We Insist Interview is up!!!
1. You’re still a newer band in the US - tell us a bit about how We Insist! came about?
WE INSIST! had a gestation period of about 4 to 5 years, which is a lot even for a 6-headed mammal. We only knew what we didn't want to be. We found out that all our different musical backgrounds could merge and give birth to INNER POND (2001), our third release but for us, our first record.
We try to be surprised by our own music, to make it sound unusual without ever forgetting that we need melodies and that we're writing songs...
2. Your new album THE BABEL INSIDE WAS TERRIBLE is a very interesting name - where did it come about and is there a running theme on it?
This title has been taken from a line that was meant to be in the song “Our Countries” and didn't end up in it.
It's also about the numerous backgrounds of everyone in the band and the way they're mixed in the music.
You could also say that it's about incomprehension between people.
In addition to that, we're playing more and more outside of France and we like it better abroad, which is also why we thought about languages and Babel. Just try to picture a room with many people talking at the same time, and being overwhelmed by words that are only sounds. Our “language” is sometimes better understood abroad. That’s the “terrible” point !
3. We Insist! seem to love to mix jazz, old school indie rock and post hardcore elements all mixed into one. Where did the sound come from? I can here a strong Touch and Go and Subpop style and sound through out the release.
All of this is really good to hear from you but it's never been on purpose that we sounded like this or that. Of course we've been listening to a lot of different music. If there's jazz in our music it's really unconscious, we don't consider our albums being one bit jazz oriented.
4. I've only heard the last 2 releases - are early releases very different from these ?
INNER POND (2001) has a more progressive flavor, I guess. More details, more added instruments (trombone, accordion, trumpet, etc.), a bit less vocal parts. There're maybe more jazz influences in that one. CRUDE (2004) is more violent, the songs are more gathered and short. The production is pretty bad, but it's a more straight forward album. Nevertheless, those 2 albums really are the roots of what we’ve done since.
5. Do you feel the lyrics are just as important as the music or feel the sonic element is what is most important in rock music ?
We're not doing proper songwriting and of course for us the music is more important than the lyrics. This doesn't mean the lyrics have no meaning. We still don't want them to sound like “Ooh Ooh baby I love you!” or “I woke up this morning”… Hum, maybe we'll get there at some point, never say never…
6. Your use of avant elements just makes the music all more interesting. How does We Insist! record your releases…. in layers or as a live band with over dubs ?
All of our albums were recorded the same way: we go in the studio when the songs are finished. We know exactly what overdubs we want: how many vocal layers, extra guitars or sound effects. We record live: drums, bass, guitars, saxophones. Then we can do little patches here and there, and do the vocals in the end.
The two latest records you know where recorded with Peter Deimel at Black Box studio in France, he's an incredible sound engineer, he puts so much attention to every little detail! Everything was analog, so before he presses the records button he knows exactly what type of sound he wants for the mix. All sounds are already perfect. Everything has to be prepared from the guitar lead to the microphone. We were relying on him even more for this latest release, because he was mixing it straight after recording.
7. Does We Insist! like digital releases, internet radio, zines and 21st century media ?? Or do you miss days of vinyl, radio and print zines being the major ways ???
No we don't miss the good ol'days ! We like everything including blogspots, peer to peers, myspace, rags and 7” vinyls that we can't afford. Love the LPs though it sounds great ! If we sell enough CD we'll print some. We have a hard time getting bigger, we insist on keeping this band together, and we still didn't find any clues to earn a little bit of money with it. So yeah! Spread the word!
8. Are the members of We Insist! in any other projects? If so tell us about them.
François the saxophone player is playing in other bands mostly jazz and traditional music. He has a solo project with a VJ.
I have another band called ZARBOTH, a duo with a crazy guitar player called Phil Reptil. Our self-titled album is out on Discorporate Records, a good independent label from Dresden, Germany. We met these guys on tour with WE INSIST! and they're now close friends. The record is also out on a French label called Head Records. It's experimental noise-rock, jazz, metal and some whatever improvisation parts with me and Phil singing & yelling. www.myspace.com/zarboth
I also play with many other bands as a drummer only.
The other guys have full time jobs, and children, WE INSIST! is sometimes even too much for them.
9. Have you thought about any DVD or multimedia releases for We Insist! ?
No... lack of time and lack of money.
But we might do a video clip on “Oakleaves” later this year… A nice guy came to us with this idea, and for free. Would be great!
10. Is the response to the band very different in North America vs Europe? Do you perform to larger crowds in Europe ?
We've never been touring North America, but we'd love to… If you know any good booking guys over there ?
11. Your website is very impressive, and you also have a myspace site. Do you feel the internet has helped you grow or is it just an outlet for existing fan ?
It's a lot of time and a lot of bullshit but it does help, we couldn't do without it!
12. Thanks for the time any closing thoughts place here...
Thanks for your questions, glad you liked the new album, come and visit us sometimes. Unless we’ll tour the US… and visit Anthem, Arizona.
Etienne for WE INSIST!