Interviews anglais


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Shortly before their sold out show at l’Elysée Montmartre, RockUrLife had the opportunity to meet again with Matt Shultz, the band’s frontman, for an interview filled with both tiredness and gentleness, contrasting with the six-piece’s explosive energy on stage a few hours later.

This past year, we’ve lost a few legendary artists. Did some of these losses really had an impact on you?

Matt Shultz (vocals): When I heard that David Bowie passed away, it was about 2 o’clock in the morning. My brother called me, and I cried. It was really sad. I’ve always been a huge David Bowie fan and greatly inspired by him; not necessarly by his stylistic approach, but definitely in ideologies around his approach. His ability to be a constantly evolving artist, yet still maintaining the truth within what he was creating. And then, Leonard Cohen. He is currently inspiring me very much. Those two have impacted me really close.

This reminds of something David Bowie has said in an interview once: “To be an artist is to be dysfunctional”. Do you agree?

M:It totally makes sense. We’re all dysfunctional, it’s just about recognizing that.

Let’s move on to something a little more positive now. You’ve started to direct the band’s music videos recently. Have you done that before?

M: I did a video for some friends years ago and they really enjoyed it. It wasn’t anything crazy, just a $5000 budget. (laughs). Just for fun. And then, I lost the desire to direct through other people. For years, I had been writing the treatments, then I would give them to a director and then hope they’ll translate it the way I envisonned it, but it never quite did. So, we just decided to take that back, doing it ourselves.

Did you study anything related to directing?

M: I just watch a lot of films, which allows me to cross references from many things. It felt very natural for me. We’ll see.

There’s a music video thats been put out quite recently, “Cold Cold Cold”. We felt that it was very powerful, yet really hard to watch for people who are concerned by mental health issues, it can really affect you. We were wondering how you wanted the audience to feel like and react watching this video?

M: I was hoping to tell a story that illustrated human beings’ effort to fix themselves. I think the brokenness of a person is the most beautiful thing about a person, yet we’re constantly trying to destroy that part. We shame people who are mentally ill, and we forget that the broken ones are the most beautiful ones. It’s funny because, to a certain degree, we forget that it’s the system that’s doing this to us, and into another degree, we enjoy that and we give ourselves to it.

Is that what is reflected throughtout the story of the music video? We remember the main character becoming heartless at the end, then putting on a mask and becoming just like everyone else.

M: That’s exactly what it is. It’s like “Would you rather know the truth and have struggles according to that truth, or would you rather subscribe to a fantasy and live some kind of shallow hapiness?”.



True. Let’s move on to something else because right now, we don’t know what to answer back.

M: (laughs)

How can you explain the fact that music, and art in general, is so relevant to so many people?

M: Because I think it’s something we all possess. It connects with people because it’s in our nature. It is part of our characteristics.

You’ve been in a band for a while. When you’re in a band, you’re surrounded by people whom yo’’re very close to all the time, you’re creating, recording, touring, and so on. It must be hard to keep up with all of this sometimes, to remain certain that this is the only thing you want to do in life and that’s it’s worth all the sacrifices. Have you ever felt trapped in the whole thing?

M: I think we’re all slaves to something. It’s just about committing to terms with that. There’s time when it feels very unnatural to me and I wanna run away from it, and then there’s other times where I’m very content with where I am and also just really feeling the blessing of being where I am. So it just depends on perspectives I think.

Why do you end up sticking with it anyway? You could just turn around and leave it all, yet there’s probably something greater than that.

M: I’d just change it for some others forms of art. If I was to move away from music, it would only be to move to another area that somehow would fill the same characteristics. I do enjoy film though, I can see myself at some point pursuing film, just because it’s another mean to speak through and it feels extremely natural to me.

The thing with music is that you can combine it with various art endeavours. Music videos for example.

M: Yes, it’s awesome. My wife co-directed our latest music videos. She’s much more of a director than myself. It’s nice to have that.

Does she have any kind of experience when it comes to film?

M: Just a passion for it since she was young and she has a very vast knowledge of film, which helps.

We’re gonna give you a compliment. You’re a very good live performer. You are very entertaining on stage, knowing how to get the audience’s attention, and we think you don’t even want to be. When it comes to other artists or bands that you go see at shows, what is entertaining to you?

M: Thank you. To me, it is just to see something that is compelling, that transforms me and makes me feel forget that I’m watching a performance and feel lost in the moment. When I’m on stage, whenever I start overthinking things I just try to remember thats it’s not about me, but about the audience. It’s about transforming their minds and brains to a place where they are able to reach what we call a willing suspension of disbelief: that point in which you stop feeling that you’re watching a performance and you start to believe the story. That’s what I look for in great performers. People who can command the audience without feeling they’re begging the audience to follow them. It’s a difficult thing. Some performers’ feet seem to never touch the ground, they float around.

Can you name some of your favourite live performers?

M: Iggy Pop, LCD Soundsystem, Mick Jagger obviously. His experience is what I see everytime, he is incredible to watch. I was really blown away by Florence + The Machine, she is a terrific performer. She really know how to command an audience. Kendrick Lamar is pretty good as well.

We’re good. Thank you for your answers!

M: Alright. Thank you!