnatural to do that way.

I read that you liked the Kings of Leon album, A-Ha Shake Heatbreak. Do you think that now, bands like them have more freedom to sound like they want to sound?
Steffen: yeah I think so. For many years record companies went to safe ways and produced the boring bands that might sell, mainstream bands.
Soren: I think it kind of changed with The White Stripes.
Steffen: there has been a change and it’s good for the music that we make. There’s nothing worse than being told to change our music and make it more friendly. It’s good that the success of The Strokes and The White Stripes changed things.
Allan: I think that people are trying to find a real band with members playing for a long time together.
Soren: I like The Beatles, they were a real band, and the Rolling Stones too. They were not put together by a record company like Boyzone or another boys band. It’s real. That’s the way it should be.
Steffen: and they play good music.
Is Roskilde Festival a good mean to know new danish bands? You played at Roskilde.
Steffen: they take a lot of the upcoming danish bands.
Soren: it’s like a milstone for upcoming bands. When we played there nobody knew us, we didn’t have any record deal . We played to 3000 people that day in Roskilde. And 3000 young people that’s quite a lot in Denmark, then they can spread the word.
Steffen: then these people came out to us in clubs and say « hey I saw you in Roskilde ».
Soren: a lot of people saw us for the first time in Roskilde.

Is it the first time you play in France?
The band: yes and we hope it’s not the last.

You gave to some of your songs french titles like Coeur de lion ou Peine forte et dure. Do you like french language?
Allan: it’s just a marketing plan! (laughs) We have some in german too!
Steffen: I’ve studied french in school, of course I forgot all about it now. We wanted other titles for songs instead of boring titles.

I’ve read the lyrics of your songs. They seem to stuck with the reality of our times. You talk about « rebels with a sound », that reminds Rebel without a cause, or « i’ll spit back at you »
Steffen: the song I remember the days where there is that sentence, is a song about being an upcoming band, and people just look down on you and treat you like shit because you’re still underground so that’s just basically saying I’ll give you your shit back one day when I’m on top.
Is there some venues where bands like yours can play and become famous or is it difficult?
Allan: it’s hard, especially when you play the music that we play. In Denmark people only listen to pop music, hip hop, r’nb. They don’t dare to discover music like ours.
Soren: the number of people who are that type of music is so small.
Per: if the radios offered a large choice of bands, people would have the choice. Unfortunately, there is only one main radio channel.
Soren: they play one rock song an hour! And that‘s on the good days!

How do people react to your music? You have a very good reputation for a live band.
The band: we get good reactions all places, every time.

Do you think that music and more particularly rock music can change things?
Steffen: music in general like painting or poetry are some means to give answers or to lead people to think in a different way. If they read the lyrics.
Soren: and dealing with the conservatism that’s still around in a lot of places. It’s amazing that I can walk down the street in my hometown and people can still yell something at me on a Saturday night, for having long hair! We’re in 2005! It’s like we were back to the 60’s!
Steffen: when they see us the outsiders feel less lonely.
Soren: it’s still like that in small cities.
There is some conservatism everywhere in Denmark?
Steffen: everywhere in the world. We just had the national elections last week and we got the conservatist government once again just like in the USA. Of course my lyrics are political but not too political. It wounds the music if it becomes too preaching. Look out a band like Rage Against The Machine, they had to split up because they had different political views.
Soren: it’s all about saying something between the lines.

It’s a good thing because sometimes listeners don’t like a too political music.
Steffen: we played some times with another danish band whose first album was called Poems and Explosions. I think it’s a good definition of what our music is. It’s raw music with poetry.
Allan: unfortunately they got the title first!

You called your album the Art of Rolling, What does it mean? It reminds me of what Keith Richards said about Rock music. He sais that we always talk about the rock but never the roll!
Steffen: I watched Soren roll cigarettes a lot.
Soren: no I finished them, but you did it best! We thought that The Art Of Rolling would be a pretty good title. Not only because it appeals to smokers!
Steffen: The Art of Rolling means also making good music, music that rolls. Music that rolls and rocks.
Soren: it’s the art of making good music.
Steffen: yeah and the art of making good music doesn’t sound as good!

When we go to your website we can see that you advice some artists and albums to listen.
Soren: that’s to educate people (laughs). We are big record collectors too. Then you discover all sort of things. We are nerds in a way.
Steffen: nooo
Soren: it’s great if a kid goes to our page and see, listen to that record, he wouldn’t go out buy the new,
The band: Celine Dion!
Soren: that’s an achievement!

On your website you describe the gear you use. Are you trying to find a special sound with it?
Steffen: finding the exact sound we want is important for us. And that way we educate people too!
Soren: we are music nerds and music gear nerds.
Allan: and we’re proud of it!

Do you collect instruments?
Per: we don’t collect them. We use them.

But you seem to be proud to have found your organ. It makes your music different.
Soren: exactly and I think it’s an overlooked instrument. Because rock bands are all about two guitars, bass and drums.
Steffen: nobody uses a real organ anymore. It’s always a keybord. In the ten years we played together we saw only one band that had a real organ.
Per: but it’s still in the background, behind the guitars. Instead of having two guitars we have an organ and a guitar.

Something more to say?
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