You Said Strange Unveil "(Song For A) Wasted Land" Video Ahead of SXSW Performances [Q&A]
Photos: Charlotte Romer
Occasionally we come across a band that feels like we’ve known them forever. Their music seems to have a deja vu effect, mirroring our past follies, fun-seeking behaviors, and bittersweet relationships. You Said Strange, a Giverny, France-based quartet is just that, a band new in statute but at home in the back pocket of all your recent ebbs and happy errors, an indie band that, well is properly, that. As always, wanting to know more we reached out to the boys of You Said Strange to learn more about their music, recent video shoot, and upcoming SXSW journey.
Ones To Watch: How would you introduce new listeners to You Said Strange?
Martin: We are a French band singing in English. We come from Normandy, a crossroad between “perfidious Albion” and the French Kingdom. We play a kind of rock that traces its origins from shoegaze, pop-noise, and a little bit of post-punk. Most people that already know us say that we sound like ourselves, which is one of the most beautiful compliments a band can ever get.
What is the general story behind "(Song For A) Wasted Land," and what inspired it? Additionally, what made you choose it as the first single for this new EP?
Eliot: This song is about the strange and sad moment when we realize that everything that protected and loved us in the past can also turn into a dangerous and deadly trap. It's the story of someone running away from those who loved him. And finally, it's very personal and not easy to define... maybe that's why we made a song about it.
We chose to release this track as the first single not for what it says — because, in the end, almost all the songs in this EP speak through tortured minds — but rather for its melody, arrangements, and catchy rhythm. We are quite happy with the musical result of this piece.
How did you go about translating this track into a visual medium?
Eliot: The idea was not to recreate the story but rather to tell it in a setting that evokes nostalgia for us. We recreated the interior of an old suburban home, the kind of place where we saw our grandparents live their last days. The character tells his story while destroying old letters, old photos, and old objects to forget a bygone era. We wanted to put a little bit of comedy in it by presenting a kind of loser who sometimes tries to be someone else. It was also fun to see him smoking cigarette after cigarette in all circumstances...In the end, we have a lot in common with this character. We shot it in a big hangar and it was very cold; the conditions weren't that easy but we had a lot of fun.
What did the collaborative writing process look like regarding this new project, Thousand Shadows? Were there any set goals you had going into it or did ideas come along more spontaneously?
Martin: We have the feeling that, day after day, we defined roles in the direction of the two volumes. The structures of the songs were written together but the themes and melodies were composed by myself and Eliot, mostly. Riggi (guitarist) and Matt (drummer) gained a lot of skills in sound-making and production with Théo, our sound guy. It’s a big DIY project where all the steps of the process until the beginning of the mix were handled by a member of the band.
Eliot: But also, sometimes, my brother and I would enter the studio with a really precise idea of an entire song. This happened particularly with “What a day” and “The Raft.”
With a full two-volume LP of songs considered, what are you most excited to share with listeners that isn't already out?
Eliot: We can’t wait to share “Eastern Side.” It’s a nine-minute song that takes the time to bring the audience into a little journey. Unfortunately, such a long tune is hard to defend on promotion. And we would like to express the entirety of this experience by playing a live video session with special guests that could handle all the studio arrangements. That is very important to us.
You're set to make a return to the US for SXSW. What are your goals for your time there?
Martin : Well, we are firstly going there to play and to experience the intensity of this unique festival. A lot of friends have played there and told us that no other event can be compared to SXSW. Also, we want to play, of course, but who knows? We just ended our partnership with our US label, so if a label or other pro could be interested in working with us on the next volume of Thousand Shadows, we will welcome them.