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Topic: interviews
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Battant : strike the interview, kids

par arbobo | imprimer | 16avr 2009

pour la version française, c’est là.

There was no particular reason we would come and hear Battant that night, so we didn’t expect anything from that name on the flyer. That the surprise even better :-)

Battant’s record is harsh and sharp, but on stage the trio is hot and frenetically rock, a godamn post-punk as one dreamt to hear it since Gang of four, thanks to the incredible energy of singer Chloe Raunet.
Once the show over, she is as cool, warm to her audience, than she was hard and powerful on stage.

And for our pleasure, they all three accepted to answer a few questions by mail. Generously, as usual :-)

You are on the label Kill the DJ. Apart from the human aspect, the encounters, would you have signed on an abstract electro label in other circumstances?

JOEL: We are really at home on KTDJ and I think it would be really hard finding another label that would put so much time and effort into us.

CHLOE: Yeah, and they’ve been so patient. I don’t think we ever would’ve gotten to the stage of releasing an album had we been with another label.

TIM : Signing with Kill the Dj was cool for us because even though we have a pop element and love pop music, we are put under no pressure to be pop. There is to much pressure on bands at the moment to be pop acts rather than make cool music, I guess this has a lot to do with labels desperately needing sales in the present environment. Pop music can be great, but I dont think its too healthy to be thinking about sales when you are trying to write.

Chloé speaks a remarquable French, and you are on a French label despite its English name. For your generation, crossing the channel seems quite natural in both directions, isn’t it?

CHLOE: Thank you EuroTunnel

JOEL: It think people just want a bit of everything, the grass is always greener so you are always looking for new cities, new sounds. But in the end it’s all the same – something is either good or bad.

TIM : French music, especially dance music is really popular at the moment in Britain, a lot of it isnt to my taste but I think its great that people are looking further than to America and Britain for their music taste.

Let’s skip the “you sound like… ” part. But anyways, music used to have strong musical generations, and currently it’s going in all directions, do you feel the weight of time on your shoulders?

JOEL: No not all it’s just the way things have progressed (or regressed?).. Music is so widely available. It’s much harder to define a generation by one musical expression. So now I suppose there’s the subcultures within subcultures. I don’t think this means music has lost its significance – you just have to dig a bit deeper.

CHLOE: I think the ‘weight of time’ issue is more of an editorial debate which occurs outside the realm of those generating music. We’re just doing what we’re doing. I won’t deny the influence of our musical predecessors, but i think in our case it’s digested more through a sort of subconscious osmosis.

TIM : Not really, I love music from all different decades, and while it can be fun and a good excersize to try and authenitcally recreate a sound from another age, I think its more healthy to try and not worry about the past when writing. Not try and make something that sounds like… and also not get too worried if something comes out sounding a bit like something else. If you worry about ‘the weight of musical history’ when writing I think it will hinder you massively, and you might end up like Oasis.

The way Chloé sings is very rythmical. It’s one of your many qualities, but is it also a reason why you don’t need drums on stage, as you all three can give rythm not only two?

CHLOE: Yeah, Tim plays a lot of rhythm guitar.

TIM : The lack of a drummer is partly due to the way we compose and I guess partly due to not knowing any drummers. Having a live drummer does tend to tie you into one drum sound, especially live. Yeah, rythmic vocals, rythmic guitar, rythmic bass and keys, maybe we should ditch percussion altogether…

Surprisingly, some songs are at the same time very groovy (the baggy side of groove),especially thanks to the bass (Mark Twain, Radio rod) AND very raw. A Certain Ratioand Gang of four were a very rare exemple of such a contrast. Is contrast the key-word of these songs?

JOEL: I think contrast is important – we use hi tech equipment to make lo tech sound – we use computer programs to make drum kits.

TIM : We all listen to a lot of groove based music, so that isdefinatly part of our sound, but on the album I think it translates more likethe groove in old records from the 50’s and early 60’s. Those records were made for dancing to. The rawness is important to, I’m not a fan of how polished lots of music is at the moment.

If I exaggerate a little (maybe more ^^), the album is close to minimal electro or EBM, and your concerts are really post-punk. As if you spoke to two different audiences. When did you realize how different you sound in the two situations?

JOEL: We’ve always made a bit of a racket on stage, but when we first started recording the album it just didn’t seem to translate. I think you have to treat the live shows and the records as two things because it keeps things more interesting – for us, for those who have come to see us.

CHLOE: Yeah. And we’ve always played to a wide range of audiences, mostly due to the fact people have never been too sure where to place us. At the beginning I think we sounded a lot more industrial, so we ended up playing with bands like Nitzer Ebb etc… And then there was the Ladytron tour. And for a while we were getting booked to play nightclubs at peak time, which was just a disaster. In any case, I think we’ve finally found our place - partly down to the stripped down sound of the album and partly down to the fact people are more open than they were a few years back to electronic music.

TIM : Not really a conscious decision by the band, but we do listen to EBM and post punk. Our sound is’nt really the result of a ‘grand plan’, we sound like we do partly because of the equipment which was available to us at the beginning of the band, and partly because we listen to quite a wide selection of musical styles. On stage, I guess its hard not to look post punk when we are all so skinny and angry looking.

On stage, your sound and the burning hot energy of Chloe turn you into a tornado.This fireball is as much impressive as the generosity with which you respond to the public after the show. You seem to have a very strong relationship to the stage.

CHLOE: Every show is different. I like to think we respond well to the public and draw on them as much as our mood, to set the tone of the show. Sometimes it’s drunken mayhem, sometimes it’s super intense, and sometimes it’s just a bit drab (good things can’t happen all the time). It keeps it more interesting for everyone. Doing the same thing night after night would be hell.

JOEL: We can show a different side of the band. We aren’t as cold on stage as the record would lead you to believe.

TIM : We have done quite a lot of gigs! Early on we used to standpretty still cos we were nervous. Doing the live shows is prob my favorite bit of doing the band, over the years reactions to us have been quite varied and quite enjoy the possibility that we might clear the place

Thank you Battant !



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