Im Gespräch: P.O. Box

In February you released your third full length record F#RT#R. Anything special to tell about it?
Sébastien (Voc):
Yeah! I don’t think there’s anything special with F#RTH#R compared to our former records but as usual we tried not to record music only but made a whole thing, we spent a lot of time for the artwork and the lyrics, the song titles, the running list, everything is very important to us but we did that for all our records. The only difference might be, that it took us a long time, we started writing the album a whole year ago and we also had sort of a motto, it was back to the basics. Before F#RTH#R we released the EP Detour(s), which was sort of special, there were three really aggressive songs and three very slow songs in a way. The idea was like let’s forget about anything extra, let’s focus on the real punk-ska that we used to make. That’s the important thing about this album, it took us a whole year, it was back to the basics. And as always we didn’t just want to have a cd or vinyl with just songs on it and that’s it because everybody can have that on the internet and that’s allright. When you create a whole object, when you want to create something, that’s different to the CDs you usually get in shops or I like the mass media things, you’ll reach people who are interested in our lyrics and our ideas.

And about the liner notes, if you have the lyrics only people will read the lyrics and say okay , but if you have some explanations like websites about it, it will lead people to think. When we started the band 13 years ago, we had a song calld Education is Our Weapon. That’s why we have about two or three lines explaining what we want to say with our lyrics.

Why did you decide to do a crowdfunding campaign for financing that record.
We thought about crowdfunding for years, for creating something done by a group of people and not only the musicians. We did it in a quite different way, usually it works like if you give 10 € you get this and if you give 20 € you get that, this is sort of a race for people. We said alright if you want to help us doing the record and keep on being musicians, you get the same reward, our record in your mailbox. We were quite stunned because there were many people who didn’t know us at all and some gave a lot for them. I remember, there was a guy from Belarus, from Minsk, who gave 2 € but in Belarus, you probably get 50€ a month and so we decided okay, no matter what you give you all get the album although you can’t do anything with 2 € but it’s still part of the 5.000 € we needed. We’ve put sort of piracy into that system by not respecting their rules.

Personally, I like the Bancamp pay what you want option, too.
Yeah, but spoken financially it’s better to buy a shirt than a CD or going to a concert if you want to support them.

You’ve played in several countries, are there great differences between the crowds in different countries?
Personally I haven’t seen that much differences. Maybe the biggest differnces are between the east and west of europe. In the countries where the people are not so rich, they listen more to the music and they even come if they don’t know the music. When we played in the east of europe we sometimes were overwhelmed by how many people were at the club.

You’ve also played many support shows with quite big acts. How do they treat their support bands?
It depends on the bands. Some were really talkative and friendly and some were just like “Okay, you’re playing support.” For Example RX Bandits were really great, we spent like 4 or 5 hours with them drinking and talking. In 2006 we played as support for Against Me! In Croatia and they were a small band at that time and they were nice as well.

What are you the influences for your lyrics?
There’s a lot of things, things we read, things we experience, things we hear of, some news, some authors, just a lot. And our lyrics are created in teamwork so they all have different infulences.

And what about musical influences?
Well, let’s turn the question, what do you think our musical influences are?

Maybe, NoFX, The Clash, Maybe bands like Bad Religion, early Ska Bands like The Specials, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Mad Caddies.
Well you mentioned NoFX and The Clash, we all listened to Mad Caddies when we were young. If we had to fix it on two bands, that would be NoFX and Sublime, The Clash are the base of every Punk band I think.

You are one of the very few French bands I know who sing in English. Why do you guys do that?
Yul (Trom): Seb is an english teacher so we can sing in english without that ugly french accent. And there’s a content in the lyrics so it’s easier to understand for a greater group of people and as we already said we focus on the content.

On InBetweenTheLines, you recorded Going To Court together with The Flatliners’ Chris Cresswell. How did you manage that?
About ten years ago I was in touch with Matt from The Planet Smashers, a Canadian Ska Band who owns a label group and when we were talking about music he told me he has a new band called The Flatliners, they’re pretty young, about 16 years old, I’ll send you their CD. We were on tour at that time and we hald to go home for one morning to get our merch and there was a package from canada, we put the CD in and we were like Wow!. The day after I sent an email to the band saying “Hey there, we just listened to your destroy to create album and liked it. If you ever want to play in France we can help you out.” And Chris said wow, that’s amazing, so we stayed in touch for a year, then we toured Canada and met them. We tried to organize a tour together but it didn’t work out because of schedules. Then when they signed to another record company Chris told me they’re going on tour in Europe and that they want to do some shows together, we did a couple of shows together. Well they’re friends and when we wrote Going to Court, we thought this song… Chris can sing it. We asked him, he said yes, we sent him the song, we said do what you want and we were quite amazed. Big D and The Kids Table and The Slackers recorded some songs with us, too.
Those are social relationships that mean very much to us.

Any Touring memories you don’t want to miss?
We played 600 or 700 songs, some of them in countries you’ve never heard of so we have plenty of memories. For example we once slept at a guy’s home who said he was a vampire. He had a living chicken in his house. We Played inside a swimming pool, inside a train. We have so many different funny stories, just watch the Detour(s) DVD and you get an idea of it.
Yul: We drank sort of Vodka in russia. Well not really Vodka but smoething liquid and the guy after us spit fire with it.
Seb: And then they told us it was medical alcohol. He gave us the bottle and said drink, drink drink! In Japan there are a lot of weird but nice people, too.

Are there some shows you especially remember?
Groezerock! Open flair was quite cool, too. Catch 22 came to us after the show and told us they were amazed.
Or the Show in Minsk, just the fact that we were playing in a dictature, playing Punk Rock music in front of 200-300 kids, just giving them an hour of freedom.

I know, musical taste is an individual thing but do you think there is any must-see live act?
Sublime would have been really great.
Yul: Bob Marley, Goldfinger, Refused, Bad Brains.

Are there some Records you won’t like to miss in your collection?
All NoFX Records.
Yul: Maybe the Charly Parker Bootleg.

Ana Goldman once said “If I can’t dance to it, it’s not my Revolution.” What do you think about it?
Seb: Tricky Question. Well it seems legit. If you can change something with music you should do it.
Yul: Sounds great!

What do you generally think about political lyrics. There are big differences between slogans like ACAB and quite distinguished lyrics.
This is a personal thing but I prefer having people analyzing things and debating it with their friends than giving one precise opinion, I find it’s more interesting. Our former album InBetweenTheLines was exactly about this. Every action you make, everything you do, you’re always in between the lines. And even for political ideas I’m not shure if everything’s black or white, there’s always much grey in it. And Slogans like ACAB want to provocate people which can be goodf I a way but also extremely dangerous.
I’m not sure if you heard about that in germany but we have a humourist in france called who played sort of a anti-system action and also sort of criticizing of a powetr owned by a group of people only but he’s playing a very dangerous thing because his opinionscan be taken in two opposite ways so like two groups of people liking the same humourist are just creating a dishonour. I don’t know if he was trying to be polemical or to criticize.
All in all I prefer to make people think and analyze things than giving them one fixed opinion.

And is there any band you would advice everyone to give them a chance and listen to them?

Seb: Schluss mit Lustik! (They played support at the night I did the Interview)
Yul: The Tips!
Seb: The Skints, maybe Fat Freddys Drop, Flowbats, Oxymoron, C2C, 9/11.

CD, Vinyl or Download?
Yul: Download, best for free.

Anything you’d like to add?
There are so many reasons to use a trowel, that’s allegory.




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