Housse de Racket Interview
Housse de Racket on Myspace I caught up with the Excellent Housse de Racket before (and, as it transpired, after) one of their London dates on tour with Does It Offend You Yeah? to ask them a few questions and catch their show after finding out about them via their excellent video for new single which is right at the top of the Myspace page (see above). Their set was passionate, their music is bombastic but thoughtful, in vogue but individual, and their forthcoming releases ar... (continued)
Housse de Racket on Myspace I caught up with the Excellent Housse de Racket before (and, as it transpired, after) one of their London dates on tour with Does It Offend You Yeah? to ask them a few questions and catch their show after finding out about them via their excellent video for new single which is right at the top of the Myspace page (see above). Their set was passionate, their music is bombastic but thoughtful, in vogue but individual, and their forthcoming releases are quite definitely on my radar. So can you guys wanna start by telling me the story behind the name? Pierre: Itâs kind of a stupid French play on words. âRacketâ in French and in english doesnât mean the same thing, which we learned recently! [both laugh heartily] The verb âracketâ in French means âto stealâ. Before the real beginning of the band, Victor and I had a funk/disco band at the same time all these French bands were assembling old fashioned funk recordings. To us it was kind of a robbery; they âracketâ funk music so we wanted to âracketâ house. At the beginning the band was called âHouse of Racketsâ so we Frenchified it. Literally it means âRackets cover itâ. Well that gives it a little mystery! Now we are playing more and more in England lots of different meanings are starting to appear. Damon Albarn, who we played with for a big event called The African Express with bands like Tinariwen, said âI love your name, you know what a racket is?â [he was alluding to a drugs ring] Then we spoke to Yiannis, the singer of Foals because we toured with them in France and he said the same thing! Before we were in Liverpool and the promoter who works with Happy Mondays and he worked for him because he wanted a teeshirt! We have a great name... So a different meaning for everyone then! We were all dressed in shorts and tennis shirts, weâre dressed all in white, old fashioned. [At this point Simon, HdRâs sound engineer bursts dramatically into the room and exchanges some hurried French with the boys, which they roughly translate to me as..:] We might have a huge problem. We canât find our computer. [Worried looks all round, but they seem keen to continue with the interview so I sally forth] Whatâs it like touring and whatâs the reception been like in England? Weâve actually played quite a few times in London but we know the capital city in a country is often not very receptive. When we played in Leeds and Manchester, Glasgow, it was really great and the people were really cool, in Leeds all this French thing doesnât mean the same thing for us. Not like âaaah the French are lovelyâ they just listen to the music. So maybe playing in London is actually easier for us because there are more French there! [At this point Simon re-enters; they really have lost their computer, or a soundcard to be exact. Cue the band almost hesitantly extricating themselves from the aural swathe of my dictaphone before I assure them that I really DONâT MIND that they have to run out into central London to try and buy a new one so that they can actually play the show. In the meantime I hang out with Trip in the next room and listen to their tour managers hilarious stories about starting fights with skinny emo kids in The Old Blue Last because they threw a pint at him. Some time later, after the actual gig in fact which they somehow DO manage to find a new soundcard and install it in time to play, we catch up backstage to finish off the interview. Let it be noted here that their performance was impassioned and really quite awesome] So where were we!? How did it go, did you enjoy it? Haha so you know the context, it was cool. I think we could feel the sense of emergency in our way of playing, we wanted to play so badly, we really wanted to make it work, so we put all our energy into it and it was epic! Agreed. What did you think of the crowd? They seemed to appreciate it even though they didnât move much. We know that maybe the London crowd is more shy, they wait for the reactions of the people around them like in Paris. We are almost nothing here, really just making our debut, we donât expect anything; we just want to play and have fun! For us it was cool, we didnât have any problems when we were playing. Now, with the French electro/rock scene being massive right now, how do you feel you fit into that? We are part of that scene, I used to play with Phoenix as a keyboard player I filled in for Rob (their actual keyboardist) who had just had a baby. I played 20 or 30 gigs, so we are very close. They invited us to support them around Europe, and we supported Yelle as well as one of their members remixing one of our tracks. Victor: I played with Air, and his solo project. So itâs a close knit scene! P: The main difference is all these bands are singing in English. We feel like we have this kind of heritage that we donât want to shy away from. So thatâs why we chose a French name. It might change but for the moment we must hold onto something strong and the fact we played tonight in London and we did the UK tour with Does It Offend You Yeah makes us feel right about that. Well you have bands like Casiokids who sing entirely in their own language but it doesnât seem to make a difference to the fans. The feeling is still there. Thatâs why itâs very interesting and quite comfortable for us to play outside of France, they donât hear the lyrics, they just feel the music and enjoy the power of the sound. For us we donât write songs to have a huge message, we are not John Lennon, so if the people come out of the gig with a smile on their faces then itâs ok for us. I think thatâll be the case So tell me about future plans? Weâre on tour until December. Weâve been touring for a year now, around Asia and Europe. The first LP is going to be released in a month in Japan so we might go back to Japan in January. Japan is awesome. What did you think of the place? Amazing. Compared to europe itâs very different, itâs the only country in the world who prefer french people! I mean... French music to English. Actually we played in Tokyo and it was packed, almost sold out. We had just signed to a label at the time for the first LP. Now we have to make a second LP, the difficult one, but between touring and everything itâll be hard to find the time. Maybe before summer weâll have it done. On the first LP the sound was quite easy going, but when people see us on stage itâs more rockânâroll than on the CD, we definitely want to change that. Maybe it was the way it was produced, so we have a few ideas how to manage that and we are quite excited, already there is a new colour, a darker one. Perhaps thereâll be a little bit of english; each CD is always different anyway. We canât make a live CD yet obviously, but even Rage Against The Machine sound different live to on disk. So we have to find a middle ground. We are conscious of the huge French electro rock scene but we really love the english scene too, and we really love Metronomy. We know Joseph a bit and we are very attracted to their sound. We want to go in that direction but we are not English we donât have to pretend to compete, in France there are so many good up and coming bands so we just have to find that balance. In the meantime though youâre having a lot of fun? Being on tour always is a lot of fun. A lot of stress like youâve seen today, i think it was the most stressful gig weâve ever done! You can imagine us with the DOIOYY guitar player running up the street with him shouting âTHIS SHOPâ shop to shop, âoh no we donât have itâ so we got back and thi thing is not working! London shows are very important, the label might be there, the booking agency the media, we were worried we werenât going to be able to play! Well technically Iâm media and I didnât mind! Of course you are! [this made me guffaw loudly] For you it was important and we left you in the middle of our interview! Iâm just happy you managed to play At 7:20 [they were due to play at 7:30] we weren't ready, lots of typing and trying to install the card, but we got there. We are very proud to be here, there are plenty and plenty of friendsâ bands who have played in Paris, where Justice and Phoenix etc are the biggest, and there are small bands who are starting to grow in the UK, but it seems hard for French people singing in French. We didnât choose to do it this way, it just felt natural. Well everyone loves a french accent regardless of whether theyâre speaking in French Sometimes itâs so hard to speak in English. [At this point Pierre puts an extra layer of French accent over his already considerable Parisian drawl] Yes because no because not er well but... Itâs going to be written down so you wonât hear the accent! Very true. Ok, to finish up, two last things; can you give me your 5 track DJ mini set playlist? Stevie wonder - golden lady Michael jackson - donât stop till you get anough Housse de Racket - SynthÃ©tiseur Daft punk - revolution 909 (because i love that video woth the tomato story) And whatâs the worst thing about England? The food? The food is quite tough. Except the Olympic breakfast. Itâs like a full english, at all the travel lodges on the side of the road there is little chef... [at this point I canât help but chime in with OH GOD NO theyâre the worst things ever! and then continue to ramble on about how good the food is in Brighton, as Itâs their next tour date. After I recommend the best cuisine Brighton has to offer I thank them profusely and we part ways] What say you on this? Sound off in our Fourum!
Housse De RacketParis50 BonesFrench Electro