Saturday 30 January 2016

An Interview with SHE HUNTS KOALAS


When Argonauta Records announced their new signing to their label and preivewed one of their songs, I was transfixed. Not just by the haunting single – Plague – from the ablum with it's hypnotic style of Doom, Stoner and Post-Rock almost Cinematic Sounds but also by their brilliant name - SHE HUNTS KOALAS.

So very different to the normal Doom/Stoner Rock circles but it showed a band with intelligence, wit and a sense of originality. I was given the chance to interview the band and here's what went down.

Hi guys. How are things with you today.

Things are going great, thanks. Such a pleasure to write back.

So why did you choose the name She Hunts Koalas for your band. Any specific meaning.

It's just to annoy stoner doom purists with a «WTF name» without 'smoke', 'black', 'goat' … :)

No, seriously, we let everyone make his own story. One day, someone told us that it was a direct reference to Tank Girl, I quote, « Because of the Koala scalp on her head!». People's imagination is crazy sometimes...

How did the band get together. Did you all know each other before forming the band.

At the begining, we were four guys experimenting on shoegaze & noise stuffs. Original drummer had to move abroad and Julien came in the band bringing a new style of play. We met Dan, mad of analog crazy sounds and he has integrated the band at keyboards & machines.

From that moment we naturally slipped to a slow,loud and down-tuned music while maintaining our noisy, dark and psychedelic luggage.

Nathan (Guitar), also had to move abroad, letting Alex the only guitarist. Alone but with louder guitar. :)

So, the fixed line-up since a while is: Julien on drums, Alex on guitar, Dan on machines and François on bass & vocals.

How would you describe your music. 

In a world I would say 'instinctive', particularly in live performances. We used to say that our music is a trip from the depth to the astral. Mind-blowing and sweet as well as it can be crushing, massive and sludgy.

You've just signed to ace Italian Record Label – Argonauta Records. How did you get involved with them. Great label doing a fantastic job.

Doing a fantastic job, yes!. That's why Argonauta Records was one of our first 'target'. Because of his human size, open-mindedness and variety of the roster. We thought that it was totaly in accordance with our way to work and our multi-influences music.

We've been in touch with Gero to submit him Terra Dementia. After several listenings he was finally totaly into it! We were super happy and kinda prouds for sure.

Did you have any others to sign with any other labels.

We were also blown away when Jon from Conan proposed us a digital release on his label Black Bow Records after having thrown a ear on the songs. Have positive feedbacks from labels or bands you like is more than motivating and means a lot. It's worth all the energy and effort you put into your music...

Also, we are planning a co-production of several labels to press some vinyls, but it will take a long time if it happens.

You're releasing your debut album “Terra Dementia” in April 2016. What can people expect from the album and why did you call the album “Terra Dementia”. Definitely a bleak sounding album title.

As many debut album it's like a 'photography' of what makes the sounds we like at this moment. Like a fisrt overview to set the bases...

People can expect passing thru mystic opium filled landscapes to pachydermic and cataclysmic earthquakes. There is dark heavy-riffs, loud-tones, psychedelic analog noises, larsens, celestial glows...

We used to say it's a little like Sleep meets Ufomamut meets Sigur Ros, with all due modesty of course.

Yes «Terra Dementia» is a bleak title. Most of our music or univers is bleak, dark or melancholic.

It's not a concept album at all but you can find a path, a progression between the songs from the beginning to the end, like a loop. The global theme is like the last breath of a planet and the madness of his livings. Hence the title.

It can be in the future or in the past, doesn't matter. We just give sounds and few words to activate your imagination.

Was it a hard or easy album to write and record for.

Unexpectedly the album wasn't too hard to record.

We did everything by ourselves in our rehearsal room in two live sessions. Only synths and vocals were added later leting us experimenting and testing on some stuffs.

Most of the song were already existing since a while so it was easy to record. Mix and arrangement was the longer and harder task. Because we were little fussy and we wanted 'Terra Dementia' to sound like what we had in mind.

For a first time and experience on a full DIY production we are happy with the result. Mastering was done by Christophe of Sinetracks Mastering. Cool guy, good and easy to work with!

We thanks again Romain, our sound guy for giving a hand.

How hard is it being a band in today's world. What are the most difficult aspects in being in a band.

If you're agree with the fact that you will loose more money than you can win, so it's easy :)!

As far as we are concerned music is essential for our mental health in this crazy world. So, we try to give as much as we can inside.

Having buddies to play what you like with, having your twoo arms and legs to scratch a guitar or whatever, meeting people thru music is just a fucking chance. But only reach to play your music font of an audience is a fight, even for a couple of bill...

Booking is a pain! Gain the confidence of the promoters and find a place in their networks is one of the hardest aspect. Feels like you constantly need to sell yourself...

There is more and more good bands and less and less venues. Cool underground venues where you can play DIY shows are closing one by one. Beside of it, there are nice associations and collectives working well to develop this scene.

We can not thank enough those who have given us a chance.

What is the song-writing dynamic in the band. Is it a group collective or down to one individual.

It's a little of both. Like in many bands some songs blooms from a jam. Else, someone comes with a riff or a piece of song, an idea. Then we start to work arround. Improvizing or testing to interlock other riffs or ambiances from our stock. Like playing to 'Legos'.

I set first 'dummy' vocals, like a 5th instrument to find melodies. Lyrics come after. The song ambiance and tone influence the text sometimes.

Will you be touring this record heavily. I know it maybe too early to ask. 

We can say : some of you should be ready in April. Especially in Italy ;).

We all know the French Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal scene is thriving at the moment with bands such as Mars Red Sky, Los Disidentes Del Sucio Motel amongst others making an impression lately. What is the scene like in France at the moment. Is it thriving or is it at a complete standstill.

I would say thriving. I think there is much more excellent bands than we can imagine !

Before you go, do you have anything to say to your fans.

We're are already working on new stuffs. It would be FAT!

Well guys, thanks for doing this. All the best with the new album.

Thank you very much. May the Force be with you.

Words by Steve Howe and She Hunts Koalas

Thanks to Gero at Argonauta Records and Barbara at NeeCee Agency for arranging this interview. Terra Dementia will be available to buy from Argonauta Records from April 2016.


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Check out their stunning new single "Plague" from their forthcoming debut album - Terra Dementia.