What was the beginning pint for your music career? How did it all start?
I wouldn’t know what the beginning pint was – I’m the only one who doesn’t drink beer ☺. If you mean “point” – then I don’t know either : we don’t really have a “career.” TRANK is a passion project, which started with myself (Michel) and Julien getting together because he needed a vocalist and lyricist for the music he was composing in his spare time – and I was in a local cover band that did really well, but didn’t really want to get into own songwriting, which I aspired to. From the first session together it was obvious something special was happening, so I called Johann (drums) who had been a friend for a while and I knew was an exceptional drummer looking for a serious project to get involved in. About a year later and after a few bass players came and went, David showed up and something really clicked, in the music and the spirit of the group. That’s when TRANK really came into existence.
Was there any bumps on the road? What kind of challenges did you have to deal with?
Finding a truly great bass player was one. But the main one is actually about trying to explain what we do to people, until they hear it – because then it becomes obvious. We have very, very diverse musical tastes, an even though we’re all eclectic, the combination of what each of us loves most at the core sounds unlikely. Julien comes from a stadium-sized alt rock background – he’s a huge fan of Muse and Bring me the Horizon; Johann grew up listening to prog rock and very refined AOR bands like Toto, but he also loves metal; David has his heart in 90’s metal – grunge, stoner, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden – but we also share a passion for over-the-topness – things like Queen and a-Ha. And I have to be one of the biggest Depeche Mode fans in the world. In the beginning we thought all of that would make it hard for us to create a sound that really holds together – but it didn’t : our songs have that interesting set of paradoxes – powerful but accessible, dark and intense but catchy, intimate but cut for big arenas, raucous but polished
What was the most fulfilling and satisfying moment so far?
Opening for Deep Purple in the Riga Arena. 16,000 people who actually had been told by DP, by way of press, that they should show up on time to catch us because “those TRANK guys are great.” So the place was packed full of people with very intent looks on their faces when we took the stage. It went incredibly well – headliner level reception. They even sang approximate versions of the 2nd chorus to most of the songs, which was very touching.
How would you describe the music that you typically create?
Like the bastard child of Alter bridge and Depeche Mode, with Killing Joke and Muse as midwives.
What is your creative process like?
Usually Julien or David will come up with a melodic backbone played on guitar (typically a main riff and two or three variations or chord progressions), which Johann and I will structure – Johann works a lot on the dynamics, which he can do easily because he can create drum patterns that are either really textured and low key OR very powerful, depending on what each section wants; and I might add this or that element of melody, typically a bridge or a key change, to give the songs more light and shade; we love the notion of each song and each album being a self-contained trip, and I usually bring the shade. We’ll record our parts at home and share files as the thing builds up, then put it in the practice room until we have a bass / drums / guitars skeleton that works. I’ll then take it away, let it simmer and add the electronics for added color and atmosphere. More practice, more simmering, and then one day the song’s melody and atmosphere will dictate the general theme and the first line of the lyrics and vocals. The music guides everything.
If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?
I’d set the world clocks back to the late 80’s.
If you were asked to give a piece of advice to upcoming bands, what would that be?
Don’t listen to our advice. We haven’t exactly sold millions, even though the album is getting rave reviews basically everywhere (including “Album of the Month” awards in Rock Hard Mag in France or Italy, and Powerplay in the UK). Once we have, ask us again.
What has been the best performance of your career so far?
Maybe even better than the Deep Purple gig was when we played the Atlas Festival in Kyiv, Ukraine (and please print it is Kyiv, which is the Ukrainian spelling, not Kiev). We have that song, “bend or Break” – which was written about a pretty intimate subject but does deal with resilience. It has a scream-out chorus of “YOU-WILL-NOT-BEND-YOU-WILL-NOT-BREAK” which, having been through so much for the last 100 years and more, the crowd embraced and sang along to like it was about them. I think that brought out the best in us.
If you didn’t become a musician, what would you be doing now?
Wouldn’t you like to know.
What is new with the band at the moment? What are you currently working on and would like to share with the world?
We’re recording a bunch of singles that will come out sometime in 2022. We have a great visual director who works so fast, the videos are finished even though the songs only exist in demo form… We love the tunes, so we hope you will, too.