By Rosine Alleva, José Oliveira, Journalist/Photographers – Rock At Night France, Switzerland.
SMOKING KILLS is a french blues rock band founded in 2012. After a first EP in 2014, they released the album “Silly Things” in 2016. After the band slipped in two, Jérémy and Pierre-Yves were joined by Yves and Sebastien last Autumn giving the band a brand new energy, and not the least…Those blues lovers combine the primary instincts of Mississippi delta music with contemporary electric guitars distortions, paying tribute to a music that will never die…SMOKING KILLS opened already for many artists over the last years (Joanne Shaw Taylor, Paul Person, Lucky Peterson, Rob Tognoni, Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado…)
I interviewed the band during their last soundcheck, a few days before the kick off with the new line-up. And what a kick off!! They opened for the great female french guitarist LAURA COX. SMOKING KILLS gave a great live performance particularly highlighted with the new line up. An awesome initial concert and very promising!!!
Jérémy Cardot– Lead Guitar, Vocals
Pierre-Yves Scagnetti – Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
Yves ‘Alabass’– Bass – Sébastien Delunel– Drums
RAN– The band was founded by you, Jérémy Cardot and Pierre-Yves Scagnetti in 2012. Both blues lovers, what are the band influences, today?
Jérémy Cardot– Well, we’re with the new members since a few months now so we don’t have common influences. The band’s functioning mode has just always been the encounter of influences. That’s what’s interesting. Personally I’m influenced by Jimi Hendrix, Gary Clark Jr or more old school like Freddie King, BB King. My guitar playing is not oriented by artists like Joe Bonamassa on the other hand, it’s not too much my style.
RAN– And what about you Pierre-Yves, you’re the other guitar player…
Pierre-Yves Scagnetti– My influences are all types of blues, from Eric Clapton to John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters or Albert King…
RAN– You recorded your eponymous album SILLY THINGS in 2016, with the ex members of the band, right?
PY– We released already a 5 tracks EP “Let it Burn” in 2014, we were 5 members with an harmonist. The album with 10 titles “Silly Things”in 2016 has been recorded without him as he left us.The first recording was an initial try with simple structures, different styles of blues and with the aim of creating.
JC– The EP was more of a test to see what we were worth, cause the studio experience forges as well.
RAN– You made a live video of ‘SILLY THINGS‘ with the new line-up, Yves and Sebastien, ex One Trick Pony’s bassist and drummer. How do you see your evolution with the new members influences
PY– Actually we worked our old titles with Yves and Sebastien, they worked hard and really well and even brought new stuff in!!
JC– Thus, it was not really interesting to immediately create something new, but to learn from each other, to reinvent the songs within the new configuration. The arrival of Yves and Sebastien helped to develop things and to look for new stuff, particularly for future compositions.
SÉBASTIEN – We begin to know each other and I’m really looking forward to creating new songs, record a new EP and have more great dates with the band.
RAN– I read this sentence on your site ‘our goal is to honor a century-old music by forcing it into the 21st century’…
JC– Yes in fact what I meant is that, for having done some interviews, a question I was often asking to artists like WOUTER TROUT was “what is the blues for you in the 21st century?”. They agreed to say that Blues is not the most popular style but it has gone through the ages and was able to reinvent itself. The survival of the genre and its evolution has gone through the merger to other styles…the blues was mixed with country, with soul, rock, it gave a new color to succeed to impose blues. It’s coming back now and it’s a big challenge to give it a new dynamic, impose it to generations who would not have been affected by this. Blues and Rock are not the most popular music styles at the moment, even if people don’t know that 95% of the music they listen to today arises from it directly.
RAN– For a first concert with the new bassist and drummer, Yves and Sebastien, it’s quite a cool supporting act!
JC– I think on a sold out concert like this, the crowd will be quite enthusiastic to be there although let’s not forget people will not be there for us…Being a supporting act is a very interesting exercise cause you can be the unexpected part of the evening. it also gives local bands the opportunity to maybe get a certain visibility.
RAN– Last question, how did you meet with Yves and Sebastien?
YVES– Sebastien and I play together since 7 years, I told Jeremy we were looking for a new project as we had no more guitar player. Seb and I wanted to keep playing together. We didn’t know Smoking Kills had no bassist and drummer anymore…
JC– Music is made of encounters. We both lost our bassist and drummer at the same time they both lost their guitarist, something unlikely to happen…It couldn’t be better!
RAN– It’s obvious you’re really happy to have found each other! Looking forward to your new songs…Something tells me it’s gonna be awesome!