Hello! Time for us to feature another one of our favourite bands. Grand Veymont’s debut UK single “Les Rapides Bleus” came out on the 1st of December last and made tune of the day here. Now their inaugural UK EP, a re-arranged and re-mixed version of their 2016 Bandcamp debut, is being released today (1st Feb) via Outré Disques on 12″, cassette and all digital platforms. ALL OF THEM.
They’re playing some dates too
Night & Day Cafe, Manchester Wednesday, February 27th
The Othersyde @ The Engineer’s House, Cambridge, February 28th
St Moritz Club, London – Friday, 1st March 2019
The Crash Of Moons Club, Canterbury, Saturday, March 2nd
Hi Josselin and Béatrice, thanks for doing the interview, The EP is a weird, addictive and totally delightful trip!
Hi SWIT guys, thank you for asking us to do it!
When did your musical journey begin?
Josselin: It was 3 years ago.
Béatrice: And before that, we played in other bands together.
What did you think of the other one the first time you met?
Josselin: We met a long time ago, I thought then « who’s that pretty shy girl hiding behind the wall of the corridor? She must be as great as her brother*… »
Béatrice: I can’t remember when we met, we were maybe 10 and 14 years old, and we didn’t really meet, we were just around, as Josselin was one of my brother’s friends. Also, hiding behind the corridor wall, I couldn’t see that much…
*Béatrice’s brother is Kid Victrola, the man from Gloria, La Course du Grand Geocoucou and Slow Joe and the Ginger Accident amongst others.
What does “Krautrock de salon” mean to you?
Béatrice: A quiet Krautrock, but still heady.
Josselin: It means a kind of never-ending music, this type of music you can play for hours while reading a book or having a nap on the couch…and also music you could perform in your living room on a Sunday afternoon in front of your family…
How do you think the mountains influence your sound?
Béatrice: I’m not sure we can tell it influences it. It’s just that we grew up with them under the eyes, as a skyline, or a screen wallpaper. Each of us loves to go there to walk and it feels like home when we see them.
In the beginning, there was no attempt to do some “mountain music”. We found links once we had chosen our name, which was after doing the music.
And it makes sense now, as our music is always a long development and succession of moods. You can feel that when you walk in the mountain, with the feeling of being small and free and fragile, and a walk almost always gives you something special at one point.
Josselin: You need to be humble when you’re facing a mountain, you need to be humble when you create music, otherwise it’s a posture.
Are you excited to be playing in England? How is the English scene viewed from France?
Béatrice: Yes! The English scene seems smart and well tasted. there are a lot of English acts that we love in many different periods. Our musical field has always been full of English stuff among others. We grew up partly with that.
Josselin: English scene is viewed as a tough thing, you guys consider music very seriously and deeply so it’s quite an important and impressive thing to come and show our work…
What do you think about Britain (possibly) leaving the EU?
Josselin: This is the way the world is going, for me, it’s a sad thing for the utopia of a united continent.
Béatrice: It seems to be a big mess. Good luck with that!
What is your opinion of the Gilet Jaunes*?
SWIT and the band are referring specifically to the French Gilet Jaunes, not the English “copycat” far-right rabble.
Josselin: Hope it will have positives consequences but still don’t know if it’s not only vain…
Béatrice: They are very determined! And it’s great to see how that much people are concerned by social questions and wanting to do something about it.
How do you approach songwriting, does it come naturally to you?
Josselin: Our songs are not conventional songs, they are strangely shaped with long parts of music and sometimes a piece of lyrics that appears, it’s not songwriting, it’s music with lyrics…
Béatrice: What we did so far, is that we installed some instruments that we wanted to use and we started to play, while recording, for hours and hours. So it all comes from improvisations, but we are held by an automatic bass and rhythm or arpeggiator that is often a starting point. After that, we listened to everything. I enjoy listening to it a lot. Then we chose the parts that we prefer and started playing them again and again while giving them a form to end with something that seems good to us. The lyrics came later and sometimes helped us to build and structure the songs, as the parts with lyrics are stable as the other sometimes are not, they are moving from a time to another.
You take a wonderfully off-kilter, playful and experimental approach to your music and the results are fantastic (Upie is a particular favourite). What drives you in that direction?
Josselin: Experimentation can, and also a common taste of music aesthetics, we play and improvise with almost the same language and vision of what should be and what shouldn’t be.
Beatrice: Thank you! Upie is the only track of the two albums we did so far that comes directly from the improvisations sessions. We didn’t replay it. It’s the rawer one. Improvisation drives us there I think, it allows us to experiment with things. As we are very confident with each other, it allows us to try weird things and to fail without blushing too much. Improvising also drives you to build on what the other is playing and to react to it in a playful way.
What was the first piece of music you loved, and why?
Beatrice: The first tape I asked my father to make for me, when I was very little, in order to listen to it on my own, was on one side: Popcorn, and on the other side, Barry Lyndon OST. I don’t know why I loved it so much when you’re that little, you’re very instinctive.
Josselin: I think it was JS Bach when my mother tried to play it on the piano when I was very young and if there’s something in common maybe this is the obsession of a pattern or a melody that is played each time with a different approach.
What other acts, if any, would you regard as kindred spirits?
Béatrice: It’s a hard question, we can say what we love, but saying they are kindred spirits is a bit intimidating. Outré asked us to make a mixtape of stuff we love. It will be available very soon on mixcloud.
What is your favourite song that you’ve written?
Béatrice: I couldn’t say, they all belong to different times, and have their own importance regarding this time.
Josselin: My favourite song could be “Les Rapides Bleus”.
When is the last time you cried?
Béatrice: Last Friday.
Josselin: When I came back from a tour…
What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened to you recently?
Béatrice: Being completely lost in frequencies and having no idea if I was singing in or out of tune. In a way that never happened to me before.
Josselin: Two wheels of my car have exploded within the same week.
We cover a lot of artists from France, have you got any hot tips?
Béatrice: We have a lot of friends doing great music, have a look for example at Odessey & Oracle, Bess of Bedlam, Gilles Poizat, Olivier Brisson, La course du grand Géocoucou, Smss Productions, Fabrice Eglin, La Novia….
some of the above playlist
What is your favourite painting or work of art?
Josselin: Too hard to chose, I couldn’t tell for music neither.
Béatrice: I was born unable to answer that kind of questions! Lately, I’ve been doing some printings of some Leon Spilliaert’s paintings and drawings, in order to make a temporary exhibition at home, for my own pleasure! I also discovered recently Madge Gill’s drawings in the Lausanne’s Art brut Museum, and I loved it!
What colour is February?
Béatrice : Orange.
Josselin: Blue grey, like the mountains.
What’s the best phrase you’ve picked up in another language?
Béatrice: I can’t find anything right now, I’m sorry..
Josselin: I don’t know shit.
What question would you like to be asked that you never are and what would your answer be?
Béatrice: No idea.
Josselin: What would be the most perfect day? The answer would be: playing all day long with Grand Veymont of course : )
Is there anything more infuriating than putting on a duvet cover?
Béatrice: Putting on two duvet covers!
Can you tell us a good joke?
Béatrice : Yes.
Finally, Béatrice and Josselin have donated this rather wonderful work to add to our SWIT gallery collection, superb innit?