Released in cooperation with a bunch of great DIY labels: Fireflies Fall (France), Deux Pieds Deux Dents (France), Dingleberry Records (Germany), Clever Eagle Records (US), Callous Records (UK), Non Ti Seguo (Italia), Sounds Like Sunday (Spain), Desperate Infant Records (Hong Kong), and Salte Mortale Music (Slovakia), “La banalité du mal” by French screamo one-man band GROS ENFANT MORT may not see their signature French screamo sound infused with too many new influences, but with its emotional punch, it never loses its sparkle. This is a triumph for a one band project that sounds like it is only going to get bigger.
The writing process for this new release started during lockdowns. “Since the first record was out only a few months before the pandemic, I was firstly composing two songs for a split, the idea was not to write a new full length.” – comments Alexis (GROS ENFANT MORT).
“Spending more time stuck at home and feeling overwhelmed by everything happening then, I felt the need to write more songs. The whole writing process was not reduced to a short period, but I wrote a song every once in a while, when I felt low, so that is why the album is dark and pessimistic. This can seem strange because I try to be the most positive person I can in my everyday life, but this project helps me evacuate a good load of negativity.”
For fans of Birds in Row, Amanda Woodward, Daïtro, Converge, State Faults, Defeater, Verse
Asked about his backgrounds, Alexis recalls: “I played drums in various bands since 2010’s. Mostly Punk-Rock, Pop-Punk, Indie stuff.”
“The project I was the most involved in was Johk (French post-hardcore), from 2010 to 2019 and which I had the opportunity to tour with in Europe, Canada and Brasil during these years. The idea about starting Gros Enfant Mort came in summer 2018 during Johk’s last tour when we all felt the band was about to break-up. I did not really play guitar, bass or sing seriously back then (except to co-write during jams), but I wanted to learn more about it.”
“I wrote and recorded the first Gros Enfant Mort LP the following winter and loved working this way. After the record went out during summer 2019, we thought about playing live shows with some good friends : Arthur, Camille, Quentin and Louis and we did a first tour just before COVID. I worked alone to compose and record the new album and we started to play some shows again with the guys last spring/summer.”
GROS ENFANT MORT Influences
“For this album, the influences definitely come the French screamo 2000’s scene with bands like Amanda Woodward and Daïtro and the Post-Hardcore bands I grew up listening to like Defeater or Title Fight.” – comments Alexis.
“However I mostly find inspiration in other genres (movie soundtracks, Trip-Hop, Trap, Pop, Classic Rock, basically anything I like listening to).”
Here’s a handy playlist of some of the influences mentioned by Alexis.
Track by track commentary
· Du rêve au ravin :
This first song talks about suicide. I had a pretty bad period in my early 20’s during which I had a hard time finding the will to live. Hopefully I had the chance to hang out with people who helped me get through that. Like many people with this kind of troubles, it’s not rare to feel on the edge of falling back to the spiral. The songs talks about how nobody can be taught to find balance in life and how important it is to learn to embrace life with its ups and downs.
· Retour vers le foutur :
The term “foutur” is a spelling mistake made during the French president’s allocution announcing the first lockdown. Obviously the right word was “future” but “foutu” means fucked up in French so the thing became a meme. The title of the song is a joke between this word and the movie title Back To The Future in French. The song talks about how the future can seem fucked up sometimes and how hard it is to make plans that are more long term than a few months away. I also make a little fun about the right wing and the capitalists in France who deeply complained about the pandemic restrictions but were saying for years that they were willing to accept reduction of freedom for security sake…
· Nos doubles vies :
The song is about the things we preach but not always put into practice, especially in the punk and hardcore scene. I admit being a little guilty of that sometimes. It can be annoying when people put judgement on others forgetting that they are in a socially privileged position and therefore have more options available. I think that stopping doing that, the scene could be more inclusive than it is now, and without sacrificing any radicality.
· L’épilogue de la jeunesse
The song talks about giving up some dreams and stepping backwards on some principles. I don’t know if it is the context we live in (with climate crisis, war, pandemic, fascism growing) which makes every decision I make harder than before or just the fact that I am growing older… Sometimes I just miss being reckless, but I know I can’t go back…
I started writing this song after the 60 years commemoration of the 10/17/1961 massacre in Paris. I didn’t knew about this event and the more I learned about it the more I felt disgusted. During Algeria’s independence war, a protest was stopped and orders authorized the police to use force, torture and permission to kill. The human losses were huge and hidden from the public until historians and journalists truly investigated on it. The government at the time is still worshipped by many politics and I think we need to accept the criminal heritage of the republic in order to move on.
· Sans objection ni conscience
The subject is the rise of neo-fascism and how dangerous ideas even infuse among some “progressists”. Since a few years, anti-muslim speech has become more and more present, to the point that anti-racist ideas are often discredited and I really felt that in my previous job as a teacher without being able to do anything about it.
· A la derive
This song is a very personal one. It was written in one go during one night I was feeling very hopeless about my incapacity to overcome problems I had for years. Hiding behind pessimism can be a self-defense mechanism and allowing oneself to move forward in life can be the hardest thing to do…
· Le dressage des corps
The song talks about self-hate as a person born in a very privileged position. Knowing that the few success I had in life can not be possible for many people because of their origin/gender/education is something I often feel really ashamed about.
· Entre quatre murs
This French expression refers to prison and that is a bit how I lived my previous job as a teacher. I really had the best intentions starting this job five years ago and was willing to have a positive impact on the kids. Making them emancipate themselves from preconceptions and alienating models has been my goal from start to finish. The educative system being what it is, I often found myself doing the opposite I came for (reinforcing social determinism by selection, being forced to punish any behavior that deviate from the norms…). Quitting this job is a big personal failure but was also a relief in many ways. I actually recorded the vocals for the song just after giving my resignation so remembering this moment is always a bit special…