Interviews

SED NON SATIATA interview

On January 5th, 2012 we had an undoubtedly pleasure to talk to one of the greatest screamo / post-hardcore / post-rock bands in the world. Ladies and gentlemen, here’s our beloved SED NON SATIATA from France.

Press play and go for it.

Thank you so much for taking this interview. Please, introduce yourself and your band for all of our readers who may not know you.

Charles (vocals):

Hi Karol, thank you for your interest in our band. We are all French guys in our thirties, raised in the south west of France and have been playing music since we were teenager. I recently moved to Chicago for a job at UIC. I really love this city and the people here. I have met a lot of lovely people and it looks like it is a paradise for indie musicians.
 About the band now. SED NON SATIATA was created in late 2003 when Arnaud (drum), Lionel (bass), Regis (voice), Arnaud (guitar) and I (guitar) started playing together in Toulouse (France). At that time we were rehearsing only once a week or so, and we didn’t really know where we were heading. Even if we listened to the same stuff, we had different influences and it was not always easy to make something coherent. We recorded a few songs and one of them was released on a split with our friends AGHAST. A few months later we all moved to a house in a suburb of Toulouse where it was more convenient to rehearse. After a few months, Regis decided to leave both the band and the house, and instead of looking for a new singer we decided that Arnaud (Guitar) and I could try to do the vocals. This choice considerably changed the way we composed our music. Song structures became simpler, songs naturally became more instrumental, and as we spent much more time playing together we found a kind of alchemy, and in my opinion we started to produce a more personal music.

How are you guys doing these days? We haven’t heard from you for quite a long time. What have you been doing all this time? Is it still safe to say that you are a band based in Toulouse, France?

Arnaud (guitar):

We’re doing well, thank you. Yes we have been out of the picture for a couple of years that’s true… In fact, I think we needed some time after our last show in 2007 to see how things were going. Our bass player left Toulouse for Avignon, Arnaud (drums) for Paris and Charles moved to Montreal a few months later. At this time we didn’t want to talk about a potential “split” but we were not able to carry on playing together so it was difficult–that’s why our website was frozen during that time. We still kept in contact over these past years, speaking about the band, our personal situations… finally recording a new album in 2009. And now…

Charles:

Actually, only one of us (Arnaud/guitar) still lives in Toulouse. At the beginning of 2010, after the recording of our last LP, I moved to Montreal for work. At that time, Arnaud (drum) already lived in Paris and Lionel (bass guitar) in the countryside near Avignon. So, to answer your question, it is definitively not safe to say that we are based in Toulouse! However, we all met and started the band in Toulouse. And our families live there or in the area. So we meet up and rehearse there most of the time. The geographic separation and our respective jobs partly explain why we haven’t played any shows in the 4 last years. The fact that I now live in Chicago and that our label (Protagonist records) is based in the US gave us the opportunity to plan a tour in the US this summer. We’ll share 15 shows with Big Kids on the east coast and in the mid-west probably between August 3rd and 18th. We are very excited. Back to Chicago after the tour, we’ll record our next album at Electrical Audio. I visited the studio a couple of weeks ago and it’s amazing. We are also very excited about the idea of recording in this mythic studio.

Arnaud (guitar):

It’s quite funny to think about how it all started, when we were rehearsing in a small studio trying somehow to put a tune together. At that time we thought we might play in front of our friends someday and maybe a few other people… and to see what we’ve achieved today after only a couple of years. Organizing our US Tour and recording at Electrical Audio, which to us is one of the most legendary recording studios. Actually it could feel like the absolute achievement for any band, but what is ironic in this story is that with SNS nothing was ever planned strategically, we always went with the flow and the opportunities we were given. The example of this tour and recording in the US is the most representative: as Charles is living in Chicago we decided to treat ourselves with a trip there during our holidays in order to do some music and record our next tunes with him there. That’s when Charles met Gregoire who works at Electrical audio and came up with the idea to record there. Then we thought that being all together in the same place would be a great opportunity to do a few gigs if we could, so we wrote to Brendan et Bill from Protagonist music who released our last record. They kindly offered to help us out and put together a whole tour. We’re probably pretty lucky, but it’s how it’s always worked out. No crazy plans, just embracing the chances that came up to us. What I mean is that it would have been just as fulfilling to play together in a broken down countryside house in the middle of August! We’re obviously really pleased to be doing this this summer, it’s brilliant.

Do you have any side projects going on in the meantime?

Charles:

I record many things with the idea of using them in the future but I don’t have any proper projects except SNS. But I would say that SNS has become a side project for the others… What do you think guys?

Arnaud (drums):

I’m currently playing in a kind of melodic hardcore punk band in Paris called ABJECT OBJECT. We are often compared to ARTICLES OF FAITH and ZERO BOYS. We’ll release a LP in the next few months. You can listen to our songs here. And I’m wasting a lot of time trying to write bad electronic songs on a few analog synths!

Arnaud (guitar):

Absolutely. Generally, I’m no good at not having side projects… I’ve always got a lot of things going on, I make a lot of videos, I take pictures and I carry on playing music. I’ve built up a new band with Louis Benoît (DAITRO, BATON ROUGE) and Simon (PLEBEIAN GRANDSTAND, MONTREAL ON FIRE) called ANCRE.It’s a math rock influenced instrumental trio. We recorded our first EP last December and carried on with a small 10 day tour in France and Spain: we’re currently putting together our next record, but as always we’re all over the place. Louis Benoît lives in Lyon, so it’s a bit of a complicated set up and things are going slowly, but we’re in no hurry. It will all fall into place in time… serenely. The three of us have another instrumental project (guitars & piano) called BUCEPHALE, it’s really new and we’re still in the process of figuring out our proper musical identity.

Your last album, the self-titled 12’’ was released by Echo Canyon, Adagio830 and Protagonist Music. We also know that this year will bring its re-issue. When can we expect it? Are you planning to stick to the same distribution with the new album? Have you been thinking about signing to a specific label?

Arnaud (drums):

The re-issue is already out on a deep blue vinyl with a different artwork on Echo Canyon Records, Protagonist Music in the US and Adagio830. For the distribution, we are totally out of business! So the labels are doing it. And they do a great job. It’s nice to know that our records are available everywhere in Europe, in the US or Japan. It’s only small press, but we don’t need more. We’ve never planned to sign with any other label. Everything has been done with friends since the beginning of the band, and there is no reason to change now. We are a small band composed of friends, nothing more! I think that being on a bigger label is a process that bands decide themselves. Things rarely happen by chance. We have never done anything to become bigger. We only announce our new records on our website. No Facebook promotion, no tweet, no video clips on Youtube.

Charles:

Actually we do have video and live clips on youtube but we don’t have anything to do with these videos. People just made them and put them on youtube without asking us anything. I think in particular about the clip of Hypocrisie des sentiments made by someone from Japan. It is a kind of stop motion clip. It is quite cool. The guy sent us an email when he posted it on the web. We were very surprised… There is also a clip for Des masques. The guy put our music on scenes of Ascenseur pour l’échafaud, a black and white movie with Jeanne Moreau. The images are beautiful.

Arnaud (guitar):

In fact we also have a Facebook page (Arnaud, where were you!?) but it’s not the band who created it… it’s something we really don’t understand. Why do people set up Facebook promotion pages or a Myspace for a band, without even asking them? If they haven’t made one themselves it might be on ethical ground. I think that it’s really intrusive and completely out of order. It would be like buying a demo from a DIY band during a concert and deciding to send it to the National musical press in their name so they’d get mentioned. Just because you the “consumer”, think it would be cool to help out the band! It’s a really awkward move. We’ve only recently sorted out the Facebook issue. The guy who’s set it up got in touch with me to explain his motivations, apologized and handed back the administration of the page. To be in control of something you didn’t want in the first place is a bit disconcerting, but at the end of the day it’s out there now and we can get a hold of what’s going on in it. It’s fine like this.

Musically, you’ve been painting beautiful landscapes, inspired by both fast/chaotic, as well as instrumental and post-rock’ish moods. What direction will you be taking with the next release?

Charles:

I think the new songs are in the same vein as those we have composed in the past. It is still a mix of post-rock, indie and punk-rock. Nevertheless, I have the feeling that this time they are simpler, more straightforward. They are also shorter with the exception of ambient pieces that will be sprinkled throughout the album. This is mainly because of the distance and the smaller amount of time we spend together in the same rehearsal room. I think the main difference with this album is the arrival of a third guitar player. Another Arnaud! I am surrounded by Arnauds!

Arnaud (drums):

Yes, I think the new songs are actually simpler but the addition of two new members will change a lot of things. We don’t plan to sound in any special way. We’re just working on songs and trying to do our best.

Charles:

That’s true, we don’t really think about the way we must sound. We plan nothing. We don’t say ‘I want the new songs to be darker, shorter, louder or something’. We just compose and play music together, and our music is the result of the combination of 4 musicians with their own influences.

Arnaud (guitar):

In fact they love my metal riffs so it will be definitely metal… [laughs] of course i’m kidding… Definitely, I think that we build up the tunes together as we go along. We know each other quite well, we potentially know what everyone of us will do on a given melody or a drums dynamic, and in my opinion this is what makes a good tune, the ability of one another to put his print on a tune by always leaving enough space for the other members to express themselves. For example, when Charles sends me riffs, in most of cases I can immediately figure out if we can make something out of it or not, I can quickly get a full picture of what he wants, where he’s heading. Sometimes we put tunes together really fast and they’re keepers, (“Hypocrisie des sentiments” was put together through two rehearsals, wasn’t it guys?), some other times we take our time to compose, we modify it, refine it, and end up chucking everything away… There’s no real rule, it has to be mutually agreed, and this is what really matters for us.

Charles:

So it is still difficult to say how the new songs are going to sound. We have to play them a bit more. The recording process will also be a part of the composition. The sound and the way we are going to record the album will probably influence the final result. As we plan to record at Electrical Audio studio, we are probably going to record live, which is a new experience for us. And maybe more than in our previous studio experiences, this one will have a large influence on the final result.

Arnaud (drums): 

Recording songs at Electrical Audio sounds like a dream for me. I hope it won’t be too stressful. But I can’t wait to be there.

Have you been thinking about releasing an EP or any other “slice of bread” that might feed SED NON SATIATA fans a bit of energy before they get a chance to taste your full length?

Arnaud (guitar):

For the moment our priority is these new songs, and we think them as a whole.

Charles:

Actually, the project has always been to compose and record a full album. That’s why we decided to start playing again together. An album is not just a succession of songs. You have to think about the coherence between the songs, the lyrics, the rhythm, the length, the artwork etc. This is an ambitious and exciting project.

Arnaud (guitar):

We are quite slow to build songs, and are living too far apart to think to do more than one recording session. So there will be no other release, sorry. And I’m personally quite bored with short records. I’m too lazy to flip the sides of my vinyls every 2 or 3 minutes! Doing an LP seems to be the best plan for us.

Bandcamp have issued a statement regarding the starting points of every sale that happens there. It’s a great subject for a panel discussion regarding piracy. What’s your outlook on the record industry today? What’s your opinion on spreading the music online and piracy?

Charles:

I think bandcamp is a good web platform for small bands like us. Sharing the music you play is essential in the life of a band. But finding a label can be difficult and editing an album is quite a big investment. I’ve seen a lot of small bands that invested a lot of money to record and then release their album on cds. Most cds were not sold and they eventually lost a lot of money. So, bandcamp is a good alternative for such bands. Regarding piracy, in France, the government set up a law about two years ago (the Hadopi law) in order to control illegal downloading. You can be sued or have your web connection interrupted if you download music or movies in platforms like bittorrents. This law has divided many artists and politicians. Some ‘artists’ claim that it is theft and that free downloading kills artists. I don’t think it is true. On the contrary, I think it makes music more vibrant. The more people that listen to my music, the more vibrant I think it becomes. That’s why we always make our songs available for download on our website. Of course we like having our albums released on vinyl or cd. But I think you can download and also buy discs when you have money and you want the artwork. The two things are not mutually exclusive. The proof is that all our released have been reedited even though our albums were online on our website. I think that people who download albums and don’t buy discs wouldn’t buy discs anyway. In my mind, free downloading is a real problem only for people who want to earn as much money as possible with it, that is mostly the music industry. You can’t say that cinema or music is dying because of free downloading or piracy. This is wrong! The only thing that is dying is the hope of some people to make a lot of money with it. You play music because you need it. You don’t play music because you want to earn money. Otherwise you cannot pretend you are an artist. I have nothing against making money with music. Some bands have a good commercial potential, they are signed and then earn money. Fine, I do not have any problem with that. I just don’t want to hear them whining because they don’t get enough money and that free downloading kills artists. I am sure that they themselves were swapping tapes or cds when they were young. There are bands like Neurosis or solo musicians like Troy von Balthazar or Scott Kelly who have managed to keep on playing music for more than 15 years and I don’t think they have earned a lot of money with it. And I’ve never heard them complaining about downloading… To me, they are a good example of what we must save in the music. These guys will keep on playing music with or without money because they need to do so. And their passion makes people want to support them by buying their albums, going to the shows and so on. However, there is a thing that is way different to me. It is that people can make a lot of money on copyright infringement. That was the case with megaupload and I think it is a good thing that the leaders were arrested. If music is shared freely on the web, it is a good thing. If someone is making money with your music without any authorization and then uses it to buy 10 million $ villas and a dozen luxury cars, I can understand that you want this asshole to be arrested!

Arnaud (drums) :

These days, downloading songs with bandcamp (or any other website) is normal. I’ve never paid for an mp3 and I’ll never do it. And itunes gives only a few cents to bands… So why be exploited by them? I don’t care about the music industry. They earned a lot of money in previous years, and now they are crying. Who said that artists need tons of money to live? No one. It’s normal when you’re playing music all the time to have the possibility to live a normal life. No more. It doesn’t change anything for us. We still go to work, spend time in rehearsal rooms, pay for studio sessions ourselves, and we don’t expect more. That’s why I don’t care about these topics. I prefer using my brain to think about others things. The only bad news is that going to mainstream shows is getting more and more expensive because they don’t sell as many records as in the past! So sometimes I’m staying home instead of going to an enormous Rihanna show!

Charles:

I think that ‘pay as much as you can or want’ is a good intermediate. You give something because you want to support the bands you like and you buy discs because you want the artwork and to support good independent labels that help you discover good bands.

When and where did you play your last show?

Arnaud (drums) :

Our last show was in December 2007, in Tarbes, in the south of France, at a really nice bar called Celtic pub. Tarbes is a small city, so a lot of people are coming to shows because there is nothing to do there. It’s kind of weird but people there are really curious and enthusiastic to see new bands. The owner of the bar tries to build a “rock scene” there, and it works very well.

I remember your performance March 11, 2007 show at The Fest in Cracow, Poland. DIMITRIJ was also on the bill. Can you talk a bit about your relationship with them and other bands from the genre? Do you have any best friends within the scene? Do you know what have DAITRO been doing?

Arnaud (drums) :

I’m sorry but I can’t remember DIMITRIJ!

Charles:

We don’t personally know them and we did not really talk with them in Cracow. The day before we played a show in Berlin and had a really long and exhausting journey. We arrived late and had a rest before going on stage.

Arnaud (guitar):

Yes this show in Poland was really nice, people were so enthusiastic, but as the others said we were zombies that day, this shit happens sometimes when touring… About Daïtro, they are doing well. I see them often, since I go often to Lyon to rehearse with ANCRE, after all these years they’ve become really close friends, some of them still live there, Samuel is about to go and live in Germany, Julien became a father… To make a long story short, they’re a bit like all of us, the distance is there, everyone tries to carry on with their projects as best as they can, try to make their own way. They also work on side musical and artistic projects, nevertheless, the friendship is definitely still on. By the way, we’ll all play together at a single gig in Toulouse in a couple of months, it’s going to be more than just a show for all of us… A great party and a get together.

Arnaud (drums) :

We also have a strong relationship with DAITRO, because they helped us a lot in the past, and they still do it with Echo canyon records. Julien and Gwen are two lovely persons, really passionate, who try to do their best when they release a record. Our relationship is now a real friendship. We have known them for years. And when they agreed to keep Daitro dawn of the dead for the show with us in May in Toulouse, we were stoked. Old friends, old warriors. And one of the best emo punk band of the past years. AGHAST is playing with us too. For the « best friend within the scene » par of the question, I think the friendship between bands takes quite a long time to build. Now we are not touring, we are not doing shows in our respective cities, so it’s quite hard to start new relationships. But I’m really happy to tour the US this summer and meet a lot of new people there!

How do you remember your mid 00’s shows?

Arnaud (drums) :

Mid 00’s was a golden age for us. We were part of kind of scene, we toured and saw a lot of places. Shows were not always crowded but we had a lot of fun. At that time I was really into the kind of music that the bands we were playing with. We had a lot of good surprises with nice local bands. It was a good time for our relationship too. We were living together in a big house and it allowed us to get to know each other more deeply. But I’m not nostalgic of this time. In some ways I think we are better now as people and musicians. So we all are very excited to be doing shows again.

Charles:

Really good souvenirs. I remember our second tour in Europe. It was amazing to see that people in Lisbon knew our songs although our first EP ‘Le ciel de notre enfance’ was released only a few months ago. Shows in Germany were also always good.

Arnaud (guitar):

Many things happened during these years, of course living together was so nice, I’m thinking about all the people we met, the shows, San Feliu festival in Spain and “los litros de cerveza” (we went there 3 times i think during summer days), and Iceland, beautiful and amazing… It’s funny, not long ago we watched with Arnaud the DVD of our Spain and Portugal tour in 2005… we laughed a lot watching the videos but we finally realized that we are still the same guys today, older, but it’s as cool as before!

What artists do you listen to these days?

Charles:

I am not really on the lookout for new bands. I just wait for my friends to tell me ‘you really should listen to that…’ When it comes from my friends I am always more attentive. And that’s good because they do the job for me! These last days I mostly listened to old stuff like THE INNOCENCE MISSION, BREACH, LEONARD COHEN, EARTH and classical music. The most exciting bands I discovered last year are probably MURMUURE and DEAFHEAVEN. I also listened to one song from TORCHE’s last album and it is excellent. ANCRE’s EP is also very good!

Arnaud (guitar):

Charles, we said no self-promotion! … By the way, thank you man. Personally i listen a lot of different things: Of course Hardcore in general like KARMA TO BURN, MASTODON, Electro stuff: ARNAUD REBOTINI, JAMES HOLDEN, folk, old blues artists like Mississippi FRED MAC DOWELL, MEMPHIS MINNIE or MARISA ANDERSON, AMBIANT and piano stuff like SAKAMOTO or TIM HECKER and a lot of bands like KYUSS, WOVENHAND, SIXTEEN HORSEPOWER… I’m also really fond of Brant Bjork, all his albums are so good, he really knows how to build a rock song. I often try to play his riffs but i don’t have his groove, ok dude you got me…

Arnaud (drums) :

These days I’ve listened to a lot of music with synthesizer. It’s an obsession. Some french bands are using only analog synths live, and I’ve been really impressed by them these days. I recommend you to try ARNAUD REBOTINI or TURZI. I also listen a lot of black music, from FELA to SHARON JAMES, MILES DAVIS or EBO TAYLOR. I try to understand the difference between electronic music from Detroit and Chicago. And I’m really proud when I recognize a model of drum machine in a song. I can spend hours listening to US R’n’B. I dream sometimes that AALIYAH is still alive. KANYE WEST and TIM HECKER are often doing live shows in my tiny flat. PHIL GLASS will play the Dracula theme here in Paris soon, and I’m really excited to see this show. And KRAFTWERK‘s Man Machine helped me to choose some red furniture for my flat. Oh I forget the new CEREMONY LP, Zoo. And maybe ROYAL HEADACHE!

Do you still go to hardcore shows?

Arnaud (guitar):

Yes, i do. Toulouse still being quite active with Hardcore/Rock shows, i could see recently KYLESA & BRANT BJORK in a rock bar in the center of Toulouse for respectively 8 and 5 Euros… Otherwise, there is a lot of good local bands, i’m thinking about this live show of JEAN JEAN (Paris) in a little cave one week ago, they’re really good musicians.

Charles:

Yes, as often as I can. In Montreal, there are many places that host punk/hardcore/metal shows. Most of the time it’s cheap and it’s an occasion to chill out with friends and meet people. I’ve only been to two shows since I’ve lived in Chicago. VALIENT THORR was excellent!

Arnaud (drums) :

When I arrived in Paris 5 years ago, I was going to a lot of hardcore shows. It was a way to meet new friends there. But now I’m only going to hardcore shows when I like the bands, or when old friends are playing. I’ve stopped supporting the scene going to each shows. I was quite disappointed by « friend shows ». See people to speak about records and drink beers is always good, but sometimes when I’m really exhausted by work, I prefer staying at home. But when I go back to Toulouse, I really like meeting with my old friends and drinking beers outside of a place where a hardcore show is running. On the other hand I try to go see “big” bands when it’s possible. I’m seriously mad, but I try to love mainstream bands! The exact opposite of my adolescence. It’s hard to grow up. And every weekend, I’m depressed because electronic artists are playing in Paris but no one wants to come with me. Maybe I have to realize that I’m too old for clubbing. Paris is incredible for that. You discover a new band on Internet and then you see that they’re playing there two weeks later! But I don’t want to look sarcastic. I love going to shows in squats or small places, see good bands and feel all the collective and positive energy between the band and the people there. And I’m playing a lot with my other band ABJECT OBJECT so I’ve got the possibility to see bands really often here in Paris.

What’s the meaning of hardcore/punk and DIY culture for you?

Arnaud (drums) :

It’s a hard question. During previous years, hardcore/punk and DIY were a finality for me. I’ve seen the world through the DIY window for years. And then I slowly began to do others things. I’ve understood that DIY is the simple way to meet people, start friendships, release records and tour. And I’m really proud to be a part of it. I think that this way of doing things is in a way political, a kind of resistance. And a lot of others musical scenes don’t have the same possibilities. But these days I feel sometimes far away from the hardcore punk political topics. I’ve found some others things in my life to think about politics, and maybe to try to act. But I’m not an activist by the way. I think the worst thing for me in the DIY community in France is that we’re more or less all middle-class white males in our thirties… And trying to build a new small world gives you a feeling of community. It’s comfortable (and sometimes hard), but our country is really more than thirty year white males headbanging, dealing cheap records, and trying to theorize about politics. I was feeling really « out of the real world ». So now, I’m able to compose between the world and the DIY world. And I feel really comfortable like this. Actually, the DIY ethics really helped me to grow up. I’m really grateful for that. But I don’t try to give the passion to young people. I’m sure a lot of people do so better than me. Should I feel guilty for that? I don’t know!

Charles:

Punk/hardcore and DIY are inseparable to me. The punk/hardcore scene is delimited by the DIY ‘ethic’. Actually, punk/hardcore is more determined by a way to make and distribute music, and to organize shows than by a music style. There are bands that sound indie rock, punk, metal, stoner and so on that play in the punk/hardcore scene. They do so because they all share the same way to make music, the same ethic. Of course the notion of DIY has evolved from the 80’s. Thirty years ago it was way more difficult to record, release and distribute your music without dealing with the music industry. I guess that DIY at that time was a partisan movement which probably needed a higher commitment. With Sed non Satiata, we have always made discs and shows with friends, acquaintances or people who share the same ethic. And it has been a very rewarding experience. I do not agree with all political ideas in the punk scene, which can be sometimes too extreme for me, but some values that characterize it are good and are becoming rare today.

Thank you very much. Are there any other things that you would like to discuss? Feel free tell people anything you want, shout out, whatever.

Arnaud (guitar):

Thank you for this interview Karol, it’s good to know that people carry on having some interest with old ghosts like us! Sorry for being so long to answer but you know… the distance. Thank you very much and hope to meet you sometime, Take care.

 

[one_half last=”no”][/one_half][one_half last=”yes”][/one_half]

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