COWARDS interview

by Jean

I guess I can use the band’s own description on FB to introduce it…

cowards

Absolutely no posi-core mentality, totally different inspiration from the different bands we are mostly dealing with with the other DROIDxRAGE dudes. Speaking for me, sometimes I do like to focuse on that kind of bands which draw their music and lyrics into the gloomy aspects of humanity because it reminds me what made me fell into hardcore. I came to see COWARDS live performance two weeks ago. They were playing in that sordid venue not far from Bordeaux docks. Prostitutes, nightclubs, dark streets, perfect conditions I guess. After the show I met Adrien who plays the guitar and started an interesting chat with him.

Considering your latest LP Rise To Infamy on Throatruiner Records and the live performance I had just attended, can we say you really reached that optimum of hatred and influences from H8000, Holy Terror a band like KICKBACK claimed to offer to their audience at the time their last but one LP No Surrender came out? In my humble opinion, Rise To Infamy´s worth dozens of No Surrender (although I really loved that record when it was released)…

Not really. We’re not claiming any interpretation of what KICKBACK tried to record but we all agree this record is amazing. In a private capacity I often listen to it and when it came out I felt like it was what I wanted to do since a very long time but I’ve never managed to form my own band, I was playing other guys’s tracks, it was cool but we felt with our bass player like we had to form our own band, and this is how our band must sound. There’s no will to exceed any band, we just want to enjoy ourselves and play, then listen to the music we wanted to record. Because we’re a bit narcissistic we wanted to hear that. We almost did not manage to be a live band but because there’s a scene playing that stuffs, we were lucky enough to be a part of that scene and there are people who want to see us on stage.

As to me, on stage, that “metal hardcore” aspect of your band allows you to be really provocative and also allows you to harangue the audience more than if you were a “typical hardcore punk” band. Are you in that kind of acting? Like really cathartic?

Yes. A show like this one [not many people in the audience], there must be some action. We’re not here to speak to the people. We’re not here to share something with the audience, or offer something – we’d like to! But we are here to inflict something.

That’s definitly what I realised reading the lyrics of “Rise To Infamy”: annihilate the pervading pressure.

Yeah, that’s a way of seeing. But we’re not committed to any cause and that’s our main leitmotif: we’re not defending anybody or anything without attacking somebody or something. We’re all more than thirty and I refuse that word “cathartic”. Even if I wasn’t playing that type of music I’m actually pretty good: I have a job, I can have personal relationship with people, everything’s good! Actually it’s like a form sadism: I really enjoy to play that music. When people, while listening to the records, tell me it’s a bit oppressive, it makes me feel good. It was something we tried to achieve from the first LP.

But the name of the band is “Cowards”. You told me you do not want to attack someone especially but that name must speak to someone in particular?

No, actually we apply this to everybody. You, us… It’s not an incredible brainwave to realise each of us is more a less a coward. At the time we formed this band this idea was the most vivid observation. It sounded like an accurate name. There is no denunciation.

But what is your inspiration?

Obviously personal life. I’m actually writing the lyrics and I’d say the main inspiration can be bluesmen and their lyrics. Because eveything there is ordinary, like the Delta Blues you know: “My wife just left me, I have nothing to do, I’m gonna be drunk as hell…” I’ve always paid attention to the lyrics, that’s why I have difficulty to listen to a lot of bands because when I read the lyrics I’m like “Oh my God… Such dummies make music?” Be careful! I do not say our lyrics are highly philosophical but I really pay attention to their meaning, like if you read it you can easily feel it’s like if you had wrote it, addressing to yourself or anybody else. We had a concept, the “usual hatred”, writing about anything you wanted to deal with like “Fuck I really wanted a beer and now it’s too late…” or “I met this girl and she does not want to sleep with me…” Things like that, not really tragic. We do not approach something big or majestic, we deal with people of modest means, because we are part of them. Do you get that?

Totally! But I wasn’t expecting that! Actually when I listen to bands who try to play your type of music I realised there are not two sets of rules: either bands carry a really cool identity or they are total dumbass…

Hope we’re neither of them!

Obviously you’re unfortunately a part of the first faction, otherwise I wouldn’t be here! But what I am looking for is maybe a real honesty…

Yeah, but the fact is that if we take a certain example: maybe that HATEBREED dude is totally sincere when he writes his lyrics? Guess it’s really sad though… Same thing for CROWBAR although I really love CROWBAR because songs are awesome but when you read the lyrics you wonder what happened. In comparison to that, I really love CELTIC FROST latest LP Monotheist but the lyrics are particulary stupid!

Yeah whereas as to me this record is their most accomplished effort!

This record is insane!

Apart from the musical influences, what are the other artistic influences which led you to this blackness, this noxious air?

I’ll be glad to tell you this insane movie inspired that riff or whatever lyric, I try to remember but I think it has never happened. But what I notice is that all the movies I like share the same gloomy aspect, “Jacob’s Ladder”, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”… I’m really into that kind of movies which start like softly bitter and which ends really really bad… I really like that. And we also like to sample some passage of a movie we wanted to integrate into a song. We’ve never really wrote some lyrics because of a movie. But what we did once on one track featuring on our next to last record – I and our bass player are really into Lovecraft, and it’s like everything in how universe is repeated, as we had several tracks I didn’t know what I wanted to deal with, I red Nyarlathotep again and I just transposed it in a certain censorship in our lyrics. It almost has a cryptic sense as to me. One day someone told me he found these lyrics strange because they weren’t like usual, and he was right. Cause they weren’t mine! Total pumping test but I’d like to do it again!

The first time I listened to Rise To Infamy reading the lyrics, I thought you have no faith at all in humanity.

That’s true.

Even if you’re not politically committed into something special, there is obviously something, like a kind of photograph of our time, which speaks for itself and make you react…

Not really because if you red the lyrics you clearly find no shock, just disgust and contempt, a lot of detachment. It’s not my fault: I’m actually like that in my everyday life, pretty cool and relax but litteraly zen. Events happen, sometimes they can be boring, even tragic, but it happened! Do I need to give a fuck? I’d rather focused on other things. I speak for myself because I write all the lyrics, but I’m rarely shocked by something special notably because of the news or whatever. And I’ve never took the pen to write something after a special event. I’m more into: “That person I trusted finally mocked me. I won’t slash his tyre, I’d just make him disappear of my life.” That’s how I deal with problems. I’m not into a physical confrontation. I like to provoke people in the audience or during parties because I like the different scales of reactions, it’s like a passion. Concerning my lyrics, I can’t be outraged by something: I have no cause. Of course, the body of a dead child on a beach does not make me have a hard-on but, unfortunately it doesn’t make me sick. It’s a bit cruel but… Like I’ve already said in previous interviews, we all come from upper-middle class, we’re not antisocial. Without ever owning everything we never had to fight for something. We are lucky enough to be aware of that. I do try to fight for a better world. But for my relatives, my friends… It’s really bourgeois, individualist, but like you said before: I’m a cliché of my time. First I think for the people I do care about, because they are a few ones! But for the most part of the tragic events happening, I’d like to say it’s not my concerned. I can’t do anything. Personally, I’m not a good citizen, I retired from civic and political life, I don’t vote. You speak of “faith of humanity”… I don’t think I’d like to have children and I don’t want to fight for a better world. Not because I hate the planet or the industries, I just have no future hear. I agree this might sound horrible.

Concerning religious believes, there are a lot of repetition of the idea of “God”…

It’s more a symbol. I don’t deal with God, Jehovah… I have no problem with people believes or Faith and I don’t give a fuck about convents even if they can push the people in terrible activities, most of the time I don’t care… The world will burn… You too… Shit happens…! It’s just a symbol. For example, I’m not a believer, I’m interested in Buddhism if you wanna know but I’m not buddhist, or the worst… But if I had a chat with a devotee he’d be horrified! Just to go back on your previous question, the only claim I have must be that I know which lyrics are good or not. They must be readable in fifty, a hundred years and still meaningfull. Something historical would have a meaning only if put it into context and I don’t mean to do that. Bands who deal with politics, I find it interesting cuz if they were smarter they could use symbols and their text could still approach the same politics but a hundred years later, because there will always be that same type of person no matter the time we deal with. If you name the people, I guess it can finally be seen as populism.

You mean there’ll always be that “usual hatred” which inspires your band?

Totally. Even the people who dislike that music, who don’t understand that music, they get that usual hatred. Maybe they don’t figure it out, but I do think it exists. And I’m really aware of the commonness of what I’m telling you. I think every human being are born with that capacity of being aware that they are becoming human beings, but some of them can’t get it because they are like prisoner of infernal cycles, and that’s what I found definitly sad.

If you wanna add something?

Thanks for coming and your questions.

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