interview with Marécage

What's the name of your band? Marécage (means Swamp in French)
How was the band formed? I had written songs I wanted to sing, so I tried to find pals to play with. Actually, I didn't even want to sing! But I didn't want a lousy singer either, and that was the main issue. I made an exception for myself.
Where are all band members from?/Who does what in the band?  We're mostly from Paris, France, even if the drummer currently lives in Lyon (600km away). We are a trio now, Jean Zundel: guitar+vocals, Semi Souames: bass, Paul Dufayet de la Tour: drums. We could add another member, because a few songs would benefit from an additional instrument, but we intend to stay a trio for some time. We don't rehearse often together, but we work separately. Rehearsals become really efficient in this context. But, finding gigs is even more difficult when one of the members is working all the time, far away. We hope he'll soon be on the dole again.
What was the ambitions of the band when you started? Play songs in a meaningful way.
Could you explain your music to someone that haven't heard you? Songs in French, electricity, noise.
Where was your first gig? Only one, in the basement of Le Buzz, a bar in Paris, in June. We have issues with meeting together, work, distance, etc. Anyway the guy there wants us to play again soon, at the end of November, then we'll find more gigs.
Who writes your songs?/Who writes the music who writes lyrics? I write all the songs. Then, they are "executed" by the band.
Who has the best sense of humor in the band? Fierce competition here.
What's good/bad with the band?/What genre do you feel you are?
What's good: we play what we want, we are pretty much unique (I didn't say very good, but not that many bands today play that kind of loud music in French).
What's bad: we don't play enough.
Our references are many. Mostly rock music, with a bit of Gun Club, a bit of Nick Cave, a bit of Jesus and Mary Chain...
Why did you pick that particular style?/What are your songs about? It all came naturally. There's no grand plan. Songs are sometimes a bit abstract, or they describe someone, or they describe a situation, but mostly in an "impressionnist" way. I'm trying to convey feelings more than stories. Also, the contents are not really important compared to the way they are expressed, the way words are pronounced, the way consonants are accented.
Do you write your own material or mainly covers? Only original songs. No covers. Actually, I'm unable to accurately cover a song written by someone else.
Have you made any albums?/If yes what are they? No album yet. We have to play more live gigs before that.
Do you have any clips on YouTube? No, but a friend shooted us live with his smartphone. Just enter "Marecage Buzz" on Youtube. Crappy, but real.
How old are you?/What got you started in music? We are old, and I'm the oldest at 54. Semi is the youngest, kind of... All of us have always wanted to play an instrument. And past 30 years old, you don't really do it for the girls, etc, it means other motivations are at stake, always have been. Semi is a guitarist in fact, pretty good at lap steel too, but he was interested in playing bass in this band.
How old were you guys when you first stood on stage? At 17, a few months after I took bass. I quickly started playing punk rock. Paul, I think he was about 22. Semi had not performed much on stage before this band.
What year was the band started? In its current form, since 2013. There had been attempts before, with other people, but it didn't fit.
Best/worst gig you've played? The only gig we played was obviously both of them. But Paul and me have a long history of playing together. There have been very good gigs, sometimes on cool stages abroad, sometimes in seedy suburbian bars; and awful ones - ditto.
What places will you be playing in in the immediate future? Same place as before, then other basements in Paris, I guess. Good surprises may happen, but I'm not holding my breath.
Which band is the best you've seen? On stage, a really good band gives you the feeling of seeing the best band in the world. I haven't had this feeling with well-known acts these days, more with unknown ones. Pity for them there is almost no hope of making it, however good they are.
Is it always the same songs live? Yes - because they're the ones I have written.
How big crowds do you usually play for? A crowd of 30 is ok, you know. Paul and me have played in front of thousands in the past, but we don't expect that kind of gig soon.
What are the plans for the rest of the year? Rehearse when we can, record a demo.
What are your goals with your music? Do something that we will be able to listen 20 years from now without cringing.
When did you decide to go all in for the music? We didn't. I know I never did, because it would have meant to lose freedom. So we all have a day job, which means we can't play when we want, but we can play what we want.
Is it easier to get your inspiration from older bands or from bands more modern? Did I say we were old? Obviously, most of our references are old farts, too. There's modern music we like, but it's not a culture that's deeply ingrained in our cerebellum.
What's the first step when making a new song? I find a musical theme I like. Then another one. Do they fit together? Nice! Now is there an idea for the lyrics? Once again, does it fit? Okay, now let's build the whole song, and it may take one evening, or three months - there's no rule.
How do you feel about the downloading of music instead of buying albums? A tragedy for working musicians. I'm not a professional, but I can relate. That's one of the advantages of staying at the amateur level.
What would be your dreams for the band? Releasing an album that people will keep listening in a few decades. Not necessarily millions of them: I don't care about commercial success, unless it happens with total artistic control. Now that's a dream!
Besides your own music, what genres and bands do you listen to? I'd say a bit of everything. We mostly come from a rock background, but there's cool stuff from any genre. Even jazz (Coltrane, Archie Shepp), black metal (Peste Noire, Mayhem's Live in Leipzig), blues (R.L. Burnside, Hound Dog Taylor), country (Johnny Cash, Hank Williams), techno, Bach, Satie... Ok, and small parisian bands I like, like Zero, Teleferik, Cabaret Contemporain, Les Colettes, Alma Forrer, the DelMar...
What would be your greatest fears for the future? Not being able to play for whatever reason.
When you are on stage, what do you fear most then? Forgetting the lyrics.
Have you been part of any other projects? A lot. Nearly all of them have been totally underground. The most well-known (mmmmkay) was Dazibao, a band where I played bass and Paul the drums, from 1983 to 1993. We released 3 albums, toured everywhere from Zagreb to Montreal, and from time to time a few people I meet still refer to that band in good terms. I'm baffled, and honoured, even if it doesn't mean anything in terms of world domination.
What do you work with outside of the band and the music? I have a day job in computing. Semi is working on web sites related to music (like, and Paul works at the Post Office at the moment.
What would you do if there was no music? Getting bored, maybe? I guess we would take on something creative.
How important are your fans? That's cool. That's incredibly cool. During a gig, when you know it all goes well, and people are reacting. After the gig, when people are coming to you, because they felt something and want to talk to you about it. There's the ego, of course, being the centre of the universe, but seriously, there's also something else... bringing something to people, and people giving you their attention. That's very important: fans relate to you because the music you're playing resonates in them.
How often do you rehearse? Once every two months, maybe. Not enough. But we have no choice.
Do you have any webpages? but it's mostly a placeholder yet. We don't even have enough time to do a photo shoot! Ok, we might find it, and the photograph, and the location, but when we are together we spend most of the time playing and discussing issues.
Any pearls of wisdom for all other bands out there? Listen, carefully, to what people are saying to you. Then do what you want anyway.
Describe your show, visually and musically Nothing special, although intensity is key.
How do you view the musicindurty of today? Doomed. Sorry folks, there's no future in this industry. Busking can bring good money in compared to what you get when you sign with a major.
What advice would you like to give other bands? I have no advice, other than do what the fuck you want to. What do you expect? Make a living out of your music? A lottery ticket would be a better investment. Better odds, less hassle.
What are the biggest obstacles for a band? Being a band is one. Hmmmm... being a musician could come first, by the way.
What is best/worst with playing the clubs? I have no issue with clubs as long as they have a half-decent PA, and you are treated as a human being. The rest is luxury.
How would you describe your sound in one sentence Sometimes massive and reverberated, sometimes dry, always intense.
What is your favorite crappy instrument? The diddley bow: a log, a string, a bottle. Now make music.

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