Bordeaux based emotional hardcore band PAST is proud to present the band’s new record called “Cliffhanger”, a new quality product of Amaury Sauvé’s “The Apiary” studio and Nick Zampiello’s New Alliance East! Co-presented by Voice of the Unheard, Unlock Yourself Records, Dingleberry Records and Desertion records as the official vinyl distributors, “Cliffhanger” merges all the passion and power of modern, emotional post hardcore with more gentle and reflective post rockish moods that will simply stun you. PAST sound almost poetic on this record captures the band’s understanding of diverse dynamics needed to build an extraordinary piece of art. “Cliffhanger” serves its purpose and whets the appetite for what’s next to come from this promising young band. Listen to the full record below and scroll down to read my interview with PAST!
Hey guys! Thanks a lot for catching up with IDIOTEQ. How are you?
Manuel, Joris & Mat : Thank you for the interview ! Such a great opportunity to introduce our band. We’re really fine and happy to answer to our first polish interview !
Let’s have a quick introduction to the band. How and when did the members of PAST originally meet and what other projects have you been in?
Manuel, Joris & Mat : We are a three piece band called PAST from Bordeaux (France). We seriously started touring and recording stuff since 2013, released a demo, an EP and now we’re putting out our first album on 4 DIY europeans labels (Voice of the unheard, Désertion Records, Unlock Youself Records, Dingleberry Records).
Who came up with the name?
Manuel : I don’t remember exactly, it’s a difficult question ahah…It’s from the first song we wrote together, Weight of Past (extract from our demo) we were in a hurry to find a name to play our first show ahah…we liked the different meanings of the word, the nostalgia of the passing time, looking backwards to move on despite difficulties. I think we always wanted to put into words this kind of feelings through music and other artistic mediums.
Mat : After a much too long scavenging time to choose the name, we finally agreed that we’ll keep Past as nothing better was coming. Since, we found a meaning in this choice through our texts and what Manu just said.
Ok, so here we are, streaming your newest pearl, the ‘Cliffhanger’. How are you proud of this record?
Manuel: We’re very stocked to achieve, after 2 years and a half of hard working, our first album. “Cliffhanger” reflects what happened in our lives during these years and it’s strange to hold in our hands a concentrate of our feelings and efforts…we can now say : “Yes we did it !”
Mat : More than being proud of being able to hold the vinyl recorded by Amaury Sauvé, it’s a new turn for our music since we really imagine ourselves in those new songs.
How does your newest sound compare to the records from 2013? How do you view your progression and evolution as musicians and composers?
Manuel : “Cliffhanger” looks more like Past. The more we played, the more we achieved to roll away from our influences, while listening never fall down you could easily tell which bands we listened, today with Cliffhanger we feel like our songs are more personal and harder to stick on a particular type.
With this new record, we made bigger personal choices during the writing, the studio and every other aspects to give a personality to the band. But we already have new ideas for songs and started to write new stuff…
Mat : As Manu said, we made bigger choices on the sound, to make it more personal, for example, the bass and the guitar are panned Left and Right which is a less common way than the bass centered and the guitars panned.
This choice was made to emphasize the fact that we are just three musicians, we didn’t want to put too many guitars/other and sound like a bigger band than we are. By the way, we propose the closest experiences on both live performance and home listening, so hopefully there is no disapointment. Like when you go back home to listen the CD you just took at the show, just to find out you don’t even recognize the band you were with a few hours ago. It’s a kind of simplicity and sincerity that we really care with Past while making this choices.
Could you talk more about the meaning behind the record, its title and separate songs’ titles? What does the water in the front cover art represent?
Manuel : It’s a huge question, I mean the album is about accepting yourself in both sad and happy events (break ups, deaths,…), it’s not really an opinion on the world we live in but more like an introspection and a personal regard on the human being we are…
Mat: As I clearly don’t see myself as a model, or the guy with “the idea”, I won’t write something about subjetcs I just partially know. I really dislike messing with politics without knowing all the datas before speaking, and as looking the news make me feel depressed I prefer to speak about something I know for sure ; “me”. This kind of introspection fatally has external implications, but I tend to focus my “work” on “me” and the “close others people”, those making me feeling good or bad, and why.
Spring: It’s a new birth, to begin to have a feedback on what happened to us and try to get issues to have better reactions in the future, to take the time to think, to avoid over-reactions…
Once Again : This song is about this constant feeling of trying something and, finding every time the same bad result…This is not a renunciation but it’s a pessimistic opinion and a rage against yourself for hoping for something impossible.
Cliffhanger : It’s about following a straight line, where everything seems simple and clear. But sometimes this line shatters, and as you are laying on the ground, you realize all the signs you missed that showed it was not necessarily the good “line”. The better to do in this case is to pick up the pieces, and to find an order where they make enough sense to keep going forward.
Drawn by feet : The troubles to live in a world where you can’t find your place. It talk about the contradiction between what is important for you and what the society asks from you, some choices you have to do and maybe a pessimist vision of the futur…
Rumble : It’s about the never endings thoughts winding in most of everybody’s head. The same questions staying without answers keeping coming back and forth still you can’t find the sleep. It’s about searching a short relief between these winds of doubts and fears by standing straight, head first and ready to ram in anything to find the peace.
Deserter : It’s a lot about what I said about my fear of taking part to politics and society. I don’t see myself as a well-informed, conscious, and objective enough person to take part to those debates, and regarding the depressing climates which emanates from the news. So this song is about the fact I’m just chasing happiness for me and my close friends and family, that my well-being comes from the microcosm I built for myself. Knowing there’s more difficulties outside is scaring me more than willing me to take part to those fights.
Doormat : The more time passes, the more kindness is seen as a weakness. I can’t stand being called “weak” when I’m just trying to be nice, or to make things easier for everybody. Most of the time, people won’t even look at you while stomping your face. Everything is about domination or submission, no kind acts and no bad reactions. If you choose to be nice, you choose to be dominated and I don’t want these words to be put together.
The Priest : It’s a song about disillusions, when someone preaches something you trust but that couldn’t be possible. A song a little bit similar with Once Again because it depicts a constant feeling of arrestment when you try again and again something that was already wrong and where you already need to feed new hopes. Finally at the end of this process, you live the same feeling of defeat, and you’re angry against yourself for being naive again. I think, it’s always difficult to have new hopes when you already live same bad situations and say at yourself : “Okay, don’t close the doors, live your life, this time, maybe it will be different !”
Disillusioned Child : This song is the continuity of The Priest, maybe the text is more angry ahah !
Troth : In this song, I’m trying to help myself to be a better person. Don’t have apace reactions, accepting to take the time to thinking, putting senses on what I do. This text is an advice to myself to accept both good and bad sides.
Could you name one of your appreciated inspirations that may have acted as the catalyst for this record?
Manuel : It’s a difficult question because when writing an album, we don’t realize what are our specific inspirations for a song or an album…We all agree to say we like Birds in Row, State Faults, As We Draw, Cult of Luna and we can find similarities in what we play. When we started the band, we discovered As We Draw and Birds in Row and we were really impressed to see such young people doing amazing music in awesome studio, touring and live in the same country than us. I think they are already the best inspiration, not only for our music but because they showed us that it is possible.
In the same time, since the beginning of PAST, Interpol has been a good inspiration for us, but it’s harder to feel it in our music !
What promoters are you working with this time and how did you team up? Also, what do you think the role of independent record labels is nowadays?
Manuel : For “Cliffhanger”, we are working with 4 DIY labels from Europe. There are two French labels (Yannick from Voice of the unheard and Clément and Julie from Désertion Records), a Russian one (Andrey from Unlock Yourself Records) and a German one (Tim from Dingleberry Records). The principal for us is Yannick from VOTU because he gave us a huge help with this record. He has been a close friend for a while and he is doing an amazing job with his label. I think punk hardcore milieu was built and cemented by a lot of values from DIY movement, but also with a willing to help each other to share the same feeling and vision of music. Labels, booking promoters, simply guys showing up at gigs are parts of this world where everyone is important…
On a bigger picture, in our opinion labels give their help to release and press albums and put up the vinyls in different places, distro, specific music stores, webzines…They are not here to do everything for us, and I think there isn’t a specific way of co-working with labels. With PAST we continue to book our shows, to pay our studio sessions,…It’s important for us to do the most we can about our band, by ourselves.
Do you feel like you’re very involved in the local music scene, live shows, etc.? Please tell us a bit about your local independent music scene, how it works, how it develops and what are its specifics.
Manuel : So far, we have a lot of friends around our city (Bordeaux, Toulouse, Tarbes, Clermont-Ferrand,…) who play in bands, book shows, work on labels and fanzines. We have the chance to work together to keep living the music that we like. I also try to book shows for friends in Bordeaux and give my help when I have time, with Yannick, Jean-Charles and Fabien to organize events with great bands. These people are some good promoters in Bordeaux (VOTU, Mission Dolores, Pilgrim Shows, the girls from Rock Agreement) and they are doing an amazing job, you may have heard something about the Metronome Fest? Two years from now, it was difficult to find people who want to book shows and we had the feeling that different actors in our local scene were tired of trying to keep people involved. Bordeaux is a difficult place to book shows because it is just close to Spain. Not a lot of hardcore bands want to play in the south west of France because they can’t easily go to other countries. And I think people aren’t used to see a lot of interesting foreign “semi-pro” bands, so they don’t attend shows.
But now, new people are doing their best to change this situation. We can see a regain of interest behind this, like a new lung for the punk hardcore music in Bordeaux. Keep an eye on what is happening in our town, there are good things upcoming !
You’re hitting the road for your first massive trek this Spring. Are you excited? Concerned? What experience in touring have you had and how does it feel to finally take PAST on tour?
Manuel : Yes it’s awesome because it’s the first euro tour booked on our own ! 11 days, 11 shows in 4 countries with our friends from MEÜTE. It’s gonna be amazing ! We got the chance to hit the road the last year with our friends from BIRDS IN ROW and AS WE DRAW in Germany and France during 8 days. Such a great opportunity to learn and play with more experienced bands that we love.
We also toured in France with Jeff (A great folk project with Hugo, the guy on the Never Fall Down artwork), and LES 2 MINUTES DE LA HAINE. With these experiences, we feel ready to play everywhere and I hope we are at beginning of our story.
Photo by Rauschverteilung Fotografie.
Ok guys, so what else? What other projects are you involved in and what can we expect from PAST later this year?
Mat: A friend asked us separately which band we’d like to cover, we all answered “Interpol”. This simple question gave us the idea to make a personal cover of one of their songs, working on something already existing and making it a little more ours, it could be very interesting for us.
More personally I just formed a new Hardcore/Metal/Screamo band called MEÜTE with friends of mine, we have a demo (self recorded and mixed) released and we are preparing the release of the recorded EP before the April tour that we will share with Past.
I’m also trying to increase my knowledge and expertise on recording bands with friends like CIRCLES (Bdx), SOLITONE (Bdx), JEFF (Bdx) in order to be able to take a bigger part during these steps for both PAST & MEÜTE (which its bigger part is already DIY).
Manuel : With Joris and Jerome (from YEAR OF NO LIGHT) we just formed a new rock/shoegaze band. We have currently 3 songs being mixed with Cyrille Gachet and Mathieu. In my studies I’m also writing an academic essay about DIY dimension in punk music, an opportunity to join both studies and music in my actual life.
Cool, thanks a lot for the chat! Feel free to close it up with whatever you feel we skipped and take care. Cheers from Warsaw!
Questions were really interesting, thank you to give us the opportunity to speak about our band. And listen the bands from Voice of the Unheard ! Cheers !