Bryan’s Magic Tears: “Our ambition was to put more sound in people’s faces”

Invited to perform for the closing night of the Inrocks Festival, the Parisian group will open for Ride, at the Élysée Montmartre. What to discuss upstream with its thinking head, Benjamin Dupont, and to evoke shoegaze, influences and reinvention.

The association was obvious. Who better than Bryan’s Magic Tears to accompany Ride, these pillars of English shoegaze, eagerly awaited on Sunday December 18 for the closing of the Inrocks Festival, on the stage of the Élysée Montmartre, on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary tour of nowherealbum-monument of a genre whose gaze has, it seems, never deviated from its pumps or effects pedals?

If the band led by guitarist and singer Benjamin Dupont has demonstrated its ability to free itself from labels, it remains the worthy heiress of a rock equally stuck between the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the ninetiesthe twilight of adolescence and the early morning synonymous with descent, where the riffs noisy break through a foggy sound barrier until they betray the emotions. From Bryan’s Magic Tears’ self-titled debut album, released in 2016, to the recent Vaccum Sealed (2021), you just have to pick at random from the discography of Parisians to realize that the influences have been digested. This Sunday, there is no doubt that they will be more than celebrated.

In the spring of 2017, you opened for The Jesus and Mary Chain at the Élysée Montmartre. Five years later, you do it again with Ride in the same room. How does it feel to be associated with these names, to share the same stage?
Benjamin Dupont- I wouldn’t go so far as to say that we are honoured, but it’s nice to be able to play with formations that have really influenced us. It’s even quite gratifying. We are therefore rather happy and excited. Ride is one of my influences, much less compared to The Jesus and Mary Chain, but it is definitely one of the ten bands that influence my music.

The sound that Bryan’s Magic Tears has accustomed us to since the first album in 2016 has nothing to do with Dame Blanche, your old, more garage-oriented project at the time. What pushed you to go in this direction?
A purchase of equipment in better condition. [rires] I also think that maybe we had this ambition to play on bigger stages and to have a bigger sound, which wraps around the head a little more, rather than just having this biting garage look, even if however, we kept this side a bit destroy sound. So yeah, I think our ambition was to get more sound into people’s faces.

Have you also seen a way to highlight your influences more?
When we staged Dame Blanche, it was something between friends. We weren’t all seasoned musicians and our music adapted to everyone’s level. With Bryan’s Magic Tears, that was much less the case, which allowed me to go back to things I had been listening to from the beginning. I’ve been listening to this type of music for a very long time, shoegaze or that kind of thing. So it was an opportunity for me to stick a little more to my influences and put them to work a little more. Afterwards, with Bryan’s Magic Tears, it was never a question of copying and pasting either, but I think we could achieve this kind of supersonic sound better by playing with five musicians, including three guitars, rather than with Dame Blanche. Before, it was more complicated, there wasn’t even a real drum set, two guitars that were a bit rickety… [rires] It was very, very cool, but it’s true that we couldn’t do exactly what I wanted. I wanted to move on and that other thing is the music we make today.

You can’t say that Bryan’s Magic Tears is a true shoegaze band, but it’s a term that often comes up to describe your music, no doubt because of its enveloping guitars or its inherent melancholy. How do you maintain this?
In fact, we don’t maintain it that much. It’s quite natural for us. It’s like this melancholic side, it’s never very thoughtful. Since I’m the one composing our songs, I bring that emotion to the stuff and it’s something that comes very naturally. The melancholy is a component that will always be there no matter what style of music we end up moving towards. But I don’t necessarily put it in relation to the shoegaze, even if it’s sure that this style of music lends itself completely to it. We are stuck with this adjective when it is not at all a will on our part, it is simply our influences that stand out. Often, of course. Besides, it’s in the process of withering, because we get tired quite quickly in the group. We kept something melancholy and this slightly flat or hallucinated aspect of shoegaze on the last album, but we especially tried to bring new things. We opened the doors and I think the next record will be different again.

We clearly hear an evolution on Vaccum Sealed, both on production and influences, which can range from the Smiths to Happy Mondays or Primal Scream. Is this evolution also natural or do you feel the need to reinvent yourself as you go along?
It’s a mixture of both. When we start to get tired of something, we will necessarily, knowingly or unknowingly, move on to something else. In general, for me, it means trying to listen to more new things and, when I have influences that I like, I awkwardly redo them, which produces something new. This was the case for the last album where I immersed myself a little in the Manchester thing of the 1980s-90s. You can hear the influences, but that has nothing to do with this music either. I think it’s above all about keeping the pleasure in creating and this pleasure, you can’t have it when you do the same thing three times in a row.

You said above that The Jesus and Mary Chain and Ride were among your main influences. All of these groups share a certain way of using sound and processing it, which means that the immersive side of their music can be enjoyed on record as well as on stage. Same for Bryan’s Magic Tears?
I would say that it’s a group that can be listened to on stage, to have a particular experience, as well as at home, with big headphones. Experience also works. But we love embodying this music on stage because it’s mostly when we’re all together, unlike in the studio, where I’m usually alone or sometimes surrounded by one or two members. These are moments that we like to alternate with periods of creation.

Do you keep this scenic dimension in mind when you write your songs or are they suitable for live after the fact?
Adaptation happens either way, and that’s where the essence of Bryan’s Magic Tears lies. I’m not fair with one back band, each member brings his way of playing. The notion of the band settles in because the band isn’t just there to perform something that I recorded in the studio. Sometimes the songs are rearranged a little bit to be a little more punchy on stage, but when I’m composing, I also think about what each member could do or bring to the whole. Basically, I’m not going to do a Jimi Hendrix solo knowing that my guitarist doesn’t like it. It’s a kind of special Micmac.

Having seen you at festivals in the middle of the day and in smaller venues after dark, what kind of stage do you prefer to play on?
I don’t necessarily like big venues, but precisely, the concert at the Élysée Montmartre with The Jesus and Mary Chain in 2017 was great. This room has really great sound, so I can’t wait to play it again and I think it will be cool. But my favorite thing is the clubs, like 400-500 people. I like that there is a sonic proximity with the public, that they take in the sound of the amps a bit.

You went to play in Brighton, as part of the Great Escape festival, last May. Did you have the impression that the English public appreciated your music differently?
People are much more receptive. I cannot compare with Paris, but when we tour in the rest of France, there are cities where it takes and others where the music we play is not necessarily meaningful. While in England, you know that all this music that has influenced us and that we transcribe is part of the culture, in each stratum of the population. It’s not obscure music they’ve never heard. It’s quite pleasant because you know, from the first notes, that they have captured. After all, not everyone there is a fan of this kind of music, that’s not what I mean, but the public knows that you’re not doing some weird thing out of nowhere.

Recently, you participated, Lauriane Petit (bassist and singer of Bryan’s Magic Tears, editor’s note), to Bracco’s latest album, which has just been released on Born Bad Records, your joint label. What are your plans for the future?
The concert with Ride at the Élysée Montmartre will be the closing date of the big tour we did this year. It was pretty intense and we’re pretty exhausted, so we’re probably going to go back to the studio. We will try to set up a schedule for the next release. I’ve already worked on a few tracks.

Bryan’s Magic Tears, concert on December 18 at the Inrocks Festival in Paris (Élysée Montmartre), opening for Ride.


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