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A Ripple Conversation With StoneBirds

Posted on the 18 November 2019 by Ripplemusic
A Ripple Conversation With StoneBirds
A Ripple Conversation With StoneBirds I grew up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkel, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was that first musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music for good. I've had a few minor epiphany's since then, you know, when you come across a band that just brings something new and evolutionary to your ears.
What have been your musical epiphany moments?
I grew up with traditional celtic music at home, the first artist who moved me was Denez Prigent, a musician from my home area in western France, he sing what we call "gwerzioù" in local speech, long laments, very monotonous, and he transforms those laments into something very ambient, melancholic and often quite dark. After that I've discovered Queens Of The Stone Age with "Songs For The Deaf". This album definitely crushed me and made me dive into music. I started to learn the guitar and piano a few days or weeks later. QOTSA introduced me as a musician and music passionate.
My last epiphany moment is Justin Broadrick’s JESU. A good friend offered me "Conqueror" album and I must say I never heard something so fragile, dark and beautiful at the same time. "Weightless and Horizontal" track is, I think, the song I've listened the more, even if I discovered JESU really late.
Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?
It generally starts with something else than music, it can be a landscape, a movie, a video-game or a few words. Since our first album, we try to transcribe feelings, words or pictures into music. We always try to make a journey with a song or an album. I really enjoy creating that way, developing and transcribing ideas into music.
I write the guitar and vocal parts alone at home, then I send them to Antoine (drums) and Sylvain (bass), they work the song on their side and we melt everyone's ideas together later. As we live far away from each others, we can't create a whole song together, and we're bad jammer so...
Who has influenced you the most?
Maybe Cult of Luna or Pink Floyd in a certain way. We dig progressive structures, there's nothing more boring to me than a verse/chorus/verse/chorus/break/chorusX2 song.
Musically, I think we're close to Yob, Mastodon... but we always try to make influences the less audible we can. There's sometimes references or twinkles to other bands but we don't want to be the bad or good duplication of any band.
Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?
We don't need motivation, the pleasure of playing new material together is enough. It's for this precise kind of moments I like to write new songs. Writing music is a real need, this is the only moment of total freedom. Staying a few hours alone, with brains totally focused on the moment, my instrument... this is out of time.
Inspiration can come from a movie, a book, a video game... everything that can trigger a specific emotion to me. I don't have any precise ritual or tip to create.
A Ripple Conversation With StoneBirdsWe're all a product of our environment. Tell us about the band's hometown and how that reflects in the music?
I lived 20 years in the center of Brittany (western part of France). It's a small area where there's nothing except cows, piggeries, forest, old stone churches and old people. I really love this country-side, everything's stuck 10 or 20 years ago… everything is slower, peaceful. The landscapes are really inspiring, and in our first album, we reached the foggy/dirty side of my hometown. I often have some landscapes of that area when I begin to imagine a new song.
Where'd the band name come from?
It comes from our countryside, center britanny is very rich in big stone crosses, menhir (tall curved stones)... There's stones everywhere even on rivers,  not in, ON!
As we are mixing heavy and soft music, we thoughts that duality between stone and birds was really representative of where we come and what we offer musically.
You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?
Maybe a Rob Zombie movie, he knows how to match music with visual in a unique way. The final scene of « The Devil's Reject with "freebird" is a perfect example. A documentary about meditation or reggae could be really fun too, coming with big low tuned guitars.
You now write for a music publication (The Ripple Effect?).  You're going to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?
"You Suffer" from Napalm Death because I'm a lazy guy… or Edgar Varèse’s "Ionisation", I've spent six months of musical history analysing this "music" and I think you can say whatever on and still being right about it. I'm too lazy to analyze and reflect on music.
Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?
We don't have so many, but one time we had to dismantle a toilet door in a venue to find a band member who was sleeping deeply, the trouser on his ankles, seated on the throne. Our first tour was epic also, we've been robbed in Paris. Those geniuses gangsters didn't take the money or instruments, they just took MY bag with my shirts/socks and my underpants! Finally we saw Dave Navaro tits from very close when we were playing Hellfest. There were body guards so we didn't try to pull them and that's a big regret for us as a band.
Tell us about playing live and the live experience for you and for your fans?
Playing live is something I don't like before the first or second song we perform, it becomes really pleasant only after that. I've always found it strange to force yourself playing at a precise place and moment when music is just about passion. But the more we play the more I enjoy it. We try to work our shows the best using loops within and in between songs, to give a real continuous performance to the audience. Even if I prefer studio work, the best times we had with Stonebirds are from live performance. The last chords of our show at hellfest with thousands of people horning up in the air was a total moment of plenitude. The meetings with fans at the merch table or the bar is also something we do enjoy.
A Ripple Conversation With StoneBirdsWhat makes a great song?
Definitely emotions. The songs I like the most are the ones that moves me, some of them will be played at my funeral, I've listened to others for my daughters birth... The great songs always give you a mood and for me are linked to particular feelings/emotions you're in lack or need of. A song should always crush or enlighten you, take you to somewhere else. This is like every art performance, a great piece of work always changes you, makes you reflect about what you've seen/heard... even at 0,001% you're a different person before and after this experience.
Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?
I just remember a bass line, it was a pretty shitty Nirvana-like stuff mixed with melodic metal feeling. I was 14 or 15 so… don't judge me! The first song we've composed all together was "After the sin", this song was the basement for what we've done since then, we really stepped up and started to create our own world. The few fans we had at this time were expecting a pure stoner/doom album and we've put a lot more into it.
What piece of your music are particularly proud of?
No song in particular but the fact we found our personal tone and  writing process is something I'm really proud of. For each album we try to change mood, songwriting process and we usually have a lot of feedback saying the album was different from what we did earlier but still recognizable as Stonebirds tone and approach.
Who today, writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?
Tough one, as I'm not really into new releases. As an example I'm a fan of Cult Of Luna, Chelsea Wolfe... but I've not listened to their new albums yet. I have to talk about Cult Of Luna though… They make great albums everytime (until the new one maybe), with different atmospheres, a lot of variations, « Mariner » was such a blast with Julie Christmas’ voice adding even more emotion. Gojira songwriting is also impressive, everything's always perfect, even more when they were playing death-metal. The singer have an impressive scale range of growl like if he was clean singing. I recently discovered Jinjer, it's really not my thing but I often come back to them because of the growls, it always kick my ass, I'm always trying to guess if she's using an octaver or something else, this is more of a detective interest.
Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?
Vinyl at home and digital in the car. I only have a turntable at home. Sometimes when I want to discover something new I go on Youtube to listen to some lives videos.
I like LP's because of the cover, the object. Listening to a LP instead of a CD for me is about taking the time to focus on what you listen. I don't listen both the same way. Digital and CDs are more when I'm doing something else, having a musical background.
A Ripple Conversation With StoneBirdsWhiskey or beer?  And defend your choice
Whiskey, Islay or a peated japanese. I'm a huge fan of whiskey, I think I'm not that far from having tasted all the Islay one (under 250€) even some pretty difficult to get like the Octomore by Bruichladdich. For your whiskey lovers reader I must recommend a small distillery here in Britanny that make the "Kornog", taste it if you ever can! I prefer whiskey because I love peat taste, and it don't make you piss every two glasses. Beers are for parties and whiskey is for pleasure.
We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's your home town, and when we get there, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?
My hometown is Rostrenen (population 3.000) and there's no record store there. As i kid, I was buying my CD's from a friend, the son of a print factory manager, who sold me a bunch of burned albums with artwork and CD reprinted  like the original. Internet access was shit and the first record store was one hour drive from there far so I really thanks that friend and his dad. Nowadays in Britanny there's less and less independant records store they are mainly big companies very generalist, the seller don't often know the bands you're asking for...
What's next for the band?
We will release our new album "Collapse And Fail" through Ripple Music, that's an important moment for us and we’re very proud of this one. We will also work on a new live show to spread those songs live. We’ll probably be touring next year in France and Europe.
Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders?
We'd like to thank you for your interest in our band and our music, we can't wait to play our new album for you guys ! Cheers !

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