Oceans once divided countries. Now, with the internet and enough passion, bands across the seas can still find a home in the music scene here.
Mathias Court (vocals), FrÃ©dÃ©ric Wah (guitar), Martin Dupraz (bass), and Julien Louvion (drums) make up the French four piece, Paerish. With a couple of monster singles out and a tentative album, Semi Finalists, coming out some time this year, the guys are already quite busy this year. Mathias and Martin were kind enough to get away from Scottish drinks and Robin Williams movies to give us a few minutes of their day. We touched on their music and style, some of their inspirations, and a few other things you’ll just have to investigate for yourselves.
So, enjoy the ride and let us know what you think. Hit us on Twitter or go to our Facebook and after you hit ‘Like’, let us have it!
NRR: Thanks for taking some time out to answer some questions for National Rock Review. What’s been going on with the band, PÃ†RISH, so far in early 2016?
Mathias: Itâ€™s been amazing! In less than three months, we have been playing with some of our favorite bands. A sold out show with Silversun Pickups, and amazing gigs with The World Is A Beautiful Place And Iâ€™m No Longer Afraid to Die, Mewithoutyou, and Turnoverâ€¦ itâ€™s a great way to start 2016!
Martin: Our single â€œUndoneâ€ reached 2.5 million plays on Spotify, itâ€™s an amazing way to start 2016, in addition to all these great gigs. Weâ€™re really lucky and we thank the Spotify team all the time!
NRR: You have a new single out, “Undone,” as you stated a second ago. What can new fans expect from the newly released track before adding to an impressive Spotify play count?
Mathias: “Undone” is the first single from our debut album, and itâ€™s been doing really great on Spotify. Itâ€™s a slow and dreamy song, with fuzz guitars and some shoegaze influences in it. We also released a second single called “Then People Forget” which is a faster and more aggressive song, with a punk rock vibe that people will be able to find in others songs on the upcoming album.
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NRR: Okay, I see a hundred new band names a year, but your moniker is definitely unusual. How did a Robin Williams movie come into play and if I’m not mistaken, that wasn’t the first name of the band, correct?
Mathias: Thatâ€™s right. For a few years we have been using a different name which was harder to both pronounce and understand, especially for our french fans. So after our album was mixed and mastered, we felt like it was the right time for a fresh start, and we quickly chose PAERISH as a reference to Alan Parrish in JUMANJI. That character is a kid confined in an adult body, and that is a good way to describe the members of this band. And weâ€™re all huge fans of Robin Williams, obviously!
NRR: Was packing up from small towns around Paris and moving to the iconic French city as glamorous as some romanticized stories might try to make that out to be for you guys?
Mathias: Well, Paris is clearly the right place to be when youâ€™re a French artist as it is our biggest and most cultural city by far. I guess for French people, Paris is not the romantic city that people tend to see on post cards, but for us it has been the most amazing place to meet musicians, sound engineers, promoters, cinematographers and mostly: it has inspired us so much throughout the years.
Martin: As we live in Paris, we get bored of the city sometimes, but every time we leave for a while, weâ€™re so happy to come back to Paris because we forget the opportunity we have living in that beautiful and inspiring city.
NRR: We’ve recently lost a few big names in music starting with Scott Weiland and Lemmy to Bowie and Fry passing as well among others. Did any of those very talented artists have any influence in your own careers even though some weren’t exactly European sons?
Mathias: David Bowie is my motherâ€™s favorite artist and she has been playing his records since I was a kid. It really felt unreal we he passed away, as Iâ€™ve always seen him like a supernatural being, or a movie character. But Iâ€™m pretty sure weâ€™ll be hearing his songs at least for the next 50 years!
Martin: My brother listened a lot to the Stone Temple Pilots when I was a kid, he was older than me and he introduced me to all these grunge bands so when Scott Weiland died, it was upsetting. My brother passed away a few years ago, so when someone he used to love passes away too, it really hits home.
NRR: When you first formed, were the plans already in place as to writing/preforming material in French/English or both?
Mathias: In France there really is a border between those who sing in French and those who start singing in English. I personally grew up listening to hundreds of foreign bands (American, Scottish, English, Australia, etc), and only maybe two or three French bands. So singing in English became natural when I first grabbed my guitar as kid, but I do sometimes write lyrics in French before translating them in English.
NRR: The Eagles of Death Metal recently returned to finish a set that was tragically interrupted not too long ago. How did what happened that night effect the Paris music scene?
Mathias: This night has affected so much more than our music scene. To me personally, it was one of the worst days of my life, and it feels even worse knowing that our country is still one of the biggest targets for terrorism. Hundreds of people were either wounded or killed, and France has extended the countryâ€™s state of emergency for months to come, so I feel like itâ€™s never going to be the same anymore.
Martin: A few days after this tragic night, we saw Wavves in a small venue in Paris and it was one of the greatest gigs Iâ€™ve ever seen. The crowd was so excited, everyone wanted to celebrate life, music, and that gig was really fun for everybody, even the band. It was like everyone wanted to celebrate life, music, and rockâ€™nâ€™roll, it felt so good.
â€œWe love Robin Williams and his characters. Itâ€™s kind of a tribute to who we are. We are all kids from the 90s, weâ€™re all big fans of Blink-182 and that kind of humor. The character of Alan Parrish is a kid whoâ€™s imprisoned in an adult body. Heâ€™s still like a kid, even though he looks like an adult. Like the four of us.â€ ~ Mathias Court
NRR: If you haven’t made it to the States yet, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. What is most likely the biggest picture of what America might be to you guys that will just totally not be anywhere close to how it is when you make it over here to tour?
Mathias: Thanks! Iâ€™ve been to the States twice as a tourist, and this country keeps fascinating me every time. For me, the most unique thing there is in the States is simply the music scene. I feel like American people are born with music around them, and they usually start playing and writing at a very very young age. Everyday we keep discovering new bands of kids who look like teenagers but they already have produced three albums, and have been touring for years inside and outside the US. Iâ€™m truly impressed by that.
Martin: I canâ€™t wait to come to America ! Iâ€™ve never been to the USA so itâ€™s pretty hard to imagine this country without all the ideas we get from movies, bands, TV shows, and music videos! Itâ€™s a huge mix of teen movies, TV shows about New York hipsters, and reality stars. So I guess that many Americans would find me really insulting, (laughing)! I mean, if an American guy told me that French people are just guys eating cheese and baguettes wearing silly hates in front of the Eiffel Tower, I wonâ€™t be happy with it!
NRR: Is there a moment, that thinking back on it now, in the your career, with the band now, that you can’t help but still feel a tad bit embarrassed about, makes you laugh about despite yourself, or just still makes you shake your head in disbelief? A Spinal Tap moment if you will, that you’d be willing to share with me?
Mathias: A few years ago we did a music contest outside of Paris. The weather was awful; we brought all of our stuff in the rain and the mud. They only gave us like ten minutes to put all our gear on stage, to play three or four songs. Because of the wind, all of our clothes, guitars, pedal boards and power supplies were soaking wet so we thought we were about to die from electrocution. Still, we thought we did a pretty good set but we lost against a really weird reggae-jungle duo that just pressed â€œPlayâ€ on their laptops before yelling stuff about dancing and smoking weed. So yeahâ€¦ not our best day as band, (laughing).
NRR: Do the big US festivals like the Carolina Rebellion and say Rock on the Range, that will be coming up soon, hold the same kind of name recognition across the Pond as say some of the European festivals might?
Mathias: They look huge! I guess we could compare them to the Hellfest (France) and some really big German rock festivals. But unfortunately we usually donâ€™t hear much about American festivals unless they come to Europe, like Pitchfork or more recently, the Download festival.
Martin: We have some friends who go to some great American festivals every year so weâ€™re really jealous when we see their photographs on Facebook! We also have some friends who played on the Warped Tour and other cool fests in the US, so itâ€™s really inspiring for us. It means that we can do it too!
NRR: How does the group go through the writing process, is it all one person doing the lion’s share with help or is it a group effort from start to finish?
Mathias: I start all the songs in my bedroom and we finish them during rehearsals. Sometimes a song is fully done before the first rehearsal, but sometimes it needs hours and hours of team work.
NRR: You’re described as an alternative rock band. Does that mean your sound would fit well in the Seattle scene in the 90s or is it something else altogether sonically?
Mathias: Totally! We would have loved to play a Seattle gig in the 90s. I visited the city in 2014 and I instantly fell in love with it. If I could travel back in time, I would definitely go see Alice in Chains play the Seattle Center Arena in 92!
Martin: I feel weâ€™re not into drugs enough to be part of the Seattle scene in the 90s! Sometimes we see some old rock [show] tickets on the Internet or some documentaries like Dave Grohlâ€™s Sonic Highways and we canâ€™t help us but dreaming about this music scene.
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NRR: Tell me about the album that is Semi Finalists. When will it be coming out, what tracks other then “Undone” should we look for, or what on it is something fans should really pay attention to on it when it does drop?
Mathias: Our debut album has twelve songs in it, including “Undone” and “Then People Forget.” We are planning on releasing a third single very soon, which will be a quieter song. I think with these three songs, people will know what to expect from that album. I personally hope people will like the very first track and its small intro. Thereâ€™s also an acoustic song I wish I could play when the album comes out. We are planning on releasing Semi Finalists in 2016, and we are so excited for people to finally hear it.
Martin: Weâ€™re really proud of all the songs and the work of the great guys we worked with: Bruce Rintoul, Will Yip, and Vince Ratti. So, we canâ€™t wait to release it and have peopleâ€™s opinions about all this!
NRR: Is there an unofficial official drink of choice for the band, and if so what might it be? I have a few connections if you need some help.
Mathias: After our first trip in the UK, we discovered what the Scottish consider to be their national drink, itâ€™s called Irn Bru and itâ€™s super weird! In Glasgow they mix it with everything, and for a lot of them itâ€™s like a religion. So it became a really fun ritual for us to drink things like Vodka Irn Bru during parties since we used to drink a lot of it back in Scotland.
Martin: We also have a silly but funny shot in France called the â€œKiss Cool,â€ (named after a mint candy). You mix vodka and Get 27, you put your finger in the glass for a few seconds, then you drink the shot. You then put your finger in front of your mouth and you inspire. The finger feels so cold and strong, thatâ€™s really funny.
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