Friday, 20 July 2018

RECORDS OF THEIR YEARS...with Julien Chanut from Hangman's Chair

Hangman’s Chair are regarded as France’s foremost name in the world of stoner / doom, releasing a steady flow of singles, EPs, albums and split releases (including a 2017 split EP with longstanding Japanese stoner / doom outfit Green Machine), yet their music is in no way bound by style, as their latest album ‘Banlieue Triste’ clearly shows; these 10 featured tracks represent the band’s most complete, realised statement to date, successfully merging a variety of different elements into a body of work driven from the conscience and the heart, with subtle touches and crushing power standing side by side. 

Recently signed to Spinefarm Records, it seems the band are finally receiving the recognition they deserve and having been a fan of the band since the release of their fantastic “Hope Dope Rope” from 2012 , after  long 6 years I am finally able to feature the band on THE SLUDGELORD, so please welcome guitarist Julien Chanut as he chooses his “Records of their Years” 

SL: Favourite album from the year you were born?

Julien: Renaud, “Marche A l’Ombre” (1980)

Well, I could have chose some obscure goth band from the early 80’s or a NWOBHM band of that era but the only album I know for sure that popped out in 1980 is “Marche à l’ombre” of Renaud. He’s an old French singer, he‘s still alive and started his career back in the ‘70s, he’s really famous in France.

He sings about the “banlieue” the ghetto youngsters, Paris, love, politics, everyday life… sometimes in a humoristic way but most of the time in a sensitive way. At that time he was considered as a rebel, he was against all repression, Police, Army, government.  As I am not really into politics, I prefer when he talks about everyday life, his stories about being young in France in the 70’s/80’s.

That’s the kind of music we like to play at parties or in the van, we all know the lyrics by heart and it’s great for late night karaoke.  Moreover, with the artwork of “Banlieue Triste” we somehow pay tribute to all his early album covers, we took a nostalgic look back at those covers.

SL: First album you bought with your own money?

Julien: Michael Jackson, “Bad” (1987)

I was 7 at that time, the album had just come out and it was a huge worldwide release. With my money pocket, I remember buying it in a market street in Thailand, those kinds of illegal shops where they used to sell hundreds of cassette tape bootlegs for dirt cheap. Mine was a recordable tape with a color photocopied cover, no lyrics.

My favourites songs were “Liberian Girl” and “Smooth Criminal”, I was playing them all day long in my room, trying to sing in fake English, so “any ayou wocki” (Annie are you ok)

A few years later, when I was a little more confident in my music taste, I got introduced to Hip Hop by a cousin and bought the tape of ICE T, “Iceberg” in a “real” shop, knowing exactly what I was looking for. That was the first time I get a tape that I wanted for a long time.  After that, when my sister get our first CD player, as a young teenager discovering punk hardcore, the CD I bought was Bad Brains, “Rock The Light” and my first vinyl was Judge, “Bringin’ It Down”. Before that, we were trading and borrowing 90min recordable tapes of multiple bands. 

SL: Favourite non metal / rock album?

Julien: Mobb Deep, “Hell On Earth” (1996).

I listen to a lot of Hip Hop, US and French but the first time I heard Mobb Deep, it was like I was rediscovering rap music. This album in particular was my introduction to their work and to all the Queensbridge sound, it sounds rough, cold and dark and that’s what I was looking for a long time without even knowing it.

Everything is great on “Hell On Earth”, from the title itself to the lyrics to the instrumentals of Havoc, the atmosphere is so grimy. Prodigy is probably my MC number one, alongside with Shyne, they are a real inspiration for our lyrics, even if we don’t deal with the same subjects.

Now, I ‘m more into old Memphis rap bands like Three 6 Mafia, Tommy Wright III and some Screwed & Chopped like SpaceGhostPuurp.

SL:  Favourite album of all time?

Julien: Tough one… usually people asks for your Top 5 of all times… I cannot chose one album in particular, it depends on my mood, one day I can tell you it’s “Nine ways to say I love you” by Section 8 and another day “Dirt” by Alice In Chains etc… What I can tell you is the song for my funeral: “The Last Rebel” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

SL: Favourite album of 2018?

Julien: YOB, “Our Raw Heart”

Not very original on this one but so far, this is my fav album of 2018. Everybody was expecting for a great album after what Mike Scheidt has been through and that’s exactly what they did. Just like all their albums, I need several playings to really get into it, I explain myself : first I prefer the sound of “Clearing The Path To Ascend” which is at the first listening more powerful and secondly “Our Raw Heart” is much longer than all the previous ones, maybe too longer, too much informations.

So you keep on listening it and then, all of a sudden, it becomes clear. It takes time to appreciate good things. The sound is lighter but that’s OK, it fits the songs, now my ears are getting used to it and I finally understand the tracklisting. “Beauty In Falling Leaves” and “Our Raw Hearts” are soulful songs. There’s something unique about this band.

SL: And finally The last album you bought?

Julien:  RITUALZ, “DOOM” (2018)

For me, it sounds like a slow low fi version of PRAYERS, a good mix of cholo goth, dark wave, industrial and post punk. His first albums are more in the vein of the Witch House bands, great stuff though.

The End

Hangman’s Chair’s new album “Banlieue Trist” will be available on 27th September 2018 via Spinefarm Records and the track “04/09/16” can be stream below

Band info: bandcamp || facebook