Downset Interview
(13/03/05 - Bourg)
This interview was made in Bourg the 13d of March.
Manu and Tataye have met Rey the singer.

You're back in Europe for a huge tour, 54 days for 52 shows, how is it going so far ?
Overall it's just a fantastic experience so far. You know, the way that I tried to tour, as an artist, is that I try to touch base with what is going on in the regions where we went in. What we do is a contribution of culture to the regions aeras. So for myself I really try to find out what's going on with the political nature of the region, what people are thinking, how they are feeling. My mother's family is from the northern part of spain. So I spend time there. I spend some time with the Basque and really tried to figure out what was going on. There was the 2 years anniversary of this major bombing and we were there 2 days before that. There is a lot of interesting things to see. You know, most artist and most people get this chance to see so many different parts of Europa very tightly. So overall men I think it's been very great. Some shows have been kind of slow where we got 50 or maybe 60 people. But that is because we canceled 2 tours before. And also that because we haven't been here for 2 years. So it was kind of slow in some parts. But other than that, it went really really good men. We're selling thousands of records right now. So I guess that overall it has been a real success.

It's good to see you back in France !
Right on men ! We had a good show last night in Cognac. That show was sick bro !
(big old laugh)

We heard that you had some problems with the bus driver during that tour...did you have any other difficulties on this tour? know everybody's pretty cool...hey how do know that we had some problems with the bus driver?

We saw that on your website...on the tour diary...
Oh my god! Hey Krasp!? Oh question, it's so funny (laugh)

How is the relationship with the other bands on this tour, Demean and Maroon ?
It's cool you know. I've done so many touring with so many other bands, meating so many people. You just learn to appreciate other people, what their belief are, how they feel about their politics. But you know we've had a pretty wild time on this tour, it's been pretty crazy
(laugh). We have a good time, because if you don't have a good time on tour, it just sucks dude !

There are 4 years between the release of "Check Your People" and "Universal". Can you tell us more about what you did during that time ?
During that time I went to university. And I worked a lot, wrote a lot of music. So we just went home you know. It was a pretty interesting time for everybody. Some got married, some had kids you know. So everybody just went home and lived their life. I stayed in L.A. for a while and then went to Mexico and get back to L.A. again. Just kind of hang out you know. Really didn't do much. Everybody just kind of went on and studied stuff. Did their stuff. I went at the university, I had a really good time, I learned a lot of things. I didn't get a degree or anything. And that's pretty much it.

What did you studied at the university ?
I studied law, biblical archeology. I studied the religions. Last night actually I was thinking to myself and I think I'm gonna go back to school and study global economics. Because men, one other thing that I've studied is law. But there is so many types of laws from different places. But from what I can see, everything is just turning in some tansnational global agenda. You know France is just not France anymore because it's part of the European Communauty now. The thing that I find pretty interesting is that like in the United States we have the constitution. But we're not apart of any other government. In the European Union, I guess the national constitution is probably more important to the french people than the european union. Am I right ?

We're about to have a vote to approve or not the European Constitution. So it's kind of a major issue here at that time.

From what I know, they are re-writing the constitution. But what is gonna happen if you decide not to accept this constitution ? Would still France be part of the European Community ? Or will you go back on your own ?

No, if the people reject it, we will still be part of the EC, it's just about the constitution. Not about the whole europe stuff.

Wow, incredible ! That's pretty scary to me men ! It's pretty scary to see what's going on in Europe dude ! I think overall that the french way of living and culture is pretty stable for what I can see. You know everywhere I go in France, there is good food, good people. Everybody is just not that much in poverty. It seems really really good. You've got Paris where it seems kind of rough but everywhere else seems to be really cool.

About your new album "Universal", what was your feeling when you entered the creative process of this album ?
Me and the guitar player Brian got together and he was like, let's do a Downset record. Let's do another one. First I didn't thought that we could get through this project because you know everybody went off and did different things. Brian had another band, Roy played with Cypress Hill and James Morris had another project. Everybody did other projects and I just did nothing. So when Brian proposed the idea of a new album, I said to myself "cool, let's do it!" . And initialy we got to write something that was in the vein of the first record. Because that's what people like. So we start to jam together. And the creative process for this album was very fluid and natural. Because it's like, you put me in front of a mic with some bits, and I just bust. You know what I mean? I will come up with some shit no matter who I work with. So when we started the creative process of this album we kind of knew what we wanted to do. We weren't like try to do certain things. We just wrote a simple Downset record. That was pretty much the general feeling for everything.

About your singing parts on this record, we get the feeling that you add more melodic parts in it. Is this a choice, or just an evolution ?
I don't know men. It wasn't like that when we said we're gonna do another album that I'm gonna do some singing parts this time. It just happens that way. Obvioulsy my skills as a vocalist are going into another direction. And I'm gonna start another project. I've been kind of waiting around for 5 years. So my next step as an artist is gonna be pretty huge for myself.
You know, the artists in the band called Downset really had a tremendous impact, influence on so many other artists. This is fuckin' tremendous bro. I've realized the seriousness of that when I was kind of waiting around. And another thing is that during that time I wanted to watch what the other members of Downset will gonna do. Like James started a band and I listened to it. Same thing for Ares, Chris and Roy. I listened to every stuff they did. So definatly we're entering a new gate of this musical evolution. So it's gonna do 2 things for the band. Number one is that people who wanna hear more melodic stuff will like it. Because there are shit loads of people who had never heard of us before but are getting into this record. So it's kind of weird. But we did enough of the Downset record so that we could do those kind of stuff, because our traditonnal support is always there. We have a couple of people that will always follow us, no matter what we do. And that's really kool.

Why did you signed with Hawino records for this album ? Epitaph wasn't as good as you though for Downset ?
No, it's just that Brett Gurewitz (Bad religion) wasn't interested in the band anymore just because we broke up during the process of the record. We should have toured a lot more, like a year more for the previous record. But everybody just kind of went there own way. So from what I could see this is what happened. Snoop Dogg tour manager is a really good friend of ours and he knew this guy from Howino Records. Because everybody back home knew each other. Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hill, Linkin park. We're all good friends, we all grew up in the same city you know. So people got word that we were making a new record. So we played the album for the president of Hawino Record. He's some guy that has fuckin' millions of dollars of investment capital but has no experience in the music industry. So we were like, fuck it ! If we have the investisment capital then we can draft up some of an agenda and follow through with it. So what we ended up doing is that we said fuck it ! Let's do this record. POD's label was also interested but we decided to go with these guys. Check'em out. You know, they're learning right now. They're learning distribution, promotion, working with booking agences. You know that's all these things that they are trying to learn. But they're doing alright. We just got a global distribution deal with BMG. So we'll see what happens you know. So that's how we ended up on this label, Snoop Dogg's tour manager introduced us to them.

The artwork of "Universal" is a great one. Can you tell us a little bit more about it ?
Ok. The artwork was done by one of the most prominent figures in american hip-hop. His name is Hex1 (Hector Rios). He's in a crew called T.G.O. he was a real important figure in the hip-hop scene internationaly. He was the best painter in america by far you know. All the New York writters respected him. Everybody respected him as the most prominent graph-writters. . But then he started to be a christian. He became a pastor. So he kind of steped away from the whole hip-hop scene. Because you know there is a lot of bad stuff in the hip-hop scene obviously. There's drugs, violence, sex, all this crap. He was like, screw this, I don't want to have nothing to do with this, so he just left. So he kind of went his own way. And what ended up happening was that we told him, "Hey Hector we know that you are a pretty religious guy and stuff but we still love your artwork. Is there anyway that you can do this ?" He kind of thought about it for a while. He asked us what we want. And I answered him that he do what he wants. So he did ! And that's pretty much the story. He's a really good artist. He's a fine man. And it was cool to be able to work with him, because he's such a fuckin' good artist men ! Portraits and stuff, his shits are sick men !

What do you think about the internet ? The fact that people can download your music for free ?
I think it's inevitable. Technology. Not only in the music business but in business in general. You know, worldwide. It's having a tremendous impact on human culture and society, obviously. So I think it's inevitable. But that's not gonna stop me from buying the new Wu-Tang record. I will go to the store and I will fuckin' buy the package. I want the whole fuckin' record. You know what I'm saying. But if people want to download your shit, what are you gonna do about it, you know. Take some 14 year old kid to court from fuckin' Belgium or something ? Telling him, you need to pay for the record ! It's just inevitable, that type of shit is gonna happen. I think that the thing that people don't really understand is that they are directly fucking with the artist when they download shit. Because we are not getting paid for it. That's the only thing that's sucks about it. To see artists suffers. But it's not that bad you know !

Downset's line-up changed a lot. Finally Chris came back, James has left. Is there any difficulties to play your old songs live with only one guitar on stage ?
No I think it probably sounds better with one guitar rather with two. Ares was the original guitar player for this band. So we have 3 original members and my friend Rico at the bass. And it's working you know. It's kind of cool. We're suck professional musician bro ! We can get down whenever, however, you know what I'm saying ?

Downset is now around for more than 10 years. And even more if we inclued Social Justice, your previous band….
….Fuck ! You know, everybody brings that up ! All across the fuckin' world. That's incredible ! Wow !

So, what's your feeling about your whole career ?
It's fuckin' inexplicable ! It's really just fuckin' phenomenal. I'm the type of person who don't take shit for granted. But it's fuckin' incredible, you meet so many people all over the world. The artist that tours a lot, sees the world through a pretty amazing eye. It's inexplicable. What do I think about my career ? I think I'm a really fuckin' lucky man bro ! Not only do I have a career as an artist but I'm probably one of the most influencial artist to a lot of people. Downset has influenced so many people. Because of that I feel that I've been able to make a fine contribation to the world that I lived in you know. But it's not over yet, so much more to come !
(big laugh)

You have created a style with Downset. Many bands of your generation don't exist anymore. How do you explain the longevity of Downset ?
It depends on the way you call it. Obviously the relationship of the people involved is important. We love music. We love to be performers. We're artists. There is our passion for art, and a strong support base, because fuck dude, people ask about it all the time, it's worlwide, from malaysia, to russia to hong kong, people want this fuckin' record. You know, we've never played here before but we have like a 150 pre-selled tickets. There will be probably 200 kids here tonight. So for an artist to have that and not do it, it's silly. So I think that the basis for the longevity is that people want the band and that as artists, we love to play music. So between both of those things, that's what keeps us going.

Three years ago, you talked a lot about graphics, are you still into it ?
I do it all the time bro ! I still paint. We've been taking a lot of photo around that tour. It's just like people in Spain are just painting so hard dude ! It's incredible dude ! It's just sick ! There's rocking ! I think that Europa is just very active when it comes to graphity art. Things are getting very right wing, very conservative here in Europa from what I can see, but the arts, it's still fuckin' raging ! So we've definatly been keeping our eyes open on that.

Do you have any plan on releasing a DVD for Downset ?
Yeah I'm sure that we're gonna try to do something like that. There are all kinds of shit. People want a Downset remix record, a Downset greatest hits, a DVD, we get offers all the time. We'll see what happens. We just want to tours for now. We've been on tour for a half a year. We did 3 months on the Linkin Park tour. Then we've been out here for 2 months. So we're kind of letting everybody know that we are around. And you can't do so much in 24 hours. So hopefully we can come out with something. We'll see.

What are your plans after this tour ?
We're gonna go home. I'm going to Mexico on the beach. Fuckin' kick it !
(big laugh) And then after that we're gonna tour the United States. Aparently on of the guys from Slipknot, I'm not a big Slipknot fan, but he has a band and he wants to go tour with us. So we'll see what happens.

What's your favorite word ? I don't have a favorite word !
What's your least favorite word ? Satan !
(big laugh)
What turns you on, creativelly ? Life itself men !
What turns you on spiritually ? I'm a believer, I believe in God. I'm not a religious guy but I believe that there is a positive force out there. What it is I don't know.
What turns you on emotionally ? I try not to get too much into emotion. You know, be honest with myself and feel things. So I don't really know how to answer this question.
What turns you off ? Violence. I take brazilian jujitsu, so I know how to fight. But I just don't like it, it's not cool.
What's your favorite curse word ? Fuck !
(big old laugh)
What sound or noise do you love ? The sound of Sade's voice.
What sound or noise do you hate ? I don't know men, it's kind of a weird question. I can't answer the question, sorry homy !
Which person influenced you the most during your life ? My mother.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt ? Global economics men ! Global banking.
What profession other than your own would you not like to attempt ? I don't think I'd like to be a judge. I don't know if there is any such things as law. Specially in america. You have laws of nature, gravity. These things are just ireversible. I don't know, I just think that being a judge would be a hard thing.
What's your favorite place on earth ? My favorite place on earth is my mind. And it's right here ! (big lough)
And the place you hate ? Los Angeles !
(big laugh) I hate L.A. men ! God ! It sucks !
If heaven exist what would you like God say to you when you arrive at the pearly gates ? Come on in ! I don't want him to say to me like Get out of here !
(big laugh)

When we asked this last question to Roger Miret from Agnostic Front, he answered that he would rather like to go to hell, because it'll be more fun !
He said that ? That's funny dude !
(big laugh) Oh fuckin' Roger, what a guy !

Thanks to Hawino Records and obviously to Rey for beeing so cool.

Interview Manu & Tataye
Translation Tataye & Manu

Copyright Hammerock - Spiritribe 1999