Canadian musician Francis Nothingwater set up La Mécanique in 2016. He got featured on a few samplers, released a few EP’s and finally joined hands together with the German label Cold Transmission Records to unleash earlier this year the debut album “Dernier Voyage”. The songs have been sung in French (Francis Nothingwater hailing from Quebec) and reveal an extremely dark sound reflecting feelings of despair and solitude. If you’re into cold-wave and post-punk, you definitely have to discover La Mécanique.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: La Mécanique is a rather new name active at the wider fields of cold-wave/post-punk music so how did this project saw the daylight? What inspired you to choose the band name? What have been the main sources of inspiration?
Francis : In the past, I was only collaborating with singers, but since 2017, I decided to integrate my own voice into my compositions. In May 2018, I released an album titled “Vie De Rêve” that had 10 songs at the beginning (it’s an EP of 3 songs now). At the end of this album, I saw the numbers of plays on Bandcamp raising and some labels contacted me for for collaborations. For example, I did a cover version of “Lady Shave” from the good old Fad Gadget in collaboration with R3 Records in early 2019. Also, towards the end of 2018, Cold Transmission Music contacted me and offered me to redo a few songs with them that were first released on the “Vie De Rêve”-album and make a new 12 tracks album with additional new songs that would come out in 2019 and which would be mastered by Kill Shelter’s Pete Burns.
I accepted right away and started working on “Dernier Voyage”. It’s really since this album that La Mécanique has seen the daylight. The band name was inspired by a sentence of the philosopher Epicurus: ‘Dreams are not to be feared, life is a simple mechanics’. The mechanisms of life fascinate me! From the cell to the image of the universe, everything that has been a good mechanism and nothing can escape… so I live my life as if every day would be the last.
Music has always been part of my life. I started playing guitar and creating my own songs at a very young age. I lived in a small village where there was not much to do so I practiced and I repeated a lot. The bands I was listening to at the time were: Bérurier Noir, Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedys, The Exploited, The Damned… Around the age of 19, I went to live in France in the city of Marseille for 2 years. This is where I discovered the cold-wave, dark-wave, post-punk music. I started listening to bands like Joy Division, Bauhaus, Television, New Order and a little later, I had a revelation when I saw Interpol live in Lion/France with Bloc Party in the first part. After this show, I think I became another man! (lol) I was listening to their song “Leif Erikson” on repeat and I started working on that dark musical style and that deep voice I loved so much. I think it’s really “Turn On The Bright Lights” of Interpol that set the stage for the musician I am today.
Q: You released a few EP’s before your debut album. What have been the most noticeable evolutions and changes in the writing process and sound production?
Francis: Before “Vie De Rêve”, I didn’t think that I had a talent to sing… I left that to the most talented. I made instrumental pieces with very dark flavor and which progressively became a little bit more electro-driven. One day, I sat in front of the computer with a microphone and started mumbling on my beats. I discovered a technique and a style that allows me to write in French while having a sound that is close to what we can hear from the English bands.
There is a particular song that made me want to sing in French: “Dernière Nuit” of the Belgian band Message (1988). By the way the title of my last album is a direct reference to this song.
Q: Talking about production, I think it’s not a coincidence you asked Pete Burns (Kill Shelter) to produce the album. You both are sharing a similar ‘obscure’ sound approach, but how did you get in touch with him and what has been his impact on “Dernier Voyage”?
Francis: Pete Burns and Christian Schaefer are the two guys from R3 Records who wrote an article about a single that I released in 2018 on their blog “Rule of Three”. When we came to the mastering step, Cold Transmission and I immediately thought about Pete who is the guy behind Kill Shelter. I’m a big fan of “Damage”, his new album in which he collaborated with big names in the current scene.
Q: I think to have understood the album has something personal and intimate. Can you give us more details about the lyrical content?
Francis: I am someone who loves having crazy adventures. Two years ago, I went to live in western Canada. I left everything behind -I had been working for television for almost 10 years and I felt like I had nothing more to do on it. I went to live on a small sailboat for almost a year alone all around the Vancouver Islands. It is aboard this tiny boat that I wrote the majority of the texts that are on my latest album. It’s about freedom, nature, ocean, extreme journey and obviously… women. Just before heading back to the studio to finish “Dernier Voyage”, I was coming back from a 3600 km cycling trip across Canada… When listening to this album, I think one can feel the loneliness and the mysterious vibe that’s surrounding the great Canadian plains.
Q: I noticed there’s fan video from the song “BlaBlaBla” on Youtube. What do you think about ‘fans’ making their own videos and what did you keep in mind from the ‘official’ video from “You & I”, which I think was one of your first songs?
Francis: Small bands like La Mécanique do not have a lot of budget, so DIY is a good way to produce and share our passion. The videos, the DJ sets in clubs, the reviews and interviews like this one are enormously appreciated because it’s a beautiful proof of love by people that are doing it with pleasure and for the love of music. Without them, I would probably still play in my living room.
Q: You already did a few gigs in Europe. What did you keep in mind from these live shows and are there much differences between playing in Quebec and Europe? What kind of live artist are you?
Francis: In Canada, the crowd is similar, but I find the scene much more active in Europe. We just have to watch all the activity around the post-punk music, cold-wave, dark-wave on social networks… it’s moving in Europe! For the moment, La Mécanique is much better known in Europe than at home, but in recent years, I have noticed an interest in dark music in Montreal. Several good bands have emerged like The City Gates, Scene Noir, Sarajevo & Moi with whom I had the chance to play in Montreal recently.
I am a guy who loves to be on stage. When I was younger, I regularly did auditions and played in some television series. Today, when I get on stage it is to share my music and vomit my guts. I believe that the concerts of La Mécanique are quite intense because all my songs are the symbol of every moment lived and felt intensively.