AXLAUSTADE gives itself a gift

After twenty years of solo career, Dumas is now discovering the pleasures of shared musical responsibility. Within AXLAUSTADE, his guitar counts as much as Francis Mineau’s drums and Jonathan Dauphinais’ bass; together, they present to the public an instrumental grunge album that they originally reserved for their circle of friends. Conversation around their admiration of alternative rock from the 1990s, before the trio’s first scene on Sunday, October 3, on Osheaga’s poster.

This disc was to be the birthday present of Jonathan Dauphinais, collaborator of Dumas since his first album released in 2001. “Jo and I, we’ve known each other for years,” says the latter. When we meet, we like to talk about music, especially our passion for the 1990s – Weezer, the Breeders, we can spend evenings talking about it, we are very geek on the subject. Jo, one day, said to me: “For my fortieth birthday, I would like to record with Steve Albini”. “

Albini, musician and legendary sound engineer whose ear defined the sound of American indie rock of the 1980s and 1990s, the one who worked on hundreds of albums and not the least, Surfer Rosa (1998) des Pixies, Pure (1989) and Head (1990) from The Jesus Lizard, Jon Spencer Blues’ debut album Explosion, Rid of Me (1993) by PJ Harvey or even In the Uterus (1993), Nirvana’s ultimate studio album. “Him, it’s cool, you contact him, you reserve hours at his studio [Electrical Audio] from Chicago, and there you go, summarizes Dumas. We just said to ourselves that we had to put in the time it takes to jam, find songs, and rehearse them. “

Francis Mineau (Malajube) then joined their birthday project. Except, Jonathan intervenes, the trio planned to reunite with Albini in Chicago on March 15, 2020, four days after the World Health Organization called COVID-19 a pandemic, two days after Canadian authorities advised to avoid all travel abroad. Happy birthday, Jonathan!

Before the scheduled departure, the group had rehearsed at length. All this instrumental material had to be recorded live, on magnetic tape; in anticipation of their meeting with Albini, they had recorded their sessions “as if we were recording with him. In the end, that’s all we had left ”of the project, explains Jonathan. By making friends listen to it, several suggested to the trio to make an album, intended for the general public; for two weeks, they re-recorded these songs that we are discovering today.

For our generation, there was this: the illustration that everyone could rock. Then there is the discourse, which diverged from that of hair metal, a different discourse, feminist especially with regard to Cobain and groups like The Breeders.

Without pretention

The main quality of AXLAUSTADE’s debut record is that it is unpretentious. The guys, fine music lovers, are well aware that they are not revolutionizing rock. Their execution is irreproachable, their ten instrumental compositions have tone, the guitars biting at will, the drums clearing a path marked out by a whole generation of American musicians whose legendary albums furnish their conversations in the studio. “You’re right, it’s unpretentious, abounds Francis Mineau. We did it seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously – already just in the name of the project, there is something a little funny. “

AXLAUSTADE, reference to the infamous concert of August 8, 1992 at the Olympic Stadium where, in front of 55,000 spectators, Metallica had first interrupted his show when James Hetfield had taken a pyrotechnic piece in the face and then, after two hours of waiting, Guns N’Roses took over to play only 40 minutes before singer Axl Roses decided he had enough. The angry fan riot that followed made international headlines.

In retrospect, this event symbolically marked the end of a rock era, says Dumas. Less than a year ago – thirty years ago, to be precise on September 24 – Nirvana launched Nevermind, making almost obsolete fifteen years of hair metal domination and the two volumes of Use Your Illusion of Guns N’Roses published the previous week. Another symbolic detail: Guns N’Roses wanted to invite Nirvana rather than Metallica – which had offered the metal genre the most popular album in its history in August 1991 – to share the poster for this stadium tour.

“I bought a guitar because of Nirvana,” says Dumas. ” Me too ! », His two friends answer in chorus. “For our generation, there was this: the illustration that everyone could rock. Then there is the discourse, which diverged from that of hair metal, a different discourse, feminist especially with regard to Cobain and bands like The Breeders ”which include sisters Kim and Kelley Deal and bassist Josephine Wiggs.

“This speech was important for our generation,” continues Dumas. Finally, grunge has also marked our imagination: I’m 42 today, my adolescence, it was Musique Plus and all these groups. Then the three of us, as musicians, we have evolved since then, but somewhere, [ce projet AXLAUSTADE] allows us to revisit this music that we carry in our hearts. Without pretention. “

“I am curious to see what the generation who did not know the 1990s will think of this record, asks Dumas. I believe that it is the energy which emerges from this music, more than its referential aspect, which will speak to them. “For his part, Francis insists on the sound details of this album, mixed in Los Angeles by a technician admired by Jonathan, Justin Raisen (Charli XCX, Kim Gordon), which has enhanced the sound quality of AXLAUSTADE’s work:” There are lots of little sounds, percussions, a sound design, which is really important. It allows us to add something to our speech, not to restrict it to a grunge rock record, and maybe even make it current. “


AXLAUSTADE, La Tribu, from 1is October

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