Taking influences in bands like Down, Corrosion Of Conformity, Sasquatch, Clutch or Roadsaw, the heavy and bombastic style of the band is logically strongly tinged with Southern tones.
As a result the music swings and grooves, making this assault of guitar downright infectious, but it's not only fun and easy to listen to stuff, for example there's a darker delivery on "Desert Trinity" or "Voodoo Girl" or a surprising Tarentino's touch in the excellent "Dusty Road"... This bands rocks not just only hard but also fresh despite those influences , and the scratchy vocals help a lot to make this dynamic and cohesive. Arno's accent is maybe not perfect though more than fairly above the average, but the frantic energy he puts in here and the visceral quality to the flow of his words have bluffed me really !
Oh shit, I forgot something pretty oustanding to my ears considering the cohesiveness and quality of the overall, SOUTHERN BADASS is a one-man band !!! Let's see what Arno has to say about this, the album and future plans :
- Hi Arno, so how did you come to form Southern Badass, was it intended to be a one-man project from the beginning or is it just that you couldn’t find any competent and motivated musicians to play with you ?
Actually from the start it was a one man band project. It’s not the first time I make an album by myself, but it’s the first time I decided to put the project on a “serious” level. The process of finding musicians, bounding with them, finding the right path to do the right music is too long. I’ve been in several bands before from Thrash Metal to Frank Zappa style music and working with musicians on composing things, always fighting for explaining your vision and why this riff is good and that one is not is really frustrating for me. I like to play with other musicians but I prefer to keep the composition part for me when it comes to my music. Plus, I moved from cities to cities those past ten years so it wasn’t easy to find people with same taste, form a band and then live and start over again. I felt that it would be a waste of time to put a band together from scratch, so playing by myself was faster and easier. Knowing that I have to admit that some part could be better if it was played by a “real” drummer sometimes... but I’m figuring out to correct things on the next album ;).
- You’re pretty much influenced by Down, C.O.C., Sasquatch and Clutch… did you choose this name as a kind of wink to pay homage to your fave bands ? Do you feel a special attraction for just this sound or maybe more generally for the southern US culture ?
Definitely the name pays tribute to those bands and the music they make. By choosing this name I also wanted to put on a kind of concept, the music of Southern Badass has to be sweaty, hot, like the weather in the south. The name has to recall all the stuff that goes with southern culture, like voodoo and so on... This culture fascinates me, and we have a historic link as french people with Louisiane and some of the southern states! I love the mystery, the tales of this area with bluesmen that meet the devil at a crossroad, this is the birth place of the occidental music too from jazz to rock to the music I make in a way! So yes this is like homage to all of this, it’s a way to express my thanks for this culture.
- How and where did you record the album ? For the moment this is a 300% DIY affair but do you intend to find a label for a physical edition of “born in mud” ?
Born In mud was recorded in my home studio, mostly at night and during week-ends. Like most of everyone I have a day job, so recording was scheduled when I had the time to do it, I would love to spend all my days working on music but it’s not the case. I have to admit that it took quite some time to put an end to this, and when I finally found the good mastering sound at the end and realized it was over, it was really a relief. It took me like 3 years to get to this result, but like I said it could have been faster if I had spent all my time on it. I think that the next one will be faster, during the work on Born in Mud I learned some stuff on production, tips and technical stuff I didn’t know at the beginning so I have a good feeling for the future... For the moment the distribution is digital only, but I’d love to propose a good vinyl edition, like a limited one with a beautiful gatefold and so on but as you say it’s DIY for the moment and I hope the digital sales would finance a physical edition. I have sent the album to one label actually, which is in Detroit... But the idea behind that is to have their feedback like “does it sounds good to you?”. It would be cool to have a deal with a well known label, have financial support but for now this is all about fun for me, doing this interview, knowing that you like the music, that is great so far!
- For people buying the album on Bandcamp, you’re regularly sending for free some bonus songs (originals + covers) that you got left from the recorded sessions of “born in mud”, can you tell more about this, especially about the wide variety of covers in stock ?!
Yes, I was wondering how to thank people who buy the album, who support band/artists like me. And I thought that receiving some exclusive stuff would be cool, like to get a higher level of relationship with “fans”. As I don’t tour, this is a way to meet people. So as I still have some material I didn’t use on the album and covers that helped me configure technical stuff (like guitar sound, vocal effect, mixing ...) I thought “let’s use this, maybe people would like to hear it for free”. After the Deep Purple’s Mistreated cover the next one will be a Justice cover (the French electro duet) ... hope people would like it. And then, after the unreleased material, I think there will be like excerpt from the next album, to tease “fans” ;)
I used to listen to the Kill Bill soundtrack when the movie went out... Now I’m more in the True Blood thing, it made me discover CC Adcock which was an influence for the first part of Desert Trinity. The Tarantino and Rodriguez influence is more in the mood of tracks like you said, it’s not really “their” music. When I compose, I try to suggest images that would come in the listeners mind. On Dusty Road I was thinking to the final scene of ‘Till Dusk To Dawn the movie that Tarantino and Rodriguez made together. In the lyrics of We Ain’t Got Time To Moan the second part of Desert Trinity, there is like a little reference to the Gecko Brother too.
- The last song “Sons of the Sun” sounds a bit different from the rest with a tone that to my ears is really METAL, is it basically your older influences that appear on that one ? What’s your musical background ?
The main riff of that song is my head for like the last ten years or something like that. At first it was supposed to have a spanish flavour but I didn’t manage to use it properly in the band I was at that time until I could work on it for this album. By the way I never managed to put lyrics on it, the guitars were speaking for themselves, and I thought it would be like my little Call Of Ktulu (with all due respect to this epic song). And you got it right my background is metal, I’m a die hard Metallica fan for the past twenty years, as many of us I learned to play guitar with their music. I’m from Thrash, Death Metal which I still enjoy with some Pagan and Vicking stuff sometimes and of course legendary bands like Iron Maiden... I like Jazz, Blues and Funk too. I’m trying to keep an open mind, there are good ideas everywhere!
- Did you get some help for the lyrics ? What are they generally dealing about ?
No help for the lyrics, you think I should ask for it lol? On this album I tried to suggest scenes, images, based on feelings. Lyrics are about wrath caused by the loss of a beloved son like in Wrath Temptation, or the loss of your home and all your marks because of a flood like in Call Of New Orleans. Saying that, I’m figuring out that the main subject is “the loss”... this album should be called “Lost In Mud” ... The Witch is about Marie Laveau, the famous Louisiana voodoo queen. I’m trying to create mind pictures in which listeners can travel, or develop their own stories around them.
- It seems that you’re actually particularly active to promote the name of SOUTHERN BADASS while the bandcamp page says the album is on line since June 1st, why did you start promotion about 4 months later ? Do you feel that the French scene is receptive to your sound ? did you already get good echoes from the US ?
At first I wasn’t sure that this album would interest anyone. Since I made it all by myself I’m aware of every little details that could be better. I needed to feel reassured. So I was going little by little, sending to my friends to get critics and feedback on it. As the feedback was better and better I felt that it was maybe time to let more people know about it. I think that there were two things that decided me to promote more this project : the fact that Ozium Records wanted to distribute the album and that The Soda Shop put it as the Daily Bandcamp Album on september the 1st. Actually, the US and international echoes are way much better than the French feedback. I had US radios that contacted me to play the songs, US and Eastern Europe blogs that wanted to congratulate and make review... Those feedback were spontaneously sent, that’s very motivating. I have asked French online “press” for their feelings on the project but for now it stays very shy and quite (except you!). I understand that, I think that knowing that Southern Badass is just a guy in Perpignan for a french stoner fan that’s less sexier than being an underground band of Baton Rouge LS lol! But that’s fine for me, actually, I was trying to “impress” the US audience, so based on the feedback I get from it, I’m on a good way.
- How do you see the future of S.B. ? You told me that you could eventually try to find guys for live performances… do you feel it as a real need and/or is it cause you have had some cool propositions ?
I had some musicians that told me they would like to join the project for live performances so it could be the next level for Southern Badass, trying to put on a tour in local venues. For the studio stuff I’m thinking about a three piece concept, so two more album to go and the chapter would be closed. Actually, I’m really surprised by the general welcome that is given to this project, I wasn’t expecting to go that far, so it’s like future was made a day after another. I’m ready to take any opportunity that could come to keep this music alive, hope people would continue to like it and spread the word about it...