There was a lot of anticipation brewing towards Bran Coucou’s release, and our expectations were surpassed. Both PoiL and Ni had an impressive trajectory; these conjoined bands have formed a monster that shifts from shape to shape as it rambles by, leaving delirious patterns of debris behind. Percussive in nature, there is a mild influence of minimalism, RIO and of Zu’s sound. It’s clear, from their very first song that we’re the prey.
Pilon Bran Coucou’s drums and bass hit you in furtive intervals; they disappear briefly and they gain speed for each time they re-appear as they drag us into a vicious labyrinth of famished fluorescences that might as well engulf us; the tension grows tighter and tighter; a sardonic solemnity takes hold as their chants join our pace... How come something so fierce feels so soft? Their narrative’s softness is as complex as it is perfectly maddening. Pogne blinks wild and awake; symmetry is very important throughout the album, their narrative blooms because of their never-ceasing confrontations as they shift, re-signifying contrast with a startling naturalness. The lush chill of dew persuades us into the mouth of Mimolle’s spiral; its exuberance proves to be delightfully hypnotic as it swallows us into this minimalistic stride of stirring color and fantasy. As it wildly unravels, it’s constantly collecting new elements and all sorts of ravenous twinkles, yet it never ceases to fall apart; at times only its deep pulse pulls through; but it also never ceases to grow, it grows bigger over and over again towards the same, unreachable vanishing point. This brilliant piece leads to another highlight: Shô Shin. Brace yourselves for it sprouts like fog, and from this fog something threating, something immense arises and up it goes, as it builds and builds, rather than moving, in an intelligible invocation; smoke and a dark touch of humor. They play about with proportions, distorting them at will; the synthesizer is a key element, its textures swarm about like iron spiders until they’re all over the place. Nothing is ever left unexplored throughout each piece; they play with motion as much as they play with inertia. From an ashen atmosphere, the components of François 1er start gathering like an explosion in reverse, leading us cautiously to the bursting point; their melodies are perfectly stimulating; from above it’s easy to picture a stormy sea: its tide responding to a perfectly defined set of patterns that work in sync as they break, kaleidoscopically, to form new ones. Kerberos dashes in percussively, this piece is perfectly dangerous and electrifying, it is probably the most accessible one of the bunch. Within the album we've come across all sorts of landscapes; they're constantly destroying everything they've assembled and vice-versa, our sense of direction is constantly bewildered; with Orbite the album is reaching its end with an aquatic atmosphere, like a subterraneous current that flows unhurriedly as it taps, swashing and drawing into the surface. This riverbed gains speed, and a capricious ebb and flow takes place; a cycle that blooms and withers at will as it comes and goes. When we finally face our limit, perspective becomes irregular, everything seems to start vanishing as they chant farewell to every last thing they’ve built.
-I was familiar with both Ni and PoiL's work! How did they merge into PinioL?
Both bands were touring a lot together and sharing the same teenage jokes; we thought it would be nice to make a big teenage band. But the main reason was that we could play louder than a trio or quartet!
-There is something symmetrical, precise yet playful about your dynamics, was this symmetry on purpose? Did improvisation play an important role in this album?
Not at all, we didn't expect this symmetry when we spoke about playing together, but when we thought about the stage plan, it became obvious; and the composing had been influenced by these two power trios with a kind of key-god in the center. About improvisation, there is mostly not, except when there are feedback parts, although some are written on scores.
-How would you describe the creative and the recording process behind Bran Coucou? Is there a particular concept behind it?
The concept is that each guy of the band wrote a track, without telling anything about how it had to be; but you know, when you play in Poil or Ni, that you won't write reggae music; so it would appear that we each wrote personal stuff but in our common universe.
-The cover is stunning! Who’s the artist?
His name's Willy Tenia. Thanks to him! (you can check his work here: http://willytenia.blogspot.com/) He did a lot of posters for us and some record artworks.
-Would you tell us the story behind Shô Shin and Mimolle? They’re probably my favorite tracks from Bran Coucou!
Shô Shin is, in Japanese: Noh, the spirit of the beginner; it means never stop growing, that you must always consider yourself as a beginner. When you think you know only too well, you're already finished.
Mimolle, in my point of view, is about a man who sometimes needs to let his feminine side be expressed, to finally become really virile!
-Please tell us more about Pogne and about its vocal dynamics; what is it about?
It's a kind of pseudo-french mixed with onomatopoeia inspired by one of our main influences, the French rap-singer Booba.
-You have some very interesting narratives throughout the album, hypnotic even, how do you work with narrative? How does polyrhythm serve these narratives? Did you know where you were headed, or was it a surprise?
As a drummer, I'm used to "lead" the pulse in the dynamics. When we're two, we must find a way to share, or to build together this role, so we need a kind of narrative in the music that evolves from one state to another. Being seven in a band brings a lot of possibilities!
The symmetrical trios create a circulating energy, influencing a lot our composing. The polyrhythms produce this stereo/multiplication/dispersal effect, and as we come back to unison it gives a large/fat sound; it's like we're coming back and forth between multiplicity and unity.
-Has classical contemporary music (such as minimalism, etc.) influenced your work somehow? (It doesn’t necessarily have to be music).
Yes, we have many influences, Ligeti, Stockhausen, Jimi Hendrix, Booba, John Coltrane, Jean-Jacques Goldman, Frédéric Chopin, but our main influence is food. We won't play in the same way if we eat cassoulet or thaï chicken.
-How brutal is the experience of seeing you live? How have audiences responded?
It's my dream to see Piniol in live! You'd better ask the audience! Sometimes they seem evil; sometimes I see them counting their fingers; sometimes showing their breasts... there are many reactions.
-Are they some tour dates you’d like to share?
Sure, this is the tour plan so far for 2019, we hope we'll get more!
31.01 Bizarre (VENISSIEUX - FR)
15.02 Recyclart (BRUSSELS - BE)
16.02 Complexity festival (HAARLEM - NL)
13.04 Das Hintertreffen festival (BERLIN - BE)
11.05 Rock in Opposition festival (BOURGOIN - FR)
16.05 Baie des Singes (COURNON - FR)
29.06 Fusion festival (LÄRZ - BE)
26.07 Labore Festival (NETZSCHKAU - DE)
27.07 Burg Herzberg festival (DE)
Don't forget to check them out!