lundi 13 mars 2017

Tomy and the Cougars - The Interview (english)

Tomy And The Cougars

Version française ici.

When we discovered by chance their last release, Ambush, (Dead Beat Records) we immediately fell under the spell of these young lads and their straight to the point rock and roll. Because this album is indeed a punk and power pop gem, in a good way.
Ambush is also the name of the first song, let’s say a little anthem perfectly supported by all the following hits : Sacred Pleasure, Bad Boy Bondage, raging roars with hilarious lyrics, Enough, stadium song or what ? Then it keeps going on… Downtown, The Real Thing, etc…
It’s so tight and efficient, that we wanted to know more about what’s going on in Marseille, why they’re doing that, loud, fast and right.
The enjoyment turns out to be more enthusiastic when you dig it. For example, just listen to Heartbreak Macht Frei and all its songs (I Change, Punk Rock Stereo, Rockstar, Doogie the Gangbanger, Cougar Tradition…), ladies and gentlemen, it’s obvious, isn’t it?

This kind of band which makes you feel proud and happy, grabbing you straight into the pit, without rest, and you, asking yourself why your head is suddenly banging, why you sing these stupid and touching songs. This is also the opportunity to talk about one of young people, who deserves it, with lyrics to read and sing, switching from english to french without problem, with the same panache, and that talk to you, definitely.
You should also check these others bands by the way: les Concordes, Cathedrale, Police Control, Pierre et Bastien, Thee Marvin Gays, Carambolage, among others etc…

But, let’s go back to the topic, Tomy and the Cougars, they kindly answered our question, thanks to them, and keep it going guys!

x Who is Tomy and the Cougars ? and what’s the story ?

[To] The current official lineup of the Cougars is Lully (singer/guitar hero), To (singer/guitar), Emiel aka Fu Manchu (bass) and Fel at drums. We have been playing together since summer 2013, but the band exists since 2012 with Tony Destroy as former drummer, with whom we split after our 1st tour in France and Germany in spring 2013. Emiel and I promised ourselves to form a band, I can’t really remember when, but we were kids, like in highschool I guess. So we did it. Lully, Fel and I actually already played together with The Anusfletchers back in the day.

x Do you have a character or a mentor each of you could identify with?

[Fu] I would say Deedee as my favorite. Fel is more a kind of guy like Franky Costanza from Dagoba. Lully is the guitarist of Stiff Little Fingers and Tomy is Pepino, the kid in The Chorus ».

x Do you all live in Marseille?

[Fu] Tomy is in Liège right now actually. Lully is in Copenhagen to finish his novel. So right now, only Fel and I are in Marseille.

x What does Marseille represents for you ?

[To] The most beautiful city in the world, our teenage city. The city from where you must escape, to not turn around and become depressed. But also the city where I want to end / spend the end of my life. The dirtiest city as well, with all its vice/imperfections, but that won’t stop Marseille from beating all the others cities ! Fuck the Gard, the Var, Aix and Paris.

[Fu] The sun drying the shit on the pavement, 130km/h gusts in your face, some burst as well. You can see lot of things or people that you rarely meet somewhere else actually. So it shapes your nature and the perception of what’s surrounding. This is the cornerstone, a reference (not worthy for some people) that distinguishes us.

x Why doing powerpop in Marseille ?

[To] In hindsight, we definitely are not a powerpop band. That’s true that our 1st seven inch (No Way Out / Surfin' Ki Records /2014) was essentially influenced by Crusaders Of Love, Protex, The Records, Steeve E. Nix (Briefs / Cute Lepers), Barracudas, Exploding Hearts…. We were listening to that a lot at that time. Now not so much.
I don’t consider all of our others EP and albums as powerpop. We’re throwing some punk, Buzzcocks style, always with an attention to melodies and chorus that sticks to your ears, and that you can sing. And as live band, we try to smash the shit. Anyway, we do punk, not powerpop.

Besides that, it’s also true that there were a powerpop scene in Marseille not so long ago, with our buddies Departure Kids (RIP ☹), Les Concordes (killing, you have to check it !) and maybe Sunsick as well.
But traditionally, Marseille is more punk rock, with our daddies/mentors Les Jolis, Dolipranes, Irritones, La Flingue…. All these bands we saw playing and which made us want to make it. Now we’re waiting for the relief/succession.

x What are your favorites places in Marseille? I’m thinking of the lyrics in Downtown “where are you hanging around?”

[To] If I should only mention one place : La Machine à Coudre, no hesitation. Best small venue. We have a special connection there, because that’s where we saw our first gigs, and also where we played our first gig. Since that time I guess we played there like 20 times.
Then there is Lollipop, a coffee/record shop, owned by some cool old fashioned rock dudes. There are some other places but I won’t mention all of them.
However, I piss on « Le Poste à Galène », only assholes there + shit sound.

But if you want some good pizza and bad kebab, come with us, you’ll find everything you need. We always realize it’s better at home when we are away.

About the song {Downtown} : the music is from Lully, the lyrics are from me. It’s talking about all that guys and friends who went away from Marseille to make their life, in Paris, Toulouse, or Bruxelles especially, and who only come back for holidays, in general during summer. Life is funny, because actually I’m in that case this year, but I’ll be back next year.

x By the way, what are you doing at la Jonquera?

[To] It’s a private joke, I personally buy cigarettes there, the others I don’t know…
[Fu] Touring is exhausting, we need to chill out sometimes.

x A word about Olympique de Marseille ?

[To] We are not big soccer players, but I personally follow a lot soccer in general. My 2 favorites clubs are OM and West Ham. I hope that from now, with the new American owner, we’ll have some great time again, because it’s been too long it’s boring as fuck.
[Fu] They suck in Fifa, better to play with India national team.

x Your lyrics are available on your bandcamp, it’s not so common for a band, why ?

[To] It’s important for me as I always liked to read and remember lyrics from other bands. Even if most of the time I’m not proud of them, like terrible english mistakes that I found out a posteriori etc… I think it’s worth sharing them.
It’s cool for people who’d like to understand better what we’re singing, specially as Lully’s lyrics are very funny.

[Fu] Tomy has some diction problems (you really have to hear him talk, it’s worth it !) and Lully has a horrible english accent, that’s really cool because it accentuates this moronic mood we try to bring.
For me, that’s not even better, but at least I shut up ! So our online lyrics make understand what’s going on to an audience who is stupider than we are. It also highlights our favorite literary topics, namely sex (dirty, ideally speaking), relations with young chicks, but also anxiety.

x Who writes the lyrics ?

[To] We are a two-headed band : Lully and I. Both lead singing and writing. Fu is helping a bit, and really contributed to Bad Boys Bondage (Ambush / Dead Beat Records) for example.
Fel only knows « How are you » in english, and as most of our lyrics are in english, it doesn’t help…
We have 2 ways of writing and I guess you can feel it. Lully writes often with a lots of feet, which bring some kind of rhythm. I don’t really know how to sing and I’m mumbling so I can’t have more than 10 words in one sentence. I try to deal with that.
How would I defined them? ? Simple, we mainly talk about sex.

[Fu] I wrote the lyrics for 2 songs of the last album (Bad Boy Bondage + Toomy). I wanted to write some stuff on the previous records but it didn’t come. But for these 2 songs, and with a bit of help from Lully, it came almost straight, one early morning in a train.
« Bad Boy Bondage » is (again) a joke story about sex that we had with Lully, and « Toomy » is a kind of retrospective of Tomy’s masterstrokes, which I think deserved to be related.

x Your music/lyrics could remind me the Jam or am I wrong ?

[To] The Jam, really ? A parallel with The Ramones would have been more obvious in my opinion. But really, I don’t know. My Jam phase is gone since some time now and I’m not an expert of Paul Weller’s lyrics. I think all the songs I wrote are linked or about some girls.

x Could you pick one of your song which would sum you up perfectly ?

[Fu] As I said, I’m not writing so much for the band but I think we try to tell about things that matters and are close to us. For example, on the 1st album, (Heartbreak Macht Frei), 2 songs are talking about friends of our 1ast drummer Tony :
« Joe The Teeth », is about a toothless guy who went to jail and « I change » is about another weirdo who became policeman or something like that. In general, I have the impression that Lully is more into expressing his feelings (Socks/It’s up to you/The real things), it’s his failed writer side.

But for me the song which sum us up well is « Rockstar ». Really simple story : We got kicked out from our rehearsal room by some old dudes who were there before us. Since that time we want them to go to hell.

x Do you feel close to this french rock punk scene from the 70’s, 80’s ?

[To] Personally, I don’t really know it, except the Dogs and Olivensteins….

[Fu] Same for me, and I could also say I don’t know anything about anything else! For Bad Boy Bondage, it’s obvious I was thinking about Olivensteins. In terms of analogy and also simplicity, that’s true we are more into english singing. But good french lyrics are way better than some in english. We also sing in french in « Rockstar ».

x A rock and roll definition?

[To] A good rockstar is a dead rockstar.

x And your worst nightmare ?

[To] If PSG win the Champions League one day, life will become hell.

x Could you pick a picture which represents you well ? and why ?

[Fu] I think it would be the cover of « This is Porn ». If you don’t know the story behind it, you can’t get it so here we go :
We were touring in Europe, and after this show in Vienna, the boss of the venue wants to bring us for some drinks in the city. But he’s not stupid, he made us drink a lot, himself as well, then with a sneaky booze game, made us pay the bill. Unfortunately for him, we were pretty fit in terms of drinking capacities, more than he was (even if Fel threw up all of his Jagermeister while moonwalking on the way back).
When we came back at the venue, the guy fell asleep in a sofa and everything went crazy. We put a mess, cooked omelette, fought with fire extinguisher, and drank more (a mix of beer and vermouth I think).
The party should have stop there if the boss didn’t fell asleep with the keys of the flat where we were supposed to sleep, in his back pocket. So we decided to get them and take this souvenir photo : « Chapeau-boules ».

x Pick 3 inspiring records ?

[To] I’m listening to the Vaselines at the moment. Besides that, I rediscover the Spits and listen to The Breifs « Off the Charts », an album I didn’t know well, when I shower.

[Fu] Devo « Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! » ; The Monks « Bad Habits » ; The Toms « The Toms »

x A quote ?

[Fu] « Love is like a pigeon shit, you never know when it will fall on you. » (Téo Tannières, 2010)

x Could you tell about your discography and the label involved ?

=> HEARTBREAK Macht Frei (album 10 tracks / Rat Pop! Records / 2013)
[To] Only released as a cassette (100 of 50 maybe), so really rare. I consider it as a demo album as it was our 1st recording. We sing terribly and the guitar sound is not so good.
Rudy “Rock“ Romeur (The Aggravations, The Irritones, Sun Sick, la Flingue), the recording guy, did what he could.
I really love some of the songs but I’m fed up with some others that we will never play again.
The name is a play on words with the slogan used on some nazi’s concentration camps. We didn’t make friends with this name at the beginning, particularly when we were trying to book a tour in Germany. I was getting generously insulted in the emails but finally they understood we were only « play on words nazis » and we played.

=> No Way Out (EP 45t / Surfin' Ki Records / 2014)
Our first vinyl release! and the 1st recording with Fel.
These are the 3 most pop songs of the band, recorded in a really short time at little Marquis Maurel’s house in his sister’s (cute) bedroom.

=> THIS IS PORN (EP 6 titres / Surfin' Ki Records / march 2016)
Again along with Surfin Ki, who put again some money on the table to make it. Back to punk, with Maurel’s recording and Rudy’s mixing. This is bomb. I think we were pretty « en chien » at that time to write the lyrics. Logically it should have been released in 2015, but this lazy ass Carlo (from Surfin Ki) took his time (and we did too !).

=> Ambush (album 10 titres / Dead Beat Records / november 2016)
The new baby! We are proud of it, first of all because it’s released on this cool small American label and also because the record is consistent with some good tracks.
Sound is great, recorded again with this good old Rudy. When Dead Beat asked us to release something, we didn’t have so much songs since This is Porn, so half of the songs are old ones we always played but never recorded.
The rest is new shit we wrote in a short time (like 2 months), which was pretty stressful as the label guy put some pressure on us, but at the end everything went well.

x About the labels :

- Rat Pop! Records is us, more or less, but more precisely this dirty Jules, from Departure Kids, who takes care of it. He also booked some shows in Marseille but now he lives in Toulouse. Rat Pop ! is more an association that helped us sometimes.

- Concerning Surfin’ Ki and Dead Beat, it’s different. It started when we supported the glam / Oi ! band Giuda in Marseille in 2013. It seems they liked us.
So Lorenzo, the guitarist, sent our contact to a lot of friends and labels and that’s how Surfin ! Ki and Dead Beat wanted to work with us. Only luck !

x A wish for 2017 ?

[To] First of all, if all these presidential candidates assholes could go to hell. F*** them all. Damn, I’m happy to not live in France this year, guys, you’re gonna suffer!

[Fu] Success without working, I’m lazy…

B. / FGC

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