It feels so good to go to shows sometimes and then get to know a band you didn't know about before and that completely blows you away. The Sons of Saturn from France were one of these bands when they played wit Rambo in Hamburg earlier this year. I had already been told that they were great by people who had seen them the day before but as I had not heard a single note until then it was still some kind of surprise. The drummer was so energetic and the whole band had an overflow of charisma. After having listened to the ep a friend had bought at the show I was more than sure that I had to ask the band a few questions but as Lyon is not quite neighbouring Hamburg I decided to do it once again on the e-mail way. I know that e-mail interviews are never as good as those done vis à vis but if a band got so much to tell as this one has even this barrier can't hinder them. So let's see what Guitarist Boris wrote:
The first and only time we met so far was at the Rote Flora in Hamburg
this year. You played an amazing show, Rambo initiated a new Hamburg
wide record for circle pits and one of you got hit by a flying plastic
bone. What do you remeber of this certain night, the Rote Flora and
Hamburg in general? Did you like Rambo?
I was the beginning of the tour for us when we arrived in hamburg (the 2nd of may) for a show at theHafenklang with Hand to Hand and B-Abuse. and we had some serious mechanical problems with our van so we weren't in a funny mood. We spent all our time during the 3rd of may (my birthday!) trying to find a garage in order to repare this problem. We were very stressed because we thought that we had to cancel all our tour (45 days). Horrible! We worked so much for this. As we were already in Hamburg, we decided to play at the Rote Flora the 3rd of may in the evening. But we didn't feel great. Hopefully, we had a warm welcome there and lots of people came to the show. The sound wasn't very good for us but we forgot all the stress we had and we played a good show. The audience was cool and we were able to spend a nice moment!
Then, Rambo played! Of course, we like Rambo!!! They were so energic on stage this night. People went crazy and the atmosphere was really friendly. Our drummer got hit by a flying plastic bone during the gig so he kept this bone as a souvenir and he played this piece of plastic as a drum stick during a couple of shows. And one of the guys from rambo played in Policy of Three so I bought the cd at their distro; I really like their music, too. Nice guys.
We slept at Toby's place (thank you Toby for all your help and your kindness!) and the 4th of may we found a garage in Hamburg! the guy told us how to continue a little bit with the mechanical problem. We replaced the broken part three days later in Flensburg but that is another story! And we were able to continue this tour.
But i spent a shitty birthday during the day! The evening and the night were better! I will remember it all my life. We didn't have the time to visit Hamburg but the Rote Flora is a really cool place. Such a big alternative place! I heard a lot of it before those days and I'm really happy to have played there. I hope we will back soon (maybe in may 2006). Now it is the past so only the good memories are still in our minds.
I think there is hardly any band that has travelled as many countries
in the first two years as you did. How come? Most bands need far more
time to start touring and even more to go abroad...
For us, touring is like going on holidays (discovering new people, new landscapes, new lifestyles...) so we'd prefer to go outside France. I travelled a lot in France during my life so I want to see how it is outside now. It is like: "where do you want to go? to your own country or to Russia?" It is so much more "exotic" to go far away from home! All of us wanted to play and travel as much as possible so we all decided to quit our jobs because we felt good together with our music.
I spent all my time in front of the computer, trying to find contacts everywhere and i began to organise our first tour (in february 2004) with some friends help. That is how we started.
It is just a question of motivation. Of course, it is really hard financially but i'm doing what i always wanted to do since i'm 16 years old.
You've been to eastern europe a lot. Do you see differences between
the scenes there and those in the west of the former iron curtain?
Yes, it is really different out there. In such countries like Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Serbia ..., people seem to be more interested in discovering new sounds, new bands. Not so many bands played there in the past so they are so excited. It should be like this here but people seems to be bored sometimes. We can see so many shows and people are getting more lazy to go to a show. For example, people in Lithuania don't hesitate to hitch hike in order to see a gig; in Russia, people travelled from Ukraine to Moscow just for coming to our show.
In the east part of europe in general, going to a show is like a saturday night: They want to party. I think they don't judge you as much as we do in the west part.
Of course, all I say is in general. We played in front of 10 people in Poland and much more in France sometimes but i feel that there is a real interest in the east for all the bands. In the west, we have this typical "they must be great because they are americans" state of mind, if you see what i mean. But it can be so different from a place to an other too; I'm just talking about our experiences.
That is the general feeling we have.
What about the hc/punk scene in France? Apart from you and Amanda
Woodward I haven't heard much about good and innovative bands from
there. What has France to offer? And what about your hometown Lyon?
It is getting bigger and bigger here. There are so many bands right now. But the problem is that lots of places for shows are closed now because of the gouvernment and the neighbourhood. It is like "young people, punks, noise= BAD and DISTURBING". So everybody tries to find some other places. Those places used to be in the center of the cities but now people are trying to find some in the suburbs so we won't disturb anyone!
The other problem is that the government closed most of the squats; some friends of mine opened one in september 2004 in Lyon (it was called Ground Zero) and they had to leave the place six months after! But the place was so active and so nice. They said that they will destroy the building for other structures but, if you look at their plans, they will destroy it in 2010! And they don't even want to let my friends do what they want during those 4 years.
You can also find different fanzines but most of them are in french, unfortunately for you!
About the bands, you can find good ones all over france. Here is a listing of those which come to my mind right now: Kill the Thrill (indus/post hardcore ala Isis), Revok (hardcore ala Breach), Super Beatnik (stoner rock n roll), Gantz (slow and moshing hardcore), HK (emo violence), Aside from a Day (metal-hardcore ala Botch), Gwenn (emo pop), Tang (emo), The Hatepinks (garage rock n roll), Gameness (emo chaos), Good Morning Bleeding City (rockin hardcore), Jerry Spider Gang (rock n roll), Shane Cough (electro rock), Buckaroo Banzai (stoner hardcore), The Elektrocution (garage rock n roll), Year of no Light (hardcore ala Today is the Day), Metronome Charisma (emo violence), Hyacinth (rockin hardcore), Calavera (anarcho hip hop) and a lot more... You should check their websites and discover their sounds!
About Lyon, our hometown, here is another listing (you will have a lot of time to spend in front of your computer trying to listen to everything!): Daitro (emo), Mihai Edrish (screamo), Overmars (slow hardcore), vegas hookers (garage rock n roll), the cold within (hardcore ala the hope conspiracy), One Second Riot (noise bass-drums-sample), Ned (noise rock n roll), Bananas at the Audience (energic rock-noise), JR Merrill (garage), Panda (post rock), Simfela (fast hardcore), Doppler (cold hardcore), Blues Butcher Club (garage hardcore), Red (songwriter), Rubiks (crazy rockin hardcore), Kabu Ki Buddah (noise)...
Sorry for the styles of music I've putted right after those bands (I hate to describe a band with a unique and shitty term) but you can have an idea about all you can find in France.
You've been on tour in canada and I hope it was great. But how
come you play most of the shows in Quebec? is there some old francophone
connection between the scenes in Quebec and over here? I mean as you
sing in english there should not be any kind of language barrier...
Yes, canada was great, especially on a personnal level. We met so many nice people out there! Like the band we toured with, Issue 16, they took very good care of us.
Musicallywise, I thought the scene was bigger. I heard some stories about touring in the usa and it is the same in canada. You don't have a place to sleep not even food at the shows and you can't get a little money. We don't want to be rich but it was really hard on a financial level. And we played half of the shows in front of 10 to 30 people. You have to be on MTV if you want a big crowd there! I don't know if you've heard about a canadian band called The Sainte Catherines (Montreal). I saw them in front of 150 people in Lyon and everybody was waiting for them. They will release an album on No Idea Records. So they are pretty big for a independent band. I went to their concert in montreal; it was a free concert in their hometown and they played in front of only 60 people!!! I was really shocked. But all the bands we met in Canada (in Quebec or Ontario) told us that it was like this in their country. They are so happy when they come in europe! So I just realized that we are so lucky to be here. We are so well treated and there are so many different countries to visit around!
I don't know anything about the connections between France and Quebec. Morgan, our singer, used to sing in a band called Gameness. He discovered Issue 16 (Montreal) when this band was touring in europe and organised a two weeks tour with them in europe in november 2004. The tour went really well and both bands became closed friends. As an exchange, issue 16 invited Gameness to tour in Canada in august 2005. But four months before leaving to Canada, Gameness broke up. The Canadians still wanted to thank Morgan for the wonderful tour they had together. So issue 16 invited The Sons of Saturn instead as he was the singer. So we had the opportunity to tour in Canada. and we became close friends with them too. Here is the love story!
Most of the Issue 16's contacts are in Quebec; that is why we played most of the shows there. But we also played a few gigs in Ontario. So we didn't do anything for this tour. The Canadians organised everything. And all the bands we played with sing in english. The shows were pretty similar in both regions.
How do you manage all this touring. Your trips seem to take far more
time than an ordinary worker has holydays. Do you have regular jobs?
As I already told you, we dedicated our lives to the music for the moment. We just felt great with our music and we decided to tour a lot in order to express ourselves every nights. We all had a day job before. We work sometimes (especially our drummer; he is a baker and it is really easy for him to find a job between the tours). But we spend most of our time practicing, organising the tours...
Of course, money is a big problem with such a lifestyle!!! But we feel so great being able to go on tour whenever we want. Especially in 2006, we will tour more than before. We just have to be very well organised.
Your website says the four of you came from contrasting musical
horizons and shared diffedrent views on life. what horizons and views
are that? what is your backgrounds?
As far as I'm the one who gives you the answers, I can only speak about my experiences. I know a lot about my friends but they are the ones who can speak the best about themselves! So I will answer in a general way.
We all played in different bands before The Sons of Saturn (like Doudou, the drummer, used to play in a rock n roll cover band; Morgan, the singer, played 8 years in Gameness; Greg, the bass player, still plays in The Cold Within; I played in different bands influenced by Primus, Mr Bungle, Neurosis, Dead Kennedys, Jane's Addiction, Mogway, Explosion in the Sky and I still play in a stoner band without name...). But The Sons of Saturn is the first band I can put all my influences in. That is also why we all decided to do something with this band.
About the different musical horizons, Doudou listen to a lot of soul music, funk, electro and some hardcore too, of course; Greg is more into things like The Hope Conspiracy and drum and bass; Morgan and me, we love bands on labels like Three One G, Gravity, Level Plane... We also listen to post rock, electro... As I'm concerned, I really like John Zorn and the label Tzadik, a mixture between jewish music, jazz, eastern music. I also like classical music; I discovered at the age of 18 that it wasn't just a music for old people!
We all have the same view on life as a band. Travelling, meeting people, discovering new landscapes (Norway is the most beautiful country I ever seen! Go there and have a look!) and playing the music that makes us feel great. Like everybody, we are just trying to be as happy as possible in such a world. Sorry to be so general, but I will write too much if we all speak about our own personal views!
What are your motivations to play in the band and to play just the
music you play? What do you want to achieve with The Sons of Saturn?
You will find the answer in the past answers!
Nothing is really planned as an achievment. We are just learning. I already said that we are just trying to be happy persons. It is such a good experience to create music with other people, to spend 45 days with the same four guys in the same van. You can learn so much about the human being. And meeting people from different horizons all the time open your mind, I think.
We want to discover as many places as we can, too. Still a question of being open minded.
What are your plans your the near and not so near future then?
We are creating music for the forthcoming album we want to record in january. We also plan to release a four way split with Revok (fr), Looking for John G (fr) and our brothers The Last Mile (hol); we hope it will be out in the beginning of 2006 as a 10“. And we will appear on a Food not Bombs compilation in Ukraine with a song from our "pure" ep and a live version of a song that will appear on our forthcoming album.
We will go on tour with Issue 16 in canada and usa in april and eastern europe in may. Then we will try to tour all over europe during 2006. Check our website at www.thesonsofsaturn.com or www.myspace.com/thesonsofsaturn and we will let you know all the places we will visit when it is going to be booked.
Thank you for the interview! i leave the final words up to you. say
whatever you got to say!
First of all, sorry for all the language's mistakes I've done during this interview! it is so hard to express yourself when you can't speak with your mother tongue. Especially when you have to describe something deep like feelings... Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org . I hope I was clear enough!
You shared a moment with us, reading our own experiences and don't hesitate to share yours with us.
Thanks to you, Jan, and all at yellowisthenewpink for coming to the show, for writing a beautiful review on our pure ep and for the interview. We really appreciate!
We hope to see you soon.