‘HALF THE SKY’ is the latest album release from Swiss math-grind noise makers YOG. It’s a hell of a record but took a while to reach our wanting ears – the best things come to those who wait right? Cat On The Wall’s Jo Whitby caught up with Fabien Bedoy from the band to find out more about ‘HALF THE SKY’, performing live and the state of the current extreme scene in Switzerland…
Cat On The Wall: YOG had a turbulent start but you got it together and you’ve gone from strength to strength. 2000 seems so distant now, what have been the biggest highlights for the band during your career so far?
Fabien Bedoy : Very probably the record and release of our YEARS OF NOWHERE album and the bunch of gigs we played after. It was our first big achievement. The best period of the band until now.
COTW: ‘HALF THE SKY’ a truly magnificent monster of a record. What is your creative process when writing? Was there a theme for the record?
FB: Thanks a lot! I used to come up with the majority of the songs on the guitar, usually in a shape very close to complete. Everybody would almost always agree with it. For HALF THE SKY, Matthieu did create a few songs and we also shared the job on other songs (it’s all indicated at the back of the cover). We then finish arranging together what needs arranging and then put the vocals on it. Yonni comes up with the majority of the lyrics, sometimes I do write some. Most of the time the vocals just adapt to the music and it usually works that way, we very rarely adapt the music to the vocals.
There was absolutely no theme, there never is, we just do things as they come. One day we write about any shit we think will sound cool, the next day we’re serious about a serious subject. Still we try to put sense in what we write. We’re not gonna write senseless things (at least we think we don’t). We have no lesson to give (and we thing nobody does), so we avoid doing that. I’ve got to say that, because since we do not publish lyrics, apart from the song titles and a few words you can pick here and there listening to the songs, you basically cannot understand what is going on, I think!! We could also say that the song titles have been more cared about that their content sometimes.
COTW: What was it like working with Jérôme Pellegrini? Do you tend to go into the studio with the songs already finished or do you allow the songs to take shape as you go along?
FB: Jérôme is crazy. We didn’t know him well before this record and we had a lot of fun. He’s got that very raw touch that makes his records sound brutal and “right in the face”. Not too many treatments, just “the balls”. Very punk orientated. Exactly what we needed at that stage.
Everything we do is 100% finished when we record. That does not mean we are not open to proposals from the engineer/producer, but we know exactly what we want, because it has been thought in all positions.
COTW: From your website it seems that ‘HALF THE SKY’ took quite a while to make, too long in fact. What hurdles did you face when making the record?
FB: Mmmmmh… it is not really a record thing… we’ve gone through some sort of a “demotivation phase” due to various private events after the record was made, but not linked to the record. We also had a doubt about the final mix, not sure if we had done it right, then we suffered a big delay with the layout, etc… all of that piled up made us take more than a year of delay for the release.
COTW: I found an interview from back in 2009 where you mentioned that the scene in Switzerland had improved. 3 years down the line, how is it looking at the moment?
FB: It looks like it’s gone down again a bit. Rock is still there, but there are not as many bands as there used to be a few years ago. You know, in our region, we’re the last remaining extreme band while there used to be a few ones… I know there are youngsters playing in the basement but haven’t seen them out on stage yet.
COTW: Will you be hitting the road at all this year? Do you enjoy performing live? What have been your most memorable gigs and why?
FB: We’ve got a few gigs March and April and May then we’ll have a little break because it’s been a hard period teaching our new guitarist the songs. We need to breathe a little bit. We plan to write new stuff this summer and then do a bunch of gigs in Fall and then record a new album end of 2012!! We really want to.
Of course, performing live is a great thing! It does not always work as we want but that’s the way it is. We need to perform live much more. You get good only when you perform again and again.
Very probably we had the most fun when we played at that Dollhouse thing back in the summer of 2007. It was on a Saturday afternoon with just a bunch of people composed of our friends, the organisers and visitors of this outdoor event the Dollhouse was part of. None of them was expecting that but they loved it. Great time. Great fun. We always try to give the best on stage, living the music as much as we can. Hopefully the ambiance is as crazy as the music.
COTW: What are you listening to at the moment?
FB: Various things! I’m curious to receive the new Mars Volta. We’re all big fans of this band. The new Meshuggah is being released these days, I’m curious too. Yonni got me into a classy “post-death-metal” called Ulcerate. Very interesting. Need to dig into the new Mastodon because the first listen did not convince me. Marc keeps saying it’s a hit!
COTW: Finally, what are your plans for the near future?
FB: Few gigs in the Spring, composition in the summer, more gigs in the Fall, record in the Winter. Isn’t that nice? Every season its duty! I can’t wait to record a new album. We’ve got plenty of new ideas, now that Marc has joined the band, he will put his colour in our music. Also we will very probably try to write music a little more altogether and see what comes out.