TRAUMATISME is a horror rock glam metal one-man project from France. Trauma might be young but he knows what he wants as well as what he doesn’t want. His first album “Horrorwood Rocks!” made us want to know a bit more about this colourful freak and his shock rock universe. Hear him speak…
Can you introduce yourself?
Hi! I’m Traumatisme, but you can call me Trauma, everybody does now, except my parents (laughs). I’m from France, I live in a godforsaken place near Deauville, but usually I prefer to say that I come from Sunset Graveyard, Horrorwood, it sounds much better. For a long time now I’ve decided to make everything possible to live my old child’s dreams, how unrealizable they are. I’ve always dreamed about becoming my own rock’n’roll legend, I don’t make illusions for it but when I say this, I mean, writing my own songs, recording my own albums, doing concerts, etc. I’ve really started the whole thing back in 2004, and I plan to go on forever, or until I die at least.
How did you first get into the whole glam metal thing?
Well, I don’t exactly remember how it happened. I think the band who got me into this was the Murderdolls, in the first place. It was back in 2002. Through the Murderdolls, I’ve discovered the glam metal era, and bands like Twisted Sister, Mötley Crüe and W.A.S.P., and the whole Los Angeles hair metal scene in the 80’s. Since I got into the whole thing, it kept fascinating me, and by watching live videos of those bands when I was younger, I definitely understood that I wanted to do the same thing. That was this or nothing.
Your first album “Horrorwood Rocks!” was done the DIY way, can you tell us a bit more about it?
Sure. I’ve dreamed about making my first album for a long time, and I’ve decided to finally make it last November. After all these years, I was angry and pissed-off to record crappy demos, I couldn’t get enough. I’ve spent a long fucking time to build the foundation of what I wanted to do, and I had the feeling that things would never change and that I was destined to record shitty demos forever. You also have to know that I’ve always written new songs, I’ve got tons of new ideas coming through my head everyday, and it killed me to keep in mind that they’re weren’t gonna see the light of day until I make the first album. I can say that I’m a lucky bastard because Divine, who’s the guitarist of Undercover Slut, found me on MySpace, I don’t know how, and proposed me to do something together. We quickly became friends and we’ve recorded a single last September. That was the very first time I had the opportunity to take my music to an higher level. I was blown away. When I released the single, I was always thinking about recording the first album. I wasn’t looking for something that was overproduced, I wanted something raw and light, something which could remind the 80’s sound, and I knew I could do it with Divine. I immediately told him about it, that was the time to do the first album, I knew it. So we recorded it during late January at his place, near Lyon, and it was done in one week. I’ve spent the past weeks to prepare everything, putting myself in imprisonment. I did the drum parts before I went there, the album artwork was complete too. All the booklet’s illustrations have been done by a good friend of mine, Maxime, known as Devilo Death. I had a precise vision of what I wanted, and when he showed me what he has done, I was totally blown away. I couldn’t believe it. With those illustrations, he gave birth to everything I had in mind, I had very specific visions of what the imagery of “Traumatisme” had to look like. Well then, immediately after coming back home, I’ve made an announcement for the album release on the Internet and I began to promote it by myself, while the album was at the pressing plant. It was officialy released on March 17th, by myself as usual, and here we are.
Have you found a backing band for future gigs?
Well, as you may know I’ve been looking for live musicians for a long time, and that is a real pain in the ass, because a few people only in France are into the hair metal and horror punk stuffs. Add to that the fact that it’s a solo project. But now that the album has been released, it was now or never. And I’m proud to announce that my live band is now finally complete. Fuck yeah! I don’t want to tell more about them for the moment, they’re all currently learning to play their parts. We have a long way to go, and a lot of work to do, but this time I feel really great about it, and I am more optimistic than ever. I’ve dreamed about doing concerts all my life, and as the time goes by I’ve learned one thing: “patience will always reward you”. You just have to believe enough in what you do.
Let’s talk about the writing process, do you get the melody/vocals first or the music?
Well, I must say it depends on the situation. But most of the time, I write the music first, with the main vocal melodies, and I write the lyrics later. I always begin with the music because I want to make sure that the song could be a potential hit, so to speak. I know it sounds a little bit pretentious but that is how I mostly work.
Tell us a bit about your lyrics and image, where do you get your ideas from?
Visually, I get my ideas from the whole Los Angeles, Hollywood rock’n’roll scene in the 80’s, with bands like Poison, Mötley Crüe and especially early W.A.S.P. – by the way people call me “the Blondie Zombie Rocker” because of Blackie Lawless, because of the hair; he had black hair with white highlights, and I’ve done the same thing with blonde and pink. I’ve also always been fascinated by the imagery of old horror movies and comics, that’s why I always make sure to add some wretched details in the look and imagery. I can say this about the lyrics too. Most of hair metal bands in the 80’s were talking about girls, love, sex and drugs, and I’m not into this stuff. I only talk sometimes about girls that I would kill (laughs) but that’s it. Lyrically I’m trying to make some big rock’n’roll anthems, like Twisted Sister or Kiss did, but here again, I always make sure to put some wretched details here and there, I always try to “cartoonise” the whole thing. The thing I will never do is talking about everyday’s life and that kind of stuff. This is so boring. And rock’n’roll has to be entertaining. But who said it can’t be entertaining and still have some imagination? The songs on my first album have been written for a long time now, I love them and they’re all my little children but I think the songs on the next album will be a much better example of what I want to do lyrically. And musically too, so to speak.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of being one of the only bands playing “horror rock’n’roll” in France?
The main advantage is that nobody – or almost nobody – does it here, so I guess it helps to build a following. As I told you, I’ve been doing this for a long time now, and a lot of fans and people are waiting to see me in concert. The other advantage I think, is that my so-called “success” – that’s not exactly the right word, but who cares? – helped some other young musicians to do it too, for example there are a lot a kids who told me that the fact I was doing it all by myself gave them the envy and hope to do it too. On the other hand, there are a lot of disadvantages too. But thanks to the Internet, almost everything is possible now. If you believe enough in what you do, and if you know how to proceed, you have the entire world in front of you. You just have to find the right places, the right people, and it helps you to build a little following. Well, I’m not saying that I have the world at my feet, I’m far from it, but I’ve been doing this for a long time now, and the Internet brought some devoted fans to me.
You often get the WEDNESDAY 13 comparison, is there any other band you’d feel closer to?
I used to be compared to him very often, but it really started to piss me off when some die-hard shitheads were trying to bring me down with it, telling me that I was just a bad copy of him. I like Wednesday 13 much, and I know that a song like “Living Dead World” sounds like a Murderdolls song, but hey, The Misfits did it too. People always need to compare somebody with somebody else, that’s a fact. But now I think I’m more influenced by the whole 80’s hard/glam music. My all-time favorite band is Twisted Sister. Some of Dee Snider’s lyrics have changed my life forever. I try to put the “fight for what you believe” motto in my songs too, especially in the latest songs I wrote. Going back to your question, musically, I feel close to bands like Poison, Ratt and Pretty Boy Floyd, and even Kiss, which is one of my other main influences. I’ve also been influenced by some punk’n’roll bands like The Misfits, Backyard Babies, Turbonegro and The Plasmatics, and I think you can easily notice it when you listen to my album.
Name 5 albums you couldn’t live without and tell us a few words about them.
Urgh, what a tough question! Without a doubt, I’d choose the first W.A.S.P. album as well as Twisted Sister’s “Stay Hungry”. Those two albums have changed my life and my vision of music, and things in general. Thinking about it, I think I’d also choose Mötley Crüe’s “Shout At The Devil”, a perfect record from start to end, all killer no filler, “Creatures Of The Night” by Kiss, my favorite album of the band, and “Flesh & Blood” by Poison, because to me, this record represents the whole “US hard/glam” era, and especially because it’s a wonderful, and powerful album. But there are a lot more, I could add Alice Cooper’s “Trash” to the list. And a lot, lot more!
5 of your favourite horror movies now.
This one isn’t easier to answer to! Well, I love the old-school horror movies from the 80’s, and the “Return Of The Living Dead” trilogy is a good example of what I dig. I used to watch a shitload of horror movies when I was younger, but now I just don’t have the time – or the envy – to do it. I don’t even know what’s going on today in the horror movie industry, and the movie industry in general. It seems like the new tendencial thing is to remake older classics. I think they’ve got a huge lack of imagination (and money). That’s why I prefer movies from the 70’s and 80’s. At that time they weren’t making movies for the money, and they weren’t afraid to make movies which would be unimaginable today. Most of them didn’t care about the public opinion, they made films the same way I make music, they were true at heart. Going back to your question, I could add “Bride Of Chucky”, because it is fucking hilarious. And I’m in love the whole imagery of the movie. Then, I’d choose a Stephen King adaptation, like “Pet Sematary” or “The Shining”, I love them both, and they’re truly scary. And finally, I’d choose a most recent movie, “May”, with Angela Bettis, for a more personal reason. Watch it and you’ll understand how I feel with myself. This movie gives me chills.
What’s next for TRAUMATISME?
Well, I have thousands and thousands of projects in mind. Some of them will make it, some won’t unfortunately, because as usual I’m doing it all by myself. Now that the album is available, the main priority is to put my live band together. The first rehearsals should start in the near future, I can’t fucking wait for it. When every detail will be ready, I plan to make a shitload of concerts, everywhere we can. That’s my plan. Going back to your question, I’d like to make a music video for the song “Sucker”, I’m currently talking about it with a friend of mine who could help me to shoot it. I don’t know at all if it will ever see the light of day, but it could be freaking cool! And, finally, I’m also currently writing new songs from the next album, which is… almost ready, I must admit. The first album is the result of the years when I was recording my crappy demos in my bedroom. Now, a lot of things have changed, in my so-called career and in my personal life, and my music is all my life, so I feel the need to bring new things in what I do, and I truly can’t wait for the fans to see what’s next for me. But don’t worry, it’s still gonna rock!