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A Banquet

Interview with A Banquet

Discography
2010 – Futu-Roll! (demo EP)
2010 – Dark Streets (debut single)
2010 – Kiss the Night! (debut EP)
2011 – Magic Eyes of May (single)
2011 – Lost in Your Shades (single)
2012 – BREATH (debut album)

Hi guys, how are you?
Hey, we’re fine, thank you, working on new songs and preparing for an upcoming tour.

Would you mind introducing us to your band members?
Richard plays drums (and drives), Michael plays bass, synths and guitar and me, Mathieu, I sing, play guitar and synths and write lyrics.

How did you meet each other and how long has the current line up been together?
When we finished high schools and moved to Prague to r arely visit university, each of us was looking for some other guys who would like to start a new band. We all were leaders in our previous bands in terms of arranging gigs or basically working for the band. But we tended to do the band more professionally – so we were looking for someone who would share this idea quite a while until we met each other, haha.

How did you come up with the band name?
It’s inspired by the Rolling Stones' album Beggars Banquet as well as by the song from Bloc Party called Banquet. This connection between the past and present expresses precisely our point of view on our own music. “A” stands for a synonym for being the best and unique as well as not being in the crowd with all the “The” bands.

How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t yet heard you?
It’s a wild mixture of 80s synth pop, 90s alt-rock and grunge, electro and many other genres, we simply call it Futu-roll.

What music did you listen to while growing up?
60s-90s rock music and a few Czech bands.

Which artist or track inspired you to want to make music yourself?
Well, I honestly don’t know. I wanted to do music from my early childhood.

When was the ‘I want to do that!’ moment?
It was probably at some crazy rock gigs, I could be about 8 years old back then. My father took me there and I loved it.

What flavor pizza?
Tuna, quattro formaggi, mushrooms or.. whatever, this question makes me hungry!

What was the last music you put on your ipod or mp3 player?
The newest Muse – 2nd Law. And in spite of many “internet” opinions, I like it somehow. Not as much as the older ones but they still keep the bar high in my eyes.

What has been the highlight for you in the last 12 months?
The release of our debut album “Breath”, definitely. We were working on it for almost one year, so it was big for us.

What are you hoping to achieve in the next 12 months?
We want to tour Europe in upcoming spring more… But it’s hard. We still can’t find a European booking agency or management that would take care of us. To do everything by ourselves is slow and ineffective. Well, take this as an announcement – we’re looking for a booking agency and management!!

What is your current equipment?
I use Hiwatt head and beautiful 70s Sound City cabinet. Got many stomp boxes and I love my new Gibson SG from a limited white jazz edition.

Do you have a favorite piece of musical kit that you couldn’t live without?
“Couldn’t live without” is probably too strong but my best pieces are probably the cabinet, 70s Electro-Harmonix Memory Man and then one handmade overdrive I brought from Chicago and which is signed by Steve Albini with “Good luck, Mathieu” dedication on it, this one is probably the most valuable for me.

If you had an unlimited equipment budget what would be on your shopping list?
Haha, lots of stuff of course. I’d like to have an old Jazz Master from 60s but well, we don’t have place to write it all here…

Do you use the same equipment live as you do when in a studio?
Almost. Usually we borrow some additional equipment for the recording sessions.

Do you try to capture your ‘live’ sound on recordings or do you think that the ‘live’ sound and recorded sound should be different experiences for your fans?
On our debut album Breath, which we were recording partly in Chicago, at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio studio, we were recording together – to keep the “live” feeling – so the answer is both of it. We would like to transfer live feeling to recordings but also to make them a bit different from the gigs arrangement.

What is your favorite track to play live?
Our debut single Dark Streets works still great after more than 2 years, that’s cool. But I like all of them, why would we make them if not! Of course when we write a new song, it’s nice to “refresh” the playlist…

How much involvement do you have with the arranging and production of the songs when recording?
We usually pre-produce songs by ourselves at our home studio before going to the “real” one. Then we work on arrangements with a producer together.

Is the production side of things something you’d like to get involved more in the future, maybe working with other artists?
We like working with interesting people – interesting from our point of view. So, on our next recordings we’d like to cooperate with someone great again.

Do you find the process of recording enjoyable and does it get easier the more you do?
I personally like when it starts, the recording itself and then the “creative” part of it. But afterwards, when sitting in the studio for hours and hours mixing, that’s not my favourite part. But then I love when it’s done, we are satisfied with it and people like it, that’s the best feeling.

Do you have any new recordings planned?
Yep. Actually, we’re releasing a second single, Climb the Hill, from the album now . And then we want to record new track during this winter.

Vinyl or digital?
Honestly, digital. I really like vinyls but if I may choose something, the most nostalgic are cassettes for me, you know. That was our childhood and teen-age.

Who are the main songwriters for the band?
Me and Michael.

Do you have a set routine when writing and recording or does it depend on each track and the inspiration?
Each track has its own inspiration. We still record many ideas, then work on them, leave them for some time, get back to them and so on. It’s a process…

Do you have a method for writing songs or is it all down to when inspiration hits strikes?
Don’t have any method and I think “methods” are always recognizable. It’s not “true” then somehow.

Would you sign with a major record company?
If there was a good proposal that could help us, so more people would notice us, we would.

Which countries have you gigged in and which countries would be at the top of your list to tour?
Mainly CEE region – our homeland Czech Republic, then Slovakia and Poland. On Christmas we’re playing two gigs in UK and then we’re arranging the European tour for the upcoming spring. We’d love to play in most of European countries, then USA, Japan, Canada… well, we simply want to play – anywhere.

Who would you like to tour with?
Muse might be good, lol. Well, right now we don’t have any preference concerning this I guess. We like many bands and it would be pleasure to tour with them.

How do you promote your music and get your music out to new fans?
Internet, videos etc. There are many ways today I think.

Do you think the internet is a good tool for independent and unsigned artists or has it made it harder with so many bands having access to basically the same tools?
Both. It’s a great tool but it’s hard to turn it into something real – that people really know you, go to see your show etc.

What is your opinion on ‘battle of the bands’ competitions?
We don’t like them too much but we understand the purpose, that it’s easier for promoters and other people to put all bands together, let people to pre-select some of them and then give them a chance. As I said, we don’t like it but if there was an opportunity to really get noticed due to it, we would probably attend.

What's your best/worst experience at a gig?
Best is always when it “works” between us and the audience. Worst… well, we don’t like rain on stage and in our gear, sometimes you meet pretty crazy drunk people…

Do you get nervous before a gig? How do you calm down?
Sometimes… If so, I just try to breathe calmly, that’s all… I have a small exercise for this.

Has your music been used on any film soundtracks?
Not yet unfortunately, but we’d be very happy if so.

Is composing for film or tv something you’d like to get involved in if the opportunity came along?
Yep.

Is there anything you'd like to add?
That this was really long interview man:) Anyways, if you’ve read this far, I want to thank you! If you like our music, please spread the word about A Banquet and join us on Facebook.com/abanquet, so we can stay in touch.

Cheers, Mathieu

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us.

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