On Wednesday, 13th of June, French stoner rock band Mars Red Sky will perform at Vintage Industrial Bar in Zagreb. This will be their first time playing in Croatia. A week ago, they performed in Belgrade, also for the very first time. We talked with the drummer Mathieu Gazeau about the gigs, the characteristic sound of the band, album „Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul)“, French music-scene newcomers, the tours and the band’s future.
Balkanrock: What’s the history of the band? How did it all come together?
Mathieu Gazeau: The band started in 2009, and the first album came out in 2011. Julien and Jimmy know each other since more than 20 years, they decided to form Mars Red Sky with Benoit who was the former drummer between 2009 and 2012. The band started as a side project, after the release of the first album it naturally became a main project as the band started touring over Europe…
BR: What are some of the common influences between the band members that led you to your sound?
Mat: Our influences could be bands like Sleep, The Melvins, Bardo Pond, Black Sabbath, Simon and Garfunkel, Dead Meadow, The Beatles… But we all listen different kind of music, from 60‘s Psych Pop to Extreme Metal, from Jazz to Traditional Ethnic music, Hardcore Punk to Electronic 80‘s music… so all these sounds definitly have an influence on our own sound!
BR: Two and a half years after its release, your album „Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul)“ keeps receiving a lot of praise. Does it comfort you in the fact that you’ve made the right choice in terms of songwriting, or on the contrary, you don’t pat attention to reviews at all?
Mat: It’s a good question, i like to pretend we don’t really care of the reviews but of course it’s pleasant to know the people like your stuff, and as you said people are still talking about this album so it probably means the people like it and it’s quality. For sure we pushed our own barriers a bit further and it’s great to see that people can handle it and appreciate it!
BR: What do you guys listen to when you want to get your mind off rehearsals or writing music?
Mat: It doesn’t go this way. It’s not a conscious process, it’d be strange to listen to something and consciously reproduce it… if by accident we play something which obviously sounds like somthing we know, we’ll leave it away. We more think in terms of sounds, colours, climax, when we compose and we name parts depending of what it inspires to us.
BR: Any new up and coming French bands you would like to recommend to our readers?
Mat: Great bands like Glowsun are here since a few years and still kicking strong, but also new cats like Datcha Mandala, Year Of No Light, Yeti Lane, Stonebirds, Necromancers, The Psychotics Monks, Wichthroat Serpeent, Clystone, Denizen, Inglorious Bad Stars, Wichfinder, Howard, Decasia, Domadora, Little Jimi, Greyfell, Ethili, Libido Fuzz, Wizard are doing their thing! There’re much more, but we don’t know all of them…
BR: In October 2016 you released a short film „Alien Grounds“ featuring music from your „Apex III“ album. How did you come up with it? What kind of movies do you usually like to watch? Do you find movies to have an effect on your music and ispire you?
Mat: It comes from Sebastien Antoine, a french film maker with who we already worked for the clip „The Light Beyond“. We loved working with him. When he came up with this idea of doing a short movie on 2 of our songs, we immidiatly said YEAH, and we made it happen together. We all like sci-fi movies in general, and for sure it feeds the spirit of the band.
BR: What would a dream gig/tour look like for you?
Mat: I don’t know, it’s already crazy to be able to travel and share our music with people from different country, cultures… I’d love to be able to go in countries where they don’t know anything about occidental music and make collaborations with musicians from different areas, cultures… This would be really amazing!
BR: How do you envision the future for Mars Red Sky? Are you guys up fot ten more years or more?
Mat: It’s already 7 years the band is touring intensely, and we still feel in pretty good shape, we allways finish the tours with the smile, so as long as the ambiance in the van is running well, i guess we can keep going like this for an other decade! As long as we have things to say with our music, we’ll keep going!
BR: Our journalist from BalkanRock who was covering your concert in Belgrade on Wednesday, mentioned how you hipnotized the audience with your music and visual atage identity. What is your experience from this concert?
Mat: Belgrade was a good show, we could play a long set of almost 2 hours, and taking our time to build an atmosphere little by little during the concert. We play kinda pre intros for most of the songs and we have also sections of 2 or 3 songs that are linked together which gives continuity to the live show… it’s great to hear people enjoyed it ! On this tour we mostly have time to do this, sometime when there’re too many bands playing on the bill we cannot do it and we have to adapt and play a set more „in the face“, which might be enjoyable too… We allways try to adapt the atmosphere regarding the venue, the people and the climax on the moment, because we’re not robots!
BR: On Wednesday, 13th of June, you’re coming to Zagreb for the first time. Did you prepare something special for the Croatia audience? How would you describe your upcoming concert for the fans impatiently waiting for you to come to Zagreb?
Mat: As i said we see things on spot, on the moment, we allways give our best and try to share our music with the people in a special way. We are not big enternainers, we’re not Van Hapen we don’t jump in the air making split and asking „how’s goiiiiiinng Zagreb“ but you can expect some heavy psychedelic music, pachydermic bass lines, wavy rhythms, fuzzy guitar riffs with atmospherics solos and birdy vocals. And we’ll have a drink at the bar after the show!