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 !
check this out from MRR
From OX (for you german lovers)
From Perte & Fracas (french)
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.