Tamtrum - It's well known: the more you sell, the better you are as an artist. That's why Britney Spears sells a lot.
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Surprise surprise! When Tamtrum's newest studio release hit the media, most were left numb. The French trio had delivered an album that was miles away from what the dark electro scene was used to be served. Conceptually divided into 2 different parts, "Fuck You I'm Drunk" and "Stronger Than Cats" , the album offers dark electro sounds with guitar riffs that deliver a combination that has not yet been heard. A daring choice? It seems so, even the band's label didn't know what to expect but was sure it would get lots of feedback. So it did, to date the album is one of the best selling on the Alfa Matrix label beating all records. Hardcore fans should rush to the online shop of Alfa Matrix where you can order the album as a 2CD slipcase deluxe edition strictly limited to 666 copies with explicit stickers and on a bonus second cd the recording in 6 acts of selected total reinterpretations by Claus Larsen of Leaether Strip fame.
A suicide mission most predicted, but they got a big ‘Fuck You' by Fixhead, Benoit Sixteen and the band's loyal stripping queen Sylvicious ! Side-Line sent its most disturbed mind to Marseille to speak with the trio... (By Elise Din)
SL: The Tamtrum machine is quite well oiled, your label informed me that you're actually one of the current bestsellers on the label and that even with the change in musical approach...? Can you explain why?
F: Maybe because we're the best band on Alfa Matrix far away from Front 242 and all the rest. You know, it's well known, the more you sell the better you are as an artist. That's why Britney Spears sells a lot.
S: Actually we love Britney Spears' shit.
B: Yep really.
SL: Especially the French market seems to be more that welcoming your more rockier approach, surprised?
S: I don't know if it will really depends on the countries; you know there's different types of fans; those in love, with a scene and a sound, and who appreciate the band's albums which are entering in this type of music they like... and those who see the band at first, consider it as a concept by itself - as having a sort of epic in different albums, whatever the style. What I want to say is, Tamtrum is the three of us and it will always be Tamtrum as long as we'll stay together - whatever dark or catchy sound we've got. Tamtrum is and will always be the association of three drugged dudes who try to make songs about stupid topics.
I don't know but there will surely always be some hardcore fans who will say "It was better before, blah blah...", but this is right as well if you stay in the same style; so... Personally we don't care at all, we want to do what we want to do musically - and that's it. Those who like us are following, and the others can go and "Niquer leur mère" like we say in France.
SL: Why did you switch from the harsh electro to clean produced electro with guitars inserted? What instigated this change?
B: Simply because we wanted to do it. There's no hidden plan. With all the respect I have for the hellektro scene, let me tell you that making another "Elektronic Blakc Mess" was a boring idea for us. We're evolving, that's all. We like taking risks and try new shit. Tamtrum have always been spontaneous - like a fury shout; and on "Fuck You I'm Drunk" it is more like a pleasure shout, an orgasm. And you don't have to forget "Stronger Than Cats" which is nothing less than pure Tamtrum juice, 2009's sauce... I can tell you that when we're playing "Stronger Than Cats" on stage, the fans are receiving our sound straight in their face with the same power of the others albums' tracks.
SL: Were you convinced that people would dig it? It's often so that bands changing their musical direction get the middle finger up from hardcore fans that have big sunglasses on often...? Bernard from Alfa Matrix told me that this was the release he and the rest of the label wanted to get out for sure as it's "just too fucking brilliant, no matter if it will sell or not" so he said.
S: Yep, but Bernard forgot to tell you that the very first time we'd sent him the first shots of "Fuck You I'm Drunk" we heard strange weird howling coming from the deep far Belgium, they were shocked... and didn't answer our mails for several days... We thought we had lost our label. Later on, after they'd listened again an again and in better conditions, I mean far from their families, with friends and few grams of Jupiler in veins, they finally had the flash and came back to us crawling. Every body wanted to sign us at that very moment, but we've stayed with them because they're the best !!!
F: For the artistic direction, the fans, etc... Listen, as we can continue to play shows everywhere and as I still can screw sum' fans backstage all is fine with me.
SL: "Ass rider" sounds like Clint Eastwood on speed Bernard said, he's quite right... I love how you mixed those country blues elements with electro. Are these samples or are these Richard playing?
F: I sampled some stuff, for getting this special effect you have for example on "Ass Rider" but I've composed and played all the solos. Some others riffs too. At the beginning I didn't want to put any real guitar on the "Fuck you I'm drunk" part, but it's Benoit Sixteen who convinced Sylvicious and I to put some on. And now I have to admit (with no pleasure) that it was a good idea.
B: Clint Eastwood on speed – ha ha very good.
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SL: The text itself is weird to say the least, is that your weird mind Sylvain or Benoit's?
S: Fixhead and I wrote this text. Usually, I write all the lyrics on my own, but for this title Richard came to me with some dirty-stupid writing lines. I've written the chorus with him, listening intensively at the music and taking a few ideas from a story that had just happened to me a few nights before in a club : A dumber called me a faggot because I was covered with make-up. But the minute after, he saw two sex bombs come and stand next to me and kissing my neck with delight. I just laughed at his face telling him how ugly he was. After all, I don't know why I should not insult people on their physical weakness when they're insulting others just because they don't have the same sexual orientation! Finally his mouth stayed wide open... I think he is still trying to close it by now.
SL: The production on this album must be the cleanest you ever had, did you have enough of the raunchy sound of the previous 2 albums?
B: To be honest, the two first albums had this raunchy sounding because of the lack of experience and money, it wasn't a wish... But hey! that doesn't mean we're not going to make another dirty sounding album in the future... Nothing's really locked with Tamtrum, it's one of our principles.
SL: The bonus set has some really cool stickers inserted, I usually don't pay attention to these, but, hell, those two nude girls are appetizing to look at... who are they and their lucky owners? Professional models?
S: These beauties are Purple and B.B-Fuk, and they're not really professional - concerning modelling I mean; but in bed they're real pros. And they rarely refuse another girl in their sheets, for you to know.
B: That's totally true!
SL: I took notice of that... You got Claus Larsen that far to partially reinterpret your album for the bonus disc. The new versions sound very fresh. Was it your idea and was it like you expected?
S: It was the idea of Alfa Matrix; at the start we'd only told them that we didn't want a multi-band remix bonus cd for our digipack - we don't like that. So here's a general message I want to spread : don't ask us to remix you, we don't like to be remixed or to make some. Or it can be fine if you're a huge band... ha! Anyhow, we've given this constraint to the label, and they had this brilliant idea to give Claus (who did really a great job) the separate tracks of our stuff and he created his own interpretation of the songs with Benoît's singing lines. We are really pleased with the result. Thanks again to Claus!
SL: Did Claus hear the completed versions or did he just have a go on the midifiles he got?
B: I made him simple remixes kits, and he used just that. I don't know how he approached the thing from his side though.
SL: What version is your favourite and why?
S: "Ass Rider" and "Milky Boy", because they are the most different from the originals.
SL: On "Junkie, funky, monkey!" you kinda mix NIN with electro and death metal. Very interesting mix. What kind of bands were you actually listening and inspired by during the recording sessions of this album?
B: NIN with electro and death metal – yes it's kind of that. For the death-metal side, it is probably because of Sylvain's drums. I gave him the track asking him to play (sitting) drums on it. He usually plays with a stand-up drum kit on stage, but for this song I wanted real drumming work, with the foot-operated bass drum, the toms and all – very heavy metal yeah! I was sorry for him because he usually has nothing to record on albums so we gave him a bone to eat. At this time I was listening to a lot of Prodigy, Queen, and some Oasis-style pop. But of course I'm a huge NIN's fan.
S: Just like me. Waourf Warf !
SL: The song "Fuck you I'm drunk" existed before or what? I remember having seen that on one of your t-shirt designs in the past? It's a hit though, excellent sing along on top.
S: No, this title is coming from one of our T-shirts' slogans which existed indeed already for quite some time. In fact it originates from not long after the start of the band. "Fuck You I'm Drunk" is a bit like Tamtrum's leitmoteiv, almost like a religious verse !
SL: I saw you live a few months ago, you still undress well Sylvain... what does your mum say about all this?
S: And you dear Elise, what did you thought bout all of that. Did you appreciate ?
SL: Hmmmm.... It was quite yummie...
S. You know, for my mum, she has dealt with a lot of other things with us, like having to go and fetch her sons at the hospital for various reasons... I also remember a time when we used to be with Fixhead, as teenagers. We let her take drugs (weed, herbs, marijuana) and BANG (a bamboo stick with a water reservoir) when se had friends for visit and had to make dinner... She really went nuts, hilarious...! Ha ha ha, the good old time. But actually and to be franc you, you are pointing out something that she doesn't like all that much; I think she's jealous...
Posted by: Electrohunter on Aug 14, 09 | 4:23 am
some have wife's, some are dry ex alcoholics, some are unemployed and some are even deaf.
Posted by: heretic909 on Aug 14, 09 | 2:20 am
Thanks for the heads up on the pic above. Some of us read this at work, ya know.
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