Joy Disaster (Indie Rock, FR). NiCo
Autor: Richard Constantinidi
Etichete: Euro, European Union, France, Ian Kevin Curtis, Joy Division, Nancy, Staygatow
I interviewed the lead singer in the Roland Garros club in Cluj on Saturday, May 23rd, 2009. The band was touring Europe, all the way from Nancy, in France.
CZB: Why the name Joy DISASTER?
NiCo (Joy Disaster vocal, France): From the beginning we thought we would make a tribute band to Ian Curtis, but in the end we had to find a name for the first band tour, something to represent our music and the message to our songs. Joy Disaster is a compromise between life for people in general (the power of decision, love, money, etc.) and what we talk about in our music and the lifestyle of the band in general.
Our lyrics are about love, death, religion. Sometimes it’s very personal, about my position according to the world we live in. The way we work is that we make the music before the lyrics. I take the spirit of the music to find the right words to say on each song.
CZB: Which do you consider your best album so far?
NiCo (Joy Disaster): We are currently working on a new album, to be released later this year. It is called Staygatow, which means “stage drunk” in Russian.
CZB: What is your opinion of the European Union?
NiCo (Joy Disaster): My opinion is that the EU is only good for the Euro Economy. In general, it is very boring and really sad because everything is more expensive now, after the EU. I think that it will be very difficult for all the new (East European) countries to be integrated. The economy for the common people in your East European countries is very difficult to manage. It is difficult even if you get the economic problems solved, because after that you have to find a common politics for all the different nations and you have to make it that everyone is ecologically pleased with the Union we are all part of. For myself, I can say that the current situation is quite bad. It is good to have strong governments brought together but the only interest for them is to make MORE money. Going further, to discover new cultures, to have exchange programs, to develop the artistic side of the EU, there is NOTHING happening if you (as an artist) do not make things happen on your own.
CZB: You live in a part of France that historically was also part of Germany…
NiCo (Joy Disaster): Me and my friends are all about 30. We are all part of the new generation. It is very interesting for us because of the story. Of course, our grandparents and the older generations have bad memories about the wars and the problems they had. When we talked for example with our parents or grandparents and told them we were going to East Europe for the Tour, they tried to talk us out of it… because of the history, and your countries being allied with the Germans back then, and they were telling us that this is bad. We were explaining that we also wanted to discover and see these parts of Europe as well, not just from textbooks and old people’s bad stories. We’ve been on tour for three weeks now, going through Germany, The Czech Republic, to the Baltic States and now in the Balkans, we have met a lot of nice people and it is very interesting for us to discover our different cultures and compare them to France. We will have a lot of good memories about this tour. This is very good for us.
CZB: You played at the Underground Festival in Timishoara last night. What was it like?
NiCo (Joy Disaster): It started out with very bad organization, but by the end it turned out to be really great. There were perhaps 80 people at the beginning of the show, when the first local band opened the Festival and as time went by more people started coming. By the time the band from Macedonia played, the crowd was in a really good mood and when we played there were maybe 40 people that pogo-ed during the whole show. There was a lot of energy during the whole show.
CZB: Do you plan to come back?
NiCo (Joy Disaster): Actually, after the show, the organizers talked to us about this and we decided we will try to link some gigs in the area sometime in November to return to Timishoara, maybe even Cluj. Many people from other countries are also asking us to come back soon.
CZB: Was it hard for you to get to play in Paris, being from Nancy?
NiCo (Joy Disaster): At first it was a big problem. It was very hard for us to gather people at our concerts around France when we started out as a no-name band. Who’s heard of Joy Disaster? We only had fans in our city, Nancy. Of course, we also have friends around the country. There is always a small crowd but generally, when we try to book gigs in other French towns, the clubs are not interested in inviting us because we are still an unpopular band. Maybe it’s because of the style of music we play, maybe it’s simply because the clubs don’t want to have us play. We are working on a national tour in September.
CZB: But you’ve been playing for four years now. You’ve been to Paris several times?
NiCo (Joy Disaster): No. We played Paris three times in a small club because we know the owner of the club and this is the only possibility we can play there.
CZB: What artists have influenced your music?
NiCo (Joy Disaster): We were influenced by the punks, The Clash, The Dead Kennedys, The Cure, Joy Division, Sonic Youth
CZB: What is the rock scene like in France? Has it started to rise after 2004/2005?
NiCo (Joy Disaster): Certainly not. The French Music Culture is concentrated on electro and E-pop music. Pertaining to Rock, we have a very good Stoner, Krust, Hardcore music scene in France. There is a good club circuit for this kind of music but Rock music in general, both for French bands, and for bands from other countries, it is very difficult to find a way to promote them. The French Government is now making some provisions regarding supporting the Rock Culture scene, but only for those French bands that play in French. As we are singing in English, we are not being supported at all in our efforts. We don’t really care about this though, because our main interest is to play out of our country. When you just sing in French, you can only play in France, or Belgium and francophone countries.
CZB: But you can play in French and English if you want.
NiCo (Joy Disaster): No. No. No. No. Because we decided to sing in English, since it is therefore easier to communicate with people from other countries.
CZB: ...and places like London.
NiCo (Joy Disaster): Yes. We’ve played twice in London already and we will play there again at the end of June.
CZB: and then the score between London and Paris will be 3:3.
NiCo (Joy Disaster): Yes (laughs!).
CZB: The decentralization of France began in the 1980’s. Do you feel, close to 2010 that the system works now for the Province as well, or is everything dependent on Paris in someway anyhow?
NiCo (Joy Disaster): In general, everything depends on Paris. Paris is the capital, both Politically and Culturally. All the artists want to go to Paris because there, you have a way to do something. It has been ten years now since we have started having small squats in smaller cities and towns, where the artists are starting to grow up (out of the capital). I think that in the next ten years there will be a stronger scene around the country, because Paris is starting to slip culturally compared to other larger cities, because France is also going through the economic crisis now and people in Paris are concentrating their efforts on things other than the cultural scene there. I have lived in Paris, because I had a job there, for six years, before founding Joy Disaster. I have tried to manage some things, to find help and pull my band up but when you want to work with mainstream people, you have to have a mainstream mind and for me there is no way I can do that.
Byte: Ian Kevin Curtis (15.07.56 – 18.05.80) was the voice and writer (and sometimes played the guitar and keyboard) in Joy Division. Years after his suicide in 1980, critics and fans continue to write and discuss at length Curtis’s music, motivations and inspirations for his work.
- NiCo (guitar, lead singer, programming & management)
- David (drums & D-DRUM)
- Simon (guitar, keyboards)
- Ghislain (bass guitar)
- Florent (sound engineer)
- Promo (Demo, 2005)
- J.D. (2006)
- Paranoia (2007)
- StäyGätôW (2009)
Interview by: RiCo
First posted on 28.MAY.2009
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