21 Dec

As is so often the case, we find ourselves at a loss for words when trying to describe the music of The RocKandys. Thankfully, the confection of melody and mood cooked up by the band is so instantly appealing – stunning, sweet and surprising, and despite their name, never in danger of being overly sugary – that all one needs to build an individual description and a personal understanding of what makes The RocKandys so special is a set of working ears. Good luck on not having this track snaking through your head for the next hundred-thousand years.

If we’re at a loss for words, we’ll blame it on the fact that the band used most of them for the title of their recently released album, “The Breaking Dawn Will Crown the One Who Let the Morning Glint to Come.”  What the super-sized title perhaps does not betray is the absolute sense of balance and refinement that exists in every perfectly folded corner of the album. The RocKandys have delivered an absolute beauty of an album – with a little help from their friends.

We cannot recommend an album any more highly, and we feel absolutely fortunate to have the band’s Tibo and Rike answer our ridiculous questions below. Enjoy.

Broadly speaking, what makes rock and roll music so special to you? How has it impacted your life? How do you think music has impacted your personality – meaning, in what ways do you think your life would be different if you were not involved in creating music?

Tibo : In fact, I began to listen rock and roll music relatively late compared to most people. I guess that I really listened to rock and roll music when I started learning guitar at 21 years old (and I’m 30 now).

You know, I spent my adolescence in a very small village, where there was no shop to buy good vinyls or things like that … and in radio, especially in France, you can just listen to French tunes and this kind of music sounds more like entertainment than rock and roll or art … There were some but it was really important later to meet and speak with people and search by yourselves to get something different.

But you know, I have to admit that since I was six years old, I remember that my father listened to a lot of classical music (like Bach, Mozart, Brahms, Beethoven etc.) and it is not a rock and roll way for learning to make rock and roll but it is also a great way to educate your ears and to try to make your own projects up in the future.

Now, creating music is essential for me … I spend the majority of my free time doing this. Not because it is a charge but I love that. We are completely independent with my bands. We’re booking gigs by ourselves, we find the way for recording our music by ourselves, etc. Then, I think that making music impacts my life every day … it’s a passion so you meet people, talk with people who have the same life … for sure if I had never made music, I would be a different person! And for me the most important thing is: I still enjoy making it and still enjoying making it with my friends.

Rike: For me, I started music when I was six. I begged during one year to get a piano and finally my wish got fulfilled. It’s evidence to me that music is my life. I could not live without it. So, that is to say I guess making music was always a part of me since forever. It is funny because my story is the extreme opposite of Tibo.

When I was a kid we had this old car, a Trabant and my dad tuned it and put some very loud speakers in it. He was a big fan of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin but when I was a kid to me this music was just noise. So until I was twelve, I only listened to classical music, which I also think is a very good basis for approaching music.

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When did you first become personally impacted by your love of music? What band or album was it that first awakened the creative impulse within yourself? How did that music make you feel at the time? How does that music make you feel now?

Tibo :I remember that my first tape ever was Ace of Base … you know, the band with tracks like “Happy Nation” and “All That She Wants” … it was a big hit in France … but what I listen to now is different. When I was young I loved to listen to all the disco and funky music, for the groove, the beat and at that time it was the best music to hit on girls on the dance floor … trifling things but good moments too! Rapidly, I tried to create my own music … but during the time of learning, the time you just try to play your famous songs, was also the time where I made my first crappy tunes. Regarding myself I knew that I would like to make rock music after the gig of The Brian Jonestown Massacre in 2006 in Grenoble (France). And just before this gig I was stuck in the sound of “Swallowtail.” One of my best friends Arnaud gave me the “Tepid Peppermint Wonderland: A Retrospective” that was out at the same time as the rockumentary, “Dig” … and after the first times I listened I though that the band was good but I was not falling in love yet. Then after two months (because my friend left to get a summer job in Scotland) I take off my earplugs, then I listened the whole compilation and I dug!!! Since this moment a lot of music inspired me, and my music is essential, like drinking water or eating for survival, and it is my way of life.

Rike: Well, as I said before. I was first more into classic music with a preference for Beethoven. Then, while growing up I was like really into the sixties tunes. I actually listen to each and everything. For me nothing is bad in music. Everybody has another way to see and feel music. I would feel bad to refuse listening to music because of a style or something while there is so much out there. When I met Tibo, of course he influenced me and opened my eyes for psychedelic music. It’s a style that was not new to me since there are a lot of sixties and seventies groups but I did not know the modern psychedelic which I actually very much love, like The Black Angels, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Tame Impala or Kula Shaker (I love the album “Pilgrims Progress.”) I also listen to a lot of electronic music like VCMG, SebastiAn or Krazy Baldhead.

What can you tell us about the origin of The RocKandys? Had you played in other bands prior to The RockKandys and if so, what were those experiences like for you? What has been the most surprising thing about playing together as The RocKandys – meaning, what has been brought out in the band’s music that you didn’t expect originally?

Tibo: At the beginning I played in a band with friends but we played covers. Otherwise I have a side project, The Squared Circle, and we have just got out our first EP.

About The RocKandys, we started this band in 2007 when I met Rike in Grenoble … I played guitar and she could sing, play keyboards, harmonica and flute. So we decided to make something together. We stayed around one or two years with just another guitarist and after this time we decided to find a bassist and a drummer to get something more like we thought that our music should sound. Since this time the line-up has changed sometimes.

With The RocKandys it is just great to express myself and to make music up as I feel and I’m free to do it.

Rike: I think the group lives from its very motivated musicians. All five of us have a different background, coming from very different influences. We are all friends, which creates a huge bond between us. I guess the strength of the group comes from that and that we can talk and grow with each other.

Can you talk about the origin of the album title, “The Breaking Dawn Will Crown the One Who Let The Morning Glint to Come”? What is the origin of this title? What does this title mean to you? What are some of your favorite album titles of all time?

Tibo: Ha!! It is a beautiful name for our debut album … no? Rike has found the name after a collegial brainstorming. I think it is a good, while long summary to this album! This title is full of poetry and full of images that each person can feel by himself. Then for me, it is the glint of where we live and could be a trigger embellished with poetry of images for a future. Do you know what is the cosmology, and the study of different areas, and why humanity has known some ruptures since its origin? This is a very interesting science to understand that maybe we are at the dawn of a change and that the capitalist system could be over soon and touch this twilight … even if people don’t know yet what that change could be…

But what we can be sure is: the last people who made a revolution (not the poor who were jumping jacks and have been manipulated by the bourgeoisie to kick the aristocracy out) enjoyed the system they created. So who’ll be the next…

Rike: For me the title means a lot but as Tibo said, everybody has to find its own meaning. That is the beauty of art and philosophy. There is no sense in explaining everything. Anyhow, I wanted to put a mini-poem as a title because it was giving more beauty to the final result … like the dot on the “I”.

“The Breaking Dawn …” sounds absolutely fantastic – not only are the songs epic and propulsive and memorable, but the literal sound is just so crisp and full. Was there anything in particular that you wanted to achieve with this album and how close did you come to realizing that desire? What elements did Anton Newcombe bring to the recording of the album that you feel would not have been present otherwise? What led to Anton’s involvement with the album to begin with?

Tibo: Thank you so much Ryan! You know, it is very hard to explain if really we have the result that we expected when we have started to record this album … because to be sincere, I think that we didn’t know really how this album should sound. Some of these songs were ready and some of them have changed or had not been created … We had less than ten days to make it and we stayed in Anton’s studio all the day and night long. Fortunately for us, the weather was crappy and we went outside just to buy food and drink, to the supermarket less than fifteen seconds from the studio. But what is sure is that in Anton’s studio there is a magic atmosphere … all these instruments … we were in a good mood and inspired to do our best. All the RocKandys  worked hard with Fab (the sound engineer of Anton and his assistant). The collaboration was great and Anton was there everyday, sometimes for broadcasting on Dead TV, sometimes to give us some advice, sometimes to play some keyboards or guitar parts …

Fab has worked at the Black Box Studio in Angers (France) and his experience is solid. We made the recording sessions, the mixing and the mastering with him and maybe this is the reason of the uniqueness in the sound of this album.

It would be impossible for us to pick a favorite song on the album, but what can you tell us about the origin of the song, “Shiva”? What are the instruments that we hear at the very beginning of this song – the shaking rhythm and the drone that opens the song? Shiva represents great destructive power – but also great power to transform (and, it should be noted, the power to transform by destruction). What does Shiva represent to you, if anything?

Tibo: We made a trip for one month to South India with Rike 3 years ago and I think that the title, the sound, the instruments or the beat used come from all that we sensed with our five senses (ha) … It would be pretty hard to explain how we have transposed these feelings but for sure it comes from these experiences, etc. … So, we used a repetitive sound from a Korg Delta with a waved tremolo and the sound that you can hear is a sound of guitar. I had detuned the guitar to get an Eastern sound but deep and with a special texture. We used also small bells bought in India with a delay and reverb!!

The beat changes sometimes too and it is not like a pop music in 4/4 for the tempo or something – it sounds more like a raga used in India where you have to feel it and the rhythm is serving the melody!

“Shiva” maybe one of the better tunes, with very sophisticated sounds and texts trying to explain the name of our debut album … but all these tunes are a reflect of the title or maybe the inverse. Anyway, your interpretation is a good way to feel what we try to make !

How do you think your location in France influences the music you make with The RocKandys? Are all of the members of The RocKandys from France originally? What bands from France have you had the opportunity to perform with? What bands from other countries have The RocKandys performed with? What is the best live performance you’ve seen in the past year or so?

Tibo: I think that living in France is not the beginning for our influences. We made a lot of trips in France or other countries in Europe and Asia (never in America – we should go there). And then with the Internet, your country is not the only way for influencing your music … but you know, after we made some French songs with Anton we decided to make some French tunes for The RocKandys … We sang some of them during our last tour with BJM, and we are pretty proud to see that we found a way of singing French on psychedelic music which actually works out – I hope, at least … not a lot of French bands sing in French and actually in modern psychedelic I know just the RocKandys !!! I suppose that it is easy for us to make better poetry in French than in English and we’re going to make some in German because Rike comes from Berlin (East Berlin).

We played with a lot of bands in France who played a different kind of psychedelic music. These last years we played with friends that are very close and we are looking for people in the same spirit and same music. These two last years we supported famous bands like The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Black Angels, The Warlocks … we played with TV Buddhas, a band from Israël, then The Cult of Dom Keller, The Light Shines from the UK, Gallon Drunk …

The two best shows that I remember were BJM in Grenoble in 2006 and TV Buddhas in 2009 … such great performances.

What music have you been listening to lately? If push comes to shove, what is your favorite album by The Rolling Stones and why?

Tibo: I listen a lot of things that people share on Facebook groups such as “Dead TV,” “Something Else,” or other groups about psychedelia. It is great to have these Facebook groups because I meet and exchange with people about music, some old videos and they do the same thing … But I also listen to electronic music (because of Rike … ha!!), classical music, traditional music of different countries when I travel, etc.

I have no Beatles albums, and I have only “Their Satanic Majesties Request” on vinyl at home, so I suppose that it should be my favorite … but my favorite Stones song is “Paint It Black, though it is not on “Satanic” …

Rike: Hihi … I just have a best of from The Rolling Stones but I also very much like “Their Satanic Majesties Request.” And from The Beatles it’s “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

Rachel Carson once wrote the following:

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”

Your thoughts?

Tibo: History is a cycle, some times are good, sometimes not, we are nothing on the Earth and more and more I feel people are lost in our world because everything goes fast and they always think that they can get more. We love or would love things that we have not and we spend our time imagining the future or talking about stories lived in the past and finally it looks like nobody lives really in the present.

I try to be happy in my life and to do the things that I want to do at the moment I live in. We also should denounce when we are jumping jacks and to be sometime the black sheep …

Rike: I agree with it. I’m very sensitive to nature and cannot imagine myself without it around me. By the way, that was a reason I left Berlin, because there is not enough nature … or at least you have to travel to go there … (even though it is a very nice and green city and at the moment where to be, if you want to do music …). For me it also refers to meditation, to the inner voice, calm, knowing that anyway your destiny is guiding you. I believe in destiny so for me it is kind of true.

What’s next for The RocKandys?

Tibo: We got our debut album out now. We will make gigs to show the new songs, try to find people to help us (bookers, labels, etc.). As I told you, we should make some French and German songs for the next year, try to plan a US tour and to continue to make our music.

The RocKandys


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