Ces nouveaux prêcheurs soniques
Young Fathers (Alloyssious, « G »Hastings, Kayus et Steven) était de concert dans l’Orangerie du Botanique (Bruxelles) ce vendredi 23 octobre. Pour son troisième passage en Belgique Monde De Poche a obtenu une entrevue exclusive avec Alloysious Massaquoi, le mastermind du groupe (avis perso). Young Fathers, après un premier LP Dead (qui a bluffé tous les pronostiques en gagnant le Mercury Prize 2014 du meilleur album en quasi inconnu) et deux mixtapes, Tape Two et Tape One, défendait pour l’occasion son second album, White Man Are Black Man Too. Un opus au message politique fort et pourtant plus « décibellement » parlant, que leurs précédents morceaux (mon premier choix reste le titre Mr Martyr sur Tape Two). Ce dernier rencontre un succès amplement mérité, gagné à la sueur de performances d’une intensité rare (de vraies bêtes de scène). D’autant plus que les jeunes écossais voient leurs efforts enfin récompensés. En effet, ils seront les special guests du UK Tour Jan/Feb 2016 de Massive Attack, même si ils ont déjà fait leurs preuves. Les Young Fathers sont des artistes complets (dansent, chantent pour de vrai et donnent envie de prier même…) qui offrent du grand spectacle tout en exprimant des messages forts et engagés. Que ce soit sur l’immigration (#weareallmigrants), les meurtres par des policiers aux États-Unis ou encore l’homophobie. Quand on les découvre, ça se passe rarement en douceur. On aime ou pas, ça met mal à l’aise ou en transe.
Trêve de palabres, je vous laisse juger de cette interview exclusive d’Alloysious Massaquoi afin de vous faire une meilleure idée de qui sont les Young Fathers. Vous avez à votre disposition la transcription de l’interview et l’enregistrement à la fin du texte. Bonne lecture/écoute.
Entrevue croisée avec Yves-Laurent Sondji Mulanza Kating et Imke van Steenkiste, enregistrée le 23/10/2015, Botanique.
IVS: My first question is: What do you think that influences a child about Young Fathers that old fathers cannot give?
AM:I think with our music there’s something for everybody really you know because there’s a lot of elements of you know punk / post punk stuff that’s relevant to the older generation and they can see something in that and what they felt then. They see some of those elements within us I think so with us we want our music to travel. We want as many people to hear it as possible. We don’t just make music for the younger generation. It’s across the board it’s for everybody, it’s worldwide so if there’s elements of everything for everybody, if it’s catchy enough, if it’s melodic enough if there’s a balance, if there’s a message if there’s all this kind of stuff it’s like an amalgamation of everything you know and we try and keep that ethos right through the band just to make it exciting for ourselves to be honest. We get bored very easily so it’s just about keeping ourselves excited throughout the show or making the songs you know.
We want as many people to hear it as possible. We don’t just make music for the younger generation. It’s across the board it’s for everybody, it’s worldwide so there’s elements of everything for everybody.
MDP: How is it going so far?
AM: It’s going well (laughter).
IVS: I’ve seen a lot of different people in your crowd, older people, younger people. How does your audience influence what you do? Or does it at all?
AM: It doesn’t at all. At the end of the day man it’s more about us being excited. Because if we’re excited about something then you only hope that that’s going to travel to the audience and people are going to resonate towards that because they can see you’re excited about something they can see that you are passionate about what you do. If you look at the greatest performers ever, bands or groups or artists in general, everything’s very basic. A mic and someone performing or someone singing their heart out or picking up a guitar and someone doing something and then people can just connect to it. It’s very simple if you boil it down to that, the simplicity of things. People can always respond to that people, can always see things and see what you’re trying to convey when you’re honest and truthful to yourself on stage you know.
When we perform it’s fucking serious man. For me on a personal note the stage is justify. You need to justify who you are, what you do, why it’s good, why people should come and see. We’re there for a fucking reason. We deserve to be there. We’re there because we care, because we’re passionate.
You can tell as many stories because music writing process, there’s a lot of truths/ half truths. There’s a lot of story telling you can make stuff up but people can interpret it differently and everybody can interpret the stuff differently so when you perform. When we perform it’s fucking serious man. For me on a personal note the stage is justify. You need to justify who you are what you do, why it’s good why people should come and see. All this kind of stuff. You can’t. We’re not happy just to be there. Oh ‘we’re happy to be here’ NO! We’re there for a fucking reason. We deserve to be there. We’re there because we care. Because we’re passionate. We’ve proven ourselves. We’re helping in a sense I feel but what we’re doing in the long run is going to help society is going to help people see that you can do something different you can fucking express yourself in a way that doesn’t have to be so regimented and singular and ‘oh it’s this way and the world works like this’ The world doesn’t work like that! The world is fucking complex, people are complex. No matter how people, how folk try and tell you it’s all simple you know… It’s not.
If you look at the greatest performers ever, bands or groups or artists in general, everything’s very basic. A mic and someone performing or someone singing their heart out or picking up a guitar and someone doing something and then people can just connect to it.
Everybody’s an individual in this sense. You’ll never meet the same sort of personality over and over again but people are connected because they’re human beings. We all have feelings, we all care, we all cry we all this kind of stuff. It’s like a constant battle against being put in a fucking box in a bracket, oh you’re this that means you must like this. Just because you’re like this doesn’t mean you don’t like that. It’s a mix of so much. So much you can see it on stage in how we perform. You know we’re bouncing off each other, the artwork, the videos it’s very cohesive and it’s a battle that we’ve been fighting for ages to try and get that across and slowly but surely things move forward.
MDP: Do you feel a better person than before?
AM: Sometimes. It’s always about growing as an individual. You don’t notice it at the time because you don’t tell yourself oh I’m growing as an individual, you look back. I always find for example touring. In hindsight, it’s always better than doing the shows. You go to a new place and it’s very hard for us to take everything in because you’re only there short periods of time and there’s been occasions where we get a couple of days off and we can see the sights a bit. Just for example for today I took a walk just into town, just to see people’s faces and just to get some sort of vibe and I love faces and different faces, interesting faces and stuff so just to have a conversation with you guys with people, it makes it very… it’s humbling in a sense but makes it very real like having a conversation, a good conversation in amongst, the travelling and stuff and that’s what I yearn for. I take things away and you process it and it filters through because you absorb as much as possible.
IVS: What is the most beautiful thing anyone has ever said to you?
AM: There’s been quite a few things, it depends what situation.
IVS: The most influential?
AM: My mother. Her resilience. She’s been through a lot, during the war in Liberia and then coming to another country and having to adapt and being a single parent, all those kind of stuff man. It’s just amazing that she can still hold her head high and still try and be good. It boggles me and it frustrates me at times because she has a lot more compassion for people than I do in circumstances. I’m very impatient. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I always try and give people the benefit of the doubt but it gets to the point when I just go nah. I can’t do this and she just constantly keeps grinding so I’m learning. I’ve learned a lot from her and I’m trying to get into that mindset as well but it’s proving very hard but it’s my mother by far.
I think the press are a funny thing you know because you need them, you need them to tell them that you have stuff coming out and stuff to do but I think that when the press make it like it’s a right instead of a privilege.
MDP: How is it going, you’re issue with the press in general?
AM: I think the press are a funny thing, you know, because you need them. You need them to tell them that you have stuff coming out and stuff to do. But when the press make it like it’s a right instead of a privilege. I think that’s the difference but at the same time it depends how far up the ladder you are as an artist you know to demand certain things, well not demand as such but just it’s that kind of thing. It depends what level you’re at. Certain artists can get away with certain things and others can’t so again, it’s still a learning curve, you’re still trying to come across how you want to come across but at the same time it’s a funny thing.
MDP: Because there’s a lot of things changing now.
IVS: Do you want to reflect reality in your music and how does reality reflect your music?
AM: I think as an individual, everybody’s reality is different you know, we were in Malawi and for me that was a fucking eye opener. You know you’re driving for miles and it’s like nothing. People have nothing. It’s tough. I didn’t feel sorry for them, it’s just like this is tough living out here and yet they’re doing what they have to do to survive and they’re smiling and happy and all this kind of stuff and it just puts into perspective like when you’re in a western society and you’re in troubles, it’s a classic case you know it made me feel like, this could have been my life if I’d stayed in Liberia, in Africa, during that time and growing up there. I have memories of stuff like that and it’s like it’s the polar opposite it kind of just like … so people’s realities I think are just completely different. You can tap into it and at the same time you can try and push it and try and help it along.
It’s ahead, it’s original. So I think as someone who does something creative, you’re having to do something outside of the box all the time. You’re putting yourself at the end of a gun.
AM: With us choosing to do music and using that medium you know the kind of music that we’re doing is what’s going to be getting done in years to come anyway. It’s ahead, it’s original so I think as someone who does something creative, you’re having to do something outside of the box all the time. You have to be, you have to have visions to try and propel yourself or think higher on a daily basis, than most people so it’s like. You’re putting yourself out there all the time to be scrutinized. You’re putting yourself at the end of a gun. For me there’s parts of myself I don’t like on stage. There’s parts of myself I find out. I’m like oh fuck I never knew this existed in me. I didn’t know I had this thing whatever it is so you’re discovering yourself so when people say I know who I am, it’s like Shut UP man. Everyday you’re finding out more and more about yourself. You’re expressing yourself. The more you take chances. Fortune sides with them who dares. You’re taking chances and afterwards the reward is that you overcame something. You enjoyed it. You broke through that barrier, you connected, you know we’re human beings you want to connect and have some sort of rapport you want people to understand you. We’re all like that at the end of the day when you strip away all the bullshit it boils down to that. When you’re on your death bed what do you want, you want people around you who love you. You want your children. That’s it! You’re not bothered that someone said this about me. You don’t care because that’s not important. That’s irrelevant. When you’re on stage you’re creating a moment. You’re creating a vibe. You’re creating something that could easily go (snaps fingers). Right from the get go, how you walk on stage. The drumming the lights. It all matters. It all fucking matters and when you go to one corner it’s purposeful you don’t just go. You’re not walking like you’re nervous. Oh, thank you audience. No! You’re fucking being serious about it, man. It’s like that. And you have to be like that and that’s the only way to kind of do something or make someone feel, because if you’re doing that, you’re feeling and you’re going through all these emotions and stuff. You need to get that across! And you need people to wake up you know?
MDP: What are you doing next? Plans?
AM: We got more touring. We’ve been touring since November last year so we’ve got Paul Weller in November. I’m going to Ghana actually to see a family member so both parents born in Liberia. My mother’s side a lot of Ghanaian relatives, my father’s side a lot of relatives form Sierra Leone. I’m going to meet my grandfather for the first time so I’m looking forward to that. This is like proper like family. Because growing up in Scotland, a lot of kids they have all cousins and granny you know I’ve never had any of that. Even like photographs. Four photographs of me and my sisters when we were kids because all that war stuff we had to leave everything. So I don’t have anything so for the first time to go and see my grandfather. My family. It’s great so I’m looking forward to that. As I say the Paul Weller tour and then from that we’ve got Australia New Zealand for new year and then we tour with Massive Attack.
Down time yeh. We’re trying to set up stuff for next year so we have a lot more downtime and less shows so we can start being creative again and trying to push to the next level because I think with all the albums that we’ve done already I think we’ve done it I think we’ve exhausted all that’s been done. Because how we’ve done for the last three years is like tour and write music. Tour music tour music tour music, it’s just like man it’s done, the last album White Men Are Black Men Too. That’s the pinnacle.
MDP: When do you stop?
AM: That’s it. Even just live and grow, new experiences and stuff like that. That’s what you need to do.