Blues, Fights & Piracy – The Wanton Bishops @ SXSW 2014

Wanton Bishops @ Live4ever Media Lounge SXSW sponsored by Ei8htball.

The Wanton Bishops @ Live4ever Media Lounge SXSW sponsored by Ei8htball.

‘’We don’t have a record label’’ says Eddie Gossein. ‘’Well, maybe we don’t need one,’’ replies Nader Mansour.

This is The Wanton Bishops. A duo that, despite delving into new and unorthodox ways of promoting and publishing their music, are fascinated by the old-school blues roots of the delta. This untainted sense of tradition has given them a new outlook on how the music industry operates. They’re a garage-rock revival couplet with a brain wired for the present, while their fingertips and hearts bleed with a love of the past.

“We’re not afraid of piracy, the last time we bought a movie and paid for it was like eight years ago,” they tell Live4ever during an exclusive chat at the 2014 South By Southwest Festival. “Obviously we don’t like it, nobody paying us for what we’ve done, but at the same time it’s the only way to get our music across.”

On the subject of being sustainable and relevant in today’s music industry – with piracy and plagiarism at its foundations – they are realistic in knowing the ins and outs of every mechanism there can be. ‘In the music industry, you don’t have private jets; the whole rock star lifestyle is gone. We don’t care about that. As long as we can pay rent they can take whatever the hell they want. It’s out there, it’s music.’’

The band, although new, does have a quiet a fanbase, ranging from Turkey to Scandinavia, rebels against the over-priced music stores of record labels that care more for branding and moulding rather than growing what they want from mistakes and experience. The two could be bracketed as a tad unusual, but their music is formed from the most basic parts of human life, and the inspirations are no less familiar. “We bonded over the blues,” Eddie says, while Eddie himself reveals a fondness for classic British music. “Particularly Oasis,” Nader remarks. “A bit of this and a bit of that; The Who, The Beatles, that’s what we are now, the result,” confirms Eddie.

As they reveal in our video interview, The Wanton Bishops are a group that started not on the love of music, but on a fist-fight. Not between them, but a policeman. They bailed each other out, and from there a partnership blossomed. The band also talk about their unusual ways of promoting music, through book publishers and utilising viral marketing to expose their album to as many people as possible.

Eddie and Nader went to school in Paris, educated on business and economics. Perhaps a clear explanation for their contemporary convictions of what the music industry is today. “I went to jazz school to get high, to jam, to try and be a musician,” Nader explains to Live4ever. “Eddie was a great musician and I never understood anything. We’re natural, we play,” he continues. “But when there was a jam session going on I just played, I still don’t know stuff,” Eddie adds. “But I think it’s a strength for us that were not all that technical.’’

Music however, doesn’t bind the musician to rules. They wrote, recorded and shot a video at the authorisation of Red Bull in two days, authority validated simply because the lads wanted to. Eddie wanted ‘close, traditional, indie music’. “It was a real experience; people dancing and singing on the streets,” Nader remembers. “It was fast and cool. We said to ourselves we’d do that particular idea when we got to the location.”

The duo released their debut album ‘Sleep With The Lights On‘ in December 2012, and since have been seen handing out bootleg EPs in a dive bar in Beirut. Their aims and aspirations match the size of their sharp ideology of how tomorrow will look once today leaves.

They have toured Turkey, France, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, and supported Guns N’ Roses and Lana Del Rey in Lebanon – a fabulous string of scenes in which to play their music and allow its stomp swamp blues and electric rock riffs to be experienced full on.

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One Response

  1. Victor Geiger 4 June, 2014

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