SAIGON BLUE RAIN
Mike: Would you like to introduce yourselves?
SBR: We are Franck and Ophelia, composers and authors from Saigon Blue Rain. We could consider our style as Darkwave but one of our friends told us one day that the term Sensual Darkwave would be more relevant, and we kinda liked it!
Mike: Where did the band name come from?
SBR: At the very beginning of the project, we were searching for a name for the band we wanted to create and we found that Stupid Bitch Reject sounded catchy and punk. Our musical influences are varied and before starting to compose the tracks of our first EP, we didn’t really know what musical direction to take, the first tracks we’ve even composed were more nervous, but a few tracks later, we finally found our style, and it became like evidence that we had to change the band’s name. Saigon is a reference to Marguerite Duras’s book “L’amant”, its misty and warm atmosphere, tainted with elegant erotism.
Also, to us, the three letters SBR are like a magical combination that brought us luck from the beginning. We wanted to keep them for a superstitious reason.
Mike: How did you get together as a band?
SBR: The two of us started to compose for SBR at the end of 2012 without knowing that we would be led to play live, but when the opportunity came up, we decided to expand the line-up with live musicians.
Mike: What are your backgrounds in music?
SBR: Nothing really serious except teenagers projects 😀
Mike: What influenced you into getting into music?
SBR: The music we listen to is an important source of inspiration for us. Basically, bands like The Cure, And Also The Trees, The Chameleons or Depeche Mode are the ones that made us want to work in this style, but we also listen to a lot of current stuff ( in no particular order : Bat For Lashes, TR/ST, Emma Ruth Rundle, Katatonia, Zanias, Actors, Trentemoller, GusGus…); and that’s why, while making music mainly inspired by the 80’s, we’re very much in the present. We do not try to remake identically what has already been done. We start composing and if we like something that doesn’t sound like pure darkwave, we continue on that way.
Mike: What are your influences when it comes to the lyrics etc?
SBR: Ophelia : My lyrics are often inspired by dreams and also draw from life experiences. But with background studies in literature, I’ve been really inspired by poetry, I like telling stories and playing with sonorities and double meanings. According to me, words have to fulfil a role as deep as music, inviting the listener to question himself, leaving him his own keys of interpretation
Mike: Visions is a fantastic song. Can you tell us a little about this song?
SBR: Ophelia: Visions is one of the most nightmarish songs of the album so far.
It’s about a constant struggle between depression and remission, the ailments that occur when depression reaches its peak and overcomes the will to live leading to phantasmagorical visions of death and self-destruction.
Yet it seems that this song is one of the favourites, we receive a lot of feedbacks about it from people who recognize themselves in this same fight
Mike: The video for Visions really gives a weird sense of feeling trapped unable to get away.
SBR: Visions video has been directed by Johan Comte. We worked altogether on the scenario reflecting on how we could possibly illustrate the theme of the song and the idea to shoot unpleasant cold scenes under a burning sun through different streets of Prague (where we lived) immediately came up to us. Because light can be dark, dismay also strikes when conditions seem idyllic
Mike: Eye Feel also a great track.
SBR: This track is a collaboration with DankaO who is a french musician mainly inspired by electronic music like Boards of Canada or Massive Attack so we can consider that we brought our own universes to create something hybrid between trip-hop and darkwave without knowing if it would create something good 😀 And actually we liked it a lot and decided to release it as Visions B-Side.
Mike: What is the creative process like in the band?
SBR: Franck: First of all, to be willing to create a new song I have to be in the mood for it. If not, I will spend hours trying to find the first idea without any success. So if the mood is not for composing, I better do something else of my day! But when I feel the urge to make it, I have to go for it. It can start with some idea that I had when listening to a song and thinking, “I would have done things in a different way”. It can also start with some improvisation on the guitar or with a keyboard sound,, or with a melody that Ophelia plays on the keyboard. The most difficult part is to compose the first musical pattern, let’s say, the first four bars. Once I get something that I think is really worth it, then everything flows from there. The first composed bars have to be really strong. Once I have all my parts, I can rearrange the whole song and change the order of the patterns until I got something that really works. When the music is composed, Ophelia writes the lyrics and composes the vocal lines. And at this point, we often rearrange the structure of the song, so that it could fit better with the vocals.
Mike: Do you have any plans for an Album soon?
SBR: Franck: Our new album has just been released, so it’s a bit premature to talk about this. But we will continue to build on our momentum and keep on composing and writing for the successor of Oko.
Mike: Do you have any gigs or tours planned for 2023?
SBR: Here are our next gigs:
10.03 MORECAMBE (UK) Corrosion Fest
11.03 YORK (UK) Fulford Arms
21.04 ÜBACH-PALENBERG (DE) Rockfabrik with The House Of Usher
29.04 BERLIN (DE) Dark Spring Fastival
06.05 RENNES (FR) Le MArquis De Sade
10.06 SAINT-GHISLAIN (BE) Studio Canal 10
04.11 ÜBACH-PALENBERG (DE) Rockfabrik with Clan Of Xymox
Mike: Where do you see the future of the band?
SBR: Ophelia: we’ve been doubted a lot about the future of Saigon Blue Rain before and during the composition of OKO, so I couldn’t predict the future of the band. Let’s enjoy the positive feedbacks we receive for this album that has just been released and the extreme pleasure of getting up on stage again.
Mike: Do you have plans for collaborations or anyone you would like to collaborate with?
SBR: Ophelia: I’ve collaborated lately on the young but beautiful and promising project Distance H and something tells me that we’re not done working together… Except that, I have a secret wish to make a duet someday with Brendan Perry
Franck : It seems unlikely, but why not a collaboration with Jerry Cantrell and Eddy Vedder?!
Mike: Do you have a good fanbase in France?
SBR: France has never been the country where we have the biggest fanbase but it is changing.
We noticed it during our two last concerts in Paris. The audience was really supportive and very enthusiastic.
According to our sales results and the number of listens counted on the streaming platforms, our fans are mainly located in the United States and Germany. Hopefully, we’ll be able to play for our American fans someday!
Mike: Lately, I have heard a few excellent bands from France that are like yours.
SBR: We couldn’t say if the internet changed something in the way we, french artists are reaching people because we are now so many international bands making music and quickly spreading it on every platform that we end up being lost in the crowd if there is not a minimum of talent that makes us stand out from this mass. Maybe, we just have to admit that there are talented people in the underground musical field in our country, let’s mention bands such as Gojira or Alcest to name just two, there are simply great artists!
Mike: You have a very wonderful unique style of music.
SBR: Ophelia: I would like to invite them on a very private journey. I don’t promise it to be happy or colourful in its entirety, but I bet that they’ll come out from it emotionally moved because each track is a sincere exposure in which we put our guts.
Mike: Thank you
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