Why did you choose the name BAGHEERA? Was it taken from Rudyard Kipling's "Junglebook"?
Robin : The reason is profoundly deep… not! Moos and I started the band by just jamming and making some basic Pantera-style and harcore riffs, which gave Moos the idea for the name Bagheera, as a tribute to Pantera. We have incorporated other influences since then, but the name still seems to fit the sound and attitude of metal bands that have influenced us.
Moos : We also like this name because Bagheera is a wild and wise animal which we aspire to become!
"Cliff" is a pretty existentialist song and you say that everybody should create his/her own moral values, which sounds like anarchy but the idea of rejecting "fake values", which are not
really obeyed by the people who present them, is also part of satanism. Where did you draw the inspiration from?
Ed: It came at a time where we felt the most incomprehension with what people consider as good values for a "successful" life. It is also a kind of search for freedom from these rules, which we do not consider undeniably true for each person. It is probably quite a shared view for many people nowadays, searching for individuality and to make a place for themselves on a saturated planet.
Moos: Actually this opinion of individual values is not related to political issues or systems. We wrote this song more in a way of saying that you can find and live with any theories you want because everything is objectively absurd and senseless. The point is to really think about it and to choose a way instead of another. This theory is found in books like "La Nausée" and "Le Mythe de Sisyphe".
In the same song you criticise consumption because it "is a false sense of joy" and in "80 years to learn nothing" you even tell the "overpaid corporate swine" - probably managers and bankers - to fear for their lives. Do you think it's harder nowadays for bands with a message and do some people already consider you radicals? You got a serious agenda, haven't you?
Ed: I don't know how serious our agenda is, but we are trying to figure things out for ourselves and express our thoughts as we go on. It is a good way to understand yourself and surroundings, like with a diary. In these two songs for example, consumerism, disregard for others and the realization that most humans' lives have little purpose are things that gave us the "drifting" feeling we had when writing this album. It may sound like a very negative record, but in fact it's not. It's actually quite positive because it helps us get away from things we dislike and find out a bit more on where we stand.
Your current record sounds a lot like PANTERA and THROWDOWN and it is really unique at the same time. Did GOJIRA also influence your sound and how would you judge their influence for francophonic regions in general? Did they open doors?
Robin: Pantera are one of our major inspirations to play metal (as our name suggests), but we try not to limit ourselves to one style or influence, since we like many rock, metal, hardcore, death and thrash bands that have emerged between the 70's and now.
Ed: Throwdown sounds awesome and you may find that they sound like us perhaps because of their Pantera influences, which I noticed especially in their vocals. We do know Gojira well and like them a lot!
Max: Gojira is an incredible band. The fact that they are from a neighbouring country might have helped us discover them quite early, but I think that the quality of their music touches people independently of whether or not they are francophone. The fact that they sing in English with a neutral accent is also one less obstacle to crossing borders.
There is this teaser you did to advertise "Drift" featuring a very unique technique of filmmaking, what exactly is it called and who made the trailers and how about your artwork?
Moos: This video was made by one of our best friends, Julien Mercier, who also makes all of our artwork, t-shirts, flyers, banners,… you name it! He is a very talented artist oriented into typography, graphic design and many other techniques. Those teasers were made with a stop motion technique, which means it took him a lot of time to do and we are very thankful for it.
Robin: Yeah, we are very fortunate to have him on our team. For this teaser (part 1 and 2), he drew everything on paper and took pictures while moving figures on a background, in the same way the early South Park cartoon images were generated.
Your artwork is also pretty unlikely for a heavy band. Did you choose a white artwork by intention and was there a discussion before opting for that rather pacifist look?
Moos: The album artwork was entirely thought out and done by Julien Mercier, who wanted to make something that stood out and made you wonder what was inside. We didn't give him any rules to stick to and just sent him the tracks. He listened to them while searching for ideas and just did it. We're really happy about the result and he seems to be satisfied to so that's good. The simplicity and bizarreness of this cover is also something that we think works and is compatible with the energy in our music. The animals he sculpted in porcelain are cute and cartoony, but also disturbing and morbid, which is a paradox we appreciate.
There is no bar code on the record and no label mentioned on it as well but you get some help from Finisterian Dead End and Hungry Ghosts Productions… what exactly do they do for you?
Max: We put no bar code since they are fairly ugly to incorporate into the artwork and anyways we don't really have a "distribution channel" for the moment besides selling them ourselves at gigs and online. We are searching for other platforms which takes time, especially after your first album.
Ed: FDE is our French label which are super supportive and passionate people. We are very fortunate to have found them and hope to go and meet them soon for a huge party together. They are promoting the hell out of us in Europe! We are also working with Domino Media Agency during the first few months of the release, who are also doing an outstanding job for us.
Do you think that you might be able to become a successful band on an international level in the future because you're very talented and your sound is quite unique? What are your day jobs if your music is too smart for people?
Robin: Very flattered to hear that you like our sound! We do our best, although we take into account that it is highly unlikely to ever make a living out of this. But we want to constantly improve and explore new things, since music is probably the most meaningful thing in our lives, despite the fact that we need jobs to survive. Right now, I have finished my studies and am currently working in healthcare.
Ed: I am working at a cotton trading company.
Moos: I finished one interesting but useless bachelor in history and I'm now working on a natural reserve before starting to study environmental engineering and sustainability.
Max: I am doing a PhD in law. And actually, despite the fact that it's quite impossible to live from your music, we don't really want to get money from it because that means obligations and shit that sneaks into your creative processes. With no money, no big label and no structure, we write exactly what we want and we can carry on playing anywhere we want to.
Live you performed "Eins Zwei Die" with Anaïs Bonard, are there any plans to do another song with Anaïs or how come you performed with her?
Moos: Anaïs is a very good friend of ours who has a great voice, so it is always a pleasure to have her on stage. There are no rules, therefore this and many other things could very well happen if we think they are worth doing.
According to reverbnation your "manager" is called James War? That's pretty frightening… or is this just the alter ego Julien James Waroux of JUNE DEVILLE? What kind of role does the play for the band and do you actually pay him for managing the band?
Max: What are you, an FBI agent?! You are totally correct, he is the singer/bassist for June DeVille, which I am also guitarist for.
Ed: We are very impressed by your research! (well thanks... mommy didn't raise no fool - the editor) Julien is a great friend who has been supporting us by finding gigs and tours, giving us artistic and administrative advice, promoting us, etc. When we go on tour, he comes with us! He's sort of like our mom and we need him. We tend to lose money on music, but he is basically doing so much for us and for free, so we cannot thank him enough. I hope one day we can start paying him back for it.
He's also responsible for Hungry Ghosts Productions, isn't he… and he used to be in BAGHEERA…is that correct… why and when did he leave?
Robin: I bet you even know the color of my g-string! (it's black - the editor) You are right again. Julien manages this cooperative which regroups a handful of bands, including June Deville, Algebra, Kurtains and also Green Fairy, my retro/progressive rock band. Julien is the first singer of Bagheera and is a great bassist too. At the end of 2010, he decided to leave the band to focus on June Deville, Hungry Ghosts Prod and all of his other projects in music events and IT.
Ed: As you can see, the Lausanne music scene is almost incest: different musicians/friends are always mixing up and doing different projects together. Another example is that our ex-bassist, Mathias Meillard, and myself play in Algebra, which you recently did a review for.
Any famous last words?
Max : Check us out on www.bagheera.cc
Moos : To Natalie Imbruglia : "If you read this: please call us back! We're sorry for last time, we really want to make things right..."
Thank all of very much for the answers.
Layout and dumb questions : Thomas Eberhardt
Pictures by Julien Mercier