Hi Laurent! “How are you, what the f*** is going on with Tao Menizoo?”. This was the first question of our interview in 2007. Five (!) years ago I would ask you the same “shit” again…what´s up?
Hi Arturek! It's a sincere pleasure for me and the band to have a talk with you again... To answer shortly to your first question, I could say that TAO MENIZOO
is not a "web-2.0-promo-oriented band" (I do regret that)...I mean that we do things each one after the others: do the records and mixes, release the album, do promotion and search for gigs, play gigs, compose new songs and write news lyrics, do the records and mixes,...When we do gigs, we do not promote the band (otherwise by being on stage), when we compose new songs, we do not promote ourselves either...When we are making a new album, we do not blog about the recording process, day by day, that kind of thing... We are a mono-task band, like an old computer ;-). So people can hear from us only when we release new album or play gigs, and in the meantime, because we are not used to creating and maintaining buzz, it's almost as if we have disappeared! We do know it's a real handicap for us because it doesn't take much time before people have forgotten us... That's why we recently made some quick preview videos for the new album, and we now try to post things on facebook and so on... I'm not sure it will be enough to compensate our lack in self-promotion... You know, it's a real day-by-day struggle to make your band exists among thousands other bands! And I can't promise you the next album will come sooner, because we already made same promise to ourselves for this album, and you can see we didn't keep it ;-)
You create a new album called “Journey Through A Devastated Mind”
. Please tell us something more about it?
First, once again, this album is full “DIY”: tracking & recording, editing, mixing, cover design, videos...The only professional involved is for the mastering brilliantly made by Brett Caldas-Lima (Kalisia, Devin Townsend Cynic...) at Tower Studio...And the cover picture too : a photograph by Eric Honeycutt, edited by ourselves to add a bit more visual drama... The fact we do almost everything by ourselves in our own project-studio gives us a real freedom about the process of writing and recording...We have the time to try anything we can think of, but...It takes time to stop experimentation and say "this song is now finished"! And because we have not booked a studio for 10 or 15 consecutive days, it becomes difficult to establish a planning we have to follow respectfully: you have the freedom to delay anything you want! Anyway, the album is here now! For the second time, it's a kind of conceptual album. The previous one, "So Blind", was about mass manipulation and mind control. The new one, "Journey Through A Devastated Mind" is a trip in the darkest thoughts, fears and angers of a very disturbed mind... I have tried to write shorter lyrics, to leave more space for the music, and to be less explicit, more ambiguous, to let the listener choose its own interpretation...Some text have a double reading, some don't, it's up to you... For the first time in our discography, the released CD will have a booklet with the lyrics inside, so one will be able to make one’s own opinion about it…
What are the main-difference between “So blind”
and the new album?
First: a better sound! We have learned a lot of our mistakes on the previous albums, better equipments and gears, better skills too... As said above, less lyrics, to let the music breath... More mid-tempo or slow songs, more subtleties in arrangements with some songs with lots of sound layers (listen to "Released" for an example)... There are still fast and blasting parts or songs, but it's intended for playing with musical contrasts, according to the lyrics... Contrasts are important for us, to avoid being monolithic and... boring...(But it’s not the «neo metal cliché»: quiet verse/screaming chorus/quiet verse/screaming chorus…;-) I think this album is another important step in our constant musical evolution. We are not stuck to a well-defined and delimited musical style, so our music evolves according to our own personal evolutions... For what I know from our last jam and musical ideas, the next album should be slower, darker and ambient...or stoner...or heavier...or...who knows? We don't, not yet...But for sure, this album contains some indices...
What is “your personal” message of the new album? I thins the front-coverarwtork gives many interpretations according to the title…
We have chosen this picture for the ambiguity of the scene: what is she about to do? Maybe she's tormented and about to kill herself to be freed of her sufferings... Or she is a victim about to eradicate her tormentor... Or she is the tormentor about to finish her victim... Or she's neither the victim or the tormentor, but someone coming in-between... Some lyrics are written from the disturbed mind point of view, some aren't, sometimes it's obvious to know who's speaking, sometimes it isn't ;-). This journey is not a trip inside my own mind, I'm a quite healthy-minded guy (except I play metal ;-), but some of the "landscapes" the listener travels through are inspired by everyone’s inner troubles, so it won’t be a real «terra incognita» for any listener... The most important is to know these darkest aspects of yourself and keep them under control... If you choose to ignore them, they will take you down, one day or another. Remember the Ancient Greek aphorism: "Know thyself"...That would be the message…
Did you have –now- any label/distribution, who works with you; may I would say, did you are looking for a new label or promo-office which support your new stuff?
and “So blind”
we were signed on indie labels or distributors... This time we're not... First, because the label that has signed us for "So Blind" went bankrupt... Good reason for being label-orphan... After having finished the record, we have decided not to look for another label for a simple reason: we are not enough famous to get another kind of deal than those we already had...What kind of deal? This one: the band brings the cash ( = we have to buy a small quantity of our own album for a price covering the full amount of the CD manufacturing), a ridiculously thought distribution (2 CDs only in the nearest CD shop, with a metal dedicated section, 500m far from my own home, in our 'quasi-homeland', I let you imagine for a distance of tens or hundreds kilometers), the band keeps on doing the job of searching for promo (interviews, reviews...) and gigs as before, and the label does nothing but some mutualised advertising in a few magazines...Great deal, uh... So, since we do not catch attention of bigger labels, it's useless to spend (lose) time and money with people not really involved in our project...There's no gain in that pain! Possibly, to work with a promotional agency, for an agreed sum, with a best effort guaranteed (or even results?), could be an option...We have done that before, but we have never been sure if reviews and interviews we got then, were the results of our own work, or agency work... And we can't afford to rely entirely on someone else... For sure, the most profitable deal for us would be with a booker who could find us many, many gigs over Europe... But, we're not enough bankable for having anything else than offers to pay 500 € to 1000 € (or more) for being the opening guest on a tour of a bigger band...500 € to 1000 € per date, of course... And last, no endorsement of any kind, of course ;-)
How did you going into the process of writing this new stuff, after the long break with “So Blind”? Where do you get your inspirations from of the new stuff – tell us something about the songwriting process.
In fact, what I said above it partially wrong, there's is one thing we can do while doing gigs and acting promotion: composing songs and recording demos... During our rehearsals for setting up the gigs, we always keep a bit of time for jamming and searching new ideas. Back at home, theses ideas are gathered in demos... Then the whole band listens to, and play, these new songs, looking for their weak points or strengths… Often two or more songs are rewritten in one, with the best parts of each... Music always come first... It takes month for me to have a concept to write about... Once I have the main direction, it comes quite easily...Without a unique "big" concept, ten songs to write means...ten "small" concept to find, I do not consider that easier! The point is that the concept has to be rich and productive enough to inspire 10, 12 or 15 songs... For the next album, I think I should be starting my search from now! For the inspiring stuff, I just have to look around me or read newspaper, there's enough material to write thousands songs... No positive and happy songs, I'm afraid... For the musical inspiration, new ideas come from the recent bands and albums we listen to. Because we all, in the band, have different musical taste, the music we play can't be qualified as plagiarism or as a kind of certified-true-copy of nobody... That's why I said a few lines above that the next album may be more ambient, or more stoner, or heavy, or anything else: it depends on our musical very favourite next ones, melted and regurgitated... For sure, we are going to explore some new sounds: I recently bought a Shecter Hellcat Bass VI, kind of Fender Bass VI, a guitar tuned an octave down, not really a bass (6 lighter strings), not really a guitar either (heavier and lower strings), you can play arpeggios a la Angelo Badalamenti (Twin Peaks), or crunchy rhythms with quite a dirty vintage sound...Interesting anyway!
Are there some lyrics that are special to, please tell us something about them or one of the special one?
A few lines above, I said that ”Journey Through A Devastated Mind”
is a kind of trip in the deepest and darkest thoughts of a very disturbed mind. Maybe a serial killer, maybe your neighbour, your wife or husband, or maybe you, or me;-) Lyrics are sometimes very ambiguous… But it’s pure fictional! So, you won’t find any real part of me inside… Or…maybe…Not…;-) So, I can’t say there are some lyrics more special or important to me…Not for this album…Maybe next one?
Please tell us something about further live activities. We haven´t seen you in Germany on stage…any plans for some Festivals or something like that?
I'm currently calling back every contact of my address book, and searching for new contact, to plan gigs in the first six months in 2013. A kind of "Devastated Tour 2013", I hope ;-). But it's just the beginning, so we have not yet anything certain for now... We will greatly enjoy playing in Germany for sure, but we're always afraid that to be so little known closes us many doors we will knock on... So we do not even try, I think that's our biggest mistake: we do not ask because we make the answers ourselves...We should be less shy and more offensive!!! Maybe we can come and play for a garden party at your home? ;-)
We are looking forward seeing you in Germany. I wish you good luck with your new record; and I hope again to see you live on stage soon.
Thank you Arturek, thank you for your interest and your support, through the years: you rule, man!
Always a pleasure, you welcome. “Support the underground!”
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