Do you believe in lightning strikes ? In love, I absolutely do not, but in music yes obviously, and this is my latest : BARABBAS ... This quartet from the suburbs of Paris just released its first mini CD ( with an exact total lenght of 33.33 minutes) which contains 6 songs (including 2 intros) and proves to be an oustanding (good) surprise. The band plays a rather traditional doom in its origins and structures, with influences from Cathedral and St Vitus detected here and there, their slogan "heavier, slower, deafer" is globally very suitable; but what sounds very different from the mass and make them sound somewhat modern at the same time, is that vocals are in french and the remarkable power of the whole interpretation, both these elements make their style very original and refreshing. Those french vox, a massive production and a pounding rythmic, give an amazing stunning power that I hadn't ever heard at this point in this genre, in this sense they also can remind a bit the good early C.O.C. or the likes who enjoy extreme power and heaviness. Nice programm for sure! Read the following interview with their guitarist Stéphane, and SUPPORT them.
* Hello Saint Stéphane... you formed in 2007, ok you took your time and it was really worth waiting for the CD release, but other reasons must explain this rather long delay, right? As Barabbas delivered by an earthquake, is it the tsunami that made you free of your chains ?! (oops sorry...) Do you think one must necessarily be in the thirties to display the best possible doom ?!!! What's your background ?
S : Ave Steph ! Indeed, four years for the first ep, that seems an eternity, but seen our advanced ages, the doctors disadvised us to go faster. More seriously, we have all jobs who need quite a lot of investment, family lives and some of us are in parallel musical projects, all that doesn't facilitate the rehearsals. All in all, no matter about the time it has taken, that's not a race and as said JC (the other one, not our drummer(beater)), " the last ones will be the first ones " (we feel reassured as we can). Concerning our history, it is of a distressing commonness : simply four buddies, all coming from local bands more or less known (Sarkazeinfor JC, Call Us As You Wish for Jérôme), we're now gathered by love of the heavy, slow and gloomy musics (and hearing losses), just to write it I already find that razor, I feel sorry in advance for your readers, mea culpa...
* "la question de Pilate" should certainly be used as intro to your live performances ? on stage, if that's materially possible, do you plan to play the movie on backscreen or something?
S : "Pilate's question" is a sample reworked from the film "Barabbas". This peplum is our bible in some way, more for its existential dimension than for its religious aspect : this bandit delivered instead of an innocent, clumsily seeking to understand why he was allowed a second chance ... This suggests both the arbitrary nature of existence (or opacity of destiny, if you believe in determinism), the difficulty of giving meaning to one's existence ... In short, a theme totally doom to our senses. To play this sample as an intro for gigs, can therefore set the scene and, implicitly, to understand the music that follows is a symbol of excess, the bombast specific peplum. Regarding the broadcast of images of the movie, I know that Jerome is currently working on a visual idea of this type for our next electric mass but this little devil has not yet said what he intended to do exactly ...
* "Judas sold Jesus for 30 pieces, Barabbas sells its CD for 7 €" is one of the best marketing slogans I've ever heard, do you have any others like that on hand for the future ?!
S : Vanity is a sin, but we're pleased with your compliment. We have some in reserve, such as "Jesus Loves Even Barabbas" or "Speak louder, I play in Barabbas" that will perhaps soon end up on a T-shirt.
* Was the choice of singing in French an evidence since the beginning ? To my knowledge you are the first French group of doom to sing in its native language, one can say that french sounds fine soft, rich, delicate to hear, but paradoxically, I find that this gives a very sharp edge to your trad doom, how do you feel its use ? Do you think that french vocals can bring something that english could not ?
S : We would be perfectly unable to sing in English, we already badly master our mother tongue ... !
Singing in French has become obvious, we attach importance to the text content and we certainly could not express ourselves as accurately in another language. And in these times of globalization, the use of our native tongue has a small edge of "resistance to uniformity"that is not displeasing to us, although we recognize that this may limit our audience. For the cutting edge, I think it comes from Rudolph, his voice exudes a real aggressive rock'n'roll, all in power. Surprisingly, he had never sung before Barabbas, while you just can see it quickly on stage : he is made to be frontman.
* I agree your music is actually inspired by trad doom but its raw power and groove in some ways remind me sometimes HC à la early Corrosion of Conformity, may be due to your previous experiences or older influences, am I definitely completely stoned or is it realistic ?
S : No, you're not far from the truth since some of our influences go beyond the doom (or even metal) and I know that JC and Jerome listened and still listen to a lot of HC, so nothing abnormal at all to point some little HC feelings in the way they play.
* Starting with some musical connotations, I found some similarities in the overall approach with The Bottle Doom Lazy Band, a sentence like "the music of Barabbas may be boring to hear but it is even harder to play" may be closer to their state of mind (musically very square but quite a few 2nd degree and good humor), do you know them? What is your state of mind rather "fun"or "sorrow"?
S : We do not know them personally but we do really enjoy all the stuff from TBDLB. Moreover, we have been seeing them in concert there in a little local pub, they were supposed to share the bill with Red Mourning and Mudweiser, but they had barely begun to turn the bass and drums that suddenly the sound limiter has failed to plunge the room into darkness. As a result: they have repackaged rather than betray their sound. Frustrating for us ...but class in the attitude "no compromise". Back to your question "fun or sorrow, " I would say that one does not preclude the other, see Ozzy or Lee Dorian. I do not remember who said "Humor is the politeness of despair, " but it pretty much sums up our mood, we are some kind of happy pessimistic guys and to self-parody (even self-deprecation) is natural. And pride is a deadly sin, right?
* This last quote joined in the spirit your drummer's little message towards you in his thanks list, is it so difficult for him to play doom ?! Is he technically bored over what he did before?!
S : No, I think he just wanted to be disagreeable with us because we are committing towards him an implacable hatred. This is the pretty boy of the group and it makes us jealous. So it doesn't make us too much shade, we stuck him to the back of the stage behind the drums and that he does not forgive. Moreover, in rehearsal, he played with headphones just not to hear us (and in retaliation, we neither do listen him).
* The story of Barabbas goes back to the supposed responsibility of the Jews in the crucifixion of Jesus (deicide), could your lyrics speak precisely about that or might it be too subject to controversy? Do the band name and the general concept imply mainly lyrics relating to this story or this historic period (for the moment at least ...)? Just like for Huata, one could quickly note your religious approach and inevitably classify you straight into the occult range, how do you feel about that ? Are you closer to an Electric Wizard or a Place Of Skulls ... ? do you feel invested with a divine mission?
S : We do not intend to limit ourselves to the biblical universe but we do not want to abandon either. For the ep, we had even pre-recorded songs with to non-religious themes, but we finally didn't kept them to favor the "concept album" edge. In fact, the biblical references in our songs are not necessarily to be taken literally, they function more as metaphors, like the themes of "dragon / rainbow / sorcerer" from RJ Dio (rip) as I wrote above, "Barabbas" is about the sense of absurdity of existence that you can sometimes feel, 'Horizon Golgotha ", it's the inevitable that arises in your life, this could be the history of a heavy smoker who has just learned he has terminal cancer and who looks in the mirror, sneering "thou hast indeed sought sasshole ? So, between Griffin and Osborn, we feel much closer to Electric Wizard. No divine mission for us, our Church of the Holy Riff Sonic Redeemer is inspired by Hendrix Electric Church: a movement open to all without distinction of sex, color, religion, an invitation to purify themselves and commune together rejoice in the big sound. Our only idol is Euterpe (this said, if possible any disciples want to elect us as spiritual leaders, we are ok : nothing better than a good old sect to make lots of money without being trampled and abused its followers ...).
* I guess the end of Cathedral nearby wasn't a very good news for you as fans, with that happening, the coming back of St Vitus with especially a brand new album is a great pleasure, right?
S : I admit, doing the first part of Cathedral was one of my secret fantasies. Now, barring a miracle, it seems grated (unless playing in Lourdes, perhaps). That said, there is not just messiahs who die and rise again, who knows if this split is final, see Black Sabbath with Dio (sorry, Heaven and Hell) and St. Vitus, precisely, for whom a new split probably drown Rudolph into a deep depression. I await their new album with impatience, will they live up to their legend? Sometimes, even the gods can fail ...
* The Holy Trinity (Black Sabbath, Cathedral and St Vitus) that you cite as influence, that's cool ok, but that's not necessarily all in a doomster's life, so which more recent bands do you particlularly enjoy? (frenchies included!)
S : In total disorder: Ramesses, The Puritan, Cough, Blood Ceremony, Lord Vicar ... Personally, I really appreciate the last Wounded Kings, its daring and hypnotic mood with regard to the genre (I think especailly about the use of piano). At the risk of being expelled from true metalheads paradise, we really liked Ghost ... although it has a just a bit to do with doom (or metal ...). For nationals: Huata, The Bottle Doom Lazy Band, Hangman's Chair are unanimous in our congregation.
* Any plan for future gigs? I suppose that nothing's easy to find some in France, according to yo, what can "repulse" most, the fact that you play doom or the religious connotation of your name?
S : Both, sir! Even some close friends have raised questions about us after the release of the album ... And when you see how many we were at the Glaz'Art in Paris for Blood Ceremony who have still two albums under their belts, you know that programmers are not going to fight to get the unknown Barabbas .. . But we still have some dates to be confirmed for the autumn and we perform a mini-concert for 30 minutes next 25th June à l'Empreinte (Savigny-le-Temple, in 77). Economic miracle: the entrance is free! Deaf brothers, if you're in the neighborhood...
* The end has come, last words ? thank you very much Stéphane and long live BARABBAS !
S : That's us who thank you for opening us your doors to the Temple of Perdition and contribute to the spread of the Gospel Sonic Barabbas. For the final word, in these troubled times, what would you think about : "Love each other"? Well thinking again, I have the feeling of having yet heard it somewhere ...