Interview MARS RED SKY
Julien Pras (vocals & guitar) & Matgaz (drums) – Saturday 16 June 2017
« It’s our second time here, it’s sort of the peak as a French band » – Julien Pras
How the hell are you guys?
Julien: A bit tired but very good. We got in an hour ago. Yesterday we were playing in a sort of Viking celtic party in the Austrian Alps. It was crazy.
Matgaz: There were skulls everywhere, and it was limited to only 300 people!
Julien: It was a special experience.
How does it feel as a French band to play Hellfest?
Julien: It’s our second time here, it’s sort of the peak as a French band, it is of course an honor and we are more than happy to be here. We played once a few years ago but we were opening the Valley at 10:30 am and that was totally our place and we were happy to play at that time, but tomorrow we play at almost six o’clock pm. It’s the perfect time. We can digest our lunch and then get drinking after! For me it’s my favorite festival.
Matgaz: Even if it’s really crowded it’s still really good which is not easy.
For French bands it’s always been hard to go abroad, how did you manage?
Julien: We just don’t think in terms of borders!
Matgaz: We were welcomed really early on in the international stoner scene, a scene we didn’t know before. People were great. When people asked us to come we did, and we found tricky solutions. That’s what we did that I guess a lot of other bands don’t do. It wasn’t easy.
Julien: The goal of playing in a band is to leave your country zone, leave your country and your continent.
Who do you love from the rest of the French stoner rock scene?
M: We love the guys in Lille, Glowsun. We also love the guys from Year Of No Light, I went to school with one of the guys in that band. We did an EP together.
Why do you think so many people connect to your music?
Matgaz: After three albums and staying in that niche we are still a small band with a name.
Julien: It was never a goal to, for example, go to America. It just happened because some people wanted to see us live there. WE managed to book a tour we did last summer and we managed to book some great festivals and play cool clubs. We were surprised people were waiting for us. It wasn’t our ultimate goal, it’s just a country like any other.
Matgaz: We didn’t go crazy to do it, we had to do a lot of work for visas but it was worth it. Most of the dates were great too!
Julien: Some were less good like in D markets on Monday nights but that is to be expected. The big shows were all great.
It must feel weird to go somewhere for the first time and have two hundred people be there excited to see you…
Julien: It is! It happened in South America too. If you had told me three years ago that we would go to South America to play shows in front of hundreds of people I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s a great experience. It feeds us in a good way.
Obviously stoner rock is blowing up right now, why are so many people connecting to this music?
Julien: Some of it is nostalgia I think. Stoner rock is not new, it belongs to the 70s not just in terms of music but also dress. I think that’s a big part of it, the nostalgia.
Matgaz: In France in the 90s people were really into reggae, we can get a similar thing with stoner rock.
Julien: We belong to this scene and we love it but it’s not our only playground. We played opening for metal bands many times, we can play to metal heads and most of the time they dig it. They have Watain shirts but they dig it, we are proud of that.
Matgaz: Some people say that they come and that they like our band, but not as much as their girlfriends do.
Why do you appeal more to the girlfriends?
Julien: I won’t say anything! (laughter)
Matgaz: I think it has to do with the vocals, they are a lot higher and more smooth. It’s a cliché but it has a true element for sure.
What do you love so much about music?
Julien: It’s hard to say because it’s so rooted in our lives. The only thing I can say is that I am lucky enough to not have to think about styles anymore and to just listen to music, that’s something I’m very grateful that I can enjoy. I can listen to jazz or black metal, it doesn’t matter. Music makes you feel free.
Matgaz: I like the repetition in it. You hear it with the drums, but also with electro synth and trance, that’s something I really like.
Interview: Matt Bacon.