The French formation The Funeral Warehouse once started as a solo-project set up by singer/guitarist /keyboarder Sébastyén D. Later on the solo-project evolved into a real band. Aurélien Jobard on bass/keyboards and Rodolphe Goujet on drums joined in. They by the end of 2021 unleashed their debut album “Hours & Days”. The album has been released by Icy Cold Records and reveals a great mix between Shoegaze and Dark-Wave with a strong Indie touch on top. This interview is an introduction to The Funeral Warehouse.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: I noticed you guys are already active for a couple of years now. How did The Funeral Warehouse see the daylight and what did you want to express through your music?
Rodolphe: First of all I would like to say that it is a real pleasure for me to answer to a Belgium website because a lot of bands from your beautiful country have educated my ears since the 90’s: Deus, ZITA SWOON, VENUS, SOULWAX, GHINZU, GIRLS IN HAWAÏ…
As an answer to your question, I would say that I am the last member to join the band. They wanted to see if a real drum could surpass a drum machine… the used one in the first releases of the band. As I’m still here, I guess I passed the test. I really think that drums are underrated instruments to express emotions. I’m not a real drummer so I have a rhythmical and melodical approach to it. To be fair I should say since I’m technically limited, I have to find something to make an illusion.
Sébastyén D: Yes Belgium has so many great bands. Last one I saw was Annabel Le. Real cool band and nice people. Well, The Funeral Warehouse was born not exactly but almost a side-project from my main one at that time, Opium Dream Estate – though now both are equally important to me. I was writing Post-Punk/Cold-Wave-like songs and I thought of keeping it for a new project, then making an EP. I met Aurélien Jobard (bass) in a club and then he introduced me to Rodolphe, we rehearsed and that was it. The alchemy was right there. We started doing some live shows, things went great and it still is today. I think I need to express feelings, or images, sensations… things I experienced in my life but not things too real. I’m not quite good at it. Music is perfect to express immaterial things, to make people feel pure sensations, like a trance, to let go.
Q: You last year released your debut album “Hours & Days” which I think has been composed over several years. Tell us a bit more about the composition, the input of each member and the different stages you’d to go through to achieve this album?
Rodolphe : At the beginning, The Funeral Warehouse was a one-man band… Seb’s. So a good part of “Hours & Days” are his songs. But some others have been composed by the whole band as we got to know each other’s. Now every new song can come from a guitar riff, a bass sound or a drumbeat. Personally, I see myself as the cardiovascular system of the band.
Sébastyén D: Yes, most of the songs on “Hours & Days” are ‘mine’ but apart from “Stop” and maybe “In Love” we reworked most of the songs and three out of ten are by the band. “Hours & Days” is a full band composition album and the next one will probably the same. We just brought ideas, we play them, see if it works out or not. We already have new stuff on the table…
About the making of the album, it was collective work. We recorded our part in our places during the lockdown and our bass player mixed it, send us mixes to see how the songs sounded, made some changes, etc. We were involved in the process of the record. And it went super well. I am quite proud od it.
Q: How do you perceive “Hours & Days” compared to the early stuff of the band? What have been the main changes and evolutions in song writing and global production?
Rodolphe : As I said it’s more the result of a team work now. Each one of us has brought his own world and influences. So I’m a bit responsible for the indie part of our sound as I’ve always listened to that kind of music. Now The Funeral Warehouse sounds much Rock-like and less New-Wave than in its early days.
Sébastyén D: The first releases were a solo effort. Pretty good I think but it lacked something. As a band songs just reached a far upper level. Louder, better… More organic, more lively. And others’ members influences. We shared a lot of influences but we all have our vision of ‘what good music is’, how to play, etc.
Q: “Hours & Days” reveals a true sonic canvas of influences; Dark-Wave for sure, but Shoegaze inspired with an Indie-touch on top. Where do all these influences come from and how would you describe/define your album to people who never heard of you before?
Rodolphe: I notice that I’m still a step ahead of the expected answer. I have a real problem of synchronicity! Is it bad for a drummer? Please guys don’t fire me! I have a wife and two children to feed.
Sébastyén D: Sorry mate, we gonna use a drum machine now!! Haha. More seriously like I said, we share influences, bands like Nirvana, The Cure, The Beatles. I’m really into Post-Punk/Goth and Grunge music. Rodophe is sharing similar influences but he’s more into Indie music and Aurélien is into Shoegaze and Industrial, Post-Punk. Rodolphe and I are also Pearl Jam and Tom Waits fans. I like also bands like Nick Cave, 16 Horsepower, Depeche Mode, Chris IsaaK, Psychedelic music, Blues-stuff… Many different things. We tried to combine almost all these things in our music. Also all these songs from the album has been writen through out many years so it reflects how we evolved, how some influences came and go, how we kinda grew up. Yes I think this could define our album. An Indie and dark reflection of us and how getting old haha. “Hours & Days” is just a combination of all Indie music can make.
Q: What inspires you in the lyrical part of the work and how important are the lyrics?
Sébastyén D: Images, feelings. I like when lyrics are kinda blurry. It makes people think, reinterprete them, appropiate them. Nothing fancy, snobby or pretentious. I’m not teaching anyone. To me lyrics are just part of the process, the sound of words, lines… it must fit the atmosphere of the song. I always write the lyrics and the vocals are kinda like another instrument. But I sure have my influences: art, some writers, nature, some themes like death, madness, love, wandering… and other happy things that happened in life…
Rodolphe: The fact that Seb’s shrink failed.
Sébastyén D: Hahaaaaa!! Gotta find a new one…
Q: Your album has been released during the ongoing pandemic. I know there’s a lot to do about it in France, but in which way did it affect you as citizens at one side and musicians at the other side? And how do you manage the release of an album considering promotion, live shows etc in times of Covid?
Sébastyén D: This was a hard period for all of us and many of my friends to come through. Making the record during the lockdown kinda helped us I guess. Lots of my friends (and I) were tired of streaming live sessions. It felt kinda nice at the beginning but then… No crowd, no interraction, nothing. When we played our show for the release of our album, hundreds of people came and it was a very powerful and emotional moment that proved live music is only vialable onstage with people and not behind a screen and also people need music, to party, to dance so much in their life. It was cathartic and liberating.
Now things got better and fortunately, webzines, magazines, venues are helping us. We normally have some shows to come to promote our music. Let’s hope that there’ll be more.
Rodolphe: “Hours & Days” is a pandemic album. We finished it when we were each one of us were in our homes. So it helped a lot to overcome that weird period. We all know that it was a difficult period for artists and the whole music industry. Personally, it was time to open back concert halls cause I couldn’t stand any more all the videos on social medias by frustrated and too serious artists whose ego needed to share their production: a little bit invasive and without any sense of humor unfortunately.
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