Stolen Babies est le dernier très gros coup de pied aux fesses de l'année 2007 en matière de métal barré. Quelques semaines après la sortie de l'album en nos contrées, et en attendant de voir le groupe live fin Mars à l'Elysée Montmartre, Thrashocore a été jouer les curieux auprès de Rani, l'épine dorsale en chef de la musique du groupe.Hi! I'm glad that the ransom has finally been paid and that the babies have been released on time for this interview to be answered! Joke aside, I know the visual atmosphere you have developed, as well as the story that comes on the back of the cover of the promo CD. Still, knowing that, I don't know where your name come from (… you're not allowed to answer “From the USA!”)
Our name came a song our old band, the Fratellis, had. It was a song about a detective trying to solve the case of babies being stolen and transformed into flies by a witch. When that band broke up, our new band needed a name, and being that we're all stolen babies it fit.
How did the story (with the fat twins that eat junk food, the pianist with baseball bat …) came up (… apart being simply the truth about the band's history I mean) ?
That's how we all met. My brother and I ate a lot of candy, but we weren't fat. Ben, our keyboard player, was also a baseball player at the time, he could have gone pro, but we threatened to break his legs if he left the band, so he stayed. Not much else to say. Dominique just appeared one day with a girl that did all the talking for her. She even laughed for her! No joke.
Stolen Babies plays a music that is somewhere in between Indus, pop/rock, gothic, hardcore (for the harsh vocals), Mr Bungle, accordion driven folk … What an amazing mix! were you first an Indus (or rock, or …) band, then evolve towards more diversity, or everything jumped one day out of your minds, packed just like we hear it now ?
I guess you could say it just went SPLAT on the ground leaving a really big mess! Our first band, the Fratellis, was no stranger to experimental or untraditional music. It's always been a part of us.
Dominique, you play accordion, but (/and) you live in America. Were did you learn it ? It's an instrument more commonly used in countries like France or east Europe … Maybe you first name is a hint: “Dominique” is a French first name to me right ?
I'll try to answer this for Dominique. What I can tell you is that she's not French. She has some Italian roots on her dad's side of the family. Which may explain why she likes Italian blood red orange soda and gelato so much. It's weird because she doesn't like pizza! Her dad played accordion so she was around it growing up.
“There be squabbles ahead” has been released more than one year ago in the U.S.A., while it's only available now in Europe. Isn't that too annoying to get back to the same kind of interviews and questions than one year ago ?
Yes! Haha ... Just kidding... It's understandable to be asked similar questions that we've been asked a year ago. We're new to Europe and people want to know how we started and where we came from. That's cool with me.
I guess some new material is maybe already starting to get out of your heads, hearts and instruments at the time being … Any forthcoming album in your planning? Still going in the same (lack of) direction musically speaking?
Yes. There's a lot new material being worked on right now. I think “There Be Squabbles Ahead” is a really good introduction of the band. It gives people a good idea of what we're about and what to expect, which is anything! We cover a lot of ground stylistically. So I don't think we'd surprise anyone by doing something more this or more that.
Part of “Gathering fingers”, “Push Button” and above all “Lifeless” are likely to become huge pop/rock hits if ever aired on radio or shown on MTV. The thing is that these are quite quiet songs, some of them (“Lifeless”) more or less leaning towards Texas or No Doubt territories … Should we fear that commercial success might have you follow this path musically and take you away from your metal edge (What ? Me, I'm asking you if you would sell your soul to the MTV Devil ? No, how can you believe that) ?
Fuck no!!! If we wanted to sell out, we could have a long time ago. We write what we write with no compromises. If one or two songs happen to be more on the pop side then that's what those particular songs have to say. We don't make a conscious decision to write radio friendly material. We're human, we have emotions that require us to write songs that are different from each other. If we stayed one style or kept it only heavy we'd be saying the same shit over and over again. That works for others, but not us.
Crab Scrambly seems really to be the fifth member of Stolen Babies … His contribution to your universe is so strong! How did you come to know him? How far do you think this collaboration will go?
Crab and I met at a special FX shop I was working at. He was there with artist/author Gris Grimly making masks. He noticed I was making stop motion armatures and was interested in how I made them, so we started to talk. The rest is history. Our collaboration will go as far as we can take it. Hopefully to the moon! Or at least mars.
Many wonderful bands playing hard-to-classify metalized music are popping up from nowhere these days: Diablo Swing Orchestra, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Unexpect, Between the Buried and Me, … Mr Bungle's legacy has been finally embraced by many bands! Do you have an opinion / explanation about this phenomenon? Why just right now? Do you know (and thus like) some of these bands by the way?
Mr. Bungle are royalty when it comes to experimental music. They have left an indelible skid mark in the underwear of music. That's all I have to say.
You have put a really nice video out. How did you get the money for it? Is Stolen Babies a really successful band in the U.S.? Or is the label very confident in the fact that you will break through and become a high selling band? Or maybe you've got some friends of yours working in video industry?
WOW! We fooled you all it seems. As expensive as it looks, we did that all by ourselves, with the help of NO Comment Records, our indy label. There was no outside help from anyone but ourselves. We did that video way before the End Records licensed our album. It was all of our passion and desire to make something fun. We had a great and dedicated crew. Crab Scrambly, of course, painted all of the background pieces, Erik Tilmans was the animation director and worked his fucking ass off making that world come to life, and my older brother Ilan Sharone shot the band footage.
Your drummer is part of a quite big and successful band (The Dillinger Escape Plan - that's great you can come with them on tour in Europe by the way!). Stolen Babies being far from a side project - and having the potential to become really big -, don't you think it might become hard to have both TDEP's and Stolen Babies' planning matching in order to share this “critical resource”?
Not at all. Stolen Babies is the priority. We'd never let anything get in the way of what we have to do.
Back on the touring thing: I'm really glad that you cross the Atlantic ocean next year to visit Europe. We (French people) are graced with 4/5 dates: that's quite unusual for an American band to make so many dates here! Is that because TDEP is very popular here? Or because you want to enjoy French food & wines the longer the better?
Yes to both of your questions. I can't wait to have French Fries!
One question I still love to get answered from the bands I admire: what are your fave bands, the ever cherished ones (Mr Bungle?) and the ones that are currently providing your ears with good new sound?
Our favorite band and biggest influence is Oingo Boingo. They are the reason we're a band. Mr. Bungle is a big favorite too. I have to admit that I don't listen to too many bands. Film music and classical music take up the majority of what I listen to.
Last words are yours. Thanx for the interview!
Merci Beaucoup! See you in France.