Interview with CCQUEEN

For the first time on Record Weekly, we’ve had the chance to speak to a French band. Here’s what Sonakid had to say about CCQUEEN and what’s in store for them…

Image credit: CCQUEEN


Hi there, how are you?

Pretty good, thanks! Just had a gin and tonic, a classic but always my fave.

Thanks for joining us, it’s really exciting to speak to a French artist. What’s the music scene like generally there?

In my opinion, France is divided into two musical currents: the mainstream pop (always the same major, couple-of-dozen artists getting most media attention) and the upcoming bands struggling to get somewhere. But maybe that’s the same everywhere…

We’re from Bordeaux and many small venues have closed in the past few years. Not easy for a small band to find places to perform nowadays. The type of venues we loved as teenagers are now totally gone. Of course, on the underground scene, you’ll still find exciting artists.

We do play those sorts of gigs [and parties] once in a while, to put on a sweaty, old-school gig and refresh our mojos! Always a blast but we love big stages, too.

If you’re talking about the ambiance during the gigs in general, it’s usually pretty good. We love it when you can feel a true link between the audience and the band.

Still, it depends on where you’re touring. It’s often said that some cities are warmer than others. But the way people welcome you as an artist in their locals is usually pretty warm and friendly everywhere! And always great catering with booze and food, especially as France and food is a match.

It’s great to discover new artists. Which French bands do you recommend?

Tricky question… So many possible answers. Personally, I’m an all-time fan of Alain Bashung (who died in 2009), a French legend that you may already know.

That said, you could listen to various great modern artists like Yodelice, The Inspector Cluzo, Mars Red Sky, Eiffel, Cachemire, Datcha Mandala, Sammy Decoster, Bottle Next… they all sing in English.

And there’s always our close friends like Moloch/Monolyth, or I Am Stramgram, from Bordeaux. They’re worth listening to! 

I’ll check them out! How did you get into making music, and when and how did you form CCQUEEN?

To make it short, music is the fastest way I found to express my feelings and emotions… and, let’s be honest, I’m FULL of them! As a child, I was kicked out of music school twice, and they even paid my parents back and argued that music was just not made for me. It was discipline that wasn’t made for me, that’s it. I’ve always wanted to create instead of learn. No matter what instrument (or art form) we’re talking about. Just want to find a way to express myself deeply and spontaneously.

We’re all friends in the band. Skinny Bob on the guitar is a lefty playing only with his right hand. Puce on drums plays with his toms all misplaced and installed on a flat position. M-Ti on bass learned and bought a real bass so he could audition to be a member in CCQUEEN.

They know what’s going on in the band, with the melodic scales and names of the chords we use… I don’t. They are my strong backup, and I’m their craziness.

Image credit: CCQUEEN

Talk us through the four tracks on your EP ‘Nancy’.

One of the tracks, ‘Will We Sail Away’, is particularly catchy, though the subject is quite dark if you listen through the notes. It’s a struggle between a consciousness obtained by resilience on one side and the willingness to stay comfortably still and blind to the need of evolving on the other.

‘Many Years’ is the most romantic song I could come up with. It digs through 20 years of living with and supporting each other as a couple. And, most of all, the raw struggle to find the energy to keep things going, because it’s worth it! I always feel better on stage once this song is on, especially the middle bridge. When we’re at that part, then I’m happy and confident for the whole show.

‘Cannibalism’ and ‘Nancy’ are two live extracts. ‘Cannibalism’ usually is the gig’s intro. Bass and drum by M-Ti and Puce. Then a hint of twisted FX guitar layered by Skinny and the tweaked sounds of my keyboard. We do believe that the whole CCQUEEN ambiance is condensed in that intro. It’s our signature.

I wrote ‘Nancy’ at 4am. I woke up one night after a weird dream about Nancy Sinatra and I reached for my laptop and immediately wrote a long poem without even thinking about the words. They popped naturally. All I had to do was to grab a guitar the next morning and shorten it, else it would’ve been 15 minutes! Then the band added the spices and the final explosion.

The past year has been unprecedented, not to mention dire for the industry. How have your lockdown experiences been in France? Did you have to cancel or postpone shows?

We rescheduled some gigs a few times and ended up cancelling them alongside the festivals. We were able to perform three concerts throughout the summer though, but that was it!

The lockdown was a rough one. Like everyone, we were on full pause during this period. We only made a lockdown video clip (and had a blast making it with our phone), which you can see on YouTube.

For the story, we filmed three songs out of the concert we had the weekend before lockdown in Espace 180 (a place out in the countryside, hosted by Eric Ginhac) and clipped them (by our good friend Singkipoo Video Maker). This concert was a blessed moment for us. Something rare happened and shook us off positively. It took us several days to land after it.  

Your back catalogue is finally landing on Spotify on 6th March — how does that feel?

To be honest, it’s like the system finally caught us up. We were reluctant for some time. But I guess this is how the whole system works nowadays. Almost every magazine, reviewer or podcaster asks you right away about Spotify. I guess we need to prove ourselves first, before doing things differently. So, PLEASE LISTEN TO US ON SPOTIFY now that we have an account. We’re on Bandcamp too.

Can you tease any upcoming releases or gig news?

I wish I could announce that we had a giant gig scheduled at a massive Tokyo arena with 50,000 people attending, but no! This isn’t the case with Covid…

That said, we’re doing full hour’s live set on BTXfm radio in London on 3rd April. And we’re going to add all our tracks to Spotify and start to work on the second EP.

Image credit: CCQueen

So, there you have it, CCQUEEN have plenty lined up, including their new Spotify page, which you can check out here!

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