I was recently introduced to the work of noisy alt rock artists PAMPLEMOUSSE, a trio of creative musicians, who live in Reunion Island, and I was instantly intrigued by their isolated, but very potent and culturally active melting pot in the Indian Ocean. Known from picturesque landscapes, scenic coastal villages, forests, exotic spices and plants, and unforgettable volcanoes, La Réunion might be known as the adventure capital or the ultimate destination for honeymooners, but it’s also a good place for creative music and artistic independence. We sat down with PAMPLEMOUSSE to find out more about their process and thoughts on the island.
Hey guys! Thanks so much for your time and joining us here on IDIOTEQ. How are you? How’s Reunion doing this fine Summer?
Hello Karol ! We’re fine, and the island too. It’s winter, whales walk close to our coasts, and the volcano is in eruption since two weeks.
We are on holidays and on rehearsals every day.
Hope you’re fine too !
Haha, cool, thanks! A huge part of this webzine is about diving deep into the details of various alt and DIY scenes of many different places around the world, so I am really eager to learn more about your island. What was your introduction to underground music on Reunion? What planted the seed?
In fact, we work for pictures and sound (sound engineer, photographer and cameraman), so we know a lot of rock band here.
We are musicians too, each one of us played in a band before Pamplemousse, when we didn’t know us.
vIt took a while before we had the idea to play all three.
What were the first records you ever purchased and fell in love with? Also, what kind of memories do you associate with them?
Nico : My cousin made me discover ACDC (let’s there be rock).
Yohann : My first record was the Otis Redding’s best of.
Sarah : Roxette (Joyride), found in my sister’s room.
Tell us a bit more about the roots of alt rock and perhaps metal or punk culture on Reunion.
Local music are sega and maloya. Ternary rhythms and complaints of slaves, a kind of local blues, you see ?
Rock in general is not part of the heritage but is very present in the cultural landscape since many years.
People are interbreeding, here, so is the music. Some bands try to mix our roots with rock, some prefer compose with inspirations that come from further afield.
Ok, so let’s learn more about PAMPLEMOUSSE. What got you into writing and performing initially and when did you decide to start a band?
In february 2016, we started to play, just because we like spend time together. I didn’t play bass, Yohann didn’t hit very loud his drum, and Nico sang shyly. It was fun.
Two weeks later we played two songs, and we worked every day (except on Sundays !) We recorded first in August, but it was too early.
A good friend of us asked us to play for his birthday in December, that was the beginning, we recorded in January 2017 and started live shows.
Have your local artists had a big impact on your music? Or would you say there was a lot more inspirations coming from outside the island?
Most of our inspirations come from outside. It’s not the same when you grow up with local artists, you might be rocked by them, but we express ourselves better with external influences.
Lastly, for people who haven’t been fortunate enough to visit your homeland yet, can you recommend some notable places and spots worth checking out on the island?
La Plaine des Sables is very beautiful too, a lunar landscape…
What makes Reunion island special?
The melting pot, cultures and religions are mixed ! It makes a mixture for music, food… Food is very good here, Chinese and Indian have brought a lot in our recipes.
The micro climate also allows you to go the beach in the morning, and after, take a walk on the mountains.
You can see all year round religious ceremonies, you think you are abroad, and even if you are accustomed because you’ve seen this since your childhood, it’s always wonderful.
Ok, so finally, what’s the Reunion’s best kept secret?
La Buse’s treasure ! He was a famous pirate.
Or Gran’Mère Kal. We are not sure if she was a witch or an unfriendly old woman, but…
Because of the melting pot, we have a lot of urban legends and myths, and we like to believe in.
Awesome! I’ll dive deep inot these stories right away :)
Thanks so much for your time and taking us for a this virtual trip around the island. Feel free to share your last words and take care! Cheers from Poland :)