SLIFT: Fuzz, riffs and jumping red lights
At about 2 in the morning I found myself standing in The Void, a club in the heart of Bordeaux. I was attending the Sideral Psych Fest and followed the crowd over to the after party. As I walked in three guys were shuffling on the stage. What followed was mind bending. Slift, the three piece from Toulouse, played a ferocious, non stop set of hard hitting psych. The visuals were trippy, the sound was a mixture of riffs, pure shredding and feedback with intense bass lines and fast beats, and the crowd was going totally ape-shit. I was totally hooked. Ahead of Slift's upcoming UK shows, which see's them play London, Bristol and Newcastle, we caught up with guitarist and vocalist Jean Fossat for a chat.
Hi Jean, what have you been up to today?
Hi! I just ate biscuits with honey and payed a fine for grilling a red light in the city centre... But the weather is good, I have the day to make music, and tonight I go to the movies with a good friend.
Tell us a bit about the start of Slift.
SLIFT started about 2 years ago, but we've all known each other for a long time. I met Canek (drummer) in high school, and Rémi (Bass) is my brother! We played together in different bands before, mainly punk stuff. We came from punk rock in high school and it's Hendrix's Electric Ladyland opened us up to "psychedelic" music. When I listen to "1983" I have the feeling of being at the bottom of a lake on a moon on Jupiter with sirens swimming above me. This is the first time that music sent me such strong sensations. We started to practice in our barn south of Toulouse in Ariège. When we had 4 songs we started to tour.
We are dead excited to catch you at our London Psych Fest show and the Bristol Psych Fest. Are you looking forward to your forthcoming UK shows?
Totally excited about playing in the UK! Personally I've never been there, so twice as much! We are going to play in London, with two great bands, Captain Süün and Yo No Se, then the Bristol Psych Fest and finally Newcastle with Stonefield. It's going to be great! We will be back in February 2019 for a longer tour...
We caught you back in April in Bordeaux and it was incredible - the energy was so fierce. Where do you think this energy comes from?
Oh man! Cool that you were there! Bordeaux was great, we loved the people there! I'm happy if you liked the concert. We practice a lot, trying to give as much possible in our live sets and be as creative as possible. The songs change a lot live, I like to come to more improvised and free stuff. We're fans of the 70's Kraut and Free Jazz scene, the guys came on stage and played together and created something in the moment. It's unique. You can call it jazz, rock or experimental, the label does not matter, what matters is that it is the most spontaneous thing possible.
In your live sets you often have cool visuals going on, it makes for quite a trippy experience watching. At least it did in Bordeaux… Do you think visuals add another dimension to the music? It seems to fit perfectly.
We are 3 on stage, but Gauthier (Fearless VJ man) has been part of the band for a long time now. He's a crazy lovely dude. He is also the one who makes all the video clips. I work with him a lot! We organise the tour, manage the vinyl, we make crazy plans... It's endless! In live shows he does the visuals with analog machines and uses several video projectors on stage. He improvises a lot with us and it makes the concerts ultra immersive. It also allows us to have our own thing. In the future we would like to push even more projection and light and go much further, we'll need a truck, haha!
To those that haven’t seen you live - how might you describe your live shows?
BrRRRrrrRrRrRRAAaAAaaaaaaafffffffffZZZZzzzzzzzZzzzzziziIIIIziiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiWooOOOOOOoooooooooooopppppppppppZZZZZzzzzGrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrRRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrUUuuuuuuuuuuu. bbbrrrrr brrrrrrr. brrrrrrrrrrr. FuuuuUUUuuuuuZZZZzzzzzzzzzz CRRSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHhhhHHH !
Hows the support for psychedelic music in Toulouse?
There is a scene in Toulouse, there's bands like Edredon Sensible, Hubris, Sec, Cathedrale and Princess Thaïland... We also have Lo Spider a musician, engineer and producer. Many things gravitate around this guy in the French garage scene. But venues are closing one after the other, there are only few bars and some big venues too expensive to rent. The cultural policies of the city really suck when it comes to the underground scene and music not being subsidised. The salute comes from the squats, they organise a lot of concerts and places where you can rock. There is an audience for adventurous music in Toulouse, bands from around the world, please come!
You have a new LP coming out in September. Can you tell us a bit about that?
We are very proud of it! It's called "La Planète Inexplorée". We recorded it last November with Lo Spider in his studio, Swampland. He only records on tapes, a live mix. He works on instinct and that's really what we were looking for, no pro tools. It will be released on September 28th via Stolen Body (UK), Howlin Banana (FR), Exag '(BE), Six Tonnes de Chairs (FR) and Rockerill Records (BE). Also Ya Ya Yeah from Portugal will make a tape version. We are all vinyl lovers, so everyone has a special colour edition. A guy recently told me that six labels is a lot and I replied "we do it with friends, it's all people we love and meet on the road, we wanted to do it with everyone." Pierre Ferrero did the artwork. We love his work and he did the artwork for Space Is The Key as well.
Space Is The Key is fucking brilliant. It’s non-stop, high speed, mind bending psych at it’s finest. How will the new LP progress from the already high level set by the first?
Thank you very much for the kind words! I would say that the new album opens us to future directions.
And lastly, tell us, what’s your favourite breakfast?
No joke, egg and muffin with beans and salad.
Slift play The Social in London for Bristol Psych Fest, tickets can be booked here. They continue to play Bristol Psych Fest with Nebula, Night Beats and The Wyches, tickets can be found here. Finally they play in Newcastle with Stonefield.