Interview with Colt Silvers

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Colt Silver’s new EP is out. I decided to interview them so they can tell you everything about it.

 

I don’t really know what is the better way to start an interesting interview. There is sometimes a guy who presents you, or who asks you to present yourself. So I’d like to ask you first how would you rather not want to be presented ?

Nicolas : There is something a bit boring but which makes us proud in a way, we are often refered to as the « alsacian group ». It is a bit crappy sometimes. I mean we are really proud to represent Alsace but throughout the world, for our music. We would really like to be considered as a band. « The band from the land of Sauerkraut». We were called like that again last week.

Tristan : We are often presented in Strasbourg as a band of Strasbourg, and like a colmarian band in Colmar. It shows the pointlessness of this denomination.

You have just released a single, Gold Trees Gold. I wanted to know which story was behind it

Nicolas : The song should have been on Red Panda. We wanted at first to name the album like that, we had a whole thing about the notion of forest. We are really happy to release it now, not just as a b side.

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Tristan : Compared with Night Of the Living Robots, where we have put everything we could, we had more than 17 songs recorded for Red Panda.

Nicolas : We saw « Gold Trees Gold » as really huge on Red Panda, like a key-stone. But we didn’t manage to make it sound cool enough. We really wanted to do something of this song so we worked again on it recently.

Tristan : There were too many things on the previous version, we reworked and filtered it a couple of months ago.

Red Panda really was a full album in your writing. I think this one is really different

Tristan : Well it works a bit like a connexion between Red Panda and the next one.

Have you started to work on it yet ?

Tristan : we have songs which are already recorded, and some others we are still working on. We schedule a release around 2015.

Nicolas : « Desert Night », the third song you can find on our EP, may be on it. We are waiting for some reactions first, but she gives a taste of the next one. We come back to a party ground, to the dancefloor. We have not been doing this for a long time, since « Tears in Rain », a song that we are still playing live, and that always drive people crazy, and creates a great fucking time. In comparison to the minimal side of Red Panda, like « Peaches » or others like that, this one’s going to kick serious ass.

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I think it is funny that you have chosen to start with a soft song, quite calm, with a great work on voices and percussions, to announce a sharper thing.

Tristan : Well, we were extremely frustrated not to release this one, and to leave her buried in some old box. As we said, we are using this one as a connexion between Red Panda and the future album.

So, you are planning to make us dance ?

Nicolas : we’ve got a song named « The Sound », that we finally decided not to put on the EP, which is probably the most dancing stuff we ever composed, and you’ve already listened to it (I know I’m a filthy wretch)

You often say that you are close connected to cinema in the way you are composing music, and I think it was really sensible into Red Panda. The fact of coming back to the dancefloor is a way to get a bit rid of the cinema, or you will still going to compose as you have always done so far ?

Tristan : We won’t change our soul, and we’ll stick to it. We really found ourselves on Red Panda, way more than on Night of The Living Robots.

I wanted to avoid the cliché of the album of the maturity

Tristan  : I mean there will be a closer connexion between the second and the third than for the first and the second.

So if you keep going on the same composing method, let us talk a bit of cinema. Which films did you enjoyed the most ? Did some of them inspire you ?

Tristan : I really had a crush on Her… the whole contemplation tone was great. I think we are actually working on a music that could have been inspired from the movie, with a piano, which could take place in a similar universe. I enjoyed the aesthetics. I would say it is a masculine Lost in Translation. Finally, this is quite a close future. After the film, you are watching people, and most of all yourself, differently. When we are on tour, we are using our smartphones any time we have a little free time. I think he hit reality, even if I hope it won’t go as far as in the movie.

As you say, it is a contemporary future, not such a huge anticipation

Tristan : It is the same kind of movie as Gattaca. You know it is the future, but it can happen tomorrow, in ten years.

Spike Jonze is not criticizing that much the modern world, and this is a smart move, trying to represent such destructive love can be charming, and above mankind

Tristan : Yes, he avoids shitty morals

By your music, beside the fact you are influenced by cinema, do you feel that you are invested of such a message, analysing the world you live in ?

Tristan : We never tried to convey a message, politically speaking, we conceive music in a narrative perspective.

As you said you hate to be presentend as the rockers from the land of Sauerkraut, what is your position into french rock ? What do you think of modern french rock ?

Nicolas : We played recently with many great french bands, and we are still discovering some. At first, I think it was hard for us to find our place, but I have the feeling that we are slowly starting to be in that landscape with our musical personality. I cannot find yet a french equivalent for us, but i can talk about bands i like. We played with many excellent ones. I think of Einleit, which is really classy, they are little fellas from Paris, with really a cold universe, on the merge of Coldwave, mixed with a bit of ambient, electronic music, with a high peached singing, a bit like James Blake. There is also Capture, with whom we played in Nancy, who are doing a great job.

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Tristan : There’s also this belgian band I love, Pale Grey. The guys are as awesome as their music, we really got along pretty well.

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On the top of that, which bands were your favorite this year ?

Nicolas : The last Bombay Bicycle Club is a fucking great album. The best they have done so far. They tried to synthesize this love we share for samples and loops, but also the repetitiveness of the rythmic sections. When you compose an electronic song, you’ve got a chorus, a sentence, that will be repeated, something we have already been criticized about, but here it is added to a good rock energy. The opposite way to do this music would be Oasis.

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Tristan : In a more underground style I discovered Clark recently, an ambient and destructured dark thing. There is also the Flashbulb, also destructured, a mixture of movie score with dancefloor influence, which sounds a bit like Squarepusher. But in pop-music, weirdly, I enjoyed the last Coldplay.

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It is still painful to me

Tristan : They really managed to move me

Nicolas : We’ve all been. But we still have a hard time with their « stadium songs ».

Tristan : The one they did for the world cup is quite dirty…

Nicolas : But it is quite rare for us to find us all inspired by a mainstream song, in which we have no different comments to do. There is a musical poetry that speaks to me.

Did some of this artists inspired you in your recent creative process or you try to be on your own ways ?

Tristan : We never said « oh, this one’s cool, let’s do the same thing ». It has always been the three of us, creating sounds together on our sides with a common listening afterwards.

Nicolas : We sometimes use riffs which are four years old. A shame that Agnan is not here, but he has a huge collection of unachieved compositions or riffs. We pick up in this mine sometimes, when we are less inspired, and it brings us to another direction.

I was just going to ask you about the way your personal way to write music

Nicolas : It is often a sharing on what we did on our own

No old school jams ?

Tristan : Of course, we crushed at La Garenne-Colombes, which is in Hauts-de-Seine for two days in a house, a bit like for Red Panda in Oberkutzenhausen, in the North of Alsace. We had concerts and radio shows at that moment, so we were not 100% on writing music, but we took time to do it.

Nicolas : Sometimes when you’re drunk late at night, cools things can happen. « Desert Night » was composed in La Garenne Colombes. For Red Panda, we had a great session for « Stories ». We were three around my sister’s old Casio keyboard, with a tuba sound. Finally, this sample is on the album, it is a shitty soundtake we kept.

Tristan : Something really happened that night. If we could have french kissed us, we probably would have done it.

Yeah, I get the thing, the kind of epiphanic musical homo erotism that many bands hope to experience someday.

Tristan : It truely was our moment !

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You have been highlighted this year through the radio. You went on Le Mouv’, Oui Fm, Virgin Radio… If you are planning to release your album in 2015, you are already teasing us. Did you want to move on after Red Panda, or does this rapidness come from this growing notoriety ?

Nicolas : The thing that changed for us is that we are all now intermittents (entertainment workers). You can put a lot of problems aside to focus on your music.

Tristan : We wanted to move on but not because we wanted to bury Red Panda. We took too much time between Night of The Living Robots and Red Panda. Our project about Blade Runner, even if it was an awesome experience, took us a long time. I don’t think we’re coming back immediatly to such a work.

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So you don’t really want to push this experience further, with an OST or something ?

Tristan : We want to make the band grow up.

Nicolas : We also have an other project, which takes an incredibly huge amount of time, we would like to do a live with on orchestra. We were in touch with Basel orchestra, and maybe we can’t make it for Red Panda but the next one. It will be our next level, a symphonic thing to connect our music to cinema.

Tristan : And get closer to Metallica

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Do you have any pressure or obligations when you compose music ?

Nicolas : No, it is the complete opposite ! We ask us to take our time. We were all dying to add « The Sound » on our EP, but we’ve been asked to wait a bit. We have time, and Red Panda is an album we are still touring with.

I saw that you were going to play in Russia. Tristan, there is a video of you talking Russian. Do you speak it fluently or what ? I mean, as I don’t speak, the whole thing seemed convincing to me.

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YouTube Direkt

Tristan : The story behind the video is that this Russian festival asked us to leave a video message. They gave us the phonetical sentence. As I don’t speak Russian, except for the usual basic bullshits (cheers etc), I asked her to send me an audio version of the sentence, which I worked for two days, recorded 15 times to manage to sound credible. And then the magic goes.

You are going to play in 4 countries in two weeks. Which one are on the list ?

Tristan : France first, how original, in Mulhouse. Then we’ll go to Italy, then in England again for the Tour de France in Trafalgar, and then in Russia.

You’ve been asked to do that after your shows in England ?

Nicolas : The lady who was planning all this came to see us. She wanted us to play for that huge thing and her choice was confirmed after the concert which she really enjoyed. We did not came here for nothing.

Cliché question warning : What do the motherfuckin Rosebeef think about the Froggy rock ?

Nicolas : I think they really enjoyed until England-Italy world cup game. We started just half an hour before the kick-off.

Tristan : Then the place became a bit empty.

Nicolas : We fell a massive movement and rumor like « the game is going to starts ». We still had 15 minutes to go but we decided to shorten the show a bit.

I think it is a consecration for a french band to play on the other side of the Channel

Nicolas : Yeah, the whole thing worked but it is not easy to strike them, they have so many great bands playing every day.

A waitress is interrupting our conversation and offers us a promotion on the shot of whisky, which we all agreed.

Nicolas : man, this is Evil !

Tristan : To go back to the question, I really enjoyed when we played in the US, and I was less scared here, I felt less pressure.

Tell me more about the US

Nicolas : It was a bit weird sometimes. It worked when we played in New York’s « centre-ville » (french word for downtown, which sounds quite rura when you talk about NYC), but less in the suburbs. It is a bit of a factory, because they have many great bands, like in England.

Tristan : « Centre-ville » sounds so nice (laughter)

Near the post office and the grocery store

Tristan : Town-hall square !

If you take countries like the UK or the US, as you say the concurrence is quite rough. What part of you is original enough to catch their attention ? What is your singularity ?

Nicolas : Overseas it is always our frenchy side, Phoenix’s shadow is upon us.

Tristan : This is their major reference, like Daft Punk.

Nicolas : We have also been told we had a genrous side in our music. We try to give good shows, when you can sometimes feel a bit of boredom in rock shows.

We are interrupted a second time to confirm our choice

Can’t remember what I was talking about… yes, people are happy to see our energy, and it is a contrast with the minimalistic aspect of the album. « Fuck, it’s way more rock’n’roll in the flesh ». We try to be different than on our albums.

Tristan : People who really listen our albums are often suprised the first time they see us live. But we don’t have the pretention to bring with us a whole french heritage. We are composing thinkiong internationally, we are playing sometimes in Germany… we don’t have many french influences, being french had never been a huge deal for us.

You both have different backgrounds, like metal as I once read, but do you have a common musical base ? Or for instance, what are the three bands that wanted you to make music ?

Tristan : I used to enjoy The Smashing Pumpkins. I had their albums. I remember I watched Tracks (french TV show), about them in 1997

The year they played at The Eurockeennes ?

Tristan : Exactly. I discovered a lot more this year, like Radiohead. The other fracture for me was Daft Punk, alive in the Eurocks in 2006. I was more into metal or stoner at that time. And I was amazed by the show. My friends pissed me off for me to come with them, I did not want to at first. I was astonished, really. I was like « Yeah, this is what i want to do ».

I think this show is a reference for all music fans, more likely in Eastern France. I was also there, mostly for Deftones. Discovery was the first album I ever bought, so I was happy to see them, even if I was no longer into them, since the deception I first fell about Human After All. The concert did not change my whole musical tastes, but it completely brought me back into electronic music, after the glorious days of Techno. It really was a heavy thing.

Tristan : It had to be their only tourdate in France.

Nicolas : For me Daft Punk was crazy. But I also had a crush on Biffy Clyro. I saw them at the Noumatrouff in 2005. I was in my punk rock period, I was learning the bass on Blink 182. It was pissing the parents off. Nirvana was clearly a major band for me, I had them on tape. My father also tried to teach me the bass with the Beatles.

Tristan : For me too, with Pink Floyd, the father’s influence was consequent.

There is a fracture between Daddy’s music, with big bands such as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Who and Modern Rock, born in the middle of the 2000’s, more festive, different from the dark spectrum of the 90’s… Where does this difference come from ? (I mean, this kind of rock is less exuberant, but more catchy, without too many solos etc)

Nicolas : For me it started with Franz Ferdinand or bands like that. People were dancing again on rock’n’roll music.

Also The White Stripes maybe

Nicolas : Totally

Tristan : This music is really english again. Block Party were for me the first to have brought this connexion between rock and dancefloor to such a level.

Nicolas : People dancing on rock again was really a salvation.

What you say reminds me of what Daft Punk said at the beginning, when they were in their rock band called Darlin. Everybody was bothered in rock concerts, and it was the opposite in raves. Is there kind of a backward movement in this meaning ? The boredom of rock favorising the emergence of electronic music, which is now going through all genres ?With all these samples, mixtures of sounds, how do you picture yourself the future of Rock, or your rocking future? Even if you are not certified in coffeground clairvoyance.

Nicolas: We become more and more part of this electronic music culture with La Mort de Darius. We are going to try to pervert our rock with such sonorities. Electronic music is offering a lot of possibilities. We want to keep our Rock background. There is a bridge that we have been asked to shorten, but which I think we are going to keep, is completely a dark electronic trip. We’re going to try and rape our music a bit.

Killing the father and all that type of things… so, is Rock dead ?

Nicolas : Not at all, the guitars are still important for us.

Tristan : But of course, beside Rock, everybody seems to have an approach of composing and programming that refers to electronic music.

Nicolas : Dirty guitars, huge bass have never been so important to us, and it is something we want to keep.

What are you’re… the question is interrupted by Nicolas’ surprise « you already have finished your whisky motherfuckers). Wait man, you have to go bottoms up with it.

Tristan : Maybe not bottoms up, because the sun knocks hard. What was your question about ?

A bit shitty but what are you next plans ?

Nicolas : We’re touring all summer long until August, when we will compose more. We are going to the US in September to play there and to record things. It will be a huge suprise for us, we rent a studio over there, there is a producer over there, from BMG I think. We are going to see where he can get us. We’ll do some concerts to make a bit of promotion, but we really want to try bring back a different sound. We will still be mixing in France, but we want to record the instruments over there.

I hope you guys you’ll be baptised the « Sauerkraut burger band » now

Tristan : Haha, but as we said we are not really ashamed of it.

Nicolas : We can finally say to end this, that it is still the worse way to begin. So castrating…

Tristan : The pejorative side could be boring. And it is not suitable to our music. We never brought a part of traditional folk alsacian songs in ours.

Not catchy enough, and mankind is not ready

Tristan : But we can keep the idea to reconvert ourselves into masculine Nolwenn Leroy.

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 Interview by Jean-Gauthier Martin

 

 

 

 

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