Interview THE DECLINE!
Ced (bass), Goose (guitar), Antoine (drums) et Xavier (guitar) – Friday 16 June 2017
« To tell dumb stories and be an idiot is useless. People forget that music is a passion before a business.» – Ced
So how’s your day going? And your show?
Ced: We got up very early because we didn’t want to come here last night and get too drunk at the Metal Corner given that we were playing at 11am the next day! The concert itself went really well. We were surprised by how many people were at the Warzone, we didn’t expect that at all!
Goose: It was really cool, we played at 11 but if we played two hours later I feel like there would have been the same amount of people. It was awesome!
Antoine: And then we got to get on with our day and see some of our favourite bands, it’s been perfect!
You’re not afraid of saying “There we go, we’ve done the biggest show we ever will play as a band, it will never be better than this”?
Goose: Well we already played Hellfest once 3-4 years ago so it’s the second time it’s the biggest show of our lives!
Antoine: We like playing in small bars just as much as festivals like this one. So it really doesn’t matter if there are just 30 people. At the end of the day the more intimate concerts can be the best in the world for us.
Goose: But concerts for 10,000 people look better for your cover photo on Facebook !
When you’ve been booked twice in so little time, how does it feel, like you’re a band who counts and is growing?
Goose: Seeing as we have the same time slot as the last time we can’t say that we’ve really improved, but on the other hand the fact that the Hellfest organisation liked us that much that they wanted us to come back to represent young French punk rock bands is amazing. It’s cool to have these opportunities.
Punk rock is defined by a certain sobriety. Are you at ease in this Disneyland of a festival?
Antoine: Of course. I think this connects with everybody, no matter what the band. In terms of set up it’s incredible.
Ced: After all we grew up with manga so the Disneyland side of thing has followed us throughout since we were kids. We grew up with this after all.
Antoine: And Guns N Roses! No matter the aesthetic: a festival that takes care and pays attention to the festival goers is cool. The fact that the attendees feel at ease during the festival is essential.
Goose: It’s not for nothing that festival goers are on the site early in the morning. With other festivals people don’t show up until much later, even if they start later. The care makes people want to be here from start to finish.
The space given to French bands, is it enough?
Antoine: It’s a festival full of headliners. Even huge bands play at 2 PM so it can be complicated but we still can find a lot of French bands.
Ced: Maybe we should have another stage? There are a lot of quality bands in France. We’ve had the chance to play at Hellfest twice but there are also tons of groups who deserve to play. But it’s true that huge bands play at 2PM. So where do we put the bands for people to discover? We are very aware of the chance we have – but we didn’t blow anyone for it!
You’ve been touring since the end of April to support your record Heroes On Empty Streets which came out May 19th. What are your thoughts on the response from the press and public?
Xavier: We started touring at the beginning of May to promote the album alongside our friends in Not Scientists. Ten dates in a row allowed us to show that our new songs worked well live. We were happy to be able to bring new things to the stage. When we got positive replies, even from the show this morning it was sufficient proof for us!
Antoine: We’ve observed people moshing and singing along even though the record has only been out for a month which is cool. The press response we don’t really know yet but it seems to be positive live !
Heroes on Empty Steets: what’s the significance of that title?
Ced: When you leave your day job you can be a « Hero on an empty street » no matter what you can do what you want. It’s not a song of revolt but a song that encourages people to be themselves. We all have obligations that suck after all.
Goose: It’s finding yourself in the street without judgement. It’s sort of a metaphor.
What’s the goal of this album, if there is one?
Goose: To do better than the last.
Antoine: I think the goal of this record was to offer up some good songs.
With your style of punk rock it can be hard to reinvent yourself…
Ced: Where we were able to reinvent ourselves was, because we listen to not just punk rock we were able to bring in a lot of different influences to our music. We were able to maintain a guiding vision without preventing ourselves from trying new things. On the previous record we tried to bring in strings, cellos. And now we give ourselves time to compose without stress.
Goose: All five of us write though so the process remains rapid. On 12 tracks we each write 2-3.
The day to day of The Decline! in terms of rehearsal space, composition, submitting ideas… how does that work ?
Antoine: We do a lot of work to prepare. When someone submits a song it’s usually close to being done but we make a lot of modifications. Other times not so much. Some songs can be done with just 15 minutes of rehearsal.
And the economic side of the band… How does that work ? Music isn’t your job…
Antoine: I’d say that we are semi-pros. We play in professional environments but not enough to make it our job. When we play big rooms or festivals it pays for the little shows in bars and clubs. At the moment we just put out a record and stuff and have a fair amount of date. But when you’re touring with good conditions we can pay ourselves. It’s self(sufficient. We sometimes lose money up front because we can get paid out at the end..
Goose: We try to find good conditions to get our guarantees but we aren’t really making money. And concerning the choice of dates we do the best we can given our jobs.
Ced: By and large we are lucky, the income of the band has really grown over the years.
Do you have a band who defines how you try and do business as much as influences your music ?
Xavier: Personally I listen to a lot of Irish punk and metal. I like that stuff because it observes its folk roots, no matter the genre. But does that really impact the compositions?
Ced: In terms of business maybe the Burning Heads ? It’s a band who has been around for 25 years and who we think about a lot. Our musical style is fairly different but we appreciate them a lot. They are people who make music because they love it. Not for the money.
Antoine: They always stayed humble and simple. It’s clear that’s what our band wants to be in 10 years.
Ced: Success is nothing but a luxury. When you get to play in front of people you are already lucky. So imagine what happens when those people pay to see you. To tell dumb stories and be an idiot is useless. People forget that music is a passion before a business.
To wrap up – finish this sentence for me « I’ve never told this story before and probably shouldn’t but… »
Xavier: One day on tour I pissed myself in my sleep!
Ced : I once had sex with someone for alcohol – it’s true even!
Interview : Wombat.
Many thanks to Elodie Sawicz.