After SHINE‘s EP collaboration with English guitar legend Terry Reid caught our site’s attention (review), we had the pleasure to see the French band perform at this year’s SXSW festival. We recently caught up with song writer Guillaume Simon to chat about their experiences in the recording studio with rock mentor Reid, gigging in unusual places, the group’s future and why Les Bleus (French national football team) doesn’t quite do him proud.
L4E: Hiya, many thanks for taking the time to speak to Live4ever. Well we’ve just about recovered now after our time at the SXSW Festival, how long did it take you to get over your SXSW hangover?
SHINE: Haha I guess we are still recovering. No, seriously, we had a blast there and we met wonderful people.
You were part of a large collection of French bands at the festival, was there a lot of camaraderie amongst your fellow French acts in Austin?
Actually, the camaraderie started at the arrival at the airport with some of them. Then, we crossed each other again during the festival and even in the streets of San Francisco where we played a few days later. That was fun.
…and which of the other French groups you were with should our readers check out?
We like Papier Tigre and General Elektriks
We saw you play a great gig in a church at the festival. Was that the most unusual place that you’ve played a show?
First gig in the US : in a church, in the middle of Texas ! Who knew ?
We played in a beautiful theatre from the 17th century in Italy a couple of years ago, that was quite amazing too. But this church in Austin will definitely remain in our minds.
Could you take a moment to introduce our readers to your band and let us know a bit about your career so far.
We live and met in Paris. We released our debut album “the common station” in 2008 which received a great welcome from the down-tempo audience / scene / press. We played many gigs, toured with Morcheeba in Europe the same year. Some of our songs have been placed on American TV shows (Ugly Betty). In 2009, we launched the “Terry Reid adventure”…
Your EP with legendary songwriter Terry Reid got a lot of press and great reviews when it was released last year. How did you first come into contact with Terry?
One night, I came across the “Glastonbury Fayre” documentary film on French TV. Terry and his band appeared on the screen and then I literally fell from the couch ! He blew my mind. I knew nothing about him but I had the intuition that we should work with him. So I searched his contact on the Internet, sent an email to a fan website, like a bottle in the sea. Against all odds, I got a reply from his friend and agent. A few days later, we sent a demo of “Mind Dance” and Terry loved it. That’s how it started !
Working with Terry must have been hugely inspiring. How much did you learn from such an experienced musician?
We learned so much from Terry, by simply looking at him work, listening to him, laughing with him. He has a million stories to tell and his passion for music is intact. Like a journalist once told me : you can’t be wrong with Terry. He was right.
After our one and only concert together (and a couple of bottles), in London, I asked him : Terry, can you tell me now the secret of Rock’n’Roll ? He gave me an answer I’ll never forget. Sorry guys, but I keep it for me.
The EP is fantastic, it would be great to hear more from the collaboration. Are there any future plans to return to the studio with Terry?
Thanks so much ! Terry and we are quite busy working on our respective albums now. But we both know that this EP is just the beginning of something even more exciting coming up.
So after working with Terry Reid, if you could pick another veteran musician to record with who would it be?
Your now back in the studio working a new album. You’ve said the current line-up is your ‘best team ever’. Can you already feel that extra quality coming through in the studio?
Yes absolutely. We gain confidence, we trust each other. We like to be together, it may sound trivial to say that but that’s the key.
This time we’ll let our influences speak. The music we used to listen to a lot when we were kids like New Wave for instance are coming back to our minds. We’ll be assuming it this time (at last).
When can we expect the new album to be released?
Hopefully, in September or October 2010.
No, we were lucky enough not to tour then. I can’t say that the Volcanic Ash bothered us that much in the studio !
Apparently LCD Soundsystem flew to Spain and then drove to the UK to get to a gig in London. Do you think you would go to all that trouble to get a tour underway on schedule?
This is not the kind of trouble we enjoy (we’ve been through this before). But as soon as we said yes for a gig or a tour, we have to deal with all the consequences. And sometimes, even awful situations can be fun.
On the subject of touring, you are described as initially being a studio project, yet now you are one of the best live acts around. Was it always the plan to take your studio work out on the road?
It took us some time to express ourselves fully on stage. At first, we were kind of embarrassed by the so-called sophistication we produce on record. We were thinking too much I guess. Now, we just play our music and above all, we have fun !
Are there any plans to bring your live show to the UK soon?
We played several times in London before, and we enjoyed it each time. We want to tour the UK to promote the new album.
Well thanks again for the chat, what about a quick mention for the World Cup before we go. Will you be following France during the tournament? They just scraped through in qualification, how do you fancy their chances in South Africa?
Honestly, I’m ashamed and furious by the way we got qualified.
We don’t deserve it.
But as I’m French (and so, hypocrite and chauvinist), if France wins the World Cup, I’ll tell everybody that I knew it from the start. Ha
Thanks for you great support !