O Children

Profitant de leur entrée prochaine en studio pour enregistrer leurs titres Dead Eye Lover et Dead Disco Dancer, le Bar Cult. s’est entretenu longuement avec un groupe dont il est épris depuis plusieurs mois déjà : O Children. Version française ici.

Prologue

O’Children and I, at the Lexington bar -East London- a few hours before their concert. Let’s mention that the group is having its very first interview for a French magazine.
It’s Thursday 12th of February; it has been snowing, raining for the whole day (the usual tutti quanti of London) and I’m glad to find the place.
I push the door of this not so traditional English pub. The light is soft; the place is not too crowded yet. People are chilling out, chatting with their drink. I go upstairs where the band is getting prepared.
The atmosphere is quite different: a professional silence is covering the room while O’Children is working on the last technical settings. Tobias, the singer, kindly welcomes me and takes me backstage in a very comfortable room with an artificial pink electric light, a sofa very ‘Marie-Antoinette, Louis XVI and co, plaît-il?’. We could sit comfortably; even lay down, an orange and a beer on each hand.
Waiting for the other members to come -Gauthier the guitarist and Harry the bassist- (the drummer is missing), we evoke with Tobias the last concert of Electricity In Our Homes for Dice Club in Hoxton Square last week, and conclude that ‘They are really really good’. They are already considered as ‘the new masters of counterpoint’ by the Medias. I agree: they are excellent, though the Medias ‘are sometimes a bit excessive… They are not Steve Reich, aren’t they? They are –and not just- Electricity in Our Homes.
Well, everyone is here now. We could start for a 30 minutes interview, as serious as funny it could be, with three very nice, natural and open-minded musicians.

Le Bar Cult. : You are currently in the studio recording a new EP…

Tobias: Yes, it’s not really an EP. It’s just a single two tracks. We went over a deal yesterday. We have to sort back to the managers because they say they want to keep our songs for ten years…it’s a long time; so…yes, we are going to the studio next month and till back two weeks. We are going to record the EP and getting it out there. It should be good.

LBC. : Where are you based?

Tobias: Right Hoxton Square. A really nice studio. We got cool producer and recording crew.

LBC. : How labour-intensive is the process?

Tobias: I think we’re doing it in only four days so yes it would be quite intensive, because not so much time. Obviously we have a lot of fun but also we have to get it done. Means to release it, get it out quickly and make it perfect at the same time. So we have to be short but efficient.

Harry: Yes, it’s precisely what all the bands have to do.

LBC. : Where does the creative part come into the recording? Are you maybe adapting songs so you end up with two versions – one live and one produced in studio?

Tobias: It’s one version first but I guess the recording for the singles would be different.

Gauthier: The recording version and the live version are meant to be the same. But they still sound nothing like each other. The sound is completely different but the versions stay the same song technically.

Tobias: There is a bit difference maybe because in live we could put a lot of more energy. When you hear something and the way you are seeing it, it’s completely different…

LBC. : I was actually wondering when you are in studio without public, in a sort of box, how is difficult to communicate the whole energy you could have ‘live’…?

Harry: I know what you mean. When you are recording, you have to try precisely giving all you can and more, because the possibilities are reduced in a way.

LBC. : Who did you commission to do the artwork of the EP? Did one of you make it?

Gauthier: We did not think about it at all…

(Laughs)

Tobias: Well we were thinking of our good friend Sam Coldy. He is vey good. Look him up! Anyway, whoever it is, it could be really nice. Or might be ourselves. But yes, Sam Coldy could be great.

Harry: Yes, a good opportunity there to make friends, or creative and talented persons, be discovered.

LBC. : A promo video?

Tobias: We don’t have any money to pay any producer! (Laughs) but: yes, in project.

LBC. : A reminder: when is the EP coming out?

Tobias: It’s going to be Late March, early April. We’re going to probably play it at some festivals. We have to figure it out.

LBC. : And after the EP? …An album? A tour?

Tobias: Honestly it’s still early days and still relative…. But we’d like to tour, record other singles, then tour again, play it live, and probably get again to the studio to record an album.

LBC. : Assuming the EP sales are good, do you have any label interest?

Tobias: Yes, we got people interest…

(We won’t know much more, plus it becomes really difficult to hear each other as another band of the night start doing the sound check…)

LBC. : Finally, are you thinking of uploading any more free Mp3s?

Tobias: Yes. If you have an idea, it’s good to share it with people better instead of keeping it to yourself like some kind of a really selfish thing. So just listen what we are doing and enjoy it! Then, it’s not really like we are going to charge people for the stuff we record by ourselves!

Harry: And this is not the point as well to put just one minute of a song on Myspace. You could enjoy and listen the full song.

LBC. : Now, more precisely, with a title like “Dead disco dancer” are you definitively siding with post-punk rather than disco (if you think back to the musical divide between punk and disco in the late seventies/early eighties)? What the choice of this kind of title?

Tobias: It just came out! Also am I thinking ok it’s my formula im gotta get ‘post punk-disco divide and make them fight to each other’? No. It is about, in linear terms, ‘Disco dancer is dying’ and so he died!

(Silence then laughs)

LBC. : Ok that’s all thank you…

Tobias: Sorry for my answer…

LBC. : Could you pretend just a more professional answer?

Tobias: Ok I ‘m going to contribute for a professional answer…The thing is I could discuss to put the two things together in the new age (laughs); no longer a busy fighting but this time it will be about Love. Put disco and post punk together. We can make it or make it baby.

(He said this with a grooving voice)

Tobias: It’s time to give this entire world a rest. It’s start for change …

Gauthier: Yes! CCHHAANNGGEE!

LBC. : What do you think about classification, different music genres? Does it mean something to you?

Harry: Personally, I hate music classification. It’s pointless.

LBC. : Nowadays, do you think it’s the ability to mix diverse types of music which is necessary to create something original? For example, you are most of the time related to post punk…

Harry: We are called at the moment ‘new goth’.

LBC. : Is it representative of your work?

Harry: No. We don’t like that. We hate it and we mean it.

Tobias: As a band we make songs, influenced by post-punk, by a little bit of disco, influenced by 80’s post punk classics and stuff like that. But to say that, basically we make pop music.

LBC. : In the general sense of the term then?

Tobias: Yes, we make pop music and so to call it ‘new grave’, ‘new goth’, ‘neo goth’, doesn’t mean anything.

Harry: It’s simply annoying. Post punk ok that’s right because post punk bands start after punk and were related to something that exists before. But ‘new grave’ sounds absolutely ridiculous. Then, post punk bands tried to make something different and original after punk and at the same time they stayed related to the punk. It’s not a style which goes like rarararararraraa (noisy sound) for two minutes!

Gauthier: It seems that people always need to put a name. But it goes less and less relevant. People today make completely different kinds of music and that’s the truth.

LBC. : It’s simply because to put names on things is a form of safety…

Harry: (in a really convincing voice) Yes. And anyway, there is no scene anymore. There was the punk scene, all the bands were together, they were all in the same thing but now there is NO scene. That’s the thing: we are making and pretending there is a scene when there is NOT. When there was the punk and post punk scene, there was a kind of unity and a fight to go with it. But now, it’s not really necessary.

(Blank then laughs, the others teasing Harry about his little committed speech, ‘Whoa, Man you are on fire!’)

LBC. : Harry you are an active member of the electro collective Snap Crackle and Pop. Is this parallel project helping to give you a different take on your music?

Harry: I’ve always been into this kind of music. I always love post punk music as well. It’s just going completely different, separated really. And I’m just lucky that they ask me to play in this band.

Tobias: (ironically) No, to get back to the question, there is no longer a fight between post-punk and disco…

Harry: Yes or between post punk and electro…

Gauthier: Anyway, we could not really take it into account, the divide between the two genres; even if at the time there was a divide. We are not part of it and we were never part of it. All we can do and all we want to do is to take whatever we want and MAKE whatever we want

Tobias: Yes; to be good and …

LBC. : Efficient! That’s the word of the interview!

(All approve and laugh)

Tobias: Yes that is: really efficient! And, basically try to re-live a moment that is now gone is impossible. We have to take from that moment, keep the influences and turn them into something …better? Maybe not better, just have fun with it!

LBC. : And personal? Appropriate or re-appropriate in a way and add to it your own elements?

Tobias: YES.

LBC. : In the same vein, you played with Kap Bambino (new rave, death metal and insane ‘club’ band from Bordeaux-France). Is that part of this movement of experimentation?

Harry: That’s the thing about the classification: it’s just great to mix genres. We played with Kap Bambino and it was great. We like them.

Gauthier: Yes, we are not actually a band who wants to stick to a same kind of music; and this just doesn’t exist. The most important is to play with GOOD bands.

Harry: At gigs with different kind of bands, even the crowd could really appreciate this mix of genres.

LBC. : For some people it could stay quite irrelevant though…

Harry: Yeah, I could understand why people could think that but if you are just fond of music…You are into music, you enjoy many kinds of music, and differences over all.

LBC : A remix with them in project?

Tobias: No, it is just we played a gig with them…

Harry: … for a Snap Crackle and Pop party, about six months ago. And to get back to the idea of remix, a remix between electro and rock, it is not so much original. Everyone does that. Look at Crystal Castles remixing every new band for example.

LBC. : But I mean, in another way, with a band like Micron 63 who puts an electro remix of ‘Anatomy of No Escape’ on their webpage…

Harry: Yeah a really good band.

Tobias: Yes, we are going to make remix as well. I mean, why not? Record some songs and remix them, it’s a part of work for music’s sake. Play different kind of music and mix whatever you like. And it is still good to hear what others have to offer. We are and must be opened to everything.

LBC. : Is there a place for a form of “commitment” (political or cultural) in your music? For example, when you are singing ‘pass me that lovely gun’ is it purposed?

Tobias: It’s not that clear but I have to figure it out. It’s a good question. I do the lyrics in the band and I just write what comes to mind. So maybe one day, I get really political and get really angry about something but right now, I’m not so much a pacifist. I’m not a pacifist but I don’t really care about what is about politics. It’s more about what I see in real life and the way I exaggerate it.

Gauthier: Yes, it’s more personal things. I mean lyrically it is much more about senses, close events, more than on a worldwide scale.

LBC. : In an interview for PIX magazine, Gauthier you say that you are a band which sounds ‘passé’.

Gauthier: What? Really?

(Laughs)

Gauthier: I hardly remember I said that.

LBC. : But do you think that could be a good definition of your work?

Gauthier: That we sound passé? NO!

LBC. : Do you consider that you belong to a future generation then?

Gauthier: Yeah FUCK IT! We are going to make new songs and new pop. And TO CREATE something.

Tobias: Anyway, whatever could have been said for this interview, it was when we first started and we didn’t really know what we were doing (laughs). We met the managers like two days before. We did have a band and told them what we did andddd (laughs) yes, we had to sit around this huge table. And they were like ‘Sirs, are we going to see you play live? –We never practice once in our life. (Laughs) We were like HEY! We are just going to play and see what will happen! But then, the more you learn about it, the more you figure it out. It’s like being in school or having a work you never work on before.

LBC. : Speaking of school, that’s what I meant by labour-practice and school timetable…?

Tobias: No no, we are going to take it easy. Be gentle about it and get the EP out quickly…Well, what we were saying?

Gauthier: That we don’t sound passé.

Tobias: Yes, We’re not passé, (laughs) we’re just kind of confused…or…well back???

Gauthier: Well back? No I won’t ever say that!

LBC. : What would be your idea of Music in 100 years?

Tobias: Honest to god, I don’t want to imagine what would be the Music in thousand years. I think it would be something disgusting

Gauthier: Or maybe something fucking great…

Tobias: We were watching these things on MTV2 yesterday, the Myspace charts. And well, ok God bless Myspace and all, but I was watching it, and it was like my heart was breaking every time I saw a different band. That is not to say we are the best band in the world and all the others are terrible…I don’t really watch much TV but when I saw that, these bands are going to be really big but no one ever heard of them, I thought to myself if it is going this way, we are fucked!

Harry: One thing about that is that it’s always been that way. On MTV2 it’s not like there are several shit bands, there is always shit music on it.

Gauthier: That’s MTV anyway…

LBC. : Shit music like what, Rihanna?

(laughs)

Harry: No. I love Rihanna!!. It’s more Youtube shit and so on.

Tobias: To give you an answer succinct and fine, what is going to happen in thousand years is that music would be totally the same. There is going to be the stuff, people don’t really care about but which is amazing, there is going to be the middle ground with the kind of people give it no way in, there will still be the pop machine which sucks you in and you buy it. It’s going to stay exactly the same. But everyone would be not robots but people with less real cause.

LBC. : That’s why I asked you about robotic. The disappearance of real exchange with the public where you are on stage. I now remember there was The Beatles live concert in Bercy (I am not sure) with projections of them…

Harry: Screen projections?

Tobias: Holograms?

LBC. : Yes.

Gauthier: I didn’t know about that…really?

Tobias: Ok in a thousand years, there will be O children came from the grave, from the crypt, playing all the best new grave hits and explain the utter meaning of new grave!

(Laughs)

LBC. : Would you like to respond to a question which I have not asked? Maybe a word on Grace Jones, Tobias?

Tobias: You mean what do I think of Grace Jones?

LBC : (…)

Tobias: Oh well! Because I’m a giant Grace Jones…?

LBC. : (…)

(Laughs)

Harry and Gauthier: It’s just lay, really lay…

Tobias: If I ever meet Grace Jones, I will tell her about and then, see what she says and get back to you on it. But right now, nothing…

LBC. : Thank you very much for have answering all the questions.

All: Thank YOU.

Epilogue

Efficient and definitely not ‘passé’ O Children has more than one trick up their sleeve. We look forward to the release of the ‘EP’ which will be in a few months now. Meanwhile, you can still go to the Myspace’s page; they are also giving some gigs in London this month.
Berthe Vroom

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