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Coilguns | Interview


Sitting in a dimly little room, as best the Skype video chat can show, Jonathan Nido, guitarist of Swiss hardcore noiseniks Coilguns has just arrived in Shanghai, China where he and his band mate Luc Hess will be playing a couple of shows with their other band, The Ocean.

“We had a 15 hour night train where it was impossible to sleep and then two hours stuck in traffic so now we have a couple of hours here in Shanghai to play this show and then we’re flying at 8am tomorrow to the next city and we’ve been on tour for a while so it’s a bit long to be honest,” he laughs but nevertheless, he joins us for a quick chat about Coilguns and the band’s Irish dates next month.

First of all, you released your new record ‘Commuters’ earlier this year and it’s been relatively well received. Tell us a little bit about that.

The album has been received really well. I don’t want to say surprisingly but for a mid-90s noisecore sounding record with a really raw production, like way far from what’s being done now in the metal scene, I think it’s been well received.

It’s not like we got ten Metal Hammer features but I focused the promotion on mainly blogs and webzines because that’s our audience. We’re never going to be playing to 600 people anyway.

From that side of the scene it’s been really well received, cialis generic people seem to like it and say that it’s some kind of fresh breath somehow so [I’m] really happy about the feedback.

How do you compare ‘Commuters’ to your previous records? What differences and changes do you see?

I wouldn’t compare it properly because it is what it is or what it was at the moment.

‘Commuters’ is what it is now, you know what I mean? I wouldn’t compare it, I would just say that ‘Commuters’ is more like… it’s not that we were looking for something on the previous EPs, but we were just writing songs and then consciously, when you write songs and you listen to your own shit and then you figure out what makes you, you or a rip off of what other bands are like and where inspiration is too obvious and I think ‘Commuters’ is a really solid base for what this band is going to be.

In terms of experiment, I’m not even talking about style or genre of music, I’m just talking about the way we did things without caring about anything.

You mentioned ‘90s noisecore just there, what bands have been influences on you? And seeing as you and Luc [Hess, drums] also play in The Ocean, does that influence the music of Coilguns in any way?

Botch mainly, Breach, early Converge, that kind of bands.

Well, I guess it [The Ocean] has to a certain degree because after playing for six years with them, it has had an influence on my playing and the general way of us playing.

I guess you can hear some progressive parts in what we do and that would be due to The Ocean probably. But then, both writing processes are very, very different.

Basically, I would think that Coilguns is the complete opposite of The Ocean but I don’t want to deny the fact that I have been playing in a progressive band for six years so that has to be some kind of influence.

If there’s one connection, it’s this one. When we’re doing an 11 minute instrumental track, that would be the connection I guess but otherwise, everything we do is the complete opposite of The Ocean pretty much.

What can you tell us about the lyrics and themes behind ‘Commuters’?

Well, I’m not the best person to talk about it since Louis [Jucker], the singer, would be the best one to [ask] but basically his concept was about us and our lifestyle pretty much, about touring in a really metaphorical way.

The way he explains is that no matter what you’re doing, you’re always going from a point A to a point B and he’s basically talking about that point C, a no-man’s land that we’re in all the fucking time and the fact that maybe people think that we are doing something special or different but in the end, what we do is being stuck in traffic all the time, going from venue to venue in different continents or countries and it’s always the same.

It’s no different than having an office job in the end pretty much, and most of the lyrics are based around that concept.

Coilguns will be touring in Ireland next month. Is this your first time playing here? And what can we expect from your gigs?

It’s going to be our first time in Ireland with Coilguns. We played with The Ocean before. But yeah, that’s going to be our first time in Ireland.

It’s cool because we have a couple of friends there that we met on tour that we know are going to bring a lot of whiskey [laughs]. That’s what this band is all about. We’re not expecting to play ever in front of 600 people because we found our pattern.

We’re not planning on making a living out of a hardcore band. I’m just really happy that this tour is happening. It’s really smooth. For us, we’re only three [members] anyway. It’s pretty comfortable to tour when you’re three, even when you do a punk tour because people can always accommodate you, they can always give you food and we know that we’re going to be playing bars and maybe we’re going to play in front of 30 or 40 people but that’s what we’re looking for and that’s what we want to do with this band anyway.

You tell me but it’s not like many underground bands are coming over to Ireland for some reason because it’s not really on the way, so to speak. I’m expecting to have small crowds but people that really want to see us and I’m really excited.

Have you any other touring plans around this time?

We wanted to tour more but the thing is that we have such a busy touring schedule with The Ocean. Basically we’re touring until December and we’ve been touring since mid-July and we’re only going to have six or seven days at home and then we have this Coilguns tour so we decided not to play more.

We’re going to play one show before in Germany, New Noise Festival, and then we’re going to play a hometown show on October 26th but then we still keep it busy. I’m running a record label as well called Hummus Records.

I’m doing a show on the 25th, I’m flying back from Ireland on the 25th and promoting a show in our hometown and that’s going to be it for this year I think. We’re going to start again next year, we’re probably going to release a new EP along the way.

What can you tell us about that?

So on this tour with The Ocean, we stopped in Mexico for four days and Luc and I found a studio. We booked two days of studio where we wrote and recorded two songs and yeah, it sounds great. We’re probably going to release that as a split with another Swiss band, Abraham.

You also run Hummus Records. How did the label start and what have you got in the pipeline?

Oh god, I have so many records, man. I started this initially just to have an email that sounded like a record label to start contacting people as a band member.

But eventually, because I started a promotions agency as well, so I’ve been doing promotion a lot for Coilguns and bands starting asking me to do promotion for them, and then I started my label. In Switzerland we have a good funding system for bands when they do albums.

In this age of the record industry being really shit and nobody is signing anyone, bands just do everything themselves. It’s kind of like going back to the late ‘80s hardcore scene but with all the internet tools you have nowadays and I think that’s definitely the future of music anyway.

So I had all these bands. Luc and I and Louis have been playing in our country for 15 years or so, so we kind of know everyone and then people started contacting me saying ‘look, we just got funding, we don’t want to sign on a label because it’s going to be a pain in the ass to wait for a year so we’re just going to press the vinyl, do you want to take care of distribution and promotion and you’ll have music for your catalogue?’

And I was like, yeah, fuck yeah and now basically I’m releasing records every two weeks. It’s not in a really professional way but I’m releasing bands that are selling 100, 150 copies.

I don’t really give a shit to go through the pain of having a physical distributor or whatever because these bands are happy because they don’t have to pay much to do this. They get funding and I’m building my catalogue like this and I only sign bands that I really like or are friends from home because I think we have a really strong scene in every genre.

It’s cool because most of these bands have either Luc or Louis in it and it goes from experimental pop to ‘70s rock to drone to hardcore. It’s actually really exciting. I didn’t expect this to grow like that but it’s happening and it’s really cool.

I’m in the process of building a team of people now because a lot of people want to help me. It’s a matter of federating a scene. Now I’m overwhelmed, with being on tour, having a part time day job, having the promotions agency plus the label and having one release every fucking 15 days, I just don’t know what to do.

It’s really exciting and I’m definitely going to spend more time next year building up that. I really don’t want to go through this, like, classic distribution thing and stuff. I really want to keep it DIY and I think it’s a good time to take the train now of this whole internet thing for DIY bands.

I don’t think that doing shirts before having a good sounding EP is a good idea and always wanting to sign to a label, for what? To sell 50 copies in the whole country of France in the big chain stores?

Who fucking cares? It’s people like you who are going to buy our record, not mainstream people in a Virgin Megastore so I think there is a new model to be established. I’m going to try and maybe I’m wrong but it doesn’t cost a thing to try, just time.

Coilguns Irish tour dates:
October 21st: Dublin – Thomas House
October 22nd: Galway – The Cellar Bar
October 23rd Limerick – Dolans Warehouse
October 24th: Cork – Fred Zeppelins
Tour event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/382508648538284/

Interview by Jonathan Keane


4 Comments
  1. […] Next month, Swiss hardcore noise merchants Coilguns will be hitting Irish shores for a handful of dates around the country. Ahead of this, guitarist Jonathan Nido spoke with Metal Ireland about their new record Commuters, DIY culture and of course, what we can expect from the Irish shows. Check it out HERE. […]

  2. strong reaction Says:

    Good interview. Shame there’s no Belfast date on the list.

  3. Brilliant album, if you’re in the area you should go check them out.

    Paul.

  4. Great band. Nearly had a Belfast date, but I already had Colossus Fall (also Swiss) booked to play here in October.

    I still have a few copies of COILGUNS split with NVRVD if anyone is interested as well.

    http://savouryourscenerecords.bigcartel.com/product/coilguns-nvrvd-10-coming-soon

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