Review 2017 : Shaârghot – Volume III – Let me Out – English

Logo Shaarghot

Watch Shaârghot emerge from the shadows once again.

Formed in Paris in 2011, the band doesn’t just play music. It has spawned a veritable universe, within which Le Shaârghot (vocals), O. Hurt//U (drums), Brun’O Klose (guitar/backing vocals), Clem-X (bass/backing vocals), Scarskin (percussion) and B-28 (keyboards) keep the hive evolving by uniting the « shadows », the band’s fans. The end of 2023 sees the release of Volume III – Let me Out, their third album.

The album opens with The One Who Brings Chaos, a disquieting introduction that immediately plunges us back into the band’s post-apocalyptic universe, bringing in some cybernetic, even Noise elements before meeting a catchy rhythm on Let me Out and its energetic riffs. Vocals sometimes take a back seat, creating a kind of misty darkness in the quieter passages, before once again guiding the charge that leads us to Red Light District, a slower but heavier composition where Old School influences are highlighted. Keyboards add an half eerie half dancing touch before the rhythmic drive returns to rage on Life and Choices, a groovy heady track that’s sure to motivate the shadows to get into it live, between two macabre laughs. The more aggressive roots can be felt in the vocals, as on Jump, which alternates between oppressive ambience and a frenetic dance beat that fans are more than happy to let loose. The introductory sample of Great Eye allows us to take a breather before joining in with the unifying rhythm that the band sometimes covers with a touch of saturation, leaving the vocalist to howl over it, accompanied by the backing vocals. If you’re up for a fight, let Cut/Cut/Cut possess you before following the blaze on the chorus of this track also dedicated to the stage, then enjoy the dark introduction of Love and Drama for Great Audience enveloping you to finally soar with this chilling mix of soaring, airy Goth influences packed with majestic effects. Ghost in the Walls remains in this gloomy misty mood, but offers a moment’s respite, which the band annihilates with the aptly named Chaos Area, whose jerky riffs soon wake us up, thanks to a hellish rhythmic pattern that leaves us no respite except between waves of fury. The track gradually fades out, before Sick takes over with its ever more effective and motivating roots, interspersed with EBM elements and strange vocals, before Are you Ready allows us a brief moment of gentleness before demonstrating just how perfect its name is, whether on a dancefloor or in a crazy pit. After the surge of good humor, the band bring their album to a close with Something in my Head, where the more assiduous will recognize Swedish influences, once again ensuring the perfect blend between airy coolness and more motivating passages.

I first discovered Shaârghot‘s universe live, and there’s no doubt that the band are masters of this environment. But when you listen to the albums, you can’t help but notice that the Shadows are equally meticulous, offering with Volume III – Let me Out a real slap of Industrial with multiple influences.


Version Française ?

A few questions to Etienne « Le Shaârghot » Bianchi, creator and vocalist of the band Shaârghot. Interview conducted by Raven, with a few contributions from Deathliger.

Hello, and thank you for your time! How could you introduce the band Shaârghot without using the usual musical style labels?
Etienne « Le Shaârghot » Bianchi (vocals): Well, it’s very simple, I have no idea (laughs). I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. I know it’s affiliated with Indus Metal, that’s for sure, but let’s say it’s Electro with thick guitar riffs. But I can’t really put a label on it, because I don’t really know where I’m going to draw my inspiration from from one track to the next. One moment I’ll be doing a bit of Psytrance, the next a bit of Techno, the next a bit of EBM, Aggrotech, EBSM, but there’s no one track that sounds the same, so I can’t really say « yeah, that’s what we’re doing ». I do things for fun, so let’s call it Electro with Metal. But call it what you will.

I think we’ll call it Shaârghot, which leads us to the next question, how did you create Shaârghot’s universe back then? How do you relate the name Shaârghot to your music, and what does it mean?
Etienne: Shaârghot, so how did I come up with it… Firstly, because I was really bored, I admit. Secondly, I’m a geek! I’m a big geek, I love everything that has to do with science fiction, video games, post-apocalypse, cyberpunk… I’m going to skip all the big Blade Runner, Mad Max and all those references. I’ve been into the Warhammer 40K universe since I was a kid, so I ended up setting up my own little world, and basically I thought « let’s do a Combichrist-styled project with thick guitars ». But I wasn’t even supposed to sing in it, I was just supposed to play drums. Except that, as I was composing, I said to myself: « Damn, I can hear an asshole’s voice on this, but who am I going to hire to talk bullshit about the universe I’m writing about when he knows nothing about it? I said to myself: « Wait a minute, I think I know this asshole Oh shit, that’s me!” So I started writing and screaming, even though I didn’t know how to scream or even write in English. But that’s where we’re at now, isn’t it? And the sounds are really connected to the universe. I’m trying to make things more and more cinematic. I think that’s a bit more obvious on this latest album, where I really took the time to develop an atmosphere close to soundtracks, video games and certain films. And yet, in my opinion, I would have liked to have done a bit more, but I was a bit short of time. I hope I’ll be able to develop this a little more when the compendium comes out, since the compendium should normally be accompanied by music for reading and also for playing. Because in fact, the compendium will also be available as a paper role-playing game. I’ve told you how bored I get. 

I wish I could get that bored! And so I continue my question, what does Shaârghot mean?
Etienne: Oh yeah, sorry, that’s right, it means the one who brings chaos. If you ask me where it comes from, it actually comes from Warhammer Battle and the runes of the chaotic universe, where I made an assembly of runes that sounded pretty good, but I changed the sound a little bit to make it sound better. And if you want a little anecdote that has absolutely nothing to do with it, « Shaârghot » in phonetics means « the gates of God » in Hebrew. It’s got nothing to do with that.

But with a god like that, I still prefer the devil!
Etienne: I didn’t say which god it was. 

That’s true! Volume III – Let me Out, your third album, has just been released. What’s the feedback like?
Etienne: Awful. I think we’re going to call it a day. It’s a total failure (laughs). Did they warned you I’m full of crap, didn’t they? Well, listen, so far the feedback has been pretty good. I can see you cracking up. Courage, courage, how long is the interview? Twenty minutes? Thirty minutes, but that’s far too long. If she convulses in a corner, you take over, do we agree?

Yes, I warned you, I feel like I’m going to end up on the floor.
Etienne: Don’t worry, so far the feedback has been really good. We’re delighted. We’d already had some feedback, because we’d already started playing some of the new tracks before the singles were even released. The public feedback was really encouraging and the release of the album only confirmed the feedback from people who saw it live, so we’re satisfied and I think we were right to change our post-production team. So now we’re working with a completely new team, and I think you can feel it.

How would you sum up Volume III – Let me Out in three words? If you say « let me out », I’m out of here!
Etienne: (laughs) I love turkeys, so that’s three words, but they’re not the words you loved and wanted. 

That makes four. (In French, it was four words, Ed.)
Etienne: Oh yes, but I tried! How the hell can I sum up an entire album that took almost two and a half years to put together in just three words? You’re teasing, guys, you’re teasing! Big cinder block. There, that’s three words.

It’s acceptable…!
Etienne: An intelligent question needs an intelligent answer. And then, I think you chose a big Nobel Prize winner to answer you.

Volume III – Let me Out comes out four years after the second album. Did you notice any changes or evolutions in your creative process? And why the delay?
Etienne: Well, I’m going to answer the last one, « why the delay », because first there was Covid. Because, well, we found ourselves with very little to do for almost two years, and our core business is still live performance, so we saw this break as an opportunity. Well, it was an opportunity to do things we’d never had time to do, like the compendium or the short film Black Wave, which I don’t think could have been made without Covid, because we found ourselves with a lot of time on our hands, and a lot of people had nothing to do and were really bored.

Too much boredom.
Etienne: Yeah, too much boredom. Once again, boredom is Shaârghot‘s leitmotif. I knew we were a boring band, but still. As a result, a lot of guys said « well, I’m bored, I want to be part of it ». A lot of us took part in this short film. And thanks to all these people, we were able to come up with something lasting around twenty minutes. Unfortunately, that’s no longer possible now that life has returned to normal and everyone’s got a lot of work to do. But it’s not out of the question that in a few years’ time we’ll be taking another look at the subject. As for the album itself, I started composing it again when we resumed our tour dates. In the end, it’s live music that inspires me more than anything else, and Shaârghot is live music, it is made for live shows and to break your head against the wall, and both fit pretty much together. Don’t spit your beer, you’ll be fine. But when it comes to composing, I don’t actually have one way of doing things. Once I’ve done something a certain way, I change because otherwise I get bored. There have been lots of different ways of doing songs, but most of the time I start with an Electro gimmick, brief around it, do some stuff around it and then send it to the guys as if to say « Here I am, let’s play a little ping-pong game, send me some ideas, if you’ve got stuff let me know ». Sometimes I’ll say: « Yeah, that’s really nice » or « No, that’s completely off the mark, that’s not what we need, let’s move on ». And there are a couple of times when I’ve set myself little challenges, like on the track Red Light District, where I’m like, well, normally I’m the one with the gimmicks, and I say to Paul, « give me a Cyberpunk 2077-style guitar gimmick ». Since we’ve all polished the game a bit, we say to each other: « We’re a bit in the mood, do me something like that ». As soon as I hear one that sounds good, I go: « ok, you send me that, I’m off ». I compose the rest and then we have a couple of ping-pong sessions in the back and then we compose. Still, there’s a certain desire to get out of my comfort zone, because I know how to compose Shaârghot and I don’t really need anyone to do that. But if I carry on doing that, I’ll get bored, I’ll get royally bored, so I also need other people to bring me something new, to bring me things I hadn’t thought of at all. And once again, to get out of my comfort zone.

That makes sense. Continuing with the question, have you noticed any changes or evolutions in the creative process?
Etienne: In the creative process, as I was saying, it’s changed every time. So compared with the other albums, it’s nothing like that either. I’m always changing, that’s all I have to say. Then, yes, there was the arrival of Paul, who’s the new guitarist, percussionist, machinist, who composed more than half the songs with me. We also added Arco Trauma, who came on board after we’d finished composing. He was already on the post-production team. Arco is, if you don’t know him, the current keyboardist for Les Tambours du Bronx, the guy who does Sonic Area and Chrysalide, who’s a bit of a mad genius with the machine and has a tendency to go absolutely off in all directions, which is both a strength and a bit of a problem. As a result, Arco was asked to devote a maximum of two or three days to each piece, to make lots of suggestions, too many in fact, even if it meant going off in all possible directions and only retaining a few. But each time, on all the tracks, we kept some things and we said to ourselves, this is top, this is absolutely top. We need that because it adds a little extra step to the track. And now that we’re no longer in the creative process but in post-production, we enlisted the services of Thibault Chaumont, Carpenter Brut‘s sound engineer, who has done mastering for Perturbator, Igorrr, Ulver, Horskh and Sierra, among others. We worked closely with him for several months. He was also there when we recorded the album. Another thing I almost forgot: this was the first time we all recorded together in the same room. Usually, we all record separately. We’d done that a bit when we had the time. But this time, for the first time, we worked on the demos beforehand, all together in rehearsal. And we locked ourselves away for a whole week in a recording studio to work and record in one go to get that live feel, because Shaârghot is a live band and we wanted to transcribe that live feel rather than the too cold, too clinical, too machine feel we had on the other two albums, which are cool in themselves, but lack the kind of flavor we have when we wanted to reproduce the same synergy as for live in this album. Especially that. See, I’m not only bullshitting (laughs).

I noticed quite a few Nu Metal influences on the new album, like on the most virulent passages of Life and Choices for example. What were your influences on this album?
Etienne: I suppose, in my opinion, if you don’t recognize the influences of Korn and Slipknot, you were probably born after the early 2000s. So yes, they’re obvious and they’re in your face, aren’t they? There’s obviously a big Mike Gordon feel to this track, and in fact from one track to the next, I like to go, « Okay, we’ve done that really well, let’s move on to something else that’s got nothing to do with it. Let’s take some other influences. » The Korn, Slipknot thing is done, now I don’t want to hear any more about it, let’s do something else. Once again, the idea is: « I’ve done one thing, if I keep doing the same thing, I’ll get bored, so next ». But yes, of course, there are Nu Metal influences, I’m not hiding it, I grew up with it in high school. To each his own, said a monk pissing into his soup. I never deny what I listened to at one time. I still listen to what I listened to before, but I keep listening to more and more things.

How do you manage to strike a balance between energetic riffs, cool Industrial elements and danceable parts?
Etienne: I’d like to say that it’s purely instinctive, it’s not really thought through, it’s just something that comes to me. You’re giving me a bit of a hard time here, because for me, I can actually hear the thing before I’ve even composed it. In fact, I already have the song in my head. I know more or less at what point this or that thing has to come in. So a song like Let Me Out is complicated. I can’t explain how I came up with it. I woke up one morning, had the track in my head and rushed to my computer. In three hours, the song was done. It doesn’t always happen like that, I assure you, there are lots of different processes, but often I have an overall vision of the piece before I’ve even started to write a single note. I know what the guitars have to do, what the bass has to do, when they have to come in, when the vocals have to come in, what kind of part Electro has to have. After that, of course, there are always surprises. Sometimes there are things I don’t anticipate, sometimes there are even bugs that happen and actually change my vision of the track. We started writing the intro with Clémence, and we reopened the session two days later. Everything had gone wrong. In fact, the synths didn’t have the same intonation at all, and she went « shit, that’s a catastrophe », and I went « no, wait, leave it like that, I think it’s really good, we’ll carry on like that, freezing the synths so they won’t redecorate, but we’ll carry on ». Sometimes you have these happy accidents that change your vision of the piece: « Well, wait a minute, this is definitely better than the thing I had in mind, let’s do it!

So you credited the bug for the track?
Etienne: No, we’re assholes, it doesn’t have its SACEM rights (laughs). Bugs aren’t registered with Sacem.

I can understand that it’s difficult to explain something that comes naturally, but when it comes out of the blue, without any training or anything, it’s a lot harder to explain.
Etienne: I can’t really tell you any better than that. There are things where you know that by dint of hard work, there are things, it’s by dint of hard work and there are things… You understand a little bit how it’s going to come. And Shaârghot is a sound made for live performance. You know when it’s going to be good to give people a little rest and get them moving again. When I’m composing a song, I see them, people are getting pissed off. On stage, I see them, but most of the time, yes, it comes very instinctively. 

I know this is a difficult question, but do you have a favorite track on this album? Or the one that seemed the most natural to compose?
Etienne: Well, yes, Let Me Out (laughs). That’s the rush. Really, I can’t think of anything more natural than « I get up, I compose the thing in three hours, that’s it ». I was at my best. After that, some of the songs were more difficult to compose, and we got stuck for quite a while. Chaos Area in particular, which we’d started with Clémence. At one point, we just didn’t know how to go on with it, so we worked on it all over the place and I sent it to Bruno, in « find something » mode. He worked on it a bit too, but he found it. What really took the track to an incredible level were Arco‘s additions. He said: « The track is huge, but it’s missing a little something » and he added some pumping effects, some super psychedelic stuff, which gave the track an ultra lively feel. Right to the end, there was something missing from this track. And the guy found it. Some of them are done super instinctively. Sometimes it’s a struggle, but in the end, I’m pretty happy with the album as a whole. There’s not really one where I say to myself, « I’d rather not have put that on ».

Beyond the musicians, the band often relies on its community, which you call « shadows ». How did you come up with the idea of getting the fans so involved?
Etienne: Because I’m a big geeky prick and I really like GNs (laughs). Anything that’s based on an immersive experience, for me it’s very important in fact to get people involved, to make sure they’re concerned and get them into the universe. If you’re playing on stage, people have to play with you and feel involved, so you might as well include them in the delirium rather than telling them that we’re the artists, you’re the spectators, and that there’s a barrier other than the crash barrier between the two. As far as I’m concerned, there shouldn’t even be a crash barrier – crash barriers suck!

Please think about photographers (laughs)!
Etienne: No, you’re pissing me off with crash barriers! But at the same time, it’s true that it’s very practical because Bruno can use his flame thrower without burning people.

So please keep the crash barriers (laughs).
Etienne: Okay, but I want a stage head so that I can get up close and personal with people, otherwise it’s no fun and there’s no fighting.

Speaking of the shadows, you also often call on them to shoot the band’s videos. How do you work on a Shaârghot video?
Etienne: Again, it can take a long time. I work mainly with Teddy, who’s a 3IS alumnus like me. I was in the editing section, he was in the image section, and we’ve never let go of each other since we started making clips. He’s always been there, and we’ve always shared this vision of « we want to make movies, we want to make stuff that’s a bit sci-fi and all the stuff that made us go crazy when we were kids ». And we say to ourselves, « We’re going to give ourselves the means to do it with nothing at all », so often the ideas come to us, and they go in all directions. But the real problem is: how are we going to keep all this going? Because, after all, cyberpunk is one of the hardest universes to make credible. There are a lot of universes, like medieval fantasy, where you can find already existing spots, where the setting is already there. You can sit back and it should be fine, but there’s a lot of stuff where, for cyberpunk, there’s everything to do, absolutely everything to do. And you can very quickly fall into kitsch, so in fact there are many days, weeks of research, whether it’s for costumes, sets or lights, because after all, lights are very important in cyberpunk universes. You can very quickly fall into things that are too acid, too candy, too mauve pink and so on, like you see a lot of in Synthwave, which are really cyberpunk atmospheres, but which I’m not looking for at all. So we mainly work in pairs. In fact, we do everything ourselves. He’ll be in charge of all the technical aspects, and I’ll oversee everything artistic, from the costumes the extras will wear to the dialogue lines. But once everything’s validated, I leave it to Teddy and I know the magic will happen, because he’s a damn good jerk!

He’ll be happy to hear it.
Etienne: He knows, don’t worry!

How did you discover the Industrial Metal scene? In your opinion, what are the scene’s unmissable bands, including Shaârghot?
Etienne: Come on, you’ve got to stop the onanism (laughs). I discovered the Industrial scene when I was about fourteen or fifteen. In secondary school, some mates were wearing weird T-shirts. I was like: « Ah, I don’t know what that is, but it looks good ». And these guys were playing me stuff on their walkman at the time, with really crappy sound. I didn’t really understand it, but it sounded cool, and I’ve got a dad who’s a sound engineer, so I was like « Dad, do you know Marilyn Manson? » « Of course I do, here, I’ve got a CD, listen to this, asshole!” And then, « Dad, do you know Ram… Ramm… uh yeah Rammstein? ». « Ok here, take this, I’ve got one too ». In fact, I very quickly found myself with some indus stuff in my hands, and there was a very good friend of my father’s who gave me Manson‘s Guns, God and Government DVD, a KMFDM live album as well, and then I very quickly found myself with Killing Joke‘s Pandemonium in my hands, so yes, very quickly in fact, I put one foot in Indus before getting into Metal. In fact, I listen to a lot more Electronic music than Metal. Well, I wouldn’t really know what to say about that, because I do like Metal. But for me, there are a lot of things that are a bit too simplistic in many respects. Whereas in a lot of Electro projects, I’m going to find a lot more richness, and that’s what’s going to interest me, is seeing very hybrid stuff. Metal bands, let’s call them « classic », tend to piss me off more because they’re purists and don’t want to look elsewhere. But I really like bands who take the liberty of hybridizing with other genres that sometimes have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Skindred, for example, has nothing to do with classic Metal, but I actually love this mix of genres. So that’s why you’ve been sulking, but in Nu Metal, I’ve found some very interesting things (laughs).

I’m sorry, Nu Metal just isn’t my thing!
Etienne: I understand that very well, and I don’t impose it so much.

I started when I was a teenager, listening to Dissection to go to sleep. It was like a lullaby. Do you have any band names you’d recommend to people who don’t want to miss out on Shaârghot‘s music?
Etienne: Wow (laughs)! 

Don’t give us fifty!
Etienne: Well, since many of them have become problematic bands. So I can’t really say right now: « Listen to this, listen to that », because I don’t really want to advertise those bands, even if I still really like their music, but I refuse to promote them or pay anything to go and see them. As for the bands that already exist, I’d rather talk about bands from the French scene like Horskh, Sonic Area, Moaan Exis, Machinalis Tarantulae. There are many, many great French Industrial projects out there that are really worth listening to, and not just in Industrial either. There’s a lot of really great stuff out there, but also check out the video game soundtracks. If you like Shaârghot‘s universe, because I’m very inspired by all that stuff, whether it’s the music for Batman Arkham City or Doom Eternal, I think there’s enough to build a bridge.

The band has evolved over time, welcoming more and more musicians. How did you recruit them?
Etienne: Each time it was a bit by chance. Don’t laugh, but in fact we came across each other without really knowing that we’d end up working together. Bruno, who’s been with us since the very beginning, I’ve known him since my very first Gothic evenings, when I was eighteen, and he was involved in organizing Electrochocs, he’d done the castle at Vaux-le-Pénil, all that sort of thing, and the guy who was co-orga was in charge of the lights, and I thought the guy had a hell of a style, he was lightning fast, he was on stage just like the DJs and he created a crazy atmosphere! And from one evening to the next, we got on really well, and the sort of stand on which he’d set up his light machines, which were made entirely of rusty pipes, was just too stylish for me. I’m like, « Fuck, can I buy it from you? « no ». “I’ve got a band project, do you know any musicians?” « No ». “Well ok, I’ll leave you a demo anyway, if you ever get any guys interested, go ahead!”. But well… He sure knew some guys really well, but he thought “I’d keep it under my hat – you never know if it’s any good”. A few weeks later, he contacted me again and said: « Are you still looking for people?” And I was « Ah well, I’m interested ». Olivier, the drummer, was actually a friend of my dad, who had already worked on session stuff, and who was in the mode « I’m looking for projects at the moment because I’m a bit bored. I’m always working on stuff where guys always want to do the same things. I want to discover new horizons ». We said « Come on, you’ve got nothing to do », and he never left. I met Clémence by chance on a forum. We were chatting about music and she said « that’s cool, I’m in Paris at the moment to help out, exchange music, I’m going to see such and such a band at such and such a place ». One thing led to another, and she ended up saying « I’m a sound engineer, so if you want, I could become a backliner ». She became our backliner, then « I’m a guitarist ». I go « we’ve already got a guitarist, if there’s someone we’re going to take on, it’s more likely to be a bass player ». I say, « Well, I can learn bass if you want ». « I’ll do it if you like, but maybe I’ll cast you a little for it, and then maybe we’ll try it out », and « here, don’t you have any stuff you’d like to do? ». « Yeah, I’ve got some remixes to do at the moment, I’ve run out of equipment, I’ve got to reinstall everything, but if we can do it at your place!” Once, twice, it worked. I say, « How long the hell have you been playing bass? « It’s been two months » (laughs). « Guys, I think I’ve found someone”. As for Paul, I’ve known him for a very long time. In fact, he auditioned for the position of guitarist in Shaârghot at the very beginning, and it’s true that he didn’t actually do any work, he was like « yet another Marylin Manson-like project, the guy seems like a loser, so I’m like « listen, you’re very nice, but go home, you didn’t do any work ». But still, the guy seemed like a really nice guy, and he made sound, he kept in touch, and I liked what he was doing, so from year to year I’m like « damn, he’s getting better and better, and he’s always stuck around to give us a hand ». « If you need help with all our trucks, I’m here. If you need a backliner, I’m here”. In fact, I get the impression that all the guys have gone home with us, they’ve done some technical work before. So it’s the same thing, I go « let’s do a collab on a track ». One, then two, I’m like « come on, we’ve got one more, guys!

You’re going to be twenty-five.
Etienne: In a few years, yeah, it’s going to be worse than Slipknot

At least there’s a certain lore to the band that’s not bad.
Etienne: The thing is, we’re all mates before we were just musicians, we’ve all learned to tame each other a bit, compared to a lot of people, we see each other regularly for drinks, to chat and we share a lot of things so we’re not just guys who work together. We’re a bunch of mates, and I think that shows a bit too.

Do you have any plans for the follow-up to Shaârghot?
Etienne: Other than conquering the world, the moon and Mars? Yes, there are a few before that, I must admit. Yes, the compendium RPG thing I was telling you about earlier, that’s something that should happen in the next year, or a year and a half. We’re not about to stop making music videos. I can’t give you the dates yet, but we should be able to give you all the dates when we release the next video, which is currently being edited and should be out by the first quarter of next year. So with a whole load of dates to go with it. I think we’re pretty well there already, because I’m not going to start talking about my wild ideas for Shaârghot video games or, for that matter, a two-season series of thirteen one-hour episodes based on the stuff I’m writing. It’s just that for the moment I’m not spending too much time on it, because I know I don’t have the money. So the compendium is fine, it’s already more accessible. We’ll stick with the compendium.

What’s it like to go to a Shaârghot concert from your point of view?
Etienne: I’m there up to a certain point, actually. There’s a moment when a kind of transformation takes place, whether for me or for all the members. We’ve got characters, we’ve got stories to go with them, and gradually there’s a switch that means that after a while, it’s no longer quite Bruno, Olivier or Etienne you’re talking to, we’re already in slightly altered states of consciousness. Well, alcohol has something to do with it, but not only that (laughs). But in reality, there’s a kind of automatism that’s created where we know that gradually our personality will start to disappear and that at some point we’re not really there anymore. We’re always back because we have to take care of everything. But you’re not really dealing with the same people anymore, so my place in the story is a bit secondary. There’s no more anxiety, no more apprehension, it’s showtime, it’s the characters’ point of view. We’re still kind of there, but it’s not schizophrenic. But I don’t move or talk in the same way anymore. Even after I leave the stage, it’s hard to let go of the role because it’s still there for a few hours, even in the way I talk or move. I’m having a bit of trouble becoming Étienne again, it’s still a bit there.

I’ve seen it. It’s a kind of artistic dissociation that allows you to immerse yourself in your characters.
Etienne: It’s a kind of trance. We’re not the only ones who do it anyway.

With drugs?
Etienne: We’re not really into that, it’s more like a good glass of Kraken. And then we left. Small glass before, big glass after.

The band completed 2023 with not only the release of the album, but also a series of dates across France. How did the tour go?
Etienne: It went really well, although we weren’t really expecting it. It was going to be a bit of a mess, because we were with the band Punish Yourself, who cancelled their participation in the tour. I don’t think we’re going to go into the reasons for their cancellation. I think a lot of people have talked about it, and it’s better that they stopped their careers. But the tour was a bit jeopardized because we’re in the mode of « does Shaârghot actually have the elbows to take on this whole headlining tour? ». In the end, yes, because there were very few requests for refunds and, on the contrary, a lot of people took their places following Punish’s cancellation. So the tour was able to go ahead as planned, with a far from insane number of people in places where sometimes we’d never even played before. All in all, I think it’s a very good sign for the future, and I hope it doesn’t stop there.

Are there any musicians or artists you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
Etienne: I’d like to continue working with Arco Trauma, because I think we can do some pretty amazing things with him. I can’t wait to see how far we can go together. As for Mike Gordon, I’d really like to do a song or two with him. That would be really, really cool, because he’s got quite a distinctive sound, especially when it comes to synths. I know people really like him for his big scratchy sound, which I really like too, by the way. But what I really like about him is the way he handles his synths. After that, I don’t know about artists, but I’d like to try things with Rabbit Junk, for example, who have a much more Indus but Pop side to them, where I say to myself « here’s another thing that could take me out of a comfort zone, it could be interesting ». What’s more, the two of them together have a really good voice. And it could be great, I’m not closing the door on any kind of collaboration. Even Lady Gaga could be fun.

It might be a bit harder though.
Etienne: Of course, but I’m not closed to anything. And if we can do something that’s coherent if you go for that, it could be great.

Do you think you’ve improved as a musician with this album?
Etienne: I think so, for one simple reason: my voice has already improved. I recorded the whole album in two and a half days. I have to admit that a few days before the recording I was really worried about it. I didn’t think I could do it. But let’s just say there was a lot of work done beforehand. I don’t think I’m particularly unhappy with the work. I would have liked to have done a bit more, but listen, that’s how it was done, and I think it’s no bad thing. In musical terms, as I said, it’s a group effort. Even if I’ve been at the helm from the start and I read all the compositions, there’s a lot we can do thanks to the others.

What dish would you compare Shaârghot‘s music to?
Etienne: Well, I could say turkey. But I’m not sure, because turkey wouldn’t be very appropriate for Shaârghot in terms of food. I don’t know exactly what, but for me it’s necessarily a gratin with lots of stuff in it. It’s something with a lot of real arguments. Stuff with spices already for sure, a bit spicy, a bit crunchy on top with a lot of things in it that are a bit of a flavor explosion. So I don’t know exactly what, but I think we need to delve into exotic cuisine. A cookbook. There’s an anecdote you should know: every time we stop at a freeway service area, Clémence tries to buy a cookery book. She systematically goes to look at the cookery books, and goes « Oh well, I don’t have this one, maybe I’ll get it. »

I’m not sure I’ll be eating at your place!
Etienne: You’re wrong, the cooking’s pretty good in the group.

That was my last question. I’d like to thank you for your availability, and the last words are yours!
Etienne: Well, thanks to all the people who create things in connection with the group. I have to admit that it really touches us. We’re seeing more and more things that are related to our universe. We feel that people are making it their own, so it’s a real pleasure, and one last thing: Don’t forget the turkeys! Don’t forget the turkeys! They’re the lifeblood of the business.

Raven‘s note: once the interview was over, it took several hours to recover, and a few beers too.

Laisser un commentaire