So, let's start from the beginning. When was your band formed, who did it and what the fuck does the name of the band means? Who have so much great ideas?
A brief history of the band: The very first debut of the band was around end of 1994, beginning of 1995. At this time, we were only three : Koshee (drums), Totof (Guitar) and I (Guitar). During 1995, Ronan (Bass) and Stefan (Vocals) joined us. In February 1996, I had to do my military duty. This is the moment when the band got its name, Tao Menizoo, for our first show.
The meaning of the name : nothing, sorry for the disappointment! These were onomatopea that went out of the brain of Koshee, the drummer. Initially, it was the temporary name of a song. Then it becames the band's name, clearly unusual for a metal band ! So, it's an open name : everyone can put his own interpretation and fantasies in it! !
After I returned (with a nice haircut !), the real effective and working activities of the band started. It was 1997 (with the tape demo you cand hear in the MP3 bonus part of the album).
In 1998, Stefan left us. He's been replaced by Olivier, who left us in 2000. After a few months searching a new singer, we finally decided, in 2001, that my part-time replacement vocals could become official and definitive.
Summer 2003, Cyril, an old friend of ours, joined the band for playing the samples, keyboard parts and additional voices and drums, and contributing to the creation-process.
About the ideas : the name came from Koshee's mind, but in the band, any of us has a lot of ideas, and Tao Menizoo, and its music, is the melt of them...
(from left to right : Ronan, Cyril, Koshee, Totof, Loh)
It is very strange to explain your sound, because it includes very much of other “sounds and experiences"! How do you describe the music-sound of Tao as yourself?
As stated above, Tao Menizoo is the melt of all our musical ideas. And we all like different styles of metal, and other music too : somes are more into 70's music, others are more into death, black and extreme, somes like ethnic or jazz music, others don't...
There is no leader in the band, and especially not about the musical orientation.
Tao Menizoo is not the child of one of us, it's the work of a (democratic) team!
So, finally, what's in Tao Menizoo's mix? A bit of thrash, a touch of indus or gothic atmosphere, a bit of hardcore, a touch of blast-beats, grunt voices and clear melodic voices (greatly improved on the last new songs by Cyril's contribution), harsh rythmic patterns, odd measures (7/8 and so on), both deconstructed structures and classical song schemes...
That's why we called it polymorphic metal, but some reviewers call that, to be brief, modern thrash, and it's OK for us...
Was Tao Menizoo your first band? Did you play in any other bands before it? When did you start to play music and why…..what was the reason for?
Before Tao Menizoo, Koshee and I were playing in a cold-wave band (we never made an album), Totof and Ronan were both playing in local metal bands...Cyril has recently played with a funk band before joining Tao Menizoo.
So, from this point of view, Tao Menizoo is not the first band or project for any of us, but Tao Menizoo is, for all of us, the first, and only, serious metal-band we ever play in and want to play in.
We started to play music when we were around 14/15 years old (for some, to grab some girls...But it never worked !).
It was more than 15 years ago! Yes, some of us are 30 and more!
How was the feeling to make music, make a CD and sell it for other people? And what do you think about the first steps in music-business (tapes/CDs) now?
What makes us get higher is to play live, to make the music directly for the people, to interact with them.
To make a CD and to sell it, is just a way to touch more people, and to invite them to come to our shows.
The money we earn with the shows and the sales of CD and t-shirts is very far to be enough to live. It's even not enough to pay for the activities of the band.
To produce a CD is not difficult in itself, it's not even that expensive, you know. The big thing, the real hard point, is to promote efficiently the album.
An ad in a magazine is too expensive for us...We don't have any label or booking agency, to promote our work (I mean, in France...Because we have Hardebaran that promote us abroad, with good results, but does not do booking yet) And magazines pay more attention to you, write more about you (reviews, interviews) if you buy ads...See what's wrong?
The way "official" journalists support bands seem to be not very objective and impartial, for the least. Or maybe I'm wrong, and they just simply missed the train we're in! That's a point we are currently working on.
Do you know how many copies you sold in France or maybe worldwide? What kind of feedback do you get from the people?
No. We don't know yet for the "worldwide" sales: the distribution in UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Benelux started in April 2004, so it is too soon !
In France, our distributor doesn't really promote the CD (they wait for the band doing the job...), so the sales, after one year, may be very disappointing...
Our French distributor is specialized in self-produced band, whatever music they play. Metal is surely not on the top of its working list...
They sign lot of bands, but really work only with a very few of them, those having already a good buzz, obtained by themselves...
That signature is cleary a mistake we have made. Well, for France, we should consider this album as a high-quality demo with a confidential diffusion...
For the second album (we currently are working on it by writing new songs), we will sign with a specialized distributor, used to work with metal bands, and doing a real work of promotion of the products he has in charge.
At the opposite of these commercially bad results, we have very good feedbacks from the people. I would say that about 85% of the reviews are enthusiastic or more, 10% do not like ('not my cup of tea' style) but think some could like and say 'try it', 5% do not like the style and don't even think some could like...
And people during the shows clearly enjoy, and many come after to tell us about it.
So, it's a big trouble to have so much good feedback from people, but so few attention from the specialized press, and so few sales...For sure, we may have a communication problem!
What can you tell about the lyrics? Are you often inspired by something while writing lyrics?
I wrote the biggest part of the lyrics, but recently, for the last new songs, other members brought their contribution. With our recent new approach of the work on voice parts, each of us get more involved in the writing process.
Anyway, generally speaking, the main orientation of the lyrics is an opinion about the world we're living in (religions in "belief", women condition in "Victims", conformity and social pression in "Innerängst"). There are also some fictitious narration about dark-depressive life experience ("Paranoid crisis", "Thorns"), and a few personal lived-for-real stories ("Come inside my hell").
So, what inspires us is as well what we live personally, that what goes around us (the newsreport are a rich material for inspiration).
We don't give solutions, only advices or opinions, we do not hold the truth.
Your cover artwork and the CD-Rom Part on the last album is very strange but really cool, too. How important is it for you and what does it mean for the band?
Thanks. We're pleased to have good feedbacks on our choices about the artistical direction we gave to the album.
Metal album artwork is often dark, sophisticated, with references to esoterism, or biomech, or sci-fi, or violence, or war, or heroic-fantasy...
We made the bet of a white cover, with only a strangely-shaped drop, maybe blood, maybe not...We wanted our cover to be easy to find among all the black and dark covers, with a strong visual impact.
The artwork is very important for us. We consider that people buying the CD deserve to have the best we can give both musically and visually. When you have worked hard for the music, you can't waste your efforts with an ugly cover. That's why we have paid a particular attention to this cover and to the CD-Rom part too.
The goal of the cover is not only to be esthetically attractive, it should be in coherence with the band and the music. Here, you have red drops, a kind of seminal spray of a "new blood", the point where everything starts and ends (blood symbolizes both life and death)
And we did everything by ourselves, that's the best way to assure the result meets our will!
Explain your attitude towards heavy metal music. What did you find in this music and why are you faithful to it? What kind of feelings do you have while listening to it? Do you like any other music styles which and why?
Metal is a music you can feel physically with you body, and mentally with your brain.
It makes you move, headbang, rise your fist, and it makes you think...
It's one of the richer kind of music, see (and listen): you have here the most heavenly melodies and the worst brutalities too, it goes from atmospheric landscapes to unchained violence...
This musical style get richer and richer by assimilating other styles :
metal+indus, metal+ethnical, metal+electro, metal+rap, metal+jazz, metal+classical, metal+blues, metal+reggae...they all exist! Yes, some fans and musicians are narrow-minded, but the style in itself is one of the most opened to perpetual mutation, while keeping its background alive.
And yes, we all like other music styles. Which ones? For each one of us, one or more of the styles mentioned above (indus, ethnical, electro, rap,...). Why? Because we don't want to refuse opportunities to get richer mentally, artistically, humanly.
Where did you play live until now, tell us the best experience on stage? Did you play in Germany? And when is the next tour in which countries?
Until now, we only played in France, mainly around Paris. We still are currently doing a hard work to promote our album, but only a few of the French show promoters are into metal, and not on a regular basis during all the year.
The list of the bands is so long, and we still are far from the top of this list: our music is not in "the hype", we are not Korn clones, or Slipknot clones, or SOAD clones, so we are not enough fashioned (and "bankable") for the general public show promoters.
There is even some to tell us we will stay unknown forever because we're old and not yet widely known! He surely prefer diet coke to vintage wine!
And we are not enough extrem, either, for the active extrem underground scene !
But we won't give up !!
We've never played abroad, but we are very interested in! If the work of Hardebaran, our promoting agency outside of France, is successful in promoting the album, there may be then a work of booking dates anywhere possible: Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, who knows...But it's still a future project. It may become reality if people buy the album, showing there is a place for us on foreign stages.
Our best experience on stage: a show in Nevers last year, with Dagoba. The album was not yet released, we were far from home and were thinking: "nobody knows us here, they all came for Dagoba, we will play for none, they all will be drinking beers at the bar". And...they all were here to enjoy the show, they were crazy with our riffs and music, headbanging heavier than us! A real flood of adrenaline! That day, we understood our music could be appreciated immediately by "newcomers" and had the power to get people high and make'em hot and crazy, when played live!
What do you think about the French-metal-undergound? Is it big? What are your favourite bands from your home country?
Yes, the French metal underground exists and is not weaker than any other metal underground, I think, in quantity, in technical and artistic quality. But few bands can export their music and gain notoriety outside of France. I don't know why.
Mainly, majors and labels don't want to do the job to promote the French metal abroad, surely because they think the French bands can't compete with foreign bands. So, they prefer to sell more popular products stamped "French-typical"...
The consequence is that people abroad don't even know there is a real french metal scene, and they are pleasantly surprised when they discover French bands.
Favourite French bands :
the most know : No Return, Loudblast, Lofofora, SUP / Supuration
the next wave : Gojira, Lysanxia, Scarve, Dagoba...and Tao Menizoo, we hope so ;-)) !
But there's a lot more excellent and brilliant bands to discover !
What do you think about the political situation in the world (I mean the Bush and Al Quaida f******* things)? Are you interested in politics and do you think you would use your music to sing about some political problems or something like that? Maybe Tao would play some gigs or make sampler CDs to support some organisations?
I don't know what History will retain of G.W.Bush, but I'm quite sure he won't be remembered as a great president. He is, consciously or not, a puppet between the hands of lobbies (industrial, petrochemical, religious...).
I deny to Al Quaida's member, and to any terrorist, the right to claim being a part of mankind fighting for a legitimate cause.
Killing innocents to create terror shows an obvious contempt of the human life. Any cause, whatever it is, just or not, defended with terrorist methods loses its credibility when the blood of innocents is spread.I refuse to consider the revendications of anyone threatening my life.
Bush and Al Quaida both think the world is black and white. But the real world is gray, from light gray to dark gray. With lot of blood stains, oceans of pain, fed by those who think the world is black and white.
We are interested in politics, we express some of our point of view in our songs, but we do not think our music will change anything in the world. So, we don't give solutions we don't have. We don't give lessons, we just show and illustrate what goes wrong to warn people and, maybe, make them think by themselves.
That's our political message: think by yourself! Learn! See beyond appearances! Don't abandon your freedom in the hands of religious or political leaders! Use your brain and reason, be a human, not a slave or a vegetable!
Tao playing some gigs or give a song for a CD to support a cause...Why not, but only for a kind of neutral cause (AIDS, women rights, environmental preservation...): our engagement should not be interpreted as a support to a political structure, because it will be at the opposite of what we defend: think by yourself, make your own choices.
We don't play music to promote politicians, whoever they are.
Propaganda art is a deviated art, because it is not the creation of the deepest thoughts of a human, it's a monstrousness born on command to support a will of power.
Which plans does Tao M. have in future and what are you favourite records?
Currently, we are working on a 5 tracks demo.
It's the first step towards the second album. We would like to find a distributor or a production label to finance, at least, the making of the CD (we could pay the recordings, conceive the cover and CD-Rom part as previously done).
We still have to write more songs (we have around 8 new songs for now).
And, of course, we have to promote more and more the current album to find shows, in France and abroad...
Our favorite records :
Koshee : "Blackwater Park", Opeth
Ronan : "Antipop", Primus
Totof : "Terria", Devin Townsend
Cyril : "Disco Volante", Mr Bungle
Loh : "The Number Of The Beast", Iron Maiden
And of course, last but not least, my standard last question:
Last words are up to you....?
1) We want to come and play for all you people, wherever you are !
2) Metal will never die ! ;-))