Oh yeah… it feels really good to present you this band. SUGARTOWN CABARET is a quasi-emo post-hardcore / punk band ;) from Caen, located in northwestern part the beautiful country of France. It’s another band that bring up the question “Why are a band like this often described as screamo?” :) Their frantic, atmospheric sound is packed in an intense rush of punk vibes that fit perfectly to their DIY attitude. Give these honest guys a listen and find out what they’re going to be up to in the coming months!
Hey, gentlemen! So nice talkin’ to you. What’s up? How are you?
Hey, we just came back a few days ago from our Israel Tour. We’re very happy that we did this amazing trip, but sad that it’s already finished…
Yeah, man. The photos looks awesome! But aren’t you glad you’re home? :)
Yes, it’s nice come back to our family. But it’s always hard to come back into everyday life with jobs, administration, and stuff that makes you stressful. Back to reality is tough.
So tell me more about this adventure. What places have you seen and how was it?
So we’ve been in Israel for 10 days with 3 shows. Hard to get more, because the scene and the country is very small. We played at Haifa first, then Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
The people at the shows where really crazy, especially in Tel Aviv. There’s few people showing up, but they really enjoyed our style, because they usually have punk or hardcore bands. It was a big challenge for us, make our style happen in Israel. But the feedbacks where just giants. On the other side, we had time to discover the country, which is the most beautiful country we’ve ever seen. The food is almost vegetarian and the best so far. We were also lucky to have some political discussions with the punks over there, and was fully interesting. The situation over there is fucked up. It’s a military country, and you get controlled almost everywhere. But most of the punks are aware of the situation and are really critical about this. And mostly against religion. The best spots we’ve seen where oasis in the desert with waterfalls. Jerusalem is a crazy place mixed of almost all the religions. And we spend the last day at the dead sea and around, which was a great experience.
Yup. You mentioned that we should all note that “people living in a country are not responsible of their state acts.” Is it really the main subject in the punk scene? What exactly are they against? What did you learn over there?
It’s not the main subject in the punk scene in Israel, like it’s not in Europe. Many punks in Europe are not political at all, go vote, or are not critical about anything, and some others are main activists. The problem is how you deal with that. If you criticize a whole population because of their state acts, this is stupid. I’m not responsible of my governments, so when I hear punks from Europe that we should not tour in Israel, this is totally fucked up. Punks/people over there, just need our positive energy to get through of this messed up situation, caused by this nationalist government, and all the religions. Being a punk there, or being with no religion is already an act against this statement. Some gets activists, into Anarchists again the wall for example, some are trying to not do their military obligation (which is hard), and some are just doing punk shows for punks with no religion. I think we came back with more anger against nationalism, states, religions and borders. Because everything is just overdosed there in a little place.
And there were no problems with setting up these shows?
No, I don’t think so. They have their own places to book shows, it’s easier that way. But it seems cops can be stressful into making it stop.
A month before the Isreael Tour, you toured your home country with the amazing AUSSITOT MORT. I can’t get over that you did not extend this run to include European dates [smiles], but please tell me, how was it?
Yes, we would love to do also Europe together, but we had to make some choices, and we’ve been too much touring Europe then France the past years. The Tour was really great, we weren’t expecting so much people at the shows. We met old friends again, and AUSSITÔT MORT and SUGARTOWN CABARET are old friends too. So I and let you imagine how friendship crazy the tour was. I think it was the most exhausting tour we had, because of all the parties we did…
Oh come on! The last time you toured Europe was autumn 2010, 2009, 2007 and spring 2006! Haha! It’s definitely not enough :) Based on your experience, what are some of the biggest differences in touring certain areas of Europe?
Ok, I’ll have to notice that it’s false :) We’ve been touring the really last time in Europe in April 2012!!! But true that, we didn’t come this time in Poland….apologize! :)
Your question is hard to answer…every country is really different…..We play a lot in squats or punk places, so the differences are mainly caused by how this places are managed. There is a huge difference between German places and Spanish places. By any way, you can see that main culture of the areas (instead of the countries really) are making differences of ambiance, places, people, etc…You have Mediterranean, Balkans, Eastern Europe, northern styles. And each of them is not better, but just another experience. Some places you get not enough money, or crappy conditions to eat and sleep, but good exchange with the crowd and people that host you, but on the other hand you have sometimes amazing managed places, with perfect conditions, but where people are more used to see shows daily. But till know the best so far was touring into Arabic countries like Turkey, Morocco and Israel. Being on tour and hearing a muezzin is always something crazy. (Even if we hate religions, we still love the sound of the muezzin, best tune ever…).
What about the US? Have you ever been tempted to go there with SUGARTOWN CABARET? SED NON SATIATA did a lot of great shows there last year.
Touring US is a long story….we tried 3 times to get there….first we canceled because one of us has to be a new dad at the same period….couldn’t understand else way! Second, it seems the period was too close and few shows booked….and the last try we had to tour with a well-known band (mouth closed), which preferred at the final tour with another more well-known and more hype band (mouth closed) then us. Big deception on the last try, so we decided not to try anymore and waiting an offer with good conditions. We lost too much hope and energy into this 3 tries. So maybe we’ll never get there, and we have 100% no problem with that. We’re definitely not a hype band. And hype seems to be a good deal to come over… :) We have tons of other projects to do, that are really exciting. But let’s see if one day something interesting will come over to tour US. Nobody knows!
Alright, so what are your next steps when it comes to touring? What’s more or less certain?
We have a Scandinavian tour planned at the end of this year, still have to precise the dates. And next year, there’s a plan about South America, which is very exciting, but nothing really concrete now (a release is on work right now on a Peruvian label!). We cross the fingers, because this destination is the one we want to do at least one time as a dream in our band existence!
Oh my.. sounds awesome! By the way, what labels are you currently working with?
We are still working with Moment of collapse from Germany since the 3 last records, they’re doing a great job, and they’re always into anything we’re doing. Which is just perfect. Beside of that, there is a lot of friends helping any records when they feel free to put energy (and money) in…nothing is fixed. May be we’ll work with Init records from US again one day, for the next album? We don’t have any strategy, things come as we feel at the moment….
I remember your last year’s update regarding the re-release of your album “The first time I lost the road map”. What happened with the 2xLP gatefold version, with the 2 songs from you split with ADORNO? Is it out?
Yes, it’s finally out!! We’re waiting the copies in France, something shitty happened with the post…so we don’t even know how it looks like! But The Spanish labels (Caleiah and La Agonia De Vivir) and Moment Of Collapse in Germany got the copies, and it’s looks awesome!
When will we be able to put our hands on it?
Oh, bring in some links, will ya? Damn, I have no idea how I missed this, but I though you actually gave it up.
What are you next steps when it comes to releasing new music?
OOOh, apologize….it seems, the labels didn’t do the job yet, so it should comes in few days…I know they got it for sure. Just check this 4 labels within a week.
We are right now working a new full length, that we hope, we’ll be released on 2014. We had tough time to work on new songs because of our schedule. Between shows, our other bands, family and work, it’s was not easy to get through this the past year. But we are ready to work hard on new material till the next year! We’re doing just a couple of tour and we’ll try not to do any single shows between that.
Any special ideas for the big release?
Not really, just in the same way we did the last one, experimenting sounds, and trying to be as open as possible to any ideas we can get. We will try more to include into songs things we have experienced when touring the world, may be. No pressure, as always.
Alright, guys. How do you look back on your experience being part in this band? Aren’t you tired? [smiles]
It’s been 9 years of experiences, friendship and brotherhood on so much different places. It changed our lives, completely. We have been growing into adults, keeping that all we do in our lives, is to let the band exist and still tour. We have now jobs and family, but in the way that the band his part of our lives. How can we be tired? So many places to discover, so many people to meet, and music is so unlimited that there’s always something new to do. We all 5 are a family, we’ve been passing through so much tough time and periods. That nothing is unresolvable for us. We’re not just a band, we’re a family. How can we stop that? It doesn’t mean that the band will never stop, we can’t predict the future. But at the time now, we’re ready to anything hard to support to keep the band alive. We’ve always been doing the band with humility, respect of the listeners, to the people who helped us, because we think being DIY punk is not just a style, it’s a way of life, and how you translate emotions to the people around. The most important to us, since the beginning, is having good time with the people who host us and helped us, to make a big family grow. The idea of touring, is exchanging emotions with others. We are more ready now to continue than ever. And by the fact, it’s easier, cause we have so much friends to support us, that we have more options to get a release or shows.
What would you say are some of the biggest challenges you face?
When you tour for 9 years, there’s a lot of challenges to face….A UK tour in 2008, with no money, no people, no food, no sleep, no anything. We just slept outsides on banks for a week…Also a tour in Europe, when my guitar head and the shoulder of our singer get broken in the same night. We really thought the tour will be over right in the middle of it. I could never believe we’ll play right the day after when we saw our singer coming out from the hospital in massive pain. But we did it. He played in the back of the stage with his arm into a scarf and I played every night in a different amp. No show has been cancelled. One other tour, we had a show in Greece that ends with huge riots, we had to unload our equipment under stones and barricades. There’s many of critical moments on tour. But the hardest was for a long time, loosing so much money by touring. This is something we have to pass through till now, is that we’re doing a style that is between a punk scene and a indie scene. And believe me, when you’re into a DIY punk scene, it’s not that easy to survive, and that’s a shame for scene that is supposed to be open-minded.. We had some very intense talks about what to do at some periods, after some tough tours…Also, our singer wanted to quit the band last year, before our Europe tour in 2012. Till the end of the tour we didn’t expect what will happened. He was into serious project, and was hard for him get involved into the band because he’s the only one leaving away from our city (Paris). But he finally discovered that he couldn’t live without his brothers and his music. On the other hand, we had many split projects with some bands, but they all cancelled for some reasons that we consider it’s because we’re not hype enough. That’s why the last record is called “this is a split”. But this was for the past year. We feel really in a perfect mood right now, and everything’s just fine. We kept surviving, and we have a big friendship in the world after all. That’s the most important.
Tough. And is it hard to be in a band and deal with your everyday life? Have your families or jobs made you consider splitting up?
It has never been difficult in the sense that the group has always been part of our lives. We have chosen professions that fit with our lifestyle, and our families have always accepted the group as a significant part of our lives. Be missing is not the most complicated, it’s always money. A tour should be carefully considered as we now have for two of us children to feed. If we come back from a tour in deficit, we lose on two tables, because at the same time we don’t make money at work. We agreed to have a simple life to continue our passion. Although we believe that money should not be an important value in life (which proves our choice of wanting to be part of a DIY band), we need to survive. Unfortunately, we need more than ever after all these tours, and financial problems that may end the band, to budget the tour. This is really hard to manage, to choose a tour, and coming back with a financial hole, and considering that you don’t have enough money to eat. But sometimes, it’s true that it is difficult to give our agendas between our jobs and our side projects with 5 people.
So what are your predictions? How long will it last? Would you consider splitting up after one of you decided to part ways with the band? Or would you simply find a fill-in?
Haha! I really don’t know. I think we’re ready for 10 more years now, if things are going well. We have labels, the band is financially ok at this time…we have more doors open than ever. And we already talked about if one of us quit the band one day, but it seems we’ll try to continue then. We’re full of hope for the band at this time than ever.
Great! Before we finish, please tell me… what does DIY mean to you as a person and as a musician?
I like this scene as much as I hate it. For me it’s just the way I see my life everyday. Be autonomous and able to fend off this system. This is a real political choice, because it’s aware of what art should be against a consumerist world. And I hate it as much as this scene looks by many mainstream music. Dressing codes, musical confinement, fashion, pose, machism, hype bands, etc … The DIY should be by its very nature, an open to all styles. I can’t understand why a guy who’s playing piano, should be neither DIY nor punk. For example, among my 4 bands including 3 DIY, I have a solo project (THE EYE OF TIME), who’s in the indie scene. I tried for six years to be part of this DIY scene. But I’ve realized that it was impossible to find dates or a DIY label. My music didn’t fit in the codes. For my project continues to exist, I went to an independent structure, so that the DIY scene closes many musical genres. From my experience, I realize that musical styles are coded, and the festivals are only mainstreams radios or hardcore everyone sings and plays the same way. You can make crappy music acting like a rockstar, if you got tattoos, pose and you play super strong, it will work. So many European bands that are unknown, and many American bands who play the same shit, which saturate the European scene, and come as conquerors, it’s something I can’t understand when it comes to values DIY what we supposed to represent. DIY, for me, is not to give money to Shell, go for a rockstar, and go home without being critical to the world we’re living. This is to support a network of passion with friends, without having to process into business. A critical self-cultural environment to this world. What is important in the scene of European squats is the evidence of autonomy and autogestion. Without any statement authority. If you play in a squat, and it doesn’t make you think about your lifestyle, then DIY is useless. I am an anarchist before being in the DIY scene. It was just the best way to deal with my passion and political ideal.
Thank you so much for your honest thoughts.
It’s been a good conversation, guys. Feel free to add anything you like. Thanks so much for your time!
Thank you so much for your interest! And long life to Idioteq!!