I can’t keep emphasizing how fun it is to discover new bands and what great tool internet can be in that search. French SOLEIL VERT came to me when I surfed Myspace (yeaH, it is still worth something) and I knew that I had to interview them. Anders Ekdahl ©2012
Since I don’t speak French Soleil Vert are just words without any meaning. Can you please explain your band name to me?
-First of all, thank you for getting in touch with us! We are pleased taking part in this interview! SOLEILVERT (we like to spell it this way) take its name from Richard Fleischer’s 1973 movie “Soylent Green” entitled in French “SOLEIL VERT”, which could be translated into “Green Sun”, which has no connection to the original title. We liked the sound and concept of this name and we liked also the idea behind this movie, a thriller leading to a horrific discovery, with a 70’s touch to it. We also wanted to use a French name, even if we sing in English, to get rid of the rock/metal scene standards. And don’t get us wrong, there’s no connection with Charlton Heston or the NRA.
I want to say that you draw influences from this or that band but I can’t think of any bands right now to compare you to even if I have them on the tip of my tongue. What influences you?
-We all have different influences and we try to mix them to give a specific colour and flavor to our music. With basic metal/rock influences shared by all four of us, each one has a “specialty” that he adds to our music. Romain (guitar) is really into the so-called doom/stoner rock scene with bands like Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Electric Wizard, Clutch to name a few, Charles (drums) is more into the hardcore/emo/punk scene with bands like Suicidal Tendencies, With Honors or Agnostic Front, Nico (bass), more into inde/noise/indus that helps our music having some atypical “melodic progressions”. Sheby (vocals) is influenced by punk and metal scene and is a big fan of Prong, Killing Joke, and more recently bands like Red Fang for example. With these influences, we mix heavy, down tuned and groovy guitar riffs with melodic and while distorted progressions from the bass, fast attack rhythms and catchy & aggressive vocals.
Judging by the description on your MySpace page you don’t want to limit yourself to just one genre. If you where under the threat of a gun how would you like to describe the sound of SoleilVert?
In this way, we like to define our sound being simply stoner rock, as this genre is not really well defined and combines lot of different sub-genres under one banner. It is sometimes close to metal, to punk or doom (not in our Dear Domineering EP but in the other songs). Why don’t we call it “urban stoner rock”? as this could be simply stoner rock or desert rock mixed with urban influences like punk, hardcore or indie rock.
To me the French metal scene has always been a rather secluded one with bands singing in French exclusively. But that has changed and more bands are being heard worldwide. How much do you look to the French scene past/present for inspiration?
-In each country, there are bands singing in their own languages, and I think that’s great. Maybe we will do some songs in French but that’s not easy to sound great with French lyrics. A lot of band have turned using English in their songs, as this is a standard for rock and metal songs, combine it with a better average level in English in France, and you will have more and more bands singing in English. I remember not listening to French bands in the 90’s, but the metal scene here as pretty much evolved since then. A lot of bands have appeared offering quality and innovative music to the global scene (Gojira, Klone, SUP, Kickback…). There’s also Internet and digital music that has allowed a lot of bands to get known worldwide. To support our local stoner scene, there are a dozen of bands in this scene that really rocks here (check out Psychotic Reactions V1 compilation) and that are supported by dedicated initiatives (Stoned Gatherings, Glad Stone Fest…).
Does it mean anything that other French metal bands are getting known worldwide for your desire/motivation to make it worldwide (if others can, then we can too)?
-Hard rock/metal bands, even if they existed before since the 80’s, used to be pretty confidential, as it was difficult to expand their fan base outside of our borders. Today, more and more French bands are getting known outside France, and of course, that’s great to have this trend as a backdrop. Our music is meant to be shared worldwide, and the Web is helping for that, but for us recognition for our music has to be at a local level first, because it’s the only way to solidify a strong fan base.
How far can you take it on your own before the burden becomes too heavy to carry?
-We will be able to continue making some shows in France as we have developed some connections to play live music. We will continue writing our songs without boundaries in term of style and will continue trying to promote our music the best we can by ourselves. One key point for being able to continue will be the money available: we want to produce a full length album and we have identified our sound engineer, the songs we want to record, but recording in a professional way is a process that costs a lot, and along with creating our visuals, our promotion, and our booking in a professional way, that will cost money. We also have our day work and we will have to cope with that as you don’t make your living with the kind of genre we’re playing.
When you do things on your own (releasing albums, having promo shots taken etc.) do you look for talent only within the border of France or do you look elsewhere to?
-In fact, we didn’t even think of that, we are looking in our close network, people that can help us. There would be no problem to work with foreign talents, but for now we are building our thing up with people we can easily see.
How do you build a network for setting up tours and things when you have no label backing you?
-That’s a good question! We keep on connecting to people that are organizing venues, or other bands in the same genre. We know people that know people that… Things are really uneasy in Paris as this is not the rockest city in the world. There are plenty bands that are willing to play which represent a large market for stages/scenes. In order to play with good conditions you have to secure the selling of an increasing number of pre-sold tickets, and we are pretty bad at doing it ! We would be pleased to be supported by a label, this would help us going one step further.
How important is it to present a unified image for SoleilVert? Or does anything go as long as the music doesn’t suffer?
That’s very important for us to get along with each other. When we formed the band in 2010, we all had previous experience in other bands, most of the time with long time friends. We got to know each other and I think we get along very well, which was a big challenge when you got to start from ashes. Now, I can say we’re pretty much on the same phase so being united or looking united is not really a challenge. Not being united would affect our music as we do it mostly for having fun all together.
If you were to predict the future for SoleilVert, what do you see?
-A big bright Green Sun? In the near future, we would like to release our first full album this year and maybe interest a label that could help us in this project and to defend it on stage on a national level, maybe as opening acts for bigger bands. Then, we would like to play in Europe, maybe in some festivals.
Thank you for your interest in the band, see you maybe one day in Sweden !!
You can download our EP “Dear Domineering” on Jamendo at this location, listen to it and share to your “real” friends ! http://www.jamendo.com/fr/album/98432