Philippe Demart, Yves Weber, Christophe Demart and Pierre Christen will celebrate the release of Autumn Sweater’s “Car Park” album at Rotondes on 26 October
Autumn Sweater’s Christophe Demart and Pierre Christen talk about long player “Car Park” and how the band has developed.
Some three years after releasing their 6-track demo EP “First Session”, local indie pop band Autumn Sweater will unveil “Car Park” with a special show next week. Sitting in the Buvette bar at Rotondes, the venue they will play on 26 October, Christophe Demart and Pierre Christen are managing to look relaxed. The drummer and guitarist respectively (they both also sing) prove to be eloquent and self-deprecating--two essential qualities for an interview with any artist--yet quietly confident about the album and the upcoming concert.
They are no strangers to Rotondes. It was here that Autumn Sweater made their debut live performance in the summer of 2016 as part of the Congés Annulés line up. And they have engaged the services of one of the Rotondes' bookers and guitarist with hugely successful local band Mutiny On The Bounty, Nicolas Przeor to play at the album launch. “When we started, we thought if we get people like Nicolas or AperoTom [Delano’s favourite indie nerd DJ] on our side, then we know we’re doing the right thing,” says Christophe. In addition, singer-songwriter Bartelby Delicate, Julien Hübsch from The Choppy Bumpy Peaches, Jamie Reinert and rapper Nicool will also join the band on stage.
Since releasing the “Second Session”, comprising 8 tracks, in April 2017, the band has been quietly gearing up for the full-fledged album at the behest of friends and fans. “They kept asking when we would start doing something real,” says Christophe. Finding enough material for the 12 tracks on “Car Park” proved unproblematic.
“By the time we decided we were going to record a proper album, we already had half the songs. For the rest we focused on writing material that was more coherent, that would steer towards a concept…,” says Pierre. Christophe is quick to complete the sentence “…without ever really defining it,” he says. The 12 tracks on the album are packed with harmonious guitar-based pop. The title, inspired from when the quartet used to meet in the car park prior to band rehearsals at the Rockhal, is also a play on the two different sides of the vinyl release--the “car” side contains the louder and faster songs, they explain, while the “park” songs are softer with slower melodies and more laid back.
Christophe and Pierre are two of the band’s three songwriters, alongside Christophe’s brother Philippe, who also plays guitar and sings (the quartet is completed by bass player Yves Weber). It is a set up that makes for an interesting dynamic, no doubt. “There is a sense of positive competition that pushes you,” says Christophe. “We all listen to different types of music,” adds Pierre. “There are certain similarities, and we each feel we want a certain style of song. So, the best way to go about it is to write individually.” Philippe tends to write the slower, quieter songs, Pierre can be relied upon for songs that are “about three times faster”, while Christophe’s output is down the middle. Check out for yourselves by listening to the tracks already culled from the album – ‘Drinks’ (written by Christophe) and ‘7/11’ (by Pierre).
Lyrically, the songs seem to focus on the mundaneness and minutiae of everyday life. “We all enjoy having long conversations about trivial things. I think if we sang a political song, it would not sound quite as convincing,” Pierre explains. “We’re not really a rock’n’roll band, we’re all homeowners.” Christophe reckons that writing about unfamiliar subjects would lead him to use stereotypical metaphors. In any case, he says, the average listener is someone they rarely think of. “Listeners for us are the other members of the band, or people we know well. We’re just very simple guys who write about very simple things.”
The result is proper pop songs, short and with punchy melodies. “We paid more attention to that when writing songs for the album,” says Pierre. “We wanted to keep the songs short. Three minutes is a very good average.” Christophe admits that at their root they are all pop songs. “It’s important to make songs that get stuck in your head, ideally. They are on point.”