Raf , the guitarist of the French pioneer, politically conscious punk rock / hardcore band ATTENTAT SONORE, has legitimized himself as a prolific musician and DIY scene supporter who has stayed true to the values he held before punk rock became a worldwide phenomenon. Today, we’re paying homage to the work of a band active for more that 30 years now, with a special mini-interview with Raf, as well as full track by track breakdown of their latest full length “Turbulence”, released in late October 30th via Guerilla Vinyl, MALOKA, Mass Productions, Keponteam, and Zone Onze Records.
Before we sat down with Raf to ask him a couple of questions, he briefly introduced the band:
We have released several albums, EPs and Split 7″ with Scraps (French HC Punk pioneers), M.D.C. (USA), D.O.A. (Canada).
We played many gigs here in France and Europe in alternative places, clubs or squats. We shared stage with bands like Youth Brigade, Negative Approach, G.B.H., D.O.A., M.D.C., UK Subs, Conflict, Flux Of Pink Indians, Subhumans, Varukers, Raw Power, Nabat, Ratos De Porao, Agrotoxico, Rawside… and of course french bands from all eras of the Punk scene : Métal Urbain, Oberkampf, Scraps, Kochise, Heyoka, Burning Heads, Youth Avoiders, Grabuge, Frustration and many more.
The band never ceased to exist and despite some different line-ups (current one has same members since 2010); always released songs either on records of its own or compilations. Band members have been and still are involved in the local DIY scene by organizing gigs, managing a label : Guerilla Vinyl, doing weekly radio shows, creating and volunteering in a DIY record store called Undersounds (since 2007).
We feel like punk is more than music, and we want to live it, not live FROM it.
Please tell us about your lineup, how has it changed over the years and what links you back to the band’s early days in the late 80s.
At the beginning, we were only 2 youngsters aged 16, in 1987 : Robin Urbain and I, Raf. Both playing guitar and trying to sing over a drum machine, with such cheap equipment than today’s kids would laugh. In april, then in august of 1988, we recorded 2 split demo tapes with a band from Béziers, France, called Outrage / Rébellion. Only two of the songs were recorded in a proper studio, by Loulou Béril, a very helpful and patient guy, I can assure you. May he rest in peace. These 2 cheaper-than-cheap tapes were sent around, but that’s after I relocated to Limoges that real history started, when a 3rd demo tape named “War & Peace”, with the famous pic from “A Clockwork Orange”, was released. I did most of the writing and playing except one of the songs, an instrumental track on which Robin Urbain and I did the guitars and bass. More than 500 of this demo have been sold over the world.
There’s been a couple of line-ups indeed, still with the drum machine basically Tintin & Marie (vocals) Loulou (bass) and me on guitar / vox; until we decided to have a real drummer in 1998, also when Ray started to sing. First gig with him was with Fermin Muguruza (Kortatu / Negu Gorriak). We had already released our 1st 7”, split with French HC pioneers Scraps (their singer had also joined Nations On Fire). We had more line-up changes, but not that many overall, considering we have a 30 years “career”. Other big changes were the addition of Mumu (female vocals for 7 years, until 2013), Ray’s departure (singer 1998-2009), arrival of Tolbi on lead vocals. Current line-up plays since 2010 : Tolbi (vox), Thomas (bass – arrived a little later), Vince (drums), and me on guitar / backing vocals as usual.
It’s rather simple, what links me to the band’s early days : things changed, better or worse, but I still want more than what they are offering us, I’m still mad at the world and willing to change it ! Also, we are a kind of family, with ex-members participating as guests vocalists on our latest album, and more of a team than a band, including longtime supporters and friends : Lem, our artist, designing most of the visuals since 2006, our label mates from Maloka, Mass Productions, Zone Onze, Abracadaboum, and lately Keponteam.
Now that “Turbulences” is out, what are your plans? How active are you planning on being in late 2019 and beyond? Also, what shows do you have planned for the coming months?
Actually we are working on new songs, since we played the Turbulences set-list for a while now ! A little slow in the writing/composing, maybe ? Who cares. We decided to focus on this for a couple months, we’ll take the road again spring 2020, probably, maybe before if we have opportunities to do so. We’re willing to plan a short tour in Basque Country, as we never played there yet. We played in Europe and we’d like to play more, anywhere, but long distances are often a problem (we had to decline several offers for one-shot gigs in Germany or else…), we’d like to have short tours but more often.
Apart from the band, what other scene activities are you involved in? Please drop us some more details about the label work and other DIY stuff you’ve been creating and developing over the years.
From the beginning, beside the band, I used to publish a fanzine called Guérilla Urbaine, from 1988 to early 2000’s (randomly, and at the end it was not that often !!). I could interview many of the bands I loved, through mail, then “live”, it was really interesting and important to me as a young person (back then !). People like Scraps, Verdun, OTH, Oberkampf (from the French scene) but also Henry Rollins, Nations On Fire, Oi Polloi, CMX, Bonehouse, Riot/clone, Sado Nation, Swellbellys, Violent Society… Bands from the hardcore scene : 7Seconds, Agnostic Front, D.O.A., Some of them were done “at home”, as we were lucky to have incredible gigs here in Limoges circa 1992-4: M.D.C., Sick Of It All, Murphy’s Law, Madball, D.R.I., the Accüsed, Biohazard etc.
From the zine, came out a cassette label, Guerilla Front Tapes, then Guerilla Vinyl. At first it was for our own records, but we finally helped release bands like the Adolescents, Agent Attitude, the Capaces, Go !, No Mistake, Back Off, Sick Times, Monde de Merde, the Ashtones, No White Rag, Pavasse, Kre Ke Ke Kex Koax Koax, also archives from the French punk scene from the 80’s : Wunderbach, Kromozom 4 and Verdun. Of course, Attentat Sonore records, our albums, 7”, 10”, split 7” with M.D.C. and D.O.A. A lot of this is collaborations with other labels, but all in all, it’s about 50 records released, almost vinyl.
When I arrived in Limoges, I started with a radio show called “Panik !” with a couple of friends, in 1989. It existed for 12 years, then we moved to another radio station, Beaub FM, which is really in the spirit of independent radios and very active in the local scene. I still am part of the volunteer crew there and have a weekly show dedicated to Punk, Hardcore, Garage etc. named “Emergency”.
We were a bit frustrated not to be able to see our fave bands here, in 1994, despite a good amount of cool shows, the DIY scene was not really represented ; so we created “Do It Yourself”, a collective which organizes shows, and it still lives.
In 2007, people from and around the band joined other individuals and DIY labels to open a volunteer run record store in Limoges called Undersounds. It still exists and I am still involved. It’s a lot of work, but it’s so important !
Well I probably forgotten about other activities and involvements… For example we managed a practice place for bands for a couple of years. Also, we’re very conscious about political and social problems and we do our share when we have the possibility. Thing is we’re all very active in this but some also have family and child.
We just like the idea of Do It Yourself. When things are wrong, stop complaining and start your own ! Punk and Hardcore always mean that to us. No one is superior. No gods from the scene, only people, sisterhood/brotherhood. We don’t give a shit about trends and stuff, actions are better.
Thanks a lot for your time !
Track by track commentary:
1. Back to BCN
We decided to start with this full throttle song dedicated to our dear friends in Barcelona, where we had played a great fest called “La Bella Mafia” in 2008, at a time we had 2 women in the line-up. This is a kind of hyphen between past and present time, and you can hear the two girls rioting on backing vocals (also present on a couple of other songs, with other members from different eras of the band).
It is important to us to get on without forgetting our roots, past and members. We’re a family. Punk is our family.
2. His Name Is Joe
Second song was chosen for its driving force and also its difference. This one has more of a speedy Punk’n’Roll orientation, cause we obviously hate to keep our music into a one way street. Lyric wise, it was important to me (Raf), guitarist and songwriter on most songs, for it’s a tribute to Ken Loach’s work, great movies and social documentaries (seeing “Land and Freedom” in 1995 was quite a shock). This one is about “My Name Is Joe”, a less known movie but also great. The lyrics are about this story, about situation in the U.K., but can also apply to any society in this rotten world, it seems.
3. Chasseurs de Vieux
This song comes is totally inspired by a great short story written by Italian novelist Dino Buzzati in 1966’s “Cacciatori di vecchi” from an equally exciting collection, Il Colombre. It’s a beautiful and thrilling story, with a pinch of fantastic added, but also a metaphore for blind ambition and (not so) eternal youth. It leads you to think about these topics, and hopefully the song will raise some interest and bring a couple more readers to the great Buzzati.
4. Fuel On Fire
Kind of prophetic, in some way, this one was about police brutality and how it can be used as a tool for power / authority. In 2018 and 2019, France has seen an incredible and disgusting wave of violence, coming from the police forces, during demonstrations against new president’s policy (Macron).Unfortunately, it’s becoming more and more “normal”, less shocking. And worse – it seems to be the same in many countries, from Catalunya to Chile…”Protect and Serve” ? Only the rich, then.
5. Rust On Your Life
This one’s a call to action, we must stop to everything fall apart in our societies, and it will be possible when each individual will realize the power (s)he has in her/his hands. Let’s break these chains we’re into, and work together for change.
6. Déjà Mort
Tolbi, our singer, wrote this one in french, It’s directed towards people who are always talking shit while they’re doing nothing positive. It’s always easier to destroy then build. These people are “already dead”, like their mouth is.
7. Riot in Z-Town
Some time ago, Mark Zuckerberg, head of Facebook, had plans to create a town for his/her employees, like paternalists bosses used to do in the 19th Century. That kind of bosses who think they own their workers, as they own the world. It’s also about the society of egos, fake news for fake people, all about image, all style no substance, like Youth Brigade used to sing !
8. Buy Me A Drink
For this one, we used a text written by Ray, our former singer, back in 2008 I guess.
It’s still relevant, as it’s about alcohol consumption, social links, and how easy it can be a trap. Ray sings with Tolbi on this one.
9. Faster Than The F-Word
Sometimes words are rather like swords, and hurt people. Bad relationships can generate a lot of those verbal aggressions and betrayals even worse.
10. Obsolescence Programmée
Our world has become crazy, generating billions of useless products each day, we cannot even manage to recycle properly. Children used to build it, underpaid workers, resources pillaged… Products you can’t repair, planned obsolescence… Meaningless consumption instead of basic human rights and a decent living… When this will stop ?
11. No Life 2.0
This one has some parts I’ve written a while ago, back when video games were still primitive compared to today’s. Now it’s everywhere, using advanced technologies, virtuality… fascinating, indeed, but also a bit dangerous, when someone is confused, and think people have several lives… Bang ! Bang ! Bang ! You’re dead… You’re dead, kid, and it’s not a game…
This is an homage to the early 80’s Hardcore scene, a cover of SS Decontrol from Boston. Simple lyrics but always true : we gotta stick together, like glue, like crew !
Get in touch with the band via [email protected] or regular mail via “Do It Yourself” / B.P. 135 / 87004 LIMOGES cedex 1 / France