Introduce yourself and tell me what you do in the band. Who are the other members of the band?
We’re Kazan, from Dijon, France, a bunch of forever-friends making music together since we were kids, we’re 5 and we try to play some heavy and melodic music coming straight from our guts. We have released one album, 2 splits and a demo (you can download everything for free on our website if you like), and we had the chance to make around 80 gigs, half in France, half across Europe. I play guitar in the band, and I also scream my lungs out when needed! The drummer (Vincent), the first guitarist (Judicaël) and I, we met in kindergarten at the age of 3 I think ! Now we’re 26/27 years old, so you can see it’s a long partnership going on. We met our singer Pierre-Mathieu in high school when we were around 17, when we started a band together (we already played some undefined noise for months in our parent’s basement, learning our instruments). We had a bass player with us called Etienne, also a good friend from high-school, but he left the band around 2005. That’s when we met Steve, he was standing alone in a bar with a large beer so we made him learn bass ! And he became a really close friends of us during all these years. We’re kind of proud to still make music between long-time friends, at least I am, it’s like a strength somehow. So who does what in the band .. I answer interviews, Steve and Vincent bring beers to rehearsals, Pierre-Mathieu makes spliff while we’re composing and Judicaël brings his own swag. Basically.
Where does the name Kazan come from?
We picked this name from a character from a science-fiction movie called Cube. Some people are trapped in a tricky prison, they all die in the end, except Kazan who’s an autistic young guy, but who ends to be the most “human” person trapped there. So you can roughly see the message here.
After creating the band we found other funny meaning of “Kazan” in other languages : I think it means “volcano” in Japan, or “cauldron” in Russian, so you can see unwanted links to our music which tends to be abrasive sometimes. But is also means “benefits” in Turkish, and here, there’s absolutely no link with our activity as a non-profit-DIY band hehe..
I love the splits with Downfall of Gaïa and After Taste. How did you get to know those bands and how did the splits come to be?
After Taste is a band from our hometown, Dijon. we all started making music together 10 years ago, so they’re really close friends, even today we share the same place for rehearsal. So the idea of a common disc came naturally. We didn’t want it to be a classical “split”, with one band on one side and then the other on the other side, but more like a whole musical piece where you can barely define which band is playing, and which has a logic in its evolution. So it’s more a mix-cd than a split-cd, I played piano and guitar on some of their tracks, Damien their singer sings on one of ours, we have friends invited on some other tracks, we all played together on intro/outro, etc.
A few weeks after we had released this split, we were asked by Downfall of Gaia, through the almighty internet, to make a split tape with them. We didn’t know them at first, but we were glad to make something with a foreign band and we enjoyed their music. Unfortunately we didn’t have new songs at this time, so we put the same tracks as on the split with After Taste. We haven”t played shows with DOG yet, but were looking forward to it. We often take the same roads, so i hope it can happen one day. We’re still following their music, and I’ve to say their disc (a split with In the hearts of Emperors) is a really good one, pretty epic crust, love it !
The last Kazan release that I remember is Maslow 0 (which an amazing record, btw). Have you done anything since then? If not, do you plan to record any new music soon?
Thanks, glad you enjoyed it. It took us quite a long time to give birth to this album, as we’ve all done by ourselves (helped by friends from recording/mixing). We compose songs quite slowly, so for now we don’t have enough matter to record a new disc, but we plan to do this maybe next year. We won’t have a new album ready, but maybe a few songs to share a split with a new band or something like this. Can’t really tell you more for now.
Does Kazan mostly write in French or English? What are the subjects/themes of the bands lyrics?
Funny you ask, some dude from a German fanzine asked us recently why we didn’t sing in french in our songs. But we DO sing in french hehe, not easy to get the words on screams I think. We’ve always written in french cause it comes more naturally, it’s way easier to express feelings and thoughts in our native language. In the last cd booklet, we put all our lyrics, coming with explanations in several languages : we didn’t want to translate the lyrics, it could have lost all its meaning, so we translated little texts we wrote to explain what songs were about. It’s important for us that people get keys to understand a piece of our music.
Concerning the lyrics, they’re always a bit metaphoric, sometimes uneasy to understand, but the themes are always linked to human being behavior. On the album, most songs are about modern society’s flaws : a tendency of being self-destructive, disrespect of our planet, remaining inequality between men and women, alienation, financial accomplishment taking over on self-accomplishment, etc ..
How is the “D.I.Y. scene” in France? Do you get to play a lot of shows?
There’s a small DIY punk-hardcore microcosm in France, which has been pretty active for years (maybe a little less these last years). It evolves with time, people come and go, places to make gig close and new ones open (even if it seems easier to close than to open nowadays). We’ve bounded with lots of people and make really close friends these last 6 years we were in Kazan. We have a few connections which permit us to tour in France, but it’s not really easy to find gigs : people who make shows have tons of bands asking for it in their mailboxes, depending on the city you’re in it’s sometimes hard to motivate people to come to the shows, and venues become more and more rare for underground music. If I had to compare, we had the feeling that it was easier to find gigs in eastern Europe (poland, baltics, even Germany) and there are often more people attending.
Are there any French record labels for hardcore/screamo that we should know about?
There are plenty of those .. Among quite ancient and really active ones, I could name Purepainsugar (who released a lot of classical screamo bands as Amanda Woodward, Iscariote, Daitro but also a few american bands such as Sinaloa, Off Minor, Ampere, etc..) and our beloved Impure Muzik, who help us with Maslow 0, a 10-years-old label with lots of awesome bands from Europe and US (check their website : impuremuzik.fr). We also have a lot of nice distros in France if you want to find unknown jewels : Orchidscent, Dream Comes true, Emotionally Unstable, etc (we have a bunch of links on our website if you wanna dig in ..)
What music do you guys listen to? Have you listened to any good records lately?
We really don’t listen to Hardcore exclusively. We play lot of hip-hop, metal, electro in the van aswell.. as long as it moves your guts it’s good, whatever style of music it is. Concerning hardcore, I’m really into Defeater lately (I think you know), Alpinist (german neo-crust) or Nine Eleven (best punk-hardcore band from France ever). I don’t know much about recent emo/screamo records, I’m pretty stucked in the bands from 2000′s like old Envy, french scene, etc.
Do you have any plans to tour soon? What about to USA?
Unfortunately, it’s not easy to find time to go on our. We have to get holidays all together at the same time, and it’s been really difficult these last months. So we mostly have gigs on week-ends, and no tour plans for now. But we’re looking forward to it. Concerning a tour in the US, it would be a dream, but we have to find someone there to book, and a lot of money for buying our plane tickets ! So if anyone is interested in this, feel free to get in touch !
Thanks so much for the interview! If you have anything else you want to say or want people to know, go ahead!
Many thanks for your interest ! We’re always happy to share with people, so this interview was great. I hope your webzine will go on, with tons of bands to discover ahead. I’ll just end saying that people who want to know more about us can visit our website www.kazan-band.com. All our music is downloadable for free there, so enjoy yourself and share it with your friends ! Thank you Andrew, take care, and hope tomeet you someday in the US or anywhere else !