Indie French band Vendeurs d’Enclumes talk about their music

‘Maximalist’ is how up-and-coming indie French band Vendeurs d’Enclumes (roughly translated as anvil sellers) describes their brand of rock music. “Our music is a crucible of diverse influences from theatre and classical music to jazz and rock that meanders angrily through a torrent of sentiments and feelings, the imaginary and the impossible, to finally arrive at the song of the tortured,” say the sextet, alluding to renowned composer David A. Jaffe’s description of contemporary maximalist music as one that ‘embraces heterogeneity and allows for complex systems of juxtapositions and collisions, in which all outside influences are viewed as potential raw material.’

The band comprises Valérian Renault, Sébastien Rideu, Cyrille Boudesocque, David Svestre, Nicolas Le Moulec, and Matthieu Henault.

Now, the Orléans, France-based band is set to rock the city on February 17, 6.30 p.m. at Nishagandhi Auditorium, as part of Alliance Française de Trivandrum’s ‘Bonjour India’ – Festival of France in India, held in association with the Embassy of France in India. This is the band’s maiden trip to India and the city is the third stop on their tour after Pondicherry and Chennai. They will move on to Kathmandu next before wrapping it up with a performance in Delhi. Excerpts from an email interview with the band ...

The origins

Actually, it’s serendipity. Valérian was very involved in college theatre productions in Orléans. One of the plays required five musicians on stage for an act. Calls went out and the six of us found ourselves jamming to Valérian’s lyrics. It was such a great experience that we decided to form a band. We’ve been together for 12 years now and have so far cut four albums, including out latest ‘Decadrant’, which was released in 2011.

Valérian still seems to be the linchpin – lead vocals, guitar and songwriter too…

Oui (Yes)! He’s been a huge fan of theatre (it explains his theatrics on stage) and of classical music since his childhood days. So we guess that’s why the songs he writes for the band have a classical and poetical edge to them.

Tell us a bit about the rest of the band…

Nicolas handles the bass – he’s been playing since he got on stage when he was three years old and grooved! Incidentally, his father is also a bass player. Nicolas dreams of sharing the stage with Stevie Wonder. Cyrille, meanwhile, is a saxophonist, who also loves art and reading. David is our other saxophonist. He’s been with the band for seven years now. Matthieu (drum, trumpet), who we like to call as our wing commander, is such a pillar of support to all of us. His music is all about precision in respect of the tempo. Sébastien (guitar) is the newest member of our band. He is full of joy – very Indian in spirit, in fact.

Major influences…

Love, death, the sea, ourselves… we share the same influences but not necessarily the same points of view. We also draw inspiration from various genres of music – jazz, world music, funk, classical…

This is your maiden performance in India. What are your expectations?

We’re hoping it will be a great experience. We have been to Russia and Canada a few times. About India and Nepal we’re already getting this positive vibe. We will try and translate and explain the French lyrics of our songs for our audiences in India so that they can understand the poetical aspects.

How familiar are you with Indian music?

We met Indian band Kartick and Gotam last year during their tour of France. But other than that, we apologise, we’re not too familiar with Indian music. But we are quite intrigued by Indian classical music and we would like to meet, and perhaps collaborate, with Indian artistes.