Hi guys, how is Heartbeat Parade doing these days?
Hi Jasper, well Heartbeat Parade is doing quite well these last days. We're actually very busy with the upcoming release from our debut album and we have got plenty of things to do, everything is good and 2013 will be a good year!
Since you're a relatively new band, could you perhaps introduce yourselves to the ignorant Dutch audience?
We're a post-hardcore instrumental band from Luxemburg. We're based in Luxemburg but we come from different countries. Felix is the bass player and he's from Luxemburg. Vinch is the guitar player, he's from France and Vinny the drummer is from Belgium. The band was formed in 2009 by Félix and Vinny after the last gig of their previous band dEFDUMP, a well-known band among the European hardcore scene. Vinch (ex-guitarist from French metal band Riktus) joined HBP later to complete the line-up and in 2010 the band was ready to hit the stages. In 2011, HBP was elected as one of best newcomers in the French contest "Les Découvertes du Printemps de Bourges" and so we had the chance to play on several festivals and gain more audience. This helped us to promote our first demo. At the end of 2011, we entered the studio to record our first album 'Hora De Los Hornos'.
Heartbeat Parade's music is instrumental but we use some sampled vocals to express our ideas about modern society. So far we have released a demo and the EP 'Burning Nantucket' and played in several countries.
I haven't heard from any bands from Luxemburg so far…is there a “scene” to speak of? I did notice you were sponsored by the government?!
Well, there are a lot of bands in Luxemburg. If you compare the size of the country with the amount of bands playing in Luxemburg then I think that you'll be impressed. There a lot of metal bands such as Scarred, An Apple A Day, BlackO Beauty and many others but also electro bands such as Hal Flavin, Monophona, Sun Glitters just to name a few. Luxemburg is a small country but we have some good venues as well as infrastructures to help us promote and develop our bands. Like for example, the Ministry of Culture is helping a lot of bands and artists to promote their art outside Luxemburg. That's the reason why some bands like us add a mention about the Ministry of culture in their promotional materials. And that's a good thing because one of the problem that bands from Luxemburg encountered is that you can't rely on the size of the country to develop your band! You don't have the choice, you have to export your music outside the borders. Luxemburg's audience is great but we don't have that much peoples so we have to go in other countries to find more interested peoples. Not even talking about labels and stuffs like that, just to play in front of peoples that like your music. It works for a while in Luxemburg but after a few months you have played in front of everyone and in all the venues so you must export your music. On one hand it is a good thing, on the other hand it's not very easy when you start a band to export your music outside your country.
Could you explain the title 'Hora de Los Hornos'? What is this “hour of the furnaces” about?
It's a quote from a poem written by José Marti, a Cuban philosopher, poet and writer who fought for the liberty of his country in the late 19th century. was fighting for the liberty of his country in the late 19th century. „Es la hora de los hornos - y solo hay que ver la luz“ is the complete quote. “Hornos” does not only mean „furnace“, but is often translated by fire. Hornos was also the name used for the fires that the Indians inhabiting South America were putting along the coasts when Magellan discovered their land (and gave Argentina the name Terra del Fuego). So 'hornos' also means fire along the coasts or fire in a way to protect, prevent and guide and José Marti refers in his poem to the light created by these furnaces. And so the quote means more something like "there is a revolution going on, just open your eyes and you'll see the fire". In the same time, „furnace“ can also be read literally as a place where transformation takes place - in our title it could mean „the place where our society melts and will be reshaped“. Also the same expression „la hora de los hornos“ is the title of an south-American, anti-imperialist movie (Fernando Solanas 1968) and was used by Che Guevara and other revolutionaries as an anti-imperialist rallying cry...
Although you're an instrumental band your record has a very strong political message (more than one I would even say). What inspired you to choose this topic?
Musically we come from a background where „music with a message“ and „using music as a weapon“ is fundamental. The hardcore music scene (at least some bands) are really engaged and express their angers and frustrations about today's world through their lyrics and artwork. And it's not because we don't have a singer that we can't have a message. We really want to share this with the audience. It's more that we'd liked the crowd to listen to the same messages or the same words that seem important to us. We're not there to do politics or pointing fingers at someone. We won't dictate who's right or wrong because that's not what we intend to do. The name heartbeat parade comes from a picture that we had in mind where everybody would be listening to their heartbeat and walk together and understand that we can walk all together in the same heartbeat. So it's not our goal to tell to the people what to do or what to eat or drink. We want them to own the freedom of thought and have their own mind regarding the samples and listen to their heart. We're just sharing these messages to the audience because we think that these are important messages. The message is most often expressed in an abstract manner, so that it is not a pre-shaped opinion, but more something like an idea that we tend to offer. In the best way, this idea will stay in peoples mind and it will generate a process of thinking.
Could you name a couple of documentaries you were inspired by and that you used in the music?
Well...we can name 'We Feed The World', 'Zeitgeist', 'Lifting The Fog', 'Gasland' and plenty of others. We can't even tell if we took samples from one of these documentaries but we're more thinking about who's behind these documentaries. And so we can name Naomi Klein, John Pilger, Jean Ziegler but also French comedian Romain Duris just to name a few. There are so many documentaries. Honestly, we have watched hours and hours of documentaries and not only good ones but for sure, the work from these peoples are part of the best documentaries ever made.
Do the speakers on your album know about Heartbeat Parade? Have you contacted them? Have you had any responses yet?
Yes we have contacted them, well at least the ones we were able to find. Some did not reply, some others replied and agreed with the use of the samples. Some samples are free of any rights. Some are not but we have an agreement like with Romain Duris who himself send us a letter to clear the rights for the use of a part from one of his movie. Some samples will never get any agreement or answers and we're a bit sad about that because we would like to show to these people that we love their work and that we're putting their words into music.. The best thing we could dream about would be to work on the soundtrack of one of their documentaries.
The message in your work is critical, to the extent that it almost becomes desperate. Do you have hope for the future?
No, and one of these days we will commit a public suicide at the end of a show just to beat Justin Bieber on YouTube hahah. Well of course we have. Remember the name of the band Heartbeat Parade. Honestly, watching all these documentaries was sometimes hard to stand. Sometimes despair was on the way but the first step in a revolution is to understand that there is something wrong and that we should stand for it. So yes we have hopes for the future, hope that people will wake up and understand that there is something wrong. That's part of the revolution to spread the message.
Being a band with a message, do you feel like you can make a change? Do you feel in that respect perhaps a bit Like Rage Against The Machine? Or is the message more a personal way to vent frustration?
If we can make a change sounds a bit strong but that we can maybe help people to wake up is more accurate and more in tune to the way that we perceive things. Music can change people for sure. And when people go out for demonstrations they sing words together to show their anger. Music has always had something to do with revolutions. And we could say that if the name Rage Against The Machine was not already used we would have pick that one for our band's name. But on the other hand we like our band's name because it has something positive. The purpose of using samples was never meant to be a selfish thing or an easy way to throw shits out to our politics. Believe it or not but this is a massive work to watch and collect all these samples. You can watch hours of documentaries and just get a few seconds of samples out of them. It's never easy because most of the time you have music in the background or ambient noise. The voice has to be well recorded, comprehensive... and at the end you still have to match the voice with the music and the mix of the song. So at the end, if there was not a strong motivation or in other words if we were just using samples to vent our frustrations, we would have let it go after the first song because that is way too much work. And when it comes to selfishness, it always has more to deal with laziness rather than work.
Was Heartbeat Parade always meant to be a vocal-free band, or couldn't you just find a proper singer?
At first we started without a singer and we both did not want to have a singer. For plenty of reasons, you get more freedom in the writing of the songs, you don't have people complaining that they like the music but the not the voice of the singer, you don't have to worry about writing lyrics and our past experiences with singers were not the best ones. But after a few weeks we came up with the idea of using samples because we felt that we had a message to share. Also we remembered bands in the hardcore and metal scene that were using samples for some tracks or intro and we really liked that. So we decided to try to add some samples and the response from the audience was good so we keep working with samples.
If you could pick any vocalist to do a track on your upcoming album, would you pick one, and who would you pick?
There are some singers that we really like. But a good singer is kind of an alchemy where he has not only to be a good singer but to find a band that suits to him. Of course we would like to try one song for fun with some singers. But then we would have to agree on which one and that's a long story because when it comes to taking decisions, it's never easy with this band! For example we are talking about making a cover with one singer for our release party and one day we come up with "let's do that song with that girl singing" and the next day it's "you know what, I have thought about another song with this guy, and that could be better" and every time it's something different :)
What about touring, will you stop by here any time soon?
We are working with Mojo in the Netherlands. We have done some shows in your country like the Eurosonic last year. We really hope to have more shows coming up in your country because we really liked the previous ones. Besides The Netherlands, we are working on a tour based in France, Switzerland and Italy. We will also work later on a small tour across UK and we will probably be in some festivals. The best way to find more about us is to add us on Facebook or check our website for the latest news.
Are there any other future plans or side-projects you would like to tell us about?
We will keep on working on new songs because we still have so many ideas. We want to release an EP later on, maybe with some singers featuring. Our debut album should be released later on vinyl. We also have some remixes coming in the next weeks and we are working on videos. So check out our website for more updates and hope to see you soon in your country! Thank you for this nice interview and take care!