Sunday, May 10, 2015

Barabbas Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new album?

« Messe pour un chien » was released, in november 2014. At that time, we did a mini tour in France with the Sweden doom masters of GOATESS (The « Sombre Novembre » Tour), that was a great experience and a real cool times with 4 fine gentlemen ! We also got in touch with a few labels but as of now, we did not find the « good partner », so the search goes on. The last gig we did was in Paris, on february, with the italian bands DOOMRAISER and SHORE OF NULL. The audience wasn’t huge, so bad for those who weren’t there because it was a great night of doom ! We have also begun working on new songs for our next album.

2.Recently you have released a new album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

The new album is still doom, but less « in your face » than the 1st ep « Libérez Barabbas »,
which was very Cathedral-influenced. « Messe pour un chien » incorporates a broader scope of influences (heavy metal, classic rock, prog, even punk). Oddly enough, it sounds nevertheless more personnal. The production is also better. Jay, our bass player, did a great job. At first, some of us were a bit uncertain about the new album because of the stylistic differences with the 1st ep. But we received a lot of positive reviews for « Messe… », much more than for the 1st ep, so I guess the evolution was positive.

3.The band has been around since 2007 but so far there has only been 2 albums, can you tell us a little bit more about the gap between releases?

In fact, at first, we weren't even thinking about doing an album. In 2007, the idea was simply to play doom riffs for pleasure's sake, just having a good time making music with friends. When Rodolphe became our singer, around 2009, the band took a whole new dimension and we thought it would be cool to record something, so we did the 1st ep in 2011. After that, we did some gigs, began to write new songs, did some other gigs, ditch some songs and write new ones… And two years have passed : ) We all have families, regular jobs, so we can’t rehearse a lot and we are kinda slow in the songwriting process. It can be frustrating sometimes, but that’s the way it works for us. You know how the saying goes : if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it : )

4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?

In spite of the religious connotations of our name, we are not a « christian doom band », neither do we intend to preach something to the listeners.  We use religious images to express personnal feelings, in the same way Ronnie James Dio used « medieval » metaphors. For example, « Judas est une femme » is about love betrayed. « La beauté du diable » is about male lust. « Messe pour un chien » relates to the loneliness of a man on his dying day and more generally, to the rise and fall of anybody, how our greatest achievements will meant so little when Death will come. « Le sabbat dans la cathedrale » is simply about partying hard, getting high, doing strange things you would’nt do in everyday life (besides, it’s also very cool to have a title which pays tribute to Black Sabbath and Cathedral, two of our favorite doom bands : )

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Barabbas'?

It comes from the movie « Barabbas », made by Richard Fleischer in the 60s, with Anthony Quinn playing Barabbas. The film focus on the life of Barabbas, a thief, a bad guy, after he’s been set free instead of Jesus. Slowly, Barabbas will question his fate : why did he get a second chance, while another man, a good guy that some see as the son of god, has been crucified ? So Barabbas will try to find the meaning of all this. Of course, the movie doesn’t end well for him (that wouldn’t be doom : ). All religious aspects asides, this movie appealed to us because, like Barabbas, we are all trying to find a meaning in what can sometimes appear as a meaningless universe.

6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?

Regarding our stage performance, we try to keep it intense, to put all of our physical and spiritual energy in each gig. If you don't sweat, it's no good : ) Of course, the reaction of the audience is capital to our implication, it’s an exchange between them an us, like getting energy from the crowd and give it back to it. We are fortunate enough to have Rodolphe as a front man. He is a real performer and the driving force of BARABBAS on stage. When he is « on », we feel strong and confident because he’s a real powerhouse. So far, the best gig we did was probably at the DOOM OVER PARIS VI festival in 2012, with ATARAXIE, ISOLE, MARCHE FUNÈBRE ans CHAOS E.T. SEXUAL. The reaction of the crowd was fantastic. The gig we played in Rennes (Britanny, France) with GOATESS during the Sombre Novembre Tour was also really great.

7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?

No touring plan for the moment. To be honest, we’d like to, but it’s really hard to plan a tour when you’re not backed by a label or a gig promoter. So right now, we are focusing on the gigs we will play in the following month, the main event beeing the FALL OF SUMMER, in september, a big fest taking place near Paris with tons of great black / death / trash / doom bands sharing the stage for two days. We are really happy and proud to take part in this fest. So far, we only did gigs in France, but we would be glad to play outside of our country. If an Irish promoter is interested…

8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of stoner and doom metal?

« Messe pour un chien » has received real cool reviews from some European countries (Germany, Italy, Sweden, Greece, Portugal, England, Ireland…), US and Russia. We have also a fair amount of foreign followers on Facebook, and we do sell a part of our cd outside France. Generally, foreign listeners appreciate French singing, they tend to find it kind of « exotic », while many French people dislike bands singing in French. It’s odd, but we did have French doomsters asking us after a gig why we sing in French. Go figure : ).

9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

Time will tell ! We have just begun to work on new songs and we don’t even know if we will keep them for the next album. For each record, we wrote more song than the ones we used. It can be frustrating sometimes, but the N°1 rule in the band is that everybody must be pleased with a song or else, we throw it away. Besides, having a whole bunch of songs helps you to get a global perspective on what you want to achieve with a particular record, it helps you develop some sort of « concept », including the sound of the album, the cover… Three things are certain : we’ll keep it heavy, we will use French language, and we’ll continue to write songs, within the traditional structure « verse / chorus / verse ». We  always try to write melodies, songs you can sing along to (granted, we don’t always succeed : )

10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

BLACK SABBATH, CATHEDRAL, SAINT-VITUS, PENTAGRAM are probably the more obvious. Those are our first influences. But we don’t listen exclusively to doom metal, or even metal : Rodolphe is also very found of southern rock, Jay and JC dig punk and hardcore, Stéphane likes classic rock…  So I guess all these styles do influence our sound, even slightly.

11.What are some of your non musical interests?

Watching movies (and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we prefer horror / sci-fi movies, it seems to be a general trend of the metal communauty), reading… and food, of course (hey, we are French : )

12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

Thank you very much for this interview. Support the French doom / stoner scene, there are lots of real great bands worth a listen : THE BOTTLE DOOM LAZY BAND, HUATA, NORTHWINDS, CULT OF OCCULT, ATARAXIE, FUNERALIUM, PRESUMPTION, FATHER MERRIN, WHEELFALL, AKASAVA, FANGE, LYING FIGURES… And all those we forget ! DOOM ON !

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