Friday 26 April 2013

Interview with Los Disidentes Del Sucio Motel

Today on Sludgelord it I am interviewing one of my current fave Stoner Rock Bands – Los Disidentes Del Sucio Motel – who have just released their brilliant album – Arcane which I reviewed recently and fucking loved the hell out of.

These highly talented and insane French Stoner Rockers have been blazing a trail of great riffs for a few years now. And I decided to catch up with them to see what they are currently upto. Apart from surviving a Zombie Apocalypse as described on their excellent new album.

So lets get started with those cool Zombie Slayers - Los Disidentes Del Sucio Motel.

Q1 – Hi guys, Thanks for doing this. How are things with you guys Today.

Very well and thanks to you for this interview. 

Q2 – For people not in the know, can you give them a brief bio on how the band came about. And why the name - Los Disidentes Del Sucio Motel?

LDDSM exist since 2007. At the beginning, it was not a really serious project. We were just friends but playing in different bands together. Bobby and Johnny had a punk rock band, Billy and Sonny a heavy metal band and Sonny, Johnny and I a Metal band. We all wanted to play something different. Stoner wasn’t so popular at this time in France but Bobby and I were already QOTSA fans. So, one day while we were listening together Rated R, we just said “hey, let’s have a Stoner band”. We had Sonny, Billy and Johnny in our contacts and this is how it started. 

There was a little time during which each one of us had 2 bands, so one day Bobby’s mother called us “the dissidents” and we found it cool. After a little brain storming after a jam, we chose Los Disidentes Del Sucio Motel to invocate the Latino side of America, the road movies, all this specific culture linked to this music. We knew that it would be hard for people to remember our name but we even knew that it would let nobody indifferent and this is the most important. You can notice that none of us can speak a single word in Spanish!

Q3 – Which bands and artists influence you directly as musicians?

The very first influence of LDDSM was QOTSA, like many of us playing in this scene. But today, it’s not so evident. We have extended our field of listening and try to do our own music. For me, the 2 bands who influenced me as a composer are Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath and as a guitar player, I would say Pantera and Metallica. I’ve learned music by trying to transcribe their songs.

In the new album, we tried to develop the vocals harmonies and many people find some Alice In Chains influences in it, which is probably true, cause I’m a big fan.

In the pure Stoner scene, we love Fu Manchu, Clutch, Down, Kyuss, Red Fang, COC, Goatsnake…

Q4 – So you have just released your excellent new album – Arcane. And it's a tale of a Zombie Holocaust unleashed upon the world. Or is there a deeper meaning to it?

Thank you. ARCANE is more about occultism in general. Yes, “Z” speaks clearly about a zombie invasion, but the rest of the album talks about many things. We wanted to tell stories about myths and legends (Kraken), ghosts (Ouija), Voodoo (Mojo), shamanism (Journey), death (Santa Muerte), immortality (Death proof) etc… Death is present nearly in every song of the album with different views, and always with a big part of fun, ‘cause this is what we are. We don’t want to be a serious band in our messages.

Q5 – Who came up with that crazy insane and brilliant idea? 

We always have the same processes of writing: first the music, then the lyrics. So we are guided by the riffs, the environments, the sounds that we create and then, Bobby or I principally, imagine the lyrics inspired by it. So, we realized month after month, while we were composing the new album, that it was darker and heavier than our past songs. So it came naturally to talk about dark things. And so, we said “why not make a whole album about the occult?” and this is what we did.

Q6 – Was it an easy album to write and record for? And are you happy with the final product?

When we arrived at the studio “Le Cube” we thought that 90% of the album was written. We always keep a little part of improvisation on the spot during a recording, but time is money, so you have to be ready when the sound engineer says “OK man, record!”. We took about 2 years to write the songs I think. Many of them were set aside, because they were not consistent with the rest. 

We wanted something compact and just keep the best songs we had. So we were very prepared for this recording. We worked very hard to get our level up to a next step. But when we started the recording, we realized that we had still a lot of work to reach the quality we were looking for. We knew that going in this studio, would put us in danger, but this is what we wanted. Break our codes, our way of recording and find some new inspiration and this is exactly what we found with these 2 killers (I mean the sound engineers)! 

One is a true self-made man, he doesn’t know about music theory, he just let his mind, his ears and heart speak and have always crazy great ideas. The other, is the total opposite. He’s a great musician and a music teacher. So he knows the theory very well. Together, they can answer to all your questions and find the little thing making a good part an excellent part. It was in incredible experience working with them and we learnt a lot. We are very proud of this album. This is the best thing we’ve done since the creation of the band. The production is great and totally consistent with our live sound.

Q7 – I first noticed you with your debut album – Soundtrack From The Motion Picture – Great album which had loads of great humour. Though on Arcane it has been replaced with a darker black comedic tone. Was that the plan for Arcane? Do something that little more dangerous.

Yes but as I told you, it came naturally. The truth is that we really wanted to give a new vision of the band. It’s important to evolve and offer something new to your audience. We toured during 3 years around Soundtrack’s universe, it was time to give a new image of LDDSM. Maybe we were just attracted by the dark side of the Force?

Q8 – You have received some great press from the Stoner Metal community over the last few years or so. Has that been a big help in getting your music across to a bigger audience?

It’s always difficult to quantify this. We cannot tell, “yes we’ve 10 more fans thanks to this new review”. But Internet has clearly changed the way to discover bands. When I was a kid, if I wanted to know who the new cool bands were, I had to buy rock magazines and go to the music store of my city. Today, we have everything with one click.

Getting a bigger audience is something you win year after year, with a regular work. We have to warrant a good communication across the social networks, the webzines, the blogs and of course on stage! Tour, tour, tour and tour!

Q9 – I love the video for Z. Probably one of the best videos you have done so far. A great mini-horror movie with awesome riffs to match. Was that a cool video to make?

Oh yes! Really great! We did it in 3 evenings only with a small budget but with passion like everything we do. It’s a very good friend of us who directed the video, Mathieu Garcia. He did some other clips from it, but this one is the longest and probably one of those who asked him the most of work. You know, 9 minutes is already very long for a video editing! 

It was really funny to make it, cause we were only in little team of friends and we didn’t know what it would look like at the end but we laughed a lot. The fake blood was so disgusting man! And we felt so dirty at the end of the filming, you can’t imagine! Prosthetic in latex glued on our face, dust and flour in our hair, and of course a lot of sweating take after take, oh I really loved the shower that followed! But we are very satisfied of the final cut! It really kicks ass!

Q10 – Is there a gig scene for you guys to perform regularly in France or do you have to travel further to perform live? 

We are from North-East of France, a region called Alsace, so it’s naturally the place where we play the most, but we tour mostly everywhere. We’ve made about 200 gigs in 7 years so, you can imagine that we moved a lot. I think the only area where we didn’t play in the real center; otherwise, I think we made the floor tremble in all the French territory.

Q11 – Have you toured with any famous bands or artists? If so who have been your favorite?

Yes, we opened for The Smashing Pumpkins in Colmar (it was such a big show! 7000 people! And we were very young at this time. A Hard but incredible experience). We played 4 times with Red Fang, 2 times with Karma to Burn, 2 times with Ufomammut and many others, Valient Thorr, Crucified Barbarra, Tokyo Sex Destruction, Saviours, Danava, Dagoba, Deville and in some festivals too, Hellfest, Eurockéennes, DesertFest Berlin... We never tour for a long time with a famous band but we did it with French bands that you maybe know, Abrahma, Water Pipe Cult, Flashfalcon… These 3 bands are awesome and the people playing in are very nice persons. We spent incredible moments together on the road.

Q12 – Are you guys full time musicians or do you all have regular jobs to pay the bills. 

Unfortunately not. We all have a regular job next to the music activity. It’s always a hard choice to make. If we really wanted, I think we could live from music, by playing in several bands and doing the roadie for big bands, but it means, being on the road all year-long and especially a precarious situation. In France, you can’t play rock and live comfortably from your music ! I think it’s about the same everywhere today isn’t?

Q13 – What is the song-writing process in the band? Is it a group collective or is it down to one individual?

It’s globally always the same. I write the base of the music alone at home. Sometimes, it’s nearly finished, sometimes just some ideas and then we jam together on this base. Each one grafted and offers some ideas. We record every rehearsal and we take time to listen to it before the next one to have enough perspective on what we wrote.

Sometimes we know immediately that it works, sometimes it takes time and sometimes it’s shit! For the lyrics, it depends of what the music inspires us. Most of time, it’s Bobby and I who write the lyrics and from time to time all together. But for the next record, we will try to work differently. Compose all together and not in a linear way, song after song, but more in a parallel way with several songs in the same time around a global idea, to see if we can get something more continuous. We’ll see…

Q14 – What are your favorite bands around at the moment? Do you listen to modern day rock/metal or do you just listen to the classic era of Stoner/Doom Metal.

Let me check my ipod… I love the last Loading Data album (very groovy and sexy stoner rock), the last Babylon Pression’s album called “Allez tous vous faire foutre” (I let you translate it via google ok?  ) the energy of this album is just brutal and the lyrics, really badass. The Bronx IV is really cool too and I think the last snap I took is for Earth Rocker of the mighty Clutch, fantastic album. Push the sky away of Nick Cave & The bad seeds is beautiful too. 

Otherwise, I’m a big fan of old classical rock, our fathers all, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd the magical trio! I love some extreme music stuff too, the classical, and the modern. I can name you some bands of different style, but not close to Stoner, like Converge, Gojira, Isis, Pantera… In France, I love Pneu and Mars Red Sky and there are just the 2 opposite! The first in really complex and extremely nervous, the second is heavy as hell and slow. I don’t have a typical kind of music, it talks to me or not, that’s all.

Q15 – What are your views of blogs featuring and reviewing your records, as opposed to mainstream music magazines? 

It’s hard to compare ‘cause the quantities of reviews are not comparable. We have about 20 web reviews for each mainstream magazine review… At least, it was the ratio for the first album; it may be different for Arcane. But generally, we have good feedback from music mags. The new big media is Internet today. The printed press has many difficulties to survive. Perhaps because they are not interested enough in the underground scene, I don’t know. It’s hard to say. But it seems to be logic that people choose how to get free information rather than pay for it. It’s sad but true. So today, the most bands focuse their efforts on the web promotion, despite the fact that magazines always bring good credibility.

Q16 – Now we at Sludgelord are massive fans of French Stoner/Sludge Metal music of late. Abrahma, Wheelfall, Huata, Watertank, Crown and yourselves. Seems to be a lot of great bands coming out of France. Is there a secret underground factory making great bands? Or is it just many great bands now starting to get the attention they fully deserve?

Haha great question man! I don’t know. But you’re totally right, the French Stoner scene is awesome! You know, we’ve been around for 7 years, so we were among the first playing this music in our country. I think, the really first ones were Glowsun and Loading Data and they are still here and always getting better. So we’ve seen the evolution of this scene, year after year, and I think we have mostly played with every French bands and they are globally all fucking good. There is a very good agreement between the bands. Everybody knows each other and supports the work of the others. 

There is no competition. Each band has its own identity. This scene is in an incredible expansion and gradually the audience grows up too. In Paris, you have the Stone Gatherings nights, in a little club; organized by Mathieu Yassef, the man that everybody knows and who knows everybody (big up Youssouf!). Every month, he books Stoner, doom and sludge bands from all over the world and it’s always a success. 

By success I mean over than 200 persons, which is very good for this kind of music in France. Our country does not have a Rock culture, so it’s a big performance! He has managed to retain its public only on the Stone Gathering name. Regardless of who is programmed, people go there because they know it is a guaranteefor a good quality show. So, we have the good bands, we have fans, all we need is a bigger support from medias, but it’s coming right now! Bookers, radios and magazines are becoming awareof the phenomenon and begin to take us seriously. The scene is quite young and has got a lot to show!

Q17 – What are your views record companies shutting down blogs and websites due to illegal downloading? Some people are for it and some people are against it.

I think our labels are like us, we are globally against. But, it’s impossible to struggle efficiently. This is how it works today ; you have to deal with it. The idea is to motivate your fans to buy your music, by giving them something more : a nice artwork, a good communication, a beautiful object (vinyl, digipack CD), goodies, live recordings etc… This is what we’ve done for Arcane. In another way, being pirated means that you’ve reach a new level of notoriety, so it’s not totally bad. 

At our level, being pirated is not such a catastrophe cause the most of our sales are made after the show in the merchandising and if people share your music to their friends, because they like it and it will bring new fans, it’s just frustrating because pirating small bands is not the solution! Sharing music illegally has always existed, the phenomenon is just bigger than ever due to the web effect. It’s the music industry’s job to adapt and offer a new cost-effective system for all artists.

Q18 – What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band? Obviously the reality of how expensive it is being in a band could be considered as a negative aspect.

Oh no, it’s globally a pure happiness. We are like a family and we live incredible moments together, that only music can give us. Being on tour is an exhausting but incredible experience. We meet cool people, visit nice cities and above all share our passion together. Creating a song, recording it and sharing it on stage is an amazing thing and all the sacrifices we do are here to live this. 

Obviously there are times when you want to stop everything because you leave such a huge energy for that passion, that force begins to fail and you're asking yourself a lot of questions. Why all this sacrifice? What am I doing here, far from my family? But when you take your guitar, plug it in your amp and let it scream with your friends, it’s always a kind of magic moment and the energy always comes. The day I’ll no longer feel this pleasure, I will stop but that day has not arrived yet!

Q19 – Apart from the album, do you have any future plans for the upcoming 12 months or so? Anything we should be excited about?

Yes, we have planned to work on a new video clip in the next 6 month. I think it’s gonna be very fun! We’ll open for Orange Goblin the 18th of June and will probably film the show. For the rest, it’s under construction, so I can’t announce anything officially. Stay tuned!

Q20 – If you could provide any advice to people wanting to start a band, what would it be?

Take the time to know each other and become friends before becoming just musicians playing together ; it’s the secret of longevity for a line up. The road is fucking hard and long so you better have trust in your partners! And just be yourself, don’t listen too much to what people say about your music, just do it your own way, with sincerity and hard work and you’ll find your audience.

Q21 - Finally, Do you have anything to say your fans? 

Thank you very much for your support. We wouldn’t be here without you. See you on the road friends!!!

Fingers up, head banging and Rock n’ Roll spirit!

Well guys thanks for doing this. Best of luck with the new album. Hope you crazy dudes make it over to the UK one time. 

Check out This Brilliant Band from the links below