Feel like taking a trip but can’t get the time off work? Just listen to L’Eclair instead.
The Geneva-based six-piece just dropped their second album, Sauropoda, and it’s 37 minutes of heavy vibes. Recorded in just two days somewhere in the mystic mountains of Switzerland, Sauropoda boasts five tracks that span about fifty different genres. We asked the band a couple of questions about the new record, top-secret studios, and why everyone is making such a fuss about their live shows.
I hear your album was recorded in two days! Please explain how that is even possible?
Yes, indeed it took us two days to wrap it up in terms of live takes and overdubs, even though they weren’t that many. We had a pretty simple set-up, all of the band straight into a 16 track TASCAM tape recorder engineered by our dear Gerard. He’s also our live sound engineer and manager, so he knew our sound pretty well. The limitations of the analog set-up can make you sometimes work faster than with the computer—if the live-takes and the jams are sounding good, there’s no need to lose time on editing unnecessary stuff or thinking too much about the perfect take. We’re driven by our instincts and the spirit that lays in the recording. Also, we had all these jams that we’d been working on since touring Polymood, so they were pretty tight at the moment we decided to record them. Then we had to think about some other tunes we wanted to record and that’s how ‘Castor McDavid’, ‘Still Steeve’ and ‘Parapluie Bulgare’ were born.
Basically, we worked one day for all the live takes (seven tracks) and the second one was planned for overdubs like percussion. The funny thing about it is that we forgot them, so we used the famous maestro rhythm king for some crunchy percussions! Finally, we had our friend Dj Laxxiste who came over to record some fx’s on top of all our tracks to give them a more clubby feel without altering the proto-groove vibe we wanted to catch with this album.
And it was recorded in an ‘undisclosed location in the mountains.’ Why do you want to keep the place a secret?
We’re not really keeping it as a secret, but more as a mystical place in which we felt good. Apart from that, it isn’t really a studio anyway. We had to bring a lot of stuff there to make the recording of the album possible, so we couldn’t reference it as some kind of renowned studio. Mostly our description of the place really defines what it looked like—a lovely stone house in the mountains, close to where we all live and filled with a lot of history.
Apparently your live shows are really something. For someone who has never been lucky enough to catch one, can you describe what all the fuss is about?
I think the best is to see it yourself to understand it, but otherwise we would say that our live show is really diverse and only driven by the music. We want to catch the perfect combination between a DJ set, lots of improvisation, and some proggy moments that also gives a lot of freedom to the audience to interpret our music the way they want and feel. We also think this aspect is possible by not singing in our shows, which sounded pretty weird at first, but became really normal for us. Our live shows are also characterised by their length. If you don’t stop us, we can go on for more than two hours. As long as people are dancing, there’s no need to stop!
There are six of you in the band. How do you keep the peace and go about making decisions for the band?
Yes, and with our sound engineer it makes seven of us on the road! So yeah, sometimes it’s a bit fuzzy and extreme, but we prefer to talk about the problems or behaviours that need to be talked about instead of keeping them hidden and waiting for some kind of explosion to happen. We have roles in our band but there isn’t really a leader. The people responsible know what they have to do! We sometimes make some decisions by discussing it all together, but when we need to move forward quickly, we also have the ability to make decisions and then discuss them because everyone in the band trusts each other. We’re also really well surrounded with a manager who’s our close friend and sound engineer, and also with the musicians and older generations in Geneva who are always willing to help us and give us advice.
When I wish I were on vacation but can’t actually fly anywhere, I listen to you guys instead. If your music was a holiday destination, where would it be, and why?
It would be any piece of nature around you, but most certainly somewhere in the mountains where you can really distance yourself from modern society. And remember—you don’t need a plane to fly.