Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
Roxie: I think the main reason I love the album Hold Your Horses by Hella so much is that this duo successfuly developped its own language and codes like no other band. In my opinion for sure. I'm pretty sure that's what we try to do with Mathieu too, even unconsciously.
Since the beginning, we learned our own way to exchange while writing tracks. And it seems that people who come at the gig understand that. Especially when they tell us «That's insane how you play together, it's impressive!» It's not about choreography or something else planned before the gig, it's how we perform as a duo spontaneously.
Mat: We recorded two live concerts. One in Lyon France and one at the Dour Festival in Belgium. Next to our hometown. A friend did this. Our sound guy. He did a perfect job. Then I used all the photos we took of the audience during the tour to create the artwork. It was the communion between us and the public and also a testimony to say thank you to him.
We released it on gold/silver and swamp green/milk records. I really like this one because it's all about live music and meeting the audience.
Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?
Mat: I never show up in the rehearsal room with just one riff. We try to compose spontaneously. Together. I propose something that Remy will jam on. Sometimes he plays a rhythm and I find something to play on top of it. So it's a community activity yes. This way, the music remains urgent. And we try to be honest as much as possible.
Roxie: Actually I don't really enjoy playing and practicing alone. I have a space in Brussels where I can go and work my drumming when I want from the morning to the evening. But I'm pretty bored with that. During lockdowns in 2020 and 2021, I went there five times a week. It's enough, I cannot do this anymore, especialy between two weeks of touring.
More recently, we both collaborated with kids with mental disabilities. We created a unique concert in residency with them and a collective called BrutPop. The experience was incredible. I miss the great times we shared with these kids, really. We also formed a superband with a 8-pieces fanfare. Everything is recorded. The vinyl will be released next year and includes the two songs written together.
So I clearly prefer collaborating than practicing alone. It's easier for me to find ideas and write stuffs.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
Mat: I think the main purpose of music is to relieve. Of all the hard things in life. We are in the process of composing an album, it's the whole climate that surrounds us that will influence the writing. Like global warming. Tragic events like wars. Some revolutions in the streets like the "yellow vests" in France.
We don't try to transpose it into our songs. It comes naturally. It's in the air and we breathe that air. We don't want to give lessons about the world, it's more of an observation.
Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?
Mat: There's a big difference between a sad song and a song that makes you sad. Sometimes the second hits you in the heart at a strange time. Because it will take you right back to someone you know dying or hurting.
I have certain songs that remind me of bad memories yes. I don't know if it helps me to understand, but it helps me to rethink the good things hidden in the bad.
Roxie: I remember listening to all Eels album when I broke up with my very first girlfriend 10 years ago. This guy was like my imaginary friend, helping me going through the dark. I had the same experience with the first Bon Iver album and Keanton Henson when I was 20. These are masterpieces.
How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?
Mat: Waves. Waves. Waves. Science can create new instruments. Or discover something new from nature. Then it can be used to create musical emotions. We're not barefoot guys on the road but we like to think it's all connected yes!
Roxie: To be honest I first answered the following question «Music is vibration in the air...» (see below). And the key word of my answer is definitely SCIENCE.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
Roxie: As written before, Mathieu and me developped our own vocabulary with this band. We don't necessary speak to each others to find ideas, we just do stuff, we practice, we try things, try it again and again. Next we go on tour, and we play it again and again in many different ways.
So maybe yes, it's different from making a cup of tea because I don't have a user manual to explain you how all this happened and is still happening.
About the second part of your question. Gigs after gigs we discovered that we don't really need to understand what we want to express with music.
But what people come for at our gigs is to express themselves when they come to see us, dance like it was their last day on earth, fall on the drumkit or the keyboard, come on stage and get naked. No joke.
Mat: I put emotions into it and I don't quite understand those emotions. Sometimes it takes me years to understand why I played, composed this or painted this picture. But something is real, you can put a lot of love into brewing a cup of coffee for someone.
Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?
Mat: Music is waves that pass through the body. You cannot remain insensitive to this. One way or another you will feel it. Positively or negatively. So depending on your mood, you will perceive things with more or less feelings.
I think that every being, every body in fact is shaped by the sounds it prefers. And therefore resonates or vibrates better depending on the sounds or style of music heard.
Roxie: I don't have an explanation. I just can say it's only science. Physical and chemical events. Nothing related with your god, your beliefs or any other dogma. As mentioned in your question, it's vibration in the air. Transmitter, message, receiver.