One of the most entertaining and downright funky albums I’ve heard so far is “The Two Mousquetaires” by French/Gascon funk rock outfit The Inspector Cluzo. Mathieu Jourdain and Malcolm Lacrouts were more than happy to share their insights on their latest album, Curtis Mayfield, the region of Gascony itself and Mme Hollande. What followed was a rather chaotic conversation in the best ‘Allo ‘Allo tradition…
Thank you for doing this interview. Normally I’m more into the darker and heavier music styles, but I must admit I’m utterly blown away by “The Two Mousquetaires”. Ae you happy the way the album came out and what kind of feedback did you receive from the fans and the press?
Thanks- After touring in 31 countries we have fans everywhere that are really liking our new release. Those fans do not belong from “hype wave” because we ‘re doing a music that media cannot put into any genre. Since we are a duo, guitar and drums, the media would like to lump us into “Blues rock white stripes, Black keys” and the other ten million other duos in the world but since the beginning we’re just doing our own music and we don’t care if it is “hype” or not. If the media likes, it’s a good news , if not, so be it, we built our career doing everything by ourselves (booking, management , label , etc..). 100% DIY , and we played 585 gigs within 5 years in 31 countries … we built our audience doing crazy live performances.
People are loyal to us , everywhere . They remembered we played at Fuji rock in Japan and love it and our TIC fans will come back the next time we play in Japan again 2 years. TIC is like a small community with people from all the world sharing same taste of music and life. We‘re based in our home town, Mont de Marsan in Gascony (les Landes) in the house of Laurent’s grandpa …, studio, label everything is there. Both of us do everything, we are doing music and business like farmers do here. No stress, no hype, sense of humour, temper, values…..land of rugby here.
Can you share some insights on the origins of The Inspector Cluzo? What I really like about the album is the twisted humor in combination of well-written songs with lots of funk, rock and soul influences. How do you guys manage to put it all together and make it float?
Thanks-It’s just us… simply …people who saw us are stuck by the fact that we ‘re the same …We ‘re 100% Gascon people …mix of honor and humor. Honor fight like rugby but always funny turning into party all the time. Gascony is a land like Scotland …we travel the world and that is the land that is the most similar to us. Humor, good relationships between people, and crazy parties Next Sunday our rugby team “stade montois” will play the French Championship Division 2 Final which will be crazy, whatever we win or lose.
The album also contains a ripping cover of Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up” and “I want to mmm the wife of the French president” contains the main theme of “Je t’aime moi non plus” by Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin. Why did you choose these songs and how do they fit within the overall framework of the album?
Curtis Mayfield is one of our idols …and we love him and you can feel it in our music when Laurent is singing or in some arrangements we have. Curtis is also an inspiration source, because he was saying serious things, smartly and mostly with humor. So we try to do the same , as Gascon people, we have adapted to the period we‘re living.“I want to MMM The wife of the French president” is a song we ‘ve been playing over four years now on tours. It was our way to express how sorry we were that France sent a so bad picture to the world due to the bad and impolite behaviour of Sarkozy and his wife. They’re really like American movie actors and acting out like them. This was not political, you could agree with him or not , but their behaviour was NOT representing the spirit of France. People from France are like us, coming from country side , with strong culture like Gascony, Basque country, Brittany and 22 other regions !! That is the richness of our culture and its diversity, the fact that we ‘re so different because we live so far from each other, yet somehow we remain 100% French! This is the beauty of this country, diversity with honor and loyalty. Which was opposite of what Sarkozy and his wife were expressing Our fans were asking us to record it , so we decide to release it in our new record.
“The Two Mousquetaires” is a concept album of sorts and despite the twisted humor it does touch some serious subjects on preserving local culture and language. Care to explain?
Yes –we ‘re gascon and we really into our culture which is more than 1500 years old. Travelling the world, we realised how culture & traditions were attacked by this regular consumerist world of big companies (even in the USA). Human being is rich because we‘re all so different from each other. Our differences make it richer. We know from history that mixing people has made the human condition better. From now, if we don’t fight , we will all be the same in 30 years, eating same industrial food, talking bad English etc…just so that few world companies earn more money.
This problem is the problem of all: Dutch people, Japanese people, American people, if we don’t fight, human beings will be destroyed within 100 years …We were born in Gascony so we fight for our culture, but that means that everyone who was born in a strong culture like in Eastern Europe, or in Asia must fight like us, as all culture are as interesting as each other.The Mousquetaires are the famous characters of Gascon, this land provides the biggest soldiers of France and also good rugby players of the French team. Gascons people are famous to be courageous. Not maybe the strongest, but the most courageous !!
The Inspector Cluzo has some very strong ties with the Gascony region in France. How does this influence your music?
We live like true Gascon people. Growing our own vegetables, making our fat duck , our own foie gras, etc all hand-made. We go to rugby stadium to support our team (rugby here is bigger than soccer, it is the farmers sport) –We work sometimes at Laurent’ s uncle Farm…the special link Gascons have with their land is making this “Mousquetaires spirit “: mix of fighting spirit , courage, and big sense of humour called “panache” …like D’Artagnan. People here party all the time!!!
The album is released as a comic. I think that’s a really original approach to things. How did this came about?
Our universe and sense of humor is befitting to a comic book . People laugh a lot at our shows … We met Chris Chaos (the art designer) in Taiwan when we played there and we really got along to each other. He fell in love with the band and we decided to work together. He draws all our artworks now, comic book and also video clips like French Bastards cartoon.
The Inspector Cluzo seems to tour France almost exclusively. What’s the reason behind this and do you have the desire to build up a fan base abroad as well?
Not really it is the opposite . We must be the French band touring the most abroad(according to the French export music bureau) , by these days we are the only band touring internationally and not having a corporation behind us or a big indie label or agency –We’ve played in 31 countries, in famous festivals everywhere like Fuji Rock in Japan, Blues and Roots fest in Australia , Sziget in Hungaria, Rock for People in Cz Rep, SxSw in USA, etc… At the beginning of our career, we were even more popular outside of France than in France . Now things are more balanced, that is cool.
Your website is called “Fuck the bassplayer”. What’s the story on that?
Well, we hate bass players. No, we’re joking, We just wanted to make a Duo (guitar and drums) and play groove rock music without a bass player. Apparently, somehow it worked. We naturally wrote a song called “Fuck the bass player”. This song had a huge success got into people’s mind so we wanted to hit one more time and create www.fuckthebassplayer.com. The funny thing is that a lot of bands come to us and tell us: “yeah, fuck the bass player”. Somehow it must be true.
Time for the final question. Who do you prefer, madame Hollande or madame Bruni/Sarkozy?
Mme Holland (they are not married) is smarter than Carla Bruni – Carla Bruni is the fake smart people, a lot of attitude, a lot of theatrical attitude to hide no charisma. When you have charisma like Mme Holland, you don’t need to always be “too much”.
Thank you very much for your time.
You ‘re welcome!