Coffin On Tyres - Time Machine
Interviewed by Matt Frighetto
Matt - G'day guys, can we start with giving a brief description on how you guys met and what's been happening to date?
Bapt: Hi Matt. In June, 2008, I contacted Fab via Myspace. His on-line compos got my blood flowing. We hit it off right from the start and looked for other musicians to complete the band. In February, 2009, Coffin On Tyres was formed and ready to work, compose and record with Geoff as singer, Sylvano behind the drums, Matz on bass and Fab and me on guitars. We didn't know each other before.
Fab: Like at the beginning of all bands, it took a long time to form a pack. Being a good musician isn't enough, there must be good vibes between all the members. On this level, we're all on the same page- good vibes and good music.
Geoff: as for me, I had posted an ad on a well known music site. Matz told me about it and suggested I audition. Things went very naturally and smoothly. Everything seemed to fall into place.
Sylvano: Before meeting Geoff, the very first stuff we played was "Green Machine "from Kyuss... we were really into it hardcore, with the same urge for energy and volume. The same thing took place when Geoff arrived. I think this common need for energy helped create our chemistry.
Matz: As soon as I listened to the songs, I signed on immediately, it was obvious for me.
Matt - Your new record "RED" Is a Musical Masterpiece where did you guys recorded and when?
Matz: Masterpiece ? ... Wow thanks man !!!! It's cool that you like it. "Red" album is an important stage in the Coffin On Tyres young life... The recording and the mix took place over several months, from July till October, 2009, during weekends. Without money or equipment it was really hard to produce the album ourselves, but Fabien hooked us up with a studio outside Paris and then we had to try to juggle everyone's schedule to record on the weekends. At the very beginning, we had just planned to record a demo and, quickly, the conditions and motivations were there, so we decided to make it into a 'real' album.
Sylvano/ Fab and Bapt were the "conductors" from the beginning to the end. Geoff, Matz and I were here to validate the artistic choices.
Geoff: It was a really fulfilling and exciting experience; taking part in all parts of the recording process allowed us to feel deeply implicated in the creation, not only of the album, but also the Coffin on Tyres experience. Fab and Bapt are very instinctive and hardworking, their talent was essential during the prod.
Matt - Was it expensive to Record and was it Self Funded?
Sylvano: As for myself, I paid for burgers!! Now that you mention it, you owe me 5 bucks each, muthafuckas!
Bapt: If we had to calculate the work which we put in to produce "Red", we wouldn't have been able to do it. That's the good part about it being 100 per cent autoproduced. So, we didn't even have to bang anyone to get what we needed, such a fuckin' pity...
Geoff: Yep, it's a pity but it isn't like we didn't try! Seriously though, we didn't break the bank, but that doesn't mean you should download us illegally, guys!
Matz: Or at least come to our concerts to buy a T-shirt! ... or an awesome mug !!
Matt- Is "RED" a Self Release or Are you guys planning to shop it around and see if any Labels bite?
Geoff: Yes, we are going to sell it on the internet, there are some sites which take the risk of selling autoproductions, and during our future concerts. If a Label is interested in our music and our universe, we are ready if, naturally, the conditions are clear for everybody.
Sylvano: We're totally open to a record deal. But we're gonna do all that we can to spread the music and try to sell it however we can.
Fab: We all know that it's probably not possible to live off our music. So, find a Label, why not, but our priority is to do what we really want to do- make music and have fun. It's exactly what we've done with "Red".
Matt - What is Coffin on Tyres song writing process?
Bapt: We usually start with bass or guitar riffs most of the time. But, on "Red", we more or less created new songs with a heavy Coffin On Tyres feeling from bits and pieces Fab and I came up with previously. Everybody plays a part somehow or other in the songwriting.
Geoff: According to the songs, the method changes a little bit, but in general, the vocals are especially guided by the drum patterns and the progressive side of Sylvano. At least that's how I see it.
Fab: It's really funny to listen to older versions of certain songs. That's when we can really tell that each musician brings their own personal touch to the song, and things really come together.
Matz: Songs like Winter of Life or Mexican Standoff were directly brought on by Fab and Bapt. Nevertheless, Safe Place, for instance, came about during a jam session. At the end of two hours, it was a done deal. I should add that the vocals were added last and many songs took quite another dimension when Geoff put the melody on.
Matt - You guys have a unique sound, What Equipment do you guys use?
Bapt: That reminds me my small vintage amplifiers which went up in flames in recording session. He would have been almost 40 years old today and we experienced some beautiful things together : R.I.P. Randy (it was its nickname) ... Actually we do what we can with what we've got. The recording session was just what we needed for what we had to do.
Fab: For myself, I play on a semi hollowboby electric guitar and a small polish hand-made amplifier sent in a huge 2x12. Other than that... nothing very exotic: wha, fuzz, delay and tremolo
Matz: I also played on several bass guitars to go with the various atmospheres of the songs. The whole sprinkled with Big Muff, of course.
Sylvano: The sound of the drums was strengthened during the mix. Otherwise, I play a French brand of cymbals, Velvet. They give a powerful and rich harmonic sound that go well with the songs.
Matt - You guys have a distinct French sound; I think back to the late 90's a lot of bands who were on "Water dragon" Records and so forth, what are your main influences to produce this great sound?
Bapt: Ahhh dammit !! We wanted to sound like Red Necks, dude!! ehehe.. In fact, what you say is funny cause our main influences are rather american and scandinavian: Hermano, Clutch, Brant Bjork and the Bros, Nebula, Monster Magnet, EODM, Spiritual Beggars, Honcho, Down, QOTSA, Masters of Reality, Dozer and " globally " all the Sons of Kyuss! However, on this album, we really wanted to give a sound identity to the group. We see it like a rough draft, a test in laboratory to see what we are able to create all together, in the same room.
Geoff: It also amazes me that you find that we've got a " frenchy " sound. Sure, most French rock bands have a recognizable sound, but I think that we veer away from it, especially on the combo Bass / Drums.
Fab: We wanted a pure sound, without too much embellishment. Gotta think outside of the box. What influences me is the sound of the 60's. The Beatles, Hendrix, the first Lynyrd Skynyrd stuffes, etc. These guys didn't have any technical equipment like we have now and couldn't "cheat". The imperfection is a part of the sound. I think it's like that we make a song live... This french sound, we did not look for it. During the mix, we just did our best with what we had.
Matt - Do you guys get many gigs; have you been gigging for a while?
Bapt: Coffin On Tyres is a very young band and for the moment we've been focusing mainly on the writing and recording. We've jumped at the chance for a few gigs, we wanted to see if our sound could make the stoners headbang, and it was a fuckin' experience, man!
Geoff: We haven' t had a lot of gigs, but, the ones we did were cool. It was awesome to go on stage for the first time with a band and realize that, without having prepared too much, everything works and everything is coherent. Personally, it's the first time that I've experienced something like it.
Sylvano: The feedback we've gotten has been really rewarding, I think that the stage experiences of each C.O.T. musician is significant. But it's really what we miss most now, we want to go on stage! Now that the album is almost finished, we have a fucking hell of a gig hunger!
Matz: We're looking forward the album to come out in order to back it up with blood sweat and tears on stage, to see how it sounds live and, of course, to know what the people will think of it.
Matt - Any Bands you guys have supported we might know?
Sylvano: Not yet but we hope it'll come soon !
Matz: We' ve played with a celtic stoner band named Stangala.
Matt - Any Bands you guys could recommend checking out who are from your area?
Matz: There are very good bands which have been out for a few years now. I think in particular of ZOE, Mudweiser, Glowsun, OFO of Am (the fans of Planetfuzz know) and obviously, others and others
Sylvano: Hangman's Chair, the OXP experience
Matt - What was your best gig to date?
Bapt: Le Caveau in Paris. Fuckin' awesome atmosphere on stage and down in the audience.
Geoff: It was in a small basement of a bar, the conditions weren't great but there was something ... There was a fuckin' tension in the room, an almost tangible energy, even though few people knew the songs.
Sylvano: I'm right on with Geoff !
Matz: My fondest memory was of our very first concert, we drove 1200 kilometers in order to play 45 minutes and it was awesome! Then, we have celebrated it as it would be! Yep!
Fab: As Matz, playing 600km far from Paris, being five people in two cars with guitars on your knees and amplifiers behind was monumental. How far is France from Australia?
Matt - And your worst?
Bapt: Matz: For now-....nothing !
Sylvano: Even if I liked our first gig, I was sick as a fuckin' dog and I puked all night, so, it wasn't the funniest party, man !
Matt - Given chance to jam with anyone dead or alive to form a supergroup who would that consist of?
Geoff: I would be interested in a side project with Danny Carey, Tool drummer, and Trey Spruance from Mr. Bungle. Hell Yeah !
Sylvano: Tom Morello, John Paul Jones and... Jim Morrison ?
Matt - Have you guys played in other bands before Coffin On Tyres? Also are you guys in any other bands outside the Coffin On Tyres?
Bapt: I played several years in Bangcock (Indus) as guitarist and now I also play in Big Ground Kick aka BGK (Indus) a kind of reformation of Bangcock.
Geoff: I played in quite a lot of bands for several years. Projects of mine and " collaborations " with others, mainly on bass and sometimes on vocals; mainly metal / gothic type things like Locked and Twitch and jazz bands as Hooaah Corporation or Axoloth... I also played with Flaming Pussy, a girls band with whom we played electro/pop with metal tones. Now, I've played for several years with The Marshmallow Dykes, we already have an album and a maxi. It is very different from C.O.T. (much more second degree) we call that "Black Surf", see what that evokes to you ... I am on a new project with my buddy Arnaud, that is called Drown in Emptyness (DIE), a very dark and very hypnotic sound, but we are still composing. Finally, another one with Rascal, Marshmallow Dykes drummer, named Dead Inside Project. Lot of works !
Sylvano: Quite a lot of bands in the past. Today I also play with Contreband, a french rock band. We have autoproduced an album, Le Cauchemar de Kipling, which is about to come out.
Fab: I played in two or three bands before Coffin On Tyres but I never put my heart in it as much as now. With my job and the band, I wouldn't even have time to take up a solo project!
Matz: Idem. I played in about ten bands (metal, hard rock, etc.) as guitarist, singer, bass player before joining Coffin On Tyres. This time, it's well done, Buddy !
Matt - What is in the Coffin Stereo at the moment?
Bapt: Lots of Clutch, The Atomic Bitchwax, Them Crooked Vultures ..........
Geoff/ For the moment, I'm into Kyuss, Mark Lanegan and...Dire Straits (sometimes, things are hard to explain...)
Sylvano: House of Broken Promises, Tool, Them Crooked Vultures, Coffin on Tyres.
Fab: Them Crooked Vultures (they rules !!!), The Doors, Rage against The Machine (for ever !) and some songs of Fu Manchu, Kyuss, Hendrix, etc...
Matz: Mr. Plow (it kicks !!), House of Broken Promises and Black Mountain (album "In the Future") but my playlist changes every week.
Matt - What hobbies do you guys have outside of music?
Bapt: I like drinking with my buddies ...Getting wasted!
Geoff: Idem. I like good food too.
Fab: C.O.T. is my favorite hobby !
Matz: Drinking, eating, wine, snowboarding...sheep.
Sylvano: I love erotic stamps...
Matt - Is music your lives or you guys work? If so what you guys do for work?
Bapt: I'm a sound engineer
Geoff: I worked in broadcasting and as a manager of theater. For the moment, I dedicate my time to music.
Sylvano: I work in IT. But as many amateur and fascinated musicians, I wish I could live on music.
Fab: I am an assistant in a recording studio, that's how we were able to record "Red" for cheap.
Matz: I'm looking for job as engineer in micro and nanotechnologies. Can someone help me please ?
Matt - Any last words to the readers?
Bapt: Keep on fuzzin'
Geoff: I hope people will enjoy listening to " Red " and will succeed in finding the light at the end of the tunnel...but no that's not a sex reference !
Sylvano: Thanks for surfing webzines like Planetfuzz who are there for the cause ! Come to visit our myspace, and hope to have a beer with you after a gig !
Fab: Thanks for your interest. Hope you'll headbang to " french stoner " music!
Matz: Enjoy stoner,and keep in touch with us.
Matt - What is the plans for the Future? Where do you see Coffin on Tyres a year from now?
Bapt: A new album, tons of gigs and if we still enjoy playing together, it will be perfect !
Geoff: We are proud of our brand new album and we want to play it live everywhere as long as possible. After that ... well... again.
Sylvano: Gigs, gigs and gigs. I see a new recording, maybe a Label also.
Matz: Yep, full of concerts everywhere in France, in Europe even farther. As for myself, I shall really like participating some day to the DunaJam or the Roadburn, that has to be a beautiful experience !
Matt - Finally I just want to say a big thank you for sending over this truly RAD record "RED". I wish you all the success in the future and hope you guys venture Down Under some time real soon...
Coffin On Tyres: Matt, Thank you very much for your interest in our music and for all the good work supplied on PlanetFuzz: long life to you, hope to see you soon in Australia maybe ! Cheers man !