Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
T: Obnoxious. We’re French, we have a reputation to keep up with.
That aside, we’re an independent alt rock band, and we’ve been together since around 2016. That’s about the only thing we can agree on – if by “type” you mean “what kind of music do we play,” then the answer’s a little more complicated. We’re hard to label or pin down to one “style” because what we play is at the crossroads of many styles – it’s alternative rock with elements of both 80’s post-punk electronics and 90’s alternative metal, like the bastard child SoundGarden and Depeche Mode could have made with Killing Joke and Muse in the delivery room.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
T: Well – we’re a young band of old men, aren’t we. The four of us have had various experiences with amateur or semi pro or pro bands before, but when we got together back in 2016 it immediately felt like something special was happening, and the project deserved to be treated as professionally as possible. We cut our teeth on one 6-track EP, then 3 singles that really laid the foundations of the TRANK sound. Each of those had a cool video shot by the man who has effectively become our visual director – and those, plus a little chutzpah, got us noticed by the likes of Deep Purple, Anthrax, Papa Roach and Disturbed, who all offered opening gigs in huge Eastern Europe arenas to us. Those gigs went down a storm and they helped us hone our sound into the sort of stadium-sized shape you’ll hear on our first album, “The Ropes.”
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
T: We’re all lifelong music fans with very eclectic and diverse tastes. But the territory we play on is where our tastes cross – 90’s post grunge and stoner, 80’s post-punk, 00’s alternative rock, with occasional nods towards gothic and industrial metal – but there’s a “pop” thing, as well, in the sense that matter how intense, dark or flamboyant or both the songs can sound, we want to keep them accessible, catchy, memorable. That’s what we love about bands like SoundGarden or Depeche Mode – the songs reconcile a lot of things that sound contradictory at first They sound both intimate and stadium-sized, they have flamboyance but also a fairly dark and intense atmosphere, they push the envelope but they remain accessible. That’s the sort of balance we aim fort – intensely emotional stud that arena crowds can go crazy to.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
T: To look back in 5 or 10 years and be proud of the body of work, and to have made a mark in the lives of enough people to qualify as a “cult” act.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
T: The music is developed as a four-piece from an idea brought by either Julien (guitars), David (bass) or Michel (vocals and synths). Johann (drums and percussion) and Michel will then structure the songs and give them their basic shape, then bring them back into the practice room for the four of us to beat them into submission. Once the music’s done, Michel takes it away and writes the vocals and lyrics to it. And of course all that sounds pretty simple and well oiled, but each song actually takes us forever until we’re happy with it. There’s a lot of rounds of structuring and arranging and polishing. We’re VERY annoying people.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
T: Badly. We spend so much time on creating the songs and the videos that we have little time or energy left to work on getting people to know them. But we’re finally getting some help – “The Ropes,” our first album, got a limited self financed released in the midst of lockdown, but the dozens of reviews it got were all outstanding, and it got picked up by a proper distributor who will now re launch it in a “Deluxe” version : we’ve got 12 pretty radical remixes which we all love – and they will be added to the 12 original songs, so that people can explore all the facets and corners of the TRANK sound. And so we’re getting a little help to promote that now – with a few people helping us get organized, and some real promotional support as well. Hopefully that leads us back on stage soon – that’s where we really thrive, and the songs were created to be played live.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
T: Well – some of us are old enough to remember buying their first albums on cassettes… Downloading music online is the best and the worst thing. It’s the best if you download uncompressed high resolution files because those can sound incredible if played on the right equipment, and the convenience is cool. It’s the worst because it’s gotten people into the habit of hearing music for free, and that makes coming up as a new act incredibly difficult. And because most downloads actually sound horrible – way too much data loss. Most of us in the band are actually music hardware fetishists – give me vinyl anytime.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
T: The one that will break us to a bigger audience J. Coming soon. But if you’re asking about a past one you’ll get a different answer from the four of us.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
T: We have them all.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
T: Ha ! That would have to be opening for Deep Purple, and everything that happened around that. They got us to open for the concert that marked their 50th anniversary – it was in Riga, Latvia, in a totally packed 16,000 seat arena. They day before the gig they put out a press release about US, telling their fans – “show up on time for the opening act, because they’re what we would sound like if we started out now.” Talk about putting the pressure on in the kindest manner… So when we took tge stage the whole place was FULL. We went down a storm and were even treated to on and off stage chats with Steve Morse and Don Airey… It was un believable.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
T: We have a couple of acoustic showcases coming so we’re working on stripped down versions of our songs for an unplugged setting. Given how huge and produced the original versions sound it’s a great challenge – it forces us to bring the songs back to their melodic and lyrical core. At the same time we’re well underway with the future second album. Three songs are finished, another 12 are at various stages of development.
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
T: Our first album, “The Ropes,” is coming out again in November as a Deluxe edition with 12 added remixes. That will be available online at all the usual suspect places, and also as a CD from our distributor, M&O records. You can still order whatever little stock is left of the standard album from our own website, www.trankmusic.com – and subscribe to our YouTube channel to see all the videos. We pay a lot of attention to our visual content and we’re lucky enough to be surrounded by very talented people, including Alban Verneret, our visual director : his videos for us are something else. And of course, the best thing is to experience us OFF line – hopefully we’ll be back soon with dates and places where you can do just that.
Band location – Saint-Julien-en-Genevois, Rhône-Alpes France
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