Automatiq for the People
Eddy from Automatiq, whose unwieldily-titled 'Je Veux Juste Sauver le Monde et Baisier Ta Femme' is reviewed here, talks to Ludovic Merle about his group's 'high-standard mainstream' music.
Rockfort: Tell us about Automatiq.
Eddy: We are from Lille, Northern France, in the triangle made out of London, Brussels and Paris. I founded the band ten years ago. After many concerts and two or three years of existence, I was fed up with compromises which would produce some kind of indigestible music. So, I made a home-studio, in which I shut myself away until 2004 in order to move on. Then, my brother Cédric got me out of it to form a band and get back on stage. At the end of 2006, we met our label and released our first album in June 2008.
Rockfort: How do you record your songs now? Do you have your own studio?
Eddy: As I said earlier, I’ve got a home studio in which I do demos. Then, I record songs in my label’s studio - it used to be a professional studio in the surroundings of Lille which became a label only later. They decided to produce records and we were the first band to sign with them.
Rockfort: How do you approach the songwriting process?
Eddy: I write the songs. I often start from a succession of guitar chords, something I whistle, a beat I program, a song I heard and that inspired me. Then, I develop it and I submit it to the musicians and we try to drive the song to its acme.
Rockfort: How do you describe your music?
Eddy: High-standard mainstream.
Rockfort: Who produced this album?
Eddy: Benjamin Mraz, the studio’s sound engineer. We came to record two songs for a compilation as part of a program helping bands’ development. He liked it a lot and wanted to produce us. So, we spent a year and half (with interruptions) recording this album in the studio. From a technical, musical and mental point of view, it was incredibly comfortable - no pressure and the possibility to try anything. Finally, I am proud of this album, it sounds as I had imagined our first album would. Benjamin was like a genuine member of the group during recording.
Rockfort: What was the concept behind this album? Did you set out to write songs that were in some way linked?
Eddy: There is no concept, we have chosen our favourite 16 songs among fifty ones. We’ve selected 16 of them that we recorded. Then, we just tried to assemble them coherently, and we even dismissed one.
Rockfort: Are your lyrics deliberately provocative?
Eddy: I don’t know, I don’t really analyse my lyrics. I am rather a journalist, an observer or even a rapper. This provocative side has certainly something to do with the fact I hate morals and I don’t understand why I shouldn’t use a word even if it’s dirty word as long as it sounds right and serves the lyrics.
Rockfort: Is it safe to introduce you to my wife? (Ed: Ludo doesn't really have a wife, What a fraud...)
Eddy: You can come with your wife and I’ll bring mine! Then, they’ll decide what they want to do with us! Maybe we’ll go and eat in a vegetarian restaurant.
Rockfort: Where do you place yourself in the current pop scene?
Eddy: I don’t really know. I modestly hope we’re bringing some fresh air.
Rockfort: How does your stage performance differ from your recordings?
Eddy: On stage, we just want to make people dance, to talk to their bodies.
Rockfort: How was your new album been received in France?
Eddy: The feedback has been really encouraging. Some people are helping us now. So, we’ve decided to spend 2009 promoting the album.
Rockfort: What French music do you listen to?
Eddy: Spontaneously, I can’t think of something in particular. I don’t listen to French music that much. If you asked me about Anglo-Saxon music, I’d say at once Jesus and Mary Chain, New Order, The Zombies, Abba, Seefeel… in 2008, I really liked Poni hoax and Zombie Zombie. Recently, I heard ‘Et Si Tu N’Existais Pas’ (‘And What If You Didn’t Exist’) by Joe Dassin on the radio and I loved it. I would also recommend Camellia Fuzz, one of my side projects, a new single will be released soon.
Rockfort: What can you tell us about Lille’s music scene?
Eddy: There have been much better bands for a few years, there’s more eclecticism. Among my favourite groups, I’d mention the Appleseeds, Dylan Municipal, Dos de Mayo, Berline0.33, Siamese… but we are quite lonesome, so we don’t have much contact with Lille’s music scene. And if unfortunately we go to parties, either we are sober and shy and people think we’re autistic, or we’re stoned and keep saying bullshit and we’re seen as megalomaniacs. Thus, most of the time, we stay at home writing songs or preparing vegetarian dishes.