Raw colours and unsettling hues: an interview with Jérémie Ruiz of Drawers

drawers bassist

Jérémie Ruiz

The new self-titled album from French band Drawers is an encounter dripping testosterone riff and rhythm, a dirt encrusted slab of sludge rock voracity which overwhelms the senses with a metal bred intensity and ferociousness. The band’s second album, it is a raw attention gripping adrenaline fuelled encounter with irresistibly barbed hooks and lingering grooves to feverishly hunger for. We did not need to be asked twice to take up the opportunity to find out more about the band and album with bassist Jérémie Ruiz, with whom we talk band history, sound evolution, live prospects and more…

Hello Jérémie and thanks for joining us at The Ringmaster Review

First up please tell us about the beginnings of Drawers and its members backgrounds.

Drawers started in a garage in 2006 with Olivier (drums) and Alex (guitars) and I (Jérémie / bass). Each of us already had a band and our goal was to play slow, loud and low-tuning metal. We were friends since college and we wanted to play together for a long time. It was supposed to be a side project for us, nothing serious, just playing together and write some heavy riffs.

Then our first singer and Laurent (guitar) joined the band and we started to play live and think about recording an EP.

What was the core thought and intention in the initial direction and presence of the band?

The idea to write spontaneous and heavy music is the main direction since the beginning but the band has grown and some parameters have changed. Drawers is now our main music project and we have to take some things more seriously. We rehearse more than before as we planned to tour and to write some new stuff, beside taking care of merchandizing or searching for a van to tour…

You have just released your excellent and dramatic self-titled second album, how has early receptions been?

Reviews are very good so far. We were very curious about how it would be reviewed because many things have changed since the previous record. We are now very satisfied and we hope this album will help us to tour a lot.

As mentioned it is self-titled and comes with a seeming shift in your sound or its intent, is this so and is the title suggesting the start of a newdrawers chapter for the band or are we reading too much into it?

I think this is more and evolution than a shift. I imagine it can be brutal from the outside and obviously many things have changed since our last recording (on the split with Hangman’s chair, the track Tears never come alone). But our influences did not change that much. We just tried to find a different colour and to use different side of these influences. We have not started to write new songs yet but I think the next ones will be more like Drawers than All Is One. Some elements will always be here, like guitar sound, some drums patterns or Niko’s voice but the next album could be totally different again. We’ll see…

Your first release, the This is Oil EP came out in 2008 to strong responses which were certainly increased with your debut album you just mentioned, All is One three years later. How do you see those releases in relation to what the new album unleashes?

In fact, when we started Drawers, the band was a side project and it was a really good way to play the music we like in a totally brain-free way : we played what we liked and we didn’t think about how it was good or not. That’s why the EP is a big melting-pot of a lot of different kinds of metal. And a lot of friends of us came to make a vocal featuring, despite there being only four tracks! Things became more serious after this EP and a few shows; then we started to write All Is One which is a lot more coherent as an album. After that, I think we can say that our new album Drawers is the result of the same will. We try to do one thing as good as we can, a compact album, right to the point, short and fast!

Right there in the inside of your creativity how do you see your sound has actually changed over the past five years?

Well, seriously our sound didn’t change at all. We use exactly the same gear as our beginning, and we didn’t add or remove a single thing of that! This sound is part of Drawers, we build the band on it so it would be strange to change it now.

Drawers the album, has a power and almost predatory breath which roars at the listener as if there in the room with its physical form. How did you achieve this intensity, was it just down to recording the album live in the studio?

We wrote some short songs, within a short and compact album. Recording live was the logical choice to make to keep this rough and tense atmosphere. This way we kept all the groove and anger from guitars and drum (only guitars and drum were recorded live). Then bass was recorded separately to have a clean, loud shape among all the instruments.

What inspired the shift to this ‘attack’ for the recording process?

We worked with Luc Ferré on the split’s recording (2012) and we wanted him on the new record. We like his way of working but we wanted to try something new especially on the drum. We were after something much more groovy and colored. So Luc asked our friend Amaury Sauvé if he wanted to participate as a “drum recording specialist”. We had known him for his live recording and we were seduced by this process. We are fully satisfied of this method and I think our next studio session will be live.

Is there a specific theme or connection between the songs upon the album and what inspires the lyrical aspect of the band predominantly?a2694686389_2

Lyric topics are very different from a song to another, no obvious links between tracks, except us and our experiences. Niko’s life remains the main inspiration for the lyrics.

We tried to make All Is One a kind of a concept album. Tracks were related to each other and a whole story was told along the lyrics.

Here, there is no such thing. We wanted this album to look like us, we wanted something simple and efficient. The lyrics are about our lives, about what we wanted to say.

How does the writing process work within the band?

We usually write songs together, live, during rehearsals. Sometimes someone comes with an idea or a riff and we build a song from this idea together, adding instruments, one at the time. Then we add the voice and modify the structure if needed. It is pretty simple but it can take weeks for us to write a single song.

For us the new album brings a distinctive presence and sound to you the band whereas previous releases maybe showed your influences more, is that how you see it now you can look back at the finished results?

Yes definitely, we tried to do something more personal. We know that our previous album is showing our influences, at least the ones of the time, and this is something we really wanted to fix. I don’t know if it worked for the new one, but for us it’s a lot more original than before… Only time will tell us if we’re right. Or maybe the next album!

What have been your biggest inspirations as a band and personally?

When we started we tried to make a kind of metal that almost no band in Europe played, even today. A kind of fat sludge southern metal like Crowbar, Eyehategod, and Down. In France there was a sludge band in Paris called Es La Guerilla, and it was the first band we tried to sound like. This band was and remains the only Sludge band in Europe… Well in France there is a lot more Stoner-like music, but not so much dirty fat Sludge…In fact there is nothing at all. Anyway, that’s why we wanted to play this music : nobody plays it here. Besides this, we listen to a lot of different music: old black metal, synth-kraut music, death metal, post-hardcore, almost everything in fact.

It is hard to settle on a favourite track upon the album, it changing with every listen, but Detour always leaves a major persuasion. Can you tell us about the track and its breeding?

We wrote this one in the middle of our writing process, I think it crystallized all we wanted to put in a song : heavy riffing, a bit of blast beat for the aggressiveness, a lot of low chords, and a catchy chorus. Rock music.

Is there anything in particular on the album, a song or just a moment, which gives you a bigger tingle of pleasure?

Mourning has something special for me. All the songs are about some important part of our lives but this one corresponds to a sad moment of Niko’s.  Recording this one was a tough moment for him and I got goose bumps every time I listen to it.

drawers2You are renowned for your live performances, the energy unleashed, and simply your hunger to play shows; we can assume 2014 will be a non-stop torrent of gigs in support of the album and beyond?

We wish it would be a non-stop torrent of gigs, but unfortunately it is not that simple to tour a lot yet. Our goal is to play a lot, especially outside France and we are still looking for contacts and gigs.

We will start with a French tour for the album’s release, then we will play in a few festivals and we may be touring again around September/October.

Any specific plans or prospective shows you can reveal here?

We start a tour in France tomorrow (3/16) for a few gigs, one in Paris with Corrosion Of Conformity. After that we’re going to play with Crowbar in Toulouse! We’re very excited about those gigs! We play as much as we can, and we’re always looking for shows.

Thanks again for sharing your time with us.

Thanks a lot to you Ringmaster!

Any thought you would like to leave us to consider?

Louder is better.

Read the review of Drawers @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/drawers-self-titled/

http://www.facebook.com/drawerskvlt

Pete Ringmaster

The Ringmaster Review 28/03/2014

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Drawers – Self Titled

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     With testosterone dripping from every note, rhythm, and syllable, the self-titled album from French band Drawers is one hefty irresistible treat. The second full-length from the Toulouse quintet sees the band parading their individual blend of stoner and sludge rock cast with a metal bred intensity and ferociousness, a sound which has made them a formidable and exciting proposition over past years. This time around though it comes with a seemingly stripped down and organic voracity which fuels and fire up the finest encounter from the band to date, an album giving heavyweight dirt encrusted rock ‘n’ roll a real shot in the sinew clad arm.

     From their first release, the 2008 This is Oil EP, Drawers has reaped strong and eager attention which with debut album All is One three years later, they turned into rigorous acclaim for their imposing sound. Live the band also garnered the richest responses and praise whilst a split 7” with French band Hangman’s Chair in 2012 reinforced the band’s presence further. Entering the studio for the new album, Drawers set about employing all the potent essences which marked previous releases with the unbridled raw energy and power of their live performances. Recorded live in the studio it is fair to say that the album achieves its aim and more, the eight tracks combining for a towering and adrenaline fuelled encounter with razor sharp hooks and lingering grooves to feverishly latch on to.

     The band opens up their enterprise soaked bruising with Once and for all, rhythms immediately tantalising the ears whilst 760137618423_TOX032_Drawers_Artwork_1400x1400bright riffing coaxes equal attention. It is a relatively undemanding start, certainly in context to the thumping beats and intensive sounds which soon reaps the rewards of an already eager appetite as they smother the senses in ravenous energy and intent. The song ebbs and flows pleasingly, taking small ‘breathers’ between avalanches of strenuous imposing charges. The guitars of Laurent Bringer and Alexandre Berenguer entice and thrill throughout, from the rampant riffery to the sonic colour which ignites the song to even greater extents, the pair command and tempt the imagination alongside the excellent grizzly tones of vocalist Nicolas Bastide.

    It is a potent and impressive start but soon shown to be just an appetiser as both Mourning and It’s all about love thrust their muscle through the ears. The first of the two unleashes a torrent of rhythms from Olivier Lolmède aligned to a fury of guitar scathing before settling into an only slightly less furious pace and intent. With the bass of Hérémie Ruiz adding a predatory intimidation to the song, grooves and sonic flames emerge to captivate and infect the imagination with Bastide’s vocals riding it all like a burly surfer, his caustic delivery guiding everything confidently into the passions.  Like the first, the track twists and switches its gait and attack to offer a gloriously unpredictable and striking proposition, a Thin Lizzy meets Mastodon like enthrallment which is simply majestic. Its successor is no less a successful antagonist, immediate grooves and bulging rhythms enslaving thoughts and eager emotions right away with their ravenous and breath-taking intent. Thoughts of Torche and Baroness come to mind in the doom tasting slab of creative muscle but only as loud whispers in a fresh and distinctly rapacious heavy rock proposition.

    Both Bleak and Take stock continue the irrepressible body and lure of the album, the chugging hunger of the first wrapped in contagion soaked grooves whilst its successor offers a slower prowling intensity with sludge seeded provocation and weight. Neither quite match up what came before and what will follow but both leave imagination and satisfaction basking in sonic tsunamis. That shade is cast right away by the tremendous Shadow dancers, once again riffs and rhythms seizing the initial offensive and submission for the fiery guitar endeavour and scowling vocals to press deeper into the psyche and emotions. Churning up the air with riff sculpted rabidity, the melodic flames of the song flare up and smoulder within what is an unrelenting energetic pace from start to finish, the whole body of song a fully rounded and richly textured adventure.

    The album is brought to a triumphant close with firstly the magnificent Words which takes all the impressive elements already offered and exhausted by previous songs and gives them a new breath of invention and carnivorous intensity, and lastly by the almost corrosively impressive Detour. The final track is a furnace of energy and power drenched in melodic toxicity and groove lined imagination, a beast of a song which savages and seduces with equal mastery. The pair concludes a quite breath-taking release where everything from the intensive songwriting, the compelling individual skills of the band, through to the overall blaze of sound is exceptional.  Released via Kaotoxin Records, with its first pressing on CD a 1,000 hand-numbered copies limited edition, the album has securely registered Drawers as a major force in world metal, theirs a power which all should dare to embrace.

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10/10

RingMaster 11/02/2013

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