thanks to everyone who came at the last shows in Berlin, Prague and Leipzig.
One more thank you, you guys rule! to Honza & friends in Prague, Schnick Schnack Schnuck collective in Berlin and Ruben & friends in Leipzig and Robert who drove us all around. You're the best ! As you probably noticed if you were there, we had to play them as a 3 piece as Sam caught that bad flu and was too sick to come and play with us. Bummer...
Otherwise Totem is sold out and it is repressed now. Speaking about Totem, we got some other nice reviews these past months and we're really stoked with all these good feedbacks. Glad you guys like it !
Speaking about OX, we did an interview for them a couple months ago but it seems it hasn't been published... Here it is, in case some of you guys care about it. Questions were cool indeed ! It is below...
we'll have a couple more upcoming shows to be announced soon...
the interview was done in september 2014
I noticed that you guys have a lot of „winerelated“ metaphors in the „Totem“ lyrics. Is it right that one of you guys is a vintner?
J : Yes, Benoit (the drummer) is a wine producer, he's producing some Morgon red wine. We grew up in small villages in the Beaujolais where there is vineyard everywhere. Gwen (the bass player) didn't but he came to pick up grapes often and that's where he met his girlfriend a long time ago.
S : It’s a very nice region, and we’re attached to it. I also come from a family of winemakers (my grandparents and uncle). So wine culture’s very present since always. So french !
What wine would you recommend to enhance the listening experience?
S : For sure a wine from our region, the Beaujolais. I want to say the one who is made in our village. He's named « Fleurie ». I could recommend also my uncle's one (Domaine JeanLouis Brun). He’s winemaker in « Morgon », a small village close to the one where I grewup. I do grapepicking to him every year since I’m child in a nice familial atmosphere. It’s always an important moment for me ! And of course you have to test the wine of Benoit ! It’s the best one to drink when you listen to BâtonRouge I think !
J : As Sam mentioned there are a couple red wine producers from our small village called Fleurie that I really like such as the Domaine de La Madone, Jean Louis Dutraive, Clos de la Roilette. Benoit's Louis & Claude Desvignes' Cote Du Py and Javernières in Morgon are fabulous too. Last but no least I also really enjoy wines from Raphael Chopin and Chateau Thivin. They're from the same area and all really good. From where we are from, it's really easy to pick up cheap and really good wines. And we of course have the best person for it in the band !
From “Fragments D’Eux Mêmes” to “Totem” changed drastically. They are more personal, in a sense that there are a lot of places you talk about, such as the village you grew up in, a record store, even the Ushguli province in Georgia. I feel it both makes them more accessible and more cryptic at the same time. Is there an explanation on your side?
S : I personally prefer the texts that are more direct, without passing by tons of metaphoric formulations... In that way, even if you speak about personal experiences, like a travel, a place you know, an observation,... each can appropriate , I feel that your lyrics have himself. But we’re more musicians than writers anyway...
J : Yes, we're not good and excited when it comes to the point where lyrics have to be written. so we basically pick up some memories or fragments of our life to write short lyrics with them. As we don't consider ourselves as good lyricists we write about stuff we lived or places we've been to. It feels more natural now to do so and it makes more sense to us rather than writing in metaphors about concepts of life which would be lame in the end... What is music for you guys? Is it one hobby amongst others, or maybe the remaining bit of youth in a grown up life?
J : Personally I don't necessarily associate music with youth as I still see people in their 40s or 50s playing shows and recording music. Don't forget that Sam and I are big Dead Moon fan if you know what I mean ! Besides my job and my family, music is taking a lot of room in my brain because that's the way I feel creative the most and one of the way I am connected with my best friends as well. It it something that cements my life I think. I am too a big archivist and put a lot interest into the punk / hardcore and more generally rock n roll history... Some people feel like they can't focus on only one thing but I am the kind of guy who really enjoy to go deep in things I like.
S : Music is what I do everyday. Appart Bâton Rouge I create soundtracks for contemporary dance performances or videos. I’m making also sound installations for contemporary art exhibition. Music’s just my best pleasure and the best way for me to meet and to be connected with nice and interesting persons.
You guys no longer live in one place, how does that affect you, personally and as a band (which I guess is always a personal thing)?
J : Well, it's not the easiest but we're doing our best. Besides not being all in the same town we also all have different obligations or families / jobs who make the common time hard to find, especially when our agendas don' fit. On a more personal side, we're the best friends and know each other very well, care about each other for a long time now so I feel like we can go beyond that. The hardest will be to write songs though, as we always practiced and wrote together for the last 10 years. That's why now Sam lives in Berlin for good we have to think about a new way to write music and feel all comfortable with the process... I don't know how we will do at that point.
S : Yes, that point is a bit complicate, but... it’s just an other way to do, and to consider a project like Bâton Rouge. I live now in Berlin, but I comeback very often to France. I personally prefer to be concentrate on a project in a defined period, than to have a kind of « routine ». Some have families, jobs, projects or other things that takes a lot of space,... so yes there’s less time for the band. But we’re not professional and we do not have to give ourself the same constraints. It doesn’t mean at all that the band has less importance than before. It’s just an other way to do. We just putout a new album, we play concerts, so it doesn’t works so bad ! I just want to take pleasure to play and writing good songs with my friends. Even if the things takes more time now than before, it’s like that and I don't think it will be a so big problem.
I think “Totem” also marks a significant change in BÂTON ROUGEs Sound, from a rather noiserock and punkdriven style to a more postrockish, I guess sometimes stonerrockish outing. How come ? I guess conceptionwise it fits the lyrics well, but that can’t be the only reason.
J : First of all, there are 3 years between the two albums and we're listening to a lot of stuff we were not listening to when we were doing the first one. The songs on Fragments D'Eux Mêmes were also a reaction to all the complicated stuff we were playing before. We wanted to do something very simple with simple structures. We also wrote Totem like a real album as a whole whereas Fragments D'Eux Memes was more a collection of our first songs that eventually turned into an album, almost by accident... About the influences on Totem I wouldn't say neither post rock nor stoner but maybe more Kraut Rock or Psychedelic... we listened to that kind of stuff a lot these past years and it influenced us a lot I think. We were really into repetitive patterns, wether they would be melodic or rhythmic. This "concept" influenced us. Our songs became more hypnotic, based on one riff or one rhythmic pattern with small variations. We evolved naturally though, we didn't really force ourselves to sound like this or that. And if it fits the lyrics, I think it's just a lucky accidentactually haha !
S : Julien said everything... but yes, we focused more on these idea to have some songs more minimal in term of composition.
Some of you have played in Daitro, you don’t need to answer this question, but I’m just a big fan of Daitro. Is there any, maybe the most subtle motion, that you’ll ever play again? Or have you left behind all the screaming and now want to focus on BÂTON ROUGE?
J : We actually all played in Daïtro ! I personally don't want to scream as I was doing in Daïtro even if I wasn't the main singer. I really enjoy to sing melodies now. I enjoyed this loud wall of heavy and melodic sound we had but I don't feel like I need to play this again. No Daïtro songs could make me feel what I feel when we play some of the Baton Rouge songs... this means everything I guess ! Playing with Daïtro would be like going backwards and it won't be honest to pretend to enjoy it whereas I don't. So yeah, we want to put all our energy and free time in Baton Rouge.
S : No we won't play other shows with Daïtro. You know we’re old now, we cannot scream like that anymore without having a heart attack ! No, I mean, I like what we did with Daïtro, we really had good time, I enjoyed playing these songs and I'm really satisfied about our recordings. But time pass, influences also, and I don’t imagine myself playing this music today, that’s all... let’s stay concentrate on others projects.
You guys are from France. Two questions regarding that. One, how do you feel about the recent political developments? I feel that across Europe young people get more open towards social change, more tolerant etc., except for France, where a scary number of young folks carry the FN on their shoulders. Also: isn’t that the place for punk or counter/subculture to step up?
S : Even if I live now outside of France, I try to follow what happened there. A very important thing to notice first, it's the disapearance of a real leftside political part. The actual president (supposed to be more on the left) completely destroys the foundation of what was the french socialist party. He continues, more or less to do the same liberal work as the next government (that was on the hard rightside). There’s for exemple more expulsions of immigrants now than before. There’s also not anymore any strong credible political oposition on the extreme right side. Only very small associations that are never able to collaborate together to create something strong. Only the Green part seems to have a bit of credibility and enough importance to do something. Also, in the right or the left side, we cannot count anymore all the political scandals... So the problem is that now, a lot of people, mostly the young, just don't trust anymore into politics, or are completely lost, cause there's no more border between the left and the right. So they don't go to vote. Some others thinks that the only credible alternative to contest and to change the system is to vote for the Front National. Even if it's a extreme right organisation, they have now a better image, cause their head (Marine Le Pen) is a very good comunicant. She knows perfectly how to speak and touch the persons that are lost about political stuff... So yes, for the first time, the Front National could become the first political party in France... It's more visible in France maybe. But I have the sensation that it's the same in many countries in Europe. With this crisis, and this obstination by all the governments to follow the line of extreme liberalism, it favorises the ascension of poorness, that brings the comingback of extremisms, and breaks some dangerous borders.
J : I didn't have crazy expectations with the socialist party winning the elections 2 years and a half ago but still, like a lot of people, I feel like we've been really fooled. Hollande has never been the most radical socialist but the few (and most interesting) leftwing points of his program have been put aside or shortened. Though I still prefer the amateurism from Hollande than Sarkozy's arrogance. What happens today in France is really sad honestly... As Sam mentioned there are so many scandals with politicians and few changes since 10 years that people become more and more cynical and disinterested in politics. Tons of people, young people don't care about politics because they just don't believe in it. And about the place of punk in this context... well, hard to tell... It's pretty much more a matter of each person's consciousness I think. I don't think punk is that sacred place where people are waiting for a social insurrection anymore. It is for some of them but I doubt this isthe majority. It became too popular, too documented and it lost a bit of its basic instinct to say "fuck you" to the entire world.
Do you see yourselves as a political band?
J : I don't know what's the meaning of a political band but as far as I know, we're not. We have our roots in the DIY punk community and we enjoyed its strong ethics but this doesn't make us a political band at all.
S : I never really understood also what is a political band. We do the things with the band in the way we like and we feel well with. Simply. We all have our own convictions and thinkings, that we applicate in our everyday life for ourselves.
England was more than fun ! We had the best time and played with tons of great bands... thanks so much, you guys rule ! The biggest thanks to our good buddy Joe C who organized all of this for us once again.
Below a video of Côte Du Py and Des Chemins Balisés in London.
Also, check these photos from the talented Andrew Northrop. He was at the fest in London but also at the show in Brighton. They are great : http://andrewnorthrop.tumblr.com/
Otherwise, still about shows, we will play a couple more in by the end of february...
it will look like this feb. 26th PRAGUE, CZ @ 007 w/ Remek feb. 27th BERLIN, DE @ Tiefgrund w/ Cavalcades & Council Of Rats feb. 28th LEIPZIG, DE @ Zoro w/ Cavalcades & Dulac
Many people still tend to discard the more melodic side of screamo but thankfully that doesn’t stop bands like Baton Rouge and Sed Non Satiata from writing awesome albums in that very vein. This said I’ve been hooked to Sed Non Satiata’s Mappō for months and now I have Totem here to steal all my time. I did enjoy its predecessor and Baton Rouge debut Fragments D’eux Memes
a lot when it came out, but the new one I like even more. It sounds
more considered and still very easy to get into, which is not weird in
any way, especially having in mind how catchy this album actually is. I
guess if you give it a chance.
Totem is complex and progressive,
but definitely nothing like a sterile work of art made by and for
mathematicians. Au contraire, the album is super passionate and gets
under you skin with full force, as soon as you let it. It took about 2
years for Baton Rouge to write it so it’s definitely a more mature work. And I guess this maturity is not a surprise, Baton Rouge are no longer that new project, where the Daïtro / 12xu people are playing, but a band with over 3 years of history and tens of show all around. And yes, you can hear that.
Totem is super atmospheric and
spacey. With emotional and personal vocals, and pieces structured around
catchy, yet intelligently written melodic lines. The instrumentals on
this one take more time to develop, but it’s still sufficient to leave
you eager and puzzled to follow each and every direction the music may
follow next. With almost Slint-ish build ups on the verge of static,
effected guitars reaching even psychedelic and noise-rock outbursts
(check out Hypn-O-Sonic) I gotta admit Baton Rouge have jumped quite over the fence of screamo with this one, which I find great.
It’s awesome to hear music made
so specific, while in the same time preserving its essence, and the
essence of the genre it represents at max. What else? The artwork is
crazy. Check out Claire Duport, she’s quite outside any box as well.
There has been a resurgence of post-hardcore of late, the type taking
the genre back to its roots, reviving the sounds of Rite of Spring,
Fugazi, Husker Du or Jawbreaker. French four piece Bâton Rouge, with
there second album Totem, are another welcome addition to this
renaissance of sorts. Out with the grating screams that even Jamie Lee
Curtis would be ashamed off, back with the punk attitude that really
started and characterised the whole post-hardcore movement in the 80s. Totem is a wonderful album that captures the essence of old,
but freshens it up with a sprinkling of post-rock aesthetics across the
record. Sonically, Totem resembles Heavy Rocks era
Boris but without the dominant stoner edge that that album oozes with.
It’s the tinned pipe aspect of the guitar that creates this likeliness,
creating an ambient overtone that allows the listener to get absorbed in
the music. There’s a real poetry behind the noisy approach of Totem.
Lyrically the band explore their experiences and travels and the idea
that life continues, what once was is simply replaced with the new. They
are spectators, watching the world fly by, forever a witness to the
constant buzz of everyday life. Whether in France, Sarajevo or Russia,
it’s the same, just different places with different people, but the same
old life. “Guetter les ondes” details the hard labour of grape picking,
and echoes the sentiments of Johnny Cash’s cotton picking songs. There
seems to be this focus on the harmonious coexistence of the old and the
new, just like the nature of Bâton Rouge’s music and its fusion of old
and new sounds. The instrumental “Totem & Hypn-o-sonic” is a masterpiece in
itself, a seven minute epic of drone and beautiful guitar riffs that
rivals anything Swans
have released on their two latest albums. The song, like many others
moments on the album, seems to capture the chugging of a train, the
motion of constant movement as the album becomes a part of the history
of anyone who hears it. The idea is reflected in “Voyage en train la
nuit” which retells the band’s travels though Russia on a night train,
whilst “Forests pass by/Posts pass by/Merchants pass by/Fields pass by”.
The guitar work on the above mentioned “Guetter les ondes” is
remarkable, two guitars becoming one, then breaking off into unique
entities throughout. The overall tone and feel of Totem is relentless, displaying
a truly grand sentiment that is larger than life itself. Through the
use of ambient guitars and effects, Bâton Rouge manage to convey their
poetic feelings, whilst keeping an edge that places them up there with
the best of today’s rockers. This sure is an album you do not want to
miss out on.
The group comes from France and 'Totem' is their new nine song
full-length. I've never heard of them before, and after one listen... I
love them. The band incorporate elements of melodic indie rock and
post-rock throughout the record and carries a distinct late 90's
emo/punk vibe. However, no one particular category fits more than
another here because it blends so well. Fans of Moneen and Get Up Kids
will hear a familiar tone in the singers voice. It's a raspy/emo vocal
that works really well between the driving/jangly guitars and dirty
bass. Songs are sung in French, but sometimes only appear for a section
and then the rest is left to the band as heard on the stunning opening
track 'Le Fixeur' and later on 'Cours Tolstoi'. The mix is well balanced
and the recording comes off feeling pretty genuine. The opening track
is a killer five minute epic that really sets up the pace for the rest
of the record: a great balance of driving melodic indie/rock and
instrumental material. Right in the middle of the album a killer one-two
combo drops which really floored me. Title track 'Totem' is a brief
instrumental that flows seemlessly into 'Hypn-O-Sonic', another
instrumental, but all up accounting for nearly ten minutes of highly
engaging and accessible music touching on prog/ambient/post-rock without
getting boring or over the top. Pure gold. A release like this would
not have been out of place on Jade Tree or Deep Elm records back in the
day. There's a lot to enjoy about it, the guitar work is really
tasteful, whilst no major noodling/crazy lead work ever happens... the
dynamics and relationship between the bass and guitars is really cool! I
liked the production, everything feels right and sounds clean and
balanced. You need more than a few minutes to appreciate what these guys
are doing but you're guaranteed to be rewarded if you do. This is well
worth a spin.
Reviewed by Sean.
From Records are Better Than People Concernant ce nouvel album des Copains (avec un grand C) lyonnais, il
serait facile de verser dans le sempiternel et “séminal” commentaire
clé-en-main estampillé “album de la maturité” (tu le formules comme tu
le sens). En effet. Car, plus que cet album, c’est bien le groupe dans son
intégrité/intégralité que l’on pourrait qualifier ainsi. La maturité. La
recherche studieuse. L’exaltation dans le son. La passion et le talent
sont tels que la signature devient évidente. En deux secondes, il est
possible de distinguer un morceau de BATON ROUGE de celui d’un autre groupe. C’était déjà le cas avec Fragments d’Eux-Mêmes. Une véritable usine à
tubes que l’on prend encore plaisir à écouter aujourd’hui comme si
c’était la première fois, trois ans après sa sortie. Des refrains qui
font désormais partie de notre patrimoine génétique, un sens de la
mélodie absolument hors du commun ainsi qu’une dynamique héritée de leur
passé emo/screamo mise au service d’un rock tout aussi racé
qu’inqualifiable. Une somme d’influences monstrueuse allant pourtant à
l’essentiel, des WIPERS à SONIC YOUTH en passant par FUGAZI et les
THUGS. Mes quatre loulous réussissaient ainsi le formidable exploit de
rendre leur copie millésimée 90’s as fuck totalement passionnante, à
l’inverse d’au moins 99% de la production (plus chevronnée et/ou plus
connue) restante. Avec ce Totem fraîchement débarqué sur ma platine depuis un petit mois (toujours chez les amis d’Adagio830, Pure Pain Sugar et Bakery Outlet),
le quatuor semble avoir privilégié le choix de l’écart au profit du pas
en avant. S’éloigner des évidences et refuser la facilité de la
réinterprétation, une démarche risquée qui lui sied bien entendu à
merveille, à l’image de cet artwork ouvertement bauhaussien différent de
l’esthétique qu’on lui connaissait. Une austérité plastique qui se
traduit par des mélodies beaucoup plus mélancoliques et mortifères que
par le passé. J’en veux pour preuve ce Fixeur en ouverture, à la fin
puant l’angoisse et la solitude… Certes, tout n’est pas totalement noir
et désespéré, comme en atteste le doublé Cours Tolstoï/Guetter Les
Ondées en fin de première face (qui rappellerait presque le précieux Ca
Colle A La Peau). Il n’empêche, l’ambiance n’est définitivement plus à
la fête, comme si le groupe, ne sachant pas de quoi demain serait fait,
s’était totalement investi dans ce disque, peut-être le dernier. D’où
une prise de risques totale, comme avec ce superbe Totem/Hypn-O-Sonic
instrumental, à la fois épique et progressif. Plus besoin de chant pour
exprimer son malaise. Les accentuations de Louib et les guitares
déchirantes de la paire Juju/Bol parlent d’elles-mêmes. Heureusement, il
y a aussi une lumière au bout du tunnel, lueur d’espoir dont ils se
veulent les témoins, par exemple lors de leurs Voyages En Train La Nuit
(si tu ne comprends rien à cette phrase ce n’est pas très grave, c’était
juste histoire de caser le titre du morceau dont je parle). L’auditeur, comblé par un tel éventail d’émotions brutes lâchées sans
autre forme de procès, en sera pour ses frais. Il déboursera 12 euros
pour acquérir la dite oeuvre à la Face Cachée. Une somme certaine. Une
certaine somme. Sa vie s’en verra néanmoins changée. Bouleversée. A tout
Après s’être livrés en fragments, Baton Rouge distille à nouveau quelques éclats avec Totem.
Et comme sur son prédécesseur, il n’est pas nécessaire de tout
référencer ni archiver tant le combo cherche plus à faire vibrer qu’à
Ces brefs instants que l’on vit, ces tranches de vie éparpillées qui
nous font trembler plus qu’à l’accoutumée, c’est cela que transfigure Baton Rouge. Hypnotisant, poétique, vivant, Totem est cet ensemble de compos jamais trop Punk ni Emo.
Il était fait référence à Daitro et 12XU lorsqu’il était question de Fragments d’Eux Mêmes.
La filiation n’est pas complètement gommée, Baton Rouge n’en fait pas
table rase et garde quelques souvenirs (« Guetter les Ondées » ou le son
de guitare de « Le Fixeur » un brin noisy, très typé 80’s / 90’s)
histoire de rappeler que nous avons tous une histoire même si ce n’est
plus aussi évident au travers de titres comme « Au Gré du Gel » ou «
Pour autant, Baton Rouge c’est la poésie d’un soir, une vague à l’âme qui revient « D’années en années », portée par une simplicité maladroite. Totem a cet aspect intemporel qui passe par ses morceaux et sa production : sorti à l’époque des premiers Slint, il n’aurait pas été mis à part. Il n’y a rien a jeter, rien à redire ou même à contredire : Baton Rouge
sait y faire, ce second opus donne envie de se poser, de marcher, de
courir ou de rester immobile. Multi-sensations mais avec autant de
ressentis que d’auditeurs, cette ambiance de pluie fine qui donne le
rythme sur les pavés n’est peut être qu’un effet sensoriel parmi tant
Ainsi, sur Totem j’ai pleuré, aimé, rêvé ou
me suis simplement laissé porter par les notes. L’ordre variera à chaque
écoute, mais c’est toujours la même recette : d’abord les notes,
frêles, passionnées, simples mais franches, puis la voix. Cette voix. Et
encore et encore, les compos enroulent leurs partitions autour de
chaque tympan pour amplifier leur effet, alors qu’au final ce disque est
Alors venez, montez et embarquez dans le dernier « Train de Nuit » mené par Baton Rouge, celui qui s’arrêtera à ces neuf gares envoutantes. De toute façon, avez-vous vraiment le choix ?
Totem, our new full length is out now ! We're uploading the whole thing on bandcamp right now, check it out !
it's our new full length and it's made of 9 new songs written between 2011 and
2013, mostly in our beloved practice place at Grrrn Zero in Lyon
before it was shut down... Totem was a hard record to make.... 2 years of writing, arranging, droping,
reworking material were finally worth it ! We took time to develop hypnotic
athmospheres but didn't forget to go straight to the point with more melodic tracks as well .
It's been recorded and mixed in Villeurbanne at
Mikrokosm Studio, close to the Totem subway station, by Benoit Bel in
february 2014... then mastered by Harris Newman at Grey Market Mastering
in Montreal Canada (Goodspeed You Black Emperor, A Silver Mount Zion
Illustrations by the talented Claire Duport. Have a look at her awesome work here
Vinyl version come in a red / black and
white artwork with printed innner sleeve (there are some colored vinyls
and standard black vinyls). Includes a download code.
CDs come in a yellow / black and white artwork.
Totem is now mixed and mastered and the big image above is the cover ! yeah !! it will look AWESOME !
You can stream 2 songs now on our BBBAAANNNDDCCCAAAMMMPPP (does anybody know how to embed the bandcamp player in there ? ) !
We played one of those 2 a couple times live so maybe some of you will remember it. We're really stoked of the songs we recorded, their recording etc... really excited to have this out !
It took us 2 years and a half to have its writing finished
and during that time, we tried new things, discovered tons of amazing
bands who gave us tons of new ideas... so don't expect anything !
Also our good buddy Arnaud Payen took some of his precious time to make that video of "Cours Tolstoï", look at it here, it's great :
Now that all of this is done, we will AT LEAST start to play shows again ! got a couple booked in France so far... hope more will come !
18.04.14 - F, Lyon @ Le Trokson w/ The Rainbones 19.04.14 - LUX, Luxembourg @ KuFa w/ Monochrome 03.07.14 - F, Lyon @ tba * 04.07.14 - F, Paris @ Mecanique Ondulatoire * 05.07.14 - F, Caen @ Strabisme fest *06.06.14 - F, Mâcon @ St Antoine * w/ Eeva