Wednesday, November 9th, 2016 | T: lamono
Three girls, a rented caravan that could might as well been Beyoncé’s touring bus, plenty of beer and a bottle of Jägger big enough for the adventure we were about to embark on. The girl’s weekend we had been planning for days around the fifth edition of the SVRF PVNK INVITATIONAL was scheduled to begin as one magnificent party. And we are going to tell you everything about it. Well not everything, only what we want to, the rest we are keeping for ourselves. It’s true that the tide conditions were not the best and hence, there wasn’t too much surfing until Sunday afternoon, the precise moment the party had to end for us, but we did have a lot of punk, friends, skateboarding and what seemed to be a never-ending supply of kegs. The doors of heaven opened for us as soon as we arrived to the Rosny Beer stand -a delicious French crafted beer- were we met Juan, one of the event officers and a member of the SWITCHEDkickout collective. He was in charge of introducing us to everyone. The venue was sort of a Disneyland for adults; skate ramps, tattoo zone, SVRF PVNK lottery and a cannabis corner, what else could we ask for? Text & photos: Cecilia Alvarez- Hevia / Transcription: Felipe Duarte / Competition photos: Melanie Bordas
The first big name we ran into was Koopa Tattoo, a French tattoo artist that has been present in this festival since its first edition. His style can be labeled as old school and, believe it or not, this was his first interview ever.
Koopa, tell us, what is the hardest thing about being a tattoo artist? First of all, it’s not something easy to learn, it’s also difficult to work with people, with the clients, because you have to get along with every type of people, each one with a different style, and you have to make them all happy. Sometimes you have to do some stuff you don’t like, and what is really difficult is not making shit (laughs). It’s difficult also for tattoo artists to do interviews, as you can imagine; and yes, this is my first one (laughs).
Why did you choose the name Koopa? I didn’t choose it. My friends chose it for me. It started when I was very young; with all of my friends, we each got a name from Mario Bros. We have a friend we call Princess Daisy (laughs), though we are not calling him Princess Daisy today, not here. It has been fifteen years since I have this nickname.
When did you decide to become a tattoo artist? I’ve been working as a tattoo artist for eight years already, but I like tattoos since I was really young, since I was maybe fifteen or sixteen years old. I have always liked to draw, so this job was a good choice, since I get to draw everyday and that is what I wanted. I was looking on how to get into it, and one day my tattoo artist asked me if I wanted to come and work at the shop, and I said yes, of course. Now I can listen to punk rock everyday, draw, choose at what time I want go to work, it’s a good lifestyle, pas mal.
Do you remember which was the first tattoo you did for which you got paid? Of course I remember, it was really hard, really difficult; I had already tattooed some of my friends, but it’s not the same to work on a friend than with a real costumer, it was totally different.
Is there something you would never tattoo? Yes, I wouldn’t tattoo strange political or Nazi symbols for example, or some word I don’t understand, but if someone comes with a Spanish word, don’t worry, that I understand (laughs). Sometimes people come with words in Portuguese, Spanish or English, and if I’m not sure, because I don’t speak perfect either language, the client has to be sure with the translation, because I wont be able to correct it.
You’ve been present since the first edition of the SVRF PVNK Invitational. What do you think about it? It’s a big mess (laughs). What can I say? It’s fun, it’s difficult for us to work, and I think this is going to be the best year. I really like the idea, many of my friends are here, and I get to work doing what I like to do.
Not long after, Koopa was already doing his magic, tattooing an awesome panther on some lucky kook. As we walked through crowds that were drinking beer and just having fun with the whole set up, we ran into some British lads that started a band six months ago and have met some success; not too our surprise really, since they clearly represent the heavy-punk attitude that flourishes in their songs, as well, they made us laugh, a lot, and explained to us what Yo No Se is about.
Tell us about the origin of Yo No Se. Jason and I (Al) used to be in a band called The Bad Joke That Ended Well and Factotum, and we just decided to start a new band. We wanted to do some more grungy progressive stuff, then we got Sam in, and Sam is the best drummer, so it worked out really well (laughs). We’ve only been going for like six months, and we got a record coming out soon.
As you said, you are currently working on your first album. Tell us about the best and worst part of this process. The worst part is the money (laughs), in the way that we don’t got any money, apart from that we get on really well. We like playing really hard, really heavy, and that’s a lot of fun. In a few of the other bands that we have been before, we used to play only what was needed, but in this one we kind of like got together with the idea of being quite heavy, and it just got heavier and heavier and heavier and it’s just really, really fun, to go all out, you know? We also wanted to make the songs before we played the gigs, because once you start with the gigs you don’t have much time to make more songs, so we did that and recorded before we played a lot of shows, so we did it kind of backwards, which was good for the recording, though the album is still not finished (laughs). Dominic Mitchison who is recording it, he is really cool, he does it really well, it’s really fun and he is really cheap actually, so we are just being really tight asses about the money (laughs).
Why did you guys decide to use a name that in Spanish translates ‘I don’t know’? There’s a Mexican band called Los Dug Dug’s, from the seventies, who are amazing. We really like the South American scene from the seventies, and we really like Los Dug Dug’s, and one of their songs is called Yo No Se, so we used that. As well because it’s the easiest one for English people to pronounce, so we choose that one. Also my Spanish friend said that if we used the name band Yo No Se it would be annoying, so we thought that would be cool (laughs).
Nowadays, when there’s such a big surplus of musical performances, what is the best way to stand out? Just playing music by ourselves, playing really heavy, enjoying it, because a lot of bands seem like if they’re just playing aiming to be or look a certain way, failing to be someone else. We are just having lots of fun, playing really, really heavy stuff. We always say it’s kind of a self-indulgent, with big riffs, big drum fills, we just do what we want and we just want to go all out and enjoy ourselves, be selfish.
We know it’s still early in the event, but what is the craziest thing you guys have seen during these first hours of this edition of the SVRF PVNK Invitational? It’s still quite early on the SVRF PVNK to say so, and though it’s not really crazy, but they got a skateboard there where they turn the trucks around (laughs), that’s about as crazy as it has gone so far. Ah, there’s also a cannabis corner somewhere around here.
an early storm decided that this edition of the SVRF PVNK would not go down in history due to its SVRF, the good thing is that nobody seems to care about the rain when it’s time to party
After talking and laughing with these guys, we definitely needed to enhance our socializing skills, so we decided to do a quick pit stop by the caravan and have some shots of Jäger, then we had a bite at the food truck, were we tried the best vegetarian burgers of our lives (if someone knows the name of the guys that were in charge of them, please call us and let us know, we promise to cover all French territory in their quest), after satiating our appetite, we decided it was enough for the day, and trust us, when we are ready to say goodbye is because we have already given all we have.
The morning after we were waiting for Juan to call upon us, since we didn’t know the exact location where the competition was scheduled to happen, but an early storm decided that this edition of the SVRF PVNK would not go down in history due to its SVRF, the good thing is that nobody seems to care about the rain when it’s time to party. We gathered with all the other assistants at the skate park, where amongst kegs, kook props and skateboarding maneuvers miraculously being landed despite the inebriation, we realized the party had just begun.
We dug the guys from Faire as soon as our eyes landed on them, their look and style is so appealing we could not look away from the moment they entered the skate park, and after talking with them, this simple infatuation transformed into real and pure love, and then, when we saw them on stage performing… well, there are no words for how we feel. They had us at their feet and from now on we declare ourselves unconditional fans until eternity –thank you for the Faire patch Pierre ;) -. These guys are more French than a black beret smoking a cigarette, and their humor does not fall behind.
Faire was founded in January 2015. What has been the best thing about this almost two years? Sex and fun (laughs). The Mexican tour has probably been the best part of this almost two years. Mexico and sex, they both go together. Sexico City (laughs).
Who would you consider your main influences? Boby Lapointe (laughs), Suicide, Indochine and Rono, also Brian Jonestown Massacre, Jacques Dutronc (laughs).
What advice would you give to someone who is aiming to start a band? Don’t do it (laughs). Yes, don’t do it, more fame for us, more Sexico for us (laughs).
You don’t like to share. No, only women, we share women. Sometimes air too.
What is the worst thing about performing in public? There are no worst things. Oh yes, when you fall down, sometimes one of us has fallen down during a performance (laughs), you’ll see whom later tonight. But there is no bad thing about playing live. Sometimes when a synthesizer doesn’t work and it fucks up everything.
What do you like the most about the SVRF PVNK Invitational? The surf and the punk (laughs). Although we think the surf is not the most important thing in this festival, so just the punk, that’s why we came today, because today is just punk.
Sexico, Boby Lapointe, sharing women… the French humor is pretty characteristic and sometimes hard to appreciate, especially when the people behind it are constantly moving between seriousness and ingenious sarcasm. As the day continued to unfold, it was almost time for the first musical performance of the day, but not before we had a chat with the guys of Travel Check, four Parisians that take their craft very seriously. We met them backstage, over Jäger shots that were flying in every possible direction, and this is what they had to say…
What is the most important thing Paris has given to Travel Check? Its soul, because we are Parisians and we are proud of it, we are really proud of our city.
What characteristics make your sound acid and psychedelic? Maybe LSD? (Laughs)
No, no drugs, our characteristic is no drugs, everything but drugs.
What would you consider the positive and negative aspects of the music scene nowadays? The positive aspect is all the cool bands that are playing, but the problem is that all the good bands are not known, and all the bands that are known are a bit shit.
What does the name Travel Check mean and where did it come from? We don’t know. We don’t like to answer this question because we don’t have a good answer, so… We just think it sounds cool. Also because we live in Paris and we don’t travel often.
On what project are you working right now? We are working on an album. It will be out on February, if everything goes as scheduled, and that’s the biggest project of our life… for now (laughs).
What will you never forget about the PVNK SVRF Invitational? We will never forget all the people we have met, they are all really cool, the venue is amazing, there’s a lot of beer, it’s a cool place to perform at.
This is all we can tell about what we consider a magical weekend, the rest of the story, as we already warned you, will keep it for ourselves. The next morning the sun shone brightly, and the forecast was favorable to ride waves, but a gray and dull hangover was hovering over our heads, and the owner of the caravan was waiting for it in Asturias, looking at his timer, determinedly willing to charge us an exuberant amount of money if we dared to be even a minute late. So honoring the almighty Romans, we decided we had VENI, VIDI, VICI, and we left with an awesome aftertaste in our mouths, and that sense of victory that comes after experiencing an event with a fixed goal in mind, and not achieving it, nonetheless happiness was in the air. We would like to heartily thank the whole SWITCHEDkickout and Musique d’Aperitif teams for making this event possible, looking after us and making us feel like home. Merci Juan, Julian, Charles, Pierre, Alice… Thank you Melanie Bordas for the awesome photographs you shot and cared to share with us –we know we didn’t deliver in that aspect, and we blame our beloved Jägger for that- so that this reportage turns out better, more complete and professional, and also so that you can see that there was some SVRF in this V SVRF PVNK, because that’s what brought us here, the waves, right?
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