When I first talked to SED NON SATIATA, I was beyond stoked to have that chance. One year later, we’re back with another huge update from the band, another cool interview with one of my favorite bands ever!
They toured the US, recorded their highly-anticipated new album called “Mappo”, collaborated with Dog Knights Productions for an amazing ORCHID tribute album and have become really active again! It was a great pleasure to talk to them and find out more about their adventures and point of views on several issues. Ladies and gentlemen, here’s my second lengthy talk with one of the finest rock musicians around.
Hey, guys! I’m so stoked to have another chance to talk to you. A lot of things have happened since our last talk. A trip to the US, your contribution to the long-awaited ORCHID tribute album, and finally YOUR new album! It’s been a good year, huh?
Hi Karol, thanks for this interview, it’s nice to talk to you again. Indeed it’s been a busy year. Well I don’t remember exactly when the previous interview was but I guess we were about to go on tour through the US mid-West/East coast with BIG KIDS and we were still writing our new album.
The tour went incredibly well both humanly and musically. First of all I was very happy to see my band mates I don’t see very often (twice a year at most!) and very excited about playing shows with them in the US. One year ago we didn’t even know if we would play shows or compose songs together again so that was kind of surrealist to find ourselves with a tour booked in the US and a recording session scheduled at Electrical Audio.
I feel – and I think everybody in the band does – very grateful to people who made the tour possible, that is the BIG KIDS, Brendan and Bill from Protagonist records, and all the people involved in the shows and who came see us. After all these years without playing a show or releasing a single song it was surprising and touching to see people who knew our songs and were very excited to see us play. We met lots of friendly and welcoming people and we went back to France with fantastic memories. The fact we did the tour with BIG KIDS contributed to a large extent to that. They are awesome, always willing for a dive in a lake or a river, to shotgun a beer, and their music is great. I can’t wait to see them again…
The tour ended mid-August in Chicago, IL. A couple a days after the last show we went to Electrical Audio in Chicago to record 8 songs that will appear on our new album “Mappo”, which would be out in June still on Protagonist records (USA), Adagio 830 (Germany), Echo Canyon (France) and Désordre Ordonné (K7, Canada). The record session was an exhausting but an amazing experience…
Then we all went back to France. Back to real life…
A couple of weeks later we received an email from Dog Knight Production proposing us to contribute to the ORCHID tribute album. We chose 2 songs and started to work individually on an adaptation. We met in Toulouse 2 weeks later or so and recorded “None More Black”. Then Arnaud and Arnaud started to work on an adaptation of “Impersonating Martin Rev” from Paris.
After that, Arnaud and I started to record the vocals for the album in Toulouse but it ended up that we were running short of time because I had to move back to Montreal. So Arnaud finished to record his vocals in Toulouse and I recorded mine by myself in Montreal. This part of the recording process was kind of painful. Arnaud and I felt a little under pressure because we didn’t have a lot of time and didn’t want to waste the work that had been done until then. It was not easy to deal with all that 5000 km apart from each other. But finally we made it and sent the takes to Grégoire in Chicago who mixed the whole stuff. This part of the process was also hard to go through for us as much as for Grégoire because we are a bunch of neurotics and maniacs! But we made it!
So Yes that was a busy/good year!
Wow, man… you ruined my plan for a couple of next questions, haha! :D
How do you guys doing with 2 new members. You mentioned another Arnaud ;) last time we talked, but there’s Simon, who’s also a new member, right? How do you guys do together and how did the addition affect SED NON SATIATA’s sounds?
Arnaud (guitar 3):
Actually Simon and Charles don’t know our plans, but we are trying to make the first all-Arnaud band!
The addition was pretty easy musically because Arnaud and Simon were not strangers. Arnaud (the drummer) and I used to play with Arnaud (the brand new one) in another project from 2005 to 2007, an instrumental post-rock band called AGUIRRE. We are good friends and we knew that Arnaud was a talented guitarist. We first asked him to play bass because Lionel, the original bassist, could not play in SNS anymore for various reasons. But he finally switched to guitar because he wanted to play solos :) We thought a little about the consequences that adding a third guitar would have on our music but we finally came to the conclusion that it would incorporate new influences to our music and we now know that it was a good decision. But clearly, the human factor prevailed. We were friend above all and wanted to make music together.
So we were still in search of a bassist….6 years ago, when we took a break with SNS, I met Simon in Toulouse. He was playing in several good bands and we used to go to the same kind of shows. We didn’t really know each other but one night at a show we talked and then started to hang out and progressively to jam together. I quickly found in Simon a good musician and a good person at the same time. We had a lot in common, musically and humanly… He first joined ANCRE (a new side project with Louis-Benoît from DAÏTRO) as bass player (although he used to play guitar at that time!!) and after a couple of months I asked the other guys what they thought about having Simon as a bassist in SNS and be part of our revival…
I didn’t know Simon at that time but I had listened to ANCRE’s EP and thought that it would match. Simon quickly accepted to join us and the five of us started to work on new songs. Actually, I’m still surprised to see how Arnaud and Simon adapted so quickly and how everybody found his marks in the new line-up. But humanly that’s a nightmare… I’m just kidding Simon and Arnaud are lovely.
Honestly I don’t really know how the addition of two new members has affected our sound. To me the new album still sounds like SNS… 6 years later. What I do know however is that the new songs wouldn’t have been as good without them. They both found good parts and influenced the song writing in a good way. You know we haven’t spent much time together in a practice room to experiment. We composed the album very far from each other, mainly on our computers. I guess their influence on SNS’s sound will be subtler on our next songs.
Since the new album is already written, can you confirm what you have stated before „that [songs] are simpler, more straightforward. They are also shorter with the exception of ambient pieces that will be sprinkled throughout the album”? The distance and the smaller amount of time you spent together in a rehearsal room must have its burden ;)
Actually, I don’t know whether people will have the feeling that songs are simpler or more straightforward. There are now 3 guitars, which can make the melodies richer and more complex. We also worked a little more on the post production. We have for instance integrated keyboards and vocal overdubs more than in the past. But yes the songs are a little shorter and the structures simpler. The skeleton of the songs is now based most of the time on a couple of patterns we transform throughout the songs, while in the past, for instance for a song like “les hommes sans visage” we were changing patterns, ambiances and intensities more often. That’s what gives the new songs a more straightforward and sometimes “poppy” sound. In a sense this album is more like “le ciel de notre enfance”. Except that we now use melodic vocals more often.
How did you choose Electrical Audio’s headquarters in Chicago for the recording spot?
We were big fans of Albini‘s work for years, so trying to record there sounded like a dream.
I know it sounds a little odd but it was the easiest way to record this album. I used to live in Chicago at that time, my friend Grégoire worked as a sound engineer at Electrical Audio and the tour was ending in Chicago. So the only thing we had to do was to stay one more week together in Chicago and record the album. We could have made it in France after the tour but I didn’t exactly know how long I would stay there before moving back to Montréal. And of course, although we were freaking out because we didn’t really know whether the songs would be ready, we were very excited about recording in this huge studio! It’s also always easier to record with someone you know and trust, and Grégoire was very professional, patient and nice with us.
Awesome! And the West West Side Music adventure with Alan? Have you supervised him in New Windsor? :)
We decided to work with him after a long chat by email. It was an option among other. He has done a big sound but I find it could have been much better. Maybe next time…
Arnaud (the new one):
Maybe not the best choice for our music, but he did a descent job.
What’s the current status of the release? What’s the timetable and are Echocanyon records, Adagio830 and Protagonist the only labels involved in the distribution?
The test presses are almost there! Echocayon should receive them on June 24th. After that, we’ll have to wait for 2 or 3 weeks to have the LPs so the timetable is end of July, for sure. We hope we’ll have them on time for our US summer tour. Robert at Adagio830 will take care of sending copies overseas. To answer your second question, yes Echocanyon, Adagio830 and Protagonist are the only labels involved in this release (except Nicolas at Désordre Ordonné who is releasing the tape version in Canada). It’s really important to us to have those people around SNS. They are friends who do everything with passion and we entirely trust. They know us, we know them, so we know everything will be done in conformity with our ethics. It’s like a little family, so it’s easy…
Personally, what’s something you love the most about it, besides the fact it’s finally out!? ;)
I love the fact that despite living really far from each other we managed to record these songs. Every time I tell this story to people they are very surprised that recording an album so far from each other and after 6 years is possible, but we’ve done it.
Yes as Arnaud says it was an ambitious project to write and record a new album with the tight timetable and the distance, and I’m definitely proud we managed to do it. This album also symbolizes a kind of rebirth for SNS, with a new line-up, new projects… We now know we can write and record new songs despite many hurdles so we’ll probably do it again. On a more personal plan, it also represents a rebirth for me. In contrast to my bandmates, I hadn’t had a serious side project since 2009. Although I played with people and started new projects in Montréal I clearly felt a lack. I had more than 10 songs composed but I had the sensation that they had to be played with SED NON SATIATA. So It makes me feel good to share an artistic project and create something with my friends again, as modest this project can be. I’m of course totally aware of our limits as musicians, songwriters and to the artistic value of our music. But the only thing that is important to me is that these songs didn’t exist a couple of months ago and now they do. This is very important to me. And I also love this album because it reminds me our US tour with Big Kids. We had a very very good time…
Arnaud (the new one):
Well, I agree with that. It was also a really great experience to record it at Electrical Audio. We met really nice people there, especially our sound engineer Gregoire, and I feel lucky I got the the chance to do that… Last but not least, musically I love the diversity of this LP. In a way, it gathers all our individual personalities/characters.
Does the artwork reflect its message? What do you scream about this time?
The story of the artwork is a little complicated… It’s most of the time a long and tricky process to take a decision together. It takes at least 200 emails and a long series of arguments…Briefly, we couldn’t find a consensus about who would do the artwork, because I guess we had different ideas about it and the music evoked different things for everybody. Hence, we decided to put an add on our website asking whether somebody would be willing to make it. Pretty quickly, people started to send us artworks and we finally chose the one who matched the most to the music. The color was clearly a crucial factor.
What I personally liked in the artwork Pierre made is the kind of turmoil at the center, which reminds the O in mappo and matches with the main theme of the album, which could be summarized by terms like trouble, confusion, agitation… I came up with this title after reading books by Yukio Mishima. This term was translating pretty well the period of confusion I was personally going through at that time but also the geopolitical and general world climate. So many things happened in 2010/2011: the economic crisis, the Arab spring, the Syrian conflict, the rise of strong nationalist ideas in Europe, the Japanese tsunami/radioactive contamination… Every morning you could read a new catastrophe… that was crazy! And I was convinced the worst was to come.
So the lyrics are about this period of trouble but on a much more personal level. The fact that lyrics are much more personal this time was not really a choice. I guess it was what I needed to write at that time. Songs talk about different things without any direct link with each other or messages. I write almost everywhere but at my desk. Sometimes I just try to express a feeling or a thought, or to describe an image or a vision that sticks to my brain. That’s for example the case for Soma that I wrote after a trip in a boreal forest in Canada. These landscapes are very powerful and have had a deep impact on me. Actually I never begin to write a text with the intention of talking about something in particular. I tried many times but it doesn’t work. I just write when it naturally comes to me, I’m not really in control. I even like the idea of getting lost in what I am writing. I write without knowing where I’m going, without any goal, without anything in particular to say. It’s like walking to explore a city without a map, without knowing where you’re heading, what you’ll find at the next corner. All these texts were not intended to be lyrics in the first place because most of them were written during our break. It’s only later that we chose which text would go with which song and that we adapted them to lyrics. But as I said, If I had to choose a term to describe what the songs are about I would say confusion or trouble. These words reflect pretty well their global mood and the feelings that gave birth to them. A feeling of trouble that comes to you after a painful introspection, when you’re at the crossroad of different ways and know that not a single one is good or satisfying…
Ok, let’s do another quick round with the 2012 US tour Charlie mentioned. It ended right after I got married :) I flew to France for my Honeymoon and you got back from your amazing trip about the same time, haha :) What was it that you missed about America the most? :)
So many things! I really fell in love with this country: landscapes, people, music… It is such a contrasted country. There are crappy things as everywhere but it is a country where you can meet the most amazing people and have the most alternative life you can imagine. I also like the enthusiasm and the courtesy of American people. It’s very different from France for that. Holy shit!!
Arnaud (the new one):
US is really a fascinating country. The worst and the better. When you grew up in the “old Europe”, it is sometimes difficult to understand their way of living. Although it is a really hard society for poor people, immigrants, etc., although American people may often seem folded on themselves or arrogant (politically), it is very interesting to go there and see that great things happen there. I’ll keep great memories from this trip.
France and the USA are such deeply different countries. While France rather emphasizes the value of equality among people, the USA will insist on liberty. France is also very critical with the communautarism of the US society and is an ardent defender of its Republican model. So French people generally have many cliché about the USA, and their political and economic systems are often demonized. And I guess the inverse is also true. But when you spend time there you realize that a large part of these cliché is wrong. It would be too long to talk about that deeply here but I also think that US’s harder and more individualistic socio-economic system gives birth to things I really like in this country and to positive feelings. The solidarity between people appears under other subtle forms.
Have you met some cool bands on the road?
DROUGHTS from Chicago were really good.
Arnaud (the new one):
BIG KIDS ! Really great people and good music !
Have you had time for any sightseeing in between shows?
We had some good sightseeing during the days, just because we really wanted to do it and BIG KIDS were ok to let us do it. For example I had a great feeling being in Manhattan for the first time of my life with my band mates after an awesome party on a rooftop in Brooklyn.
Arnaud (the new one):
We often had long road rides, and it was sometimes a bit frustrating to have to leave early without having the possibility of a trip in town centers (Boston for example). But we had great time seeing the countryside in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and we had the chance to do a “really crazy American thing”: rollercoaster in Cincinatti !
Arnaud (Vocals/ guitar):
I really liked all those stops on the road to swim in the lakes… It’s my best memories. The roller coasters in Cincinnati were awesome too. I had a lot of fun, and we had a so great night in Brooklyn. That night, we only slept two hours ’cause I woke up everybody to make a band picture in Time Square! Touristic as fuck but awesome… I think everybody wanted to kill me that morning!
Haha! :) Do you already have some plans to go back there?
Arnaud (Vocals/ guitar):
Yes, we have 17 shows booked from Portland to San Diego on the West coast, then through Arizona, Colorado and then back to the West coast in Seattle. We are so fucking excited…
Say whaaat?! :) Booyah! Bull’s eye, brothers! :)
Focusing back on your collaboration with Dig Nights, I must say that your version of “None More Black” really got me! How important was/is ORCHID’s work for you guys?
When I discovered Chaos is me years ago it was a blast. I didn’t know any band that was so fast, intense and melodic at the same time. I’ve listened to ORCHID records so many times… Right now my feeling is that the « situationist » posture of the lyrics is kind of funny, but I’m still really impressed by the intensity of the songs.
ORCHID is one of the bands we all intensively listened to in the early 2000s and we didn’t want to ruin their songs! It was interesting and challenging to work on covers. The challenge was to try to conserve their energy and make the songs sound like SED NON SATIATA at the same time. That’s why Arnaud sang “None more black” in French, which I think contributes to our sound. Well, given the small amount of time we had to do it I’m pretty satisfied with the result.
Arnaud (Vocals/ guitar):
When I read Darren’s email proposing us to make two covers of ORCHID’s songs, I could have answered YES immediately. I forwarded the email to the guys just to be polite but already knew the answer… Everyone in SNS is fond of Orchid. So our participation was obvious.
I remember you mentioning a repress LP containing “Le ciel de notre enfance” and most the songs from your split with DAÏTRO. Is it still on your agenda?
Yes actually the record is currently at the pressing plant so it should be out soon. The songs were remastered in Spain by Santi Garcia and we’ll have a new cover with an illustration from our first website. The new cover will be awesome ! Hopefully we’ll have the records for the tour.
Arnaud (Vocals/ guitar):
According to Echocanyon, this repress should be out at the same time as Mappo.
Ok.. what else? There’s a side project called ABJECT OBJECT, a hardcore punk pack from Paris, right? Tell me more about it.
When I moved to Paris 6 years ago we didn’t have any new plans with SED NON SATIATA except recording the « s/t » LP. So we began this band with two old friends from Toulouse who were also living in Paris, and we met Gaspard, a top silkscreen artist of « Arrache toi un œil » who was playing bass. We’ve done a lot of shows since then, one tour in France, a demo tape and a couple of split records (with AGHAST and 12XU). Then we decided to record a LP. We’ve tried to write punk songs with no style limitation…and the LP was finally out today. It’s called « Romance » and you can listen to it here.
Do you have other side projects that you work on?
I recently started two bands in Montréal, both on drum. One of them with members of COBRA NOIR and BLACK END / COMPLICATIONS / IRE. It is a kind of slow post-rock/shoe gaze/drone, something between GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR, EARTH, NEUROSIS…; and another with Romain from BOKANOVSKY who also lives in Montreal. Small world!
Arnaud (Vocals/ guitar):
Yes, actually i have a math rock project with Simon (SED NON SATIATA, PLEBEIAN GRANDSTAND) and Benoît (DAITRO, BATON ROUGE) called ANCRE (www.ancre-music.com) We had a quiet year because everyone was really busy, but it’s an important side project for us. 2014 should be more productive.
I bet, Arnaud!
Alright… and the most important thing. When do you think you can make a European Tour again? I really miss you guys. The aforementioned March 11, 2007 gig in Cracow made me horny, haha! ;)
Touring is really difficult for us because as you know we are far away from each other. We had plans to go on tour through Europe this summer but the temptation to go back to the US was too strong. In the future we’ll try to go on tour again if we can find the time… We are thinking about Japan right now although we still don’t have a really concrete plan.
I didn’t know our music could make people horny! Great! ;) More seriously, we’re craving about going on tour through Europe again but we try to go where we haven’t had the opportunity to go before.
OK, buddies. Is there anything else you wanna shout out to the people out there?
Thanks to people who have been supporting us by coming to our shows, buying and downloading our music, by sending us kind emails.
Thanks so much for your time. I owe you! :) And it’s soo amazing to see you fully active again! Cheers, buddies!
Thank you Karol for having us. It was nice to talk to you.
Arnaud (the new one):
Arnaud (Vocals/ guitar):
IDIOTEQ is really nice webzine, thanks for that ITW Karol