Released just before their current European tour, the third full length offering from French experimentalists GRAND DÉTOUR (first interviewed for IDIOTEQ back in 2013) is one hell of a project. Teased by “Demi-Chaine” single back in March this year, “Tripalium” is being co-released by 30 (!) different DIY labels and available on 3 different formats (cassette / CD / vinyl)! A perfect balance between vitality and the comfort of reaching out for more untouched nature in music promped me to once again meet with this fine group of gentlemen and dive a little bit deeper into their new work and other interesting projects worth checking out. Scroll down to see the final effect of our chat.
GRAND DÉTOUR project has made a meaningful effort out of a simple idea. And with more quality work being added each year, we expect to see more excitement from this band down the road.
Live photos by William Monaco Photography. Anwers by GRAND DETOUR’s guitarist Clément and drummer Vincent.
Hey buddies! Thanks for getting back to me and taking some more time with IDIOTEQ webzine! What’s up? How has 2015 been treating you so far?
V : Hey Karol ! Thank you for giving us one more chance to put words on our music ! Everything’s fine, 2015 didn’t change much except it brought me closer to 30, and that’s still something. It will be a busy year for me, but I’ll keep time for playing music, for sure.
C: It’s been ok Karol, it’s been a quiet year regarding touring, but I guess that was needed after 4 tours in 2013/2014 with the 3 different bands I play together with Pierre, the bass player! Recording the new album: it took us a lot of time, practising the songs at first, recording them, and then mixing and preparing all the money/artwork thing!
Awesome! The new song teases the full record with a style! Will there be more deep, atmospheric soundscapes in the vein of “Demi-Chaine”, or shall we take this particular extract as an exception? Also, did you try to differentiate the new record from your debut album?
V : I guess the two tracks we’ve put online are quite representative of the record, you’ll see… I don’t feel like we intentionally differentiated this new production from the previous, but I understand it can seem different to people who knew our s/t. Probably because we know each other a bit more since our first record, and we’ve experienced new things in our lives while composing, which definitely changed our approach, but once more, it wasn’t really planned.
In terms of musicianship and songwriting, how would you characterize what you’ve done in the last couple of yours? What do you do to develop your artistic abilities?
V : I’d say that I didn’t change much in my way of including drums ; when I hear a melody I try to find something that matches and then it evolves according to our inspiration, sometimes I just play something that comes naturally and the guitars/bass find something that matches. Concerning my « artistic abilities », it seems like the less I play, the more I find patterns or tricks, so I try not to play too often !
C: This band is pretty cool for me, because I’m not too much involved in the “song writing”. I’m the second guitar, and my main goal is too loop some melodies/chords, bring some noise with the delay pedal, and bring some melancholy. The boys also gives me some hard work with understanding some weird tempo or song patterns, but I like challenges!
What are your feelings on the nature of the album? Is there a core concept behind it?
V : The record deals with Work and its place in our civilization, which explains the title: the french word for Work is « Travail » and this word comes from the latin word « Tripalium », an instrument of torture. Obviously, work doesn’t mean torture for any of us, but it was interesting to find out the roots of this word. In Grand Détour, we all have very different jobs and ways to approach Work, but I think we’re all aware that it can be both a vector of blooming and servitude. We’ve had some stormy debates about work, and we couldn’t synthesize all of our feelings into a monolithic interpretation. We just wanted to think about what working implies, though we know this isn’t a new debate.
Distribution wise, this new record is a huge project in collaboration with over 30 labels! How did you manage to arrange such an undertaking? How’s that even possible?
C: I wanted to have our record released in different countrys and continents, so I’ve mailed thousand of friends, contacts and told them about the project. A lot of old friends, and a lot of new ones too. I’m really happy about it, and most of the people are really enthusiast about the record. Actually it’s pretty simple, you just need to waste a lot of hours on the internet, I also try to contact each person personally and avoid “pro” and “cut/paste” emails, maybe it makes a difference, and people see that we really want them to participate. Like I told you most of the labels are friends, or labels that I own records … The most difficult part is the “financial” stuff, it needs to have a good excel file and note every expense and money transfer! :)
Side-note – the full list of labels cooperating in this project:
– À L’OMBRE DE CETTE VIE (FR)
– AUTUMN LEAVES (SK)
– BOOKHOUSE (USA)
– BUS STOP PRESS (FR)
– CRAPOULET (FR)
– DÉSERTION (FR)
– DÉSORDRE ORDONNÉ (CAN)
– DINGLEBERRY (DE)
– DON’T LIVE LIKE ME (USA)
– DREAM COMES TRUE (FR)
– DREAMINGORILLA (IT)
– DROWN WITHIN (IT)
– DUNK! (BE)
– EMERGENCE (FR)
– FRIENDS FOR LIFE (USA)
– LA CELLULE (FR)
– MAROUFLE (FR)
– MUSIC FOR LIBERATION (CZ)
– NOT A PUB (FR)
– OURS (FR)
– PANDA BANDA (SI)
– PEB ASSO (FR)
– SADDESTSONG RECORDS (FR)
– SHOTDOWN (FR)
– SHOVE (IT)
– SIEVE AND SAND (FR)
– TIME AS COLOR (DE)
– UNLOCK YOURSELF (RU)
– VOICE OF THE UNHEARD (FR)
– VOX PROJECT (FR)
– FUCK THIS CITY (DE)
– GAFAS DEL RIGOR (DE)
– DÉSERTION (FR)
– DREAMINGORILLA (IT)
– DROWN WITHIN (IT)
– RUDE (IT)
Vinyl is surely making a huge comeback. It feels as though it is striking a sentimental chord among other reasons of its revival. Why did YOU decide to put out your work on vinyl? What role have sentiment and similar values played in your music?
V : We try to release our songs in as many different formats as possible, and vinyl is definitely a format that counts again (since years now) so we just couldn’t avoid it anyway ! Of course it has many benefits like a high-quality sound and a large panel of customizations, but I think the main reason is its popularity.
I don’t know what to say about the role sentiment played in our music, although I think music is a way to express feelings without having to put words on it. I hope our music inspires very different things from a listener to another, and even from a listening to another !
C: I think the main reason is that I’ve always released vinyls for my bands. I remember that before it was less expensive, and you never had big delays like now with all that RSD stuff … I love the sound of the vinyl, and love how you can arrange all the artwork, it’s definitely an art piece for me, and there’s so many combination possible with it. The CD’s are fragile and most of my CD’s are dead and can’t resist to the years. I hear everywhere that it’s the “vinyl comeback”, it’s a bit funny because in the punk/hardcore scene vinyls have always been one of the principal record format for years now.
Ok guys. You’ll hit the road in support of “Tripalium” in May. What places are you looking forward to visiting this time?
V : I’m sure every venue is going to be awesome, and I’m looking forward to the whole tour as you probably guess ! If I had to mention a particular one, it would be the Café na půl cesty in Praha, very nice place…
C: Actually it can seem strange, but I’m very excited about the French shows: Grenoble, Lyon, Strasbourg! For the first time, we will also do the last show in our hometown, and it will also be the release show. Hopefully friends will come and it will be a perfect way to end the tour!
Will we catch you hanging out at Fluff Fest this year?
V : Not me…
C: The line-up is actually pretty exciting this year! I’ll try too, depends on my work schedule.
What other active European festivals would you recommend checking out?
V : We played twice at BUMCA (Bunker Music Camp), a little festival that takes place at the top of a mountain in Ciaixe, near Ventimiglia. The view is crazy, the people are so kind and there’s a very sweet atmosphere, even if playing in a bunker can seem a bit strange. I like the gap between the original purpose of such a building, and the way those people use it now. Bravo !
C: Yes, BUMCA is a really nice small festival. There’s the DCT fest in Strasbourg runned by friends. And locally there’s the MIDI festival, where a lot of actual “headliners” played, so it’s a good way to see a future BIG band play in our small town (THE XX, YUSSUF JERUSALEM, ZOMBIE ZOMBIE, ROBIN GUTHRIE, BON IVER etc…). There’s also another festival, whatever the line-up is I just love going there because of the amazing view on the toulon harbour, and that you can swim on the beach with watching the bands play, it’s called ROCKORAMA and it’s mostly a “rock/indie” based Festival.
Regarding your local scene, what are your most beloved projects and artists in the region?
C: I agree with Vincent. I’m also in love with APPLETOP, they are fresh and since they’ve played in Serbia, they are pretty loud. Perfect to listen with orange juice and sun. EL BOTCHO are a pretty good pop band too: a mix of teenage fan club and THE BEACHBOYS! TATIANA SAUVAGE is a really old post rock/indie band from Toulon, they were already active when I was a teenager, they have a new record and I can’t stop listening to the song called “Water”. HIFIKLUB, BOREAL WOOD … As you can see our pop/indie scene is pretty good. However I’m sad that there’s no punk/screamo/hardcore/emo bands here! 50minutes from Toulon, there’s Marseille and they have good “self runned” venues (la salle gueule, le molotov, l’embobineuse, la machine à coudre), and lots of local bands like CANINE among others! (check them out they are touring this summer for at least 3 weeks in europe).
Ok guys, it’s been 2 years since we last talked. What has changed since then when it comes to your personal ideas about this band and your plans for the future?
V : I’m planning to leave Toulon in about a year and a half, I’m still not sure where I’ll live then but probably too far away to rehearse weekly, so I guess we’ll release one last record after this one, and then who knows ? If we still have opportunities to play, we’ll play she songs we already have, and maybe we’ll find a way to keep the band alive despite the distance. It depends on so many things that it’s impossible to say for the moment, what’s sure is that I love playing with these guys !
C: Like Vincent told you, he will leave Toulon in a year… And I guess there’s nothing we can do about it haha. I must say I’m a bit scared, me and Pierre have bad souvenirs about drummers leaving the band or leaving the country. Don’t really know what will become the band, so I don’t want to make any plans. My small “music experience” taught me, to be less enthusiast, and just leave time to time (is that make sense? :D). My only goal in the future is to play music and travel around the world, my goal didn’t change. I’ll probably go back to school in 2016 to become a nurse so maybe it will be the good time to do it :)
Thanks so much guys! Take care and till the next time! :) The last words are yours.
V : I’d like to thank all the people that support us, I’m looking forward to meet those I don’t know yet, maybe on tour ? Thank you to all the people who organize shows for small bands like us, anywhere. Thank you Karol ! Take care.
C: Thanks Karol again, but promise us next time we play Warsaw you’ll come :)
GRAND DÉTOUR on tour:
14.05, FR, Grenoble @ TBC
15.05, FR, Lyon @ La triperie
16.05, FR, Strasbourg @ TBA
17.05, DE, Dresden @ P2
18.05, CZ, Praha @ Café na pul cesty
19.05, CZ, Vsetin @ Suchy dok
20.05, HU, Budapest @ TBA
21.05, CZ, Zagreb @ AKC Attack
22.05, SI, Koper @ INDE
23.05, IT, Savona @ Rude club
24.05, FR, La seyne s/mer @ Vivarium