In this first piece for #itchysilk French based writer Alice Preat looks at the alternative rock band Why Mud. While their latest release was late 2017, Alice interviews the quartet and explores the band and their distinctive sound.
This up and coming indie rock / newly alternative pop band is made up of four cool French dudes: Roland as the lead singer and writer, Camille on drums, Antoine on keyboard and guitar, and Loïc on bass. Bonded together by a strong bro-love, they describe their band with a few key words: “friendship, jokes, travels, booze, tour, and guitar”. A few years after the release of their very first concept-album Adam & Joe (2015), the group has finally resurfaced, to hit us with a fresh pop-rock EP: Ketchup (2017).
Now called Why Mud -after getting one too many questions on their original name M.U.D and struggling to answer them– the band has made a strong comeback with this EP, partially because it comes with quality music videos. Since its release, the band has made quite the buzz on the French music scene as a promising rock/pop band. As we know from their self-description, the group likes to mess around, even when it comes to the name of their EP, as Loïc explains: “The original title was Get in Shape, which Roland repeats a few times in the vocals of the track, but after a while we just heard ‘ketchup’ – and it stuck I guess. We thought it would fit perfectly within this pop evolution, especially since ketchup is the most pop ingredient on earth!”
Adam & Joe & Evolution of Sound
Their first album, Adam & Joe, a concept album was written entirely by lead singer Roland after two years spent traveling in Australia. It was set up like a play, and told the rather dark story of two brothers fighting for the truth. The boys have described it to represent a sort of “Ying and Yang”, or the constant turmoil between the soul and the mind. In the making of this album, the boys found their sound: strange dissonant chords, melancholic psychedelic vocals, slow suspenseful crescendos to climax, some heavier rock aspects…and English-only vocals, despite the band being entirely made up of French men. You will want to tune into this concept-album when in search of a voyage through sound.
Inspired by the constant quest for challenges and “fraicheur”,… the group’s latest EP is a token of their desire to switch up their style
In this new EP, comprised of four great tracks (Ketchup, Savage, Basilic and Seven Tides), the band’s original identity and sound is still very much present. The melancholy in Roland’s voice, psychedelic guitar and transporting synth chords still make Why Mud distinctively recognizable. This time though, it’s clear that they’ve made the decision to go a bit more pop: faster tempo, dynamic drums, and all-around sense of “légereté”, in both sound and lyrics:“We all needed something fresh, because we had gone so deep on our latest album especially. This was an almost instantaneous EP, way more chill, and perfect for a transition towards something more pop-sounding”, says Roland. Inspired by the constant quest for challenges and “fraicheur”, and the refusal to be afraid of unexpected tangents and weird turns, the group’s latest EP is a token of their desire to switch up their style. This EP has also been a linguistic transition for the band, as they’ve finally released a track in French: Basilic.
“The hardest track was Basilic for sure, because of the French! It was harder to own up to, and also everything started from one synth chord and a baseline. That’s all we had, and it just made us go ‘fuck, that’s so good!’ and we recorded the track with absolutely no clue on what we were doing.”The track took six months to grow into its own, but became one of Why Mud’s biggest hits as of late. They even picked it to compete in the Ricard Live Music competition, in which they were finalists. As Roland explains, Basilic is the story of a love story turned sour. “What’s funny about this is that the clip had actually been shot before we even made the song”, says Roland. Through this colorful and interactive gem, Romane discusses parallel dimensions, à la Mr. Nobody (2009) or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004): “things where lives are intertwined in a universe you’re not sure is real, but also the question of choice – like in Mr. Nobody – what determines the rest of our lives? Is it really fate waiting for us, or is it a question of choices? Do I go left, right? Will that really change everything?”, he says.
With this idea in mind, she wanted to then make the whole concept a bit more accessible. What better way to make something accessible than through a love story? The project was titled Plural, and was intended to show the plurality of the woman, to show that she is not just a nice sweet woman, but is allowed to have multiple facets: dark, crazy, sexy…Since the music video had been made previous to the song, Romane and Roland explain the amount of work it was for them to match the song – which they had to turn into a radio edit – to the video. Still, the result is phenomenal, both visually and in the efficiency of its message. Ketchup (get in shape) is a track to make you smile from ear to ear while urging you to dance around, with its up-tempo beats, feel-good chords and Roland whispering in your ear. Seven Tides, on the other hand, is the slower, more melancholic track on the EP, while Basilic is truly the one that will make you feel some slightly more complex emotions in comparison. Maybe it’s the French, or maybe it’s just the complexity that surrounds choices and/in relationships.