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Interview with Oaks
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
First of all, we don't live from our music. We all work more or less in the entertainment and music business. But to answer your question, I was lucky enough to have parents who listened so much music that I thought it was a mandatory activity for every human being on earth! Not an evil obligation, but I was always surprised to find out that my mates didn't listen to music as much as I did. From then on, music became my backbone.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
We all have different activities. But it's always more or less about music. Listening to it, talking about it, going to concerts... And often with a beer in our hand.
How long has your band been around?
I'm the last one to join Oaks, as I've been playing drums in the band for about 8 months. Otherwise, Julien and Thibaut have known each other for several decades as they are much older than me. So I think the band was formed before I was born.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We all live in Paris, or very close to it. We play metal, in a rather dark band and I can say that it is a cathartic exercise for all three of us. Proof that it's good to live here!
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
I think Julien and Thibaut met at a tree lovers' Association convention. The Oak being their favourite, they naturally wanted to pay tribute to it through the name of the band. But as they are boys who like to think big, they added an "s" to picture a huge forest.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
That we played together? Oaks only has two shows so far, thanks to Covid. Only one all three together so I'll go with that one, but I hesitated for a long time. We've got more dates coming up in the next few months. We can't wait!
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you don't already have?
I think we all dream of playing at the Olympia in Paris, to follow the steps of our idol, Edith Piaff. Plus, we could put the band's name on the front of the venue and since this service is charged by the letter, we're privileged thanks to the size of our name.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
I think we could totally play as the opening act for a Tool - Cave In bill. In all modesty.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
You have to have fun first. That's what has to come first. It has to be something fun and not insist if it's not just fun. And most importantly, always respect the other musicians. Those in your band or in other bands.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Be as open-minded and tolerant as possible.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Our album, even though it is divided into songs, forms a whole. A kind of journey through which we explore different emotions and soundscapes. In fact, we play the whole album at our concerts, from beginning to end, and I don't see how we could pick out one song over another.
Which songs are your favourite to play and which get requested the most?
I particularly like to play "The Harmonist" for my part. It's 13 minutes long! And the song that gets requested the most is "Master Of Puppets". Which is both hurtful and flattering at the same time.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Thibault is the composer of the band, he comes up with most of the ideas, which he grows with the creativity and science of Julien. They have this working dynamic that works. The two complement each other well. On my side, I try to read what the song wants to express and adapt my drum parts accordingly. It's all about dynamics and emotions.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I think the cool thing about Oaks' music is that the lack of vocals leaves the field of possibilities wide open. We try to play expressive music but without giving a clear explanation of our intentions. There is something for everyone...or not!
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
I noticed that Julien had denigrated Metallica a few times, seemingly out of the blue. I think Thibault and I are going to corner him at the next rehearsal and break his shins.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Our first album "Genesis Of The Abstract" was released on September 30th and is available on all streaming platforms. We have several shows coming up in Paris and in France. We will announce them as we go along. We will also start working on our next EP which should be released in 2023, if all goes well!