Interview TAGADA JONES
Nico Jones (guitar & vocals) – Friday 16 June 2017
« We’re not making music for aesthetes of the scene, we do it for punk rock» – Nico Jones
So how’s it going?
Super well! We already had a great memory of the show we played here 3 years ago at the Warzone. This year it was even better than before, we felt like the entire crowd was singing along with us. As a musician that exchange is super important on an emotional level. To do it during the sunset gave it a nice vibe too!
Did you hope that for 2017 you would get asked to play the Main Stage instead?
The size of the Warzone has grown since the first time we were here so we had the chance to play in front of more people than before. Seeing as the Warzone is dedicated to punk and hardcore it makes sense to keep playing there. We were able to push things further than ever before. So even if they ask us to play the Warzone again we will be super happy!
Festivals are growing and becoming more important. Are they a threat to traditional tours?
As a touring musician I don’t think that that’s the case. For me there are two very different audiences, the people who like to go to festivals, who are there for the vibe and the people who like to go to club shows. If you’re a fan of a band then you’re going to prefer to see them in a club because they can play for longer and play a real set. In a festival a band doesn’t have a lot of time and it’s not as intimate, because there’s so many more peoples. The two contexts are totally different and I think that there’s a space for both of them. With Tagada we play about 100 shows a year in rooms from 500-1500 people which doesn’t stop people from wanting to see us in either situation. Our calendars are nicely cut up in terms of scheduling too. From mid-May to mid-September we play tons of festivals, and not a lot of bands do real tours during this period. Certain American groups put dates between festivals but those dates obviously don’t go as well as when they are positioned during March for example. As touring artist the message that I want to share is that it’s better to take time off between festivals rather than to tour non-stop and run into problems in terms of filling up clubs.
Tagada Jones is a band who tours all the time. It’s been said that bands who tour too much loose respect for themselves and the art. By touring a lot we banalise the art and lose the magic. What’s your opinion?
That guy didn’t understand shit! When you make music it’s to please an audience. We’re not making music for aesthetes of the scene we do it for punk rock. For me it’s essential to share it as much as possible with as big a crowd as possible, it’s nonsense to develop an elitist side. Concerts let you forget your day to day struggles, your obligations, etc. It’s like playing a sport, after a few minutes you forget everything and start from nothing.
La Peste Et Le Choléra has been out for a few weeks now. Are you satisfied with the response?
Totally! To put things into context: We are a band who started from nothing and did it all by ourselves. It was our ambition and drive and it took a lot of time to build up with our means, without the support of a record label. It’s a story of growing piece by piece and now, 20 years later we have something huge and today we are on top of the hill. The album is selling super well and spent 4 weeks on the charts which is awesome for an underground band like ours. I think that a lot of people connect not only our music but also our ideas. We have a direction, whether people know it or not, that we have always stayed true too. Even though things are going to shit today, we represent a form of stability and a reference point. We never had such positive responses. ¾ of our concerts are sold out, we are playing all over the world and we sing in French! The response is really more than we could have expected!
This record, what particular value does it add to your discography?
I’m not sure. It feels like it’s our career as a whole that represents the value. With Dissident (2014) which celebrated our 20th anniversary we returned to our roots in terms of compositions, no computer, no preproduction, direct in our rehearsal studio. It went super well! It pleased us and our fans. So we used the same recipe for La Peste Et Le Choléra. We put it out at a time when people related to us positively. There’s nothing extraordinary about this record, it’s directly in line with what we know how to do and it stays true to our vision.
To cite your promo material « Always more violent, more pissed off, more pertinent and more cutting, such is the image of Tagada Jones in 2017 ». Normally when we become older we become more calm. Is it necessary to remain angry?
Yes. We very much returned to our roots while composing Dissident and thus found ourselves with an anger a lot of other bands lose. They spend too much time behind a computer, doing pre-production, etc., you risk to lose the soul of the music. This return to the roots allowed us to be more effective. People were interested no doubt in that because the past is what shapes the world around you, and you realize why people are angry. I don’t think that were this pissed off 10 years ago. Today the audience is in the process of changing.
And if I said « We live inside the stomach of a giant dog »
I love it of course! Ultra Vomit are our buddies. The album just came out but that song has been one they have played live for a long time. Seeing as we share a producer and have toured together we work together a lot. One day when we played a show in Rennes they played without telling us. I mean we had a few hints, but we didn’t think that they were actually going to do it! When they played that song it made me laugh. The album is monumental and that song is one of my favourites!
Interview : Wombat.
Many thanks to Elodie Sawicz.