interview with Abbygail

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How is it that you started playing music? I started playing music ages ago, I’ve always been into guitar and I knew all the notes of the neck before owning an actual guitar.

What are your names? / Who plays what? / How old are you? In the band, there is Anthony on drums, Bertrand, our lead vocalist, Guillaume on guitar and backing vocals, Pascal on bass and myself, Luke, on guitar and backing vocals. Antho’s the baby of the band, he’s in his twenties, Guillaume is 36, Bertrand, Pascal and I are just above 50.

Where are you from? We’re all from around Lille, in the North of France.

What year did the band form? Pascal and I started the band in 2010, we’ve had since then quite a few changes in the line-up but I think we’re settled now.

What's your style of genre? We play beefy classic rock, with a wide variety of influences.

What inspires you? Being a guitarist, my influences are obviously based on guitar. Musicians such as Michael Schenker, Randy Rhoads, Uli Jon Roth, Gary Moore along with Van Halen, Steve Lukather and finally the Young brothers with a big up for Malcolm and his incredible and unique sense of rhythm. As far as bands are concerned, I’d mention AC/DC, Michael Schenker Group, Black sabbath, Deep purple, Led Zeppelin among many others.

How often and where do you rehearse? We work a lot individually at home so that we don’t have to rehearse too often. We do before live shows or obviously when we have new songs to work on. We have a private practice room on the outskirts of Lille which is quite convenient because we can get there pretty much as often as we want to.

How have you developed since you started with the music? With the release of our EP in 2014, we’ve been able to perform on quite a few interesting stages and play in many venues but things really caught on with the release in March 2017 of Electric Lady, our first LP. With such material in hands, we’ve managed to get ourselves in festivals or open for bands such as Tygers of Pan Tang or UFO.

Are you looking for a booking agency, and what are your thoughts around that? Yes, we’ve been in touch with quite a few booking agencies, and we’re still in talks to agree on terms and conditions.

Are you looking for a label, and what are your thoughts around that? Having a label would help us improve the distribution of our album because it is quite difficult for a self-produced band to get visibility. Unfortunately no, at the moment, we don’t have a label.

What made you decide to make this music? Quite frankly, I just couldn’t see myself do anything else but rock’n’roll. We need to have this passion burning inside to help us give all we’ve got on stage. Playing in a rock band isn’t an easy thing, there’s so much more going on off stage !

What are your songs about? Guillaume is our lyricist ; being a former English teacher, it’s quite easy for him. There's no particular influence, just rock’n’roll stuff, like cars, chicks, mates or booze. We sometimes happen to be a bit more serious like we do in ‘hole in my soul’, song in which we deal with a soldier in his landing craft on a certain sixth of June 1944 in Normandy. Or ‘dying petal’ which tackles on the devastating loss of a beloved one.

Who does the composing and writes the lyrics? Guillaume is the lyricist and I am the main composer.

Do you start with the music or the lyrics? We do both, I compose songs, Guillaume writes lyrics and then we see what goes with what. Sometimes he comes up with words that make me think of an ambiance or something like that, and sometimes, upon listening to a new track, Guillaume writes the lyrics.

Have you done any covers live? To be honest, we’ve been covering quite a few songs at the beginning. But as the story of the band went on and our personal tracks were getting ready, we’ve tried to play less covers and more of our own stuff.

What language do you sing in? It’s all in English, we all share the same belief that rock’n’roll music sounds better in English. There’s no particular reason, it might be unfair I don’t know, but we’ve never asked ourselves the question, it was just obvious.

What ages are most of your concert attendants? It ranges from what… people in their twenties to much older I guess.

Do you always play the same songs live, or do you vary? We try to vary but we started off with many cover songs because we didn’t have enough material to play just our own music. Now, we tend to play our stuff mainly but we still cover songs every now and then to surprise the audience.

Do you have a regular place you play live often? Not really, we just play as many venues as possible.

What was your latest gig? Last gig was back in December, a nice venue called « Le Red Studio ». It used to be some kind of a factory and we had quite a few people turning up, so, yeah, it was good.

Where do you plan to gig the coming year? We begin to play outside our district and we now venture to farther places. We’ll be playing near Reims in March for instance. We don’t leave bars and clubs behind but we focus on playing in festivals.

When did you start to sell merchandise, and what do you have for sale? It was probably back in 2014 with the release of our 5-track EP. We mainly had tee-shirts by then but now we also have hoodies and much more to come with the release of the forthcoming album.

Where can people buy your merchandise? People can get in touch on that purpose via our facebook page or very soon, from our website, www.abbygail.fr, which is currently being redesigned.

What do you think about people downloading music instead of buying records now a days? Well, it has become something so common that people don’t really realise it is harmful for artists. I’d even say it is lethal for smaller bands because the money we get from selling our music is used to carry on making new stuff. 

What do you think of my work? It’s great to have people like you paying interest to smaller bands and today to our music because we need the word to be spread. Making music isn’t an easy thing, and for a band like Abbygail, this kind of advertisement is absolutely essential. Thank you ever so much then!

How do you think and know that this interview will help you in the music business? Well, it may bring our music to people who hadn’t heard of us and who may show an interest to what we do. And who might even be interested to have us on a stage in their area!

What have been your biggest obstacles? Tribute bands! They’re what French people want at the moment so it sometimes is a little tricky to find places to play. Luckily enough, we still have venues that support bands trying to develop their music.

Do you have any new material? We have more than half of the new album ready and if everything goes to plan, I reckon we will have things to tell you in a near future…

What are your web sites? Our website is www.abbygail.fr, it’s being redesigned and will soon look shiny and new!

How can people reach you? Via our website or our facebook page, www.facebook.com/abbygailtheband

What are your plans for the future? We devise a new plan to take over the world but in case we fail – which is very likely to happen - we will keep on rocking and try to share our passion with the audience. This is what we need!

Do you have something to add? Apart from “thank you ever so much for your time and support”, not much more! Check out our music and give us a shout on Facebook !

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