Double Disco Animal Style has completely taken me by surprise. Practically unknown Paris-based Loading Data teamed up with renowned producer Alain Johannes only to churn out one of the most distinctive desert rock releases of the last couple of years. It’s supremely produced, groove-laden heavy rock that just reeks of unadulterated fun. That’s why, I’ve seized the opportunity to interview the mastermind of the band, Patrón.
For SputnikMusic users who’ve never heard of Loading Data, how would you describe your style?
It’s definitely rock. It’s groovy. It’s sexy. It’s dark at times, much lighter at others. Heavy riffs, catchy riffs, melodies. I insist on melodies. We’ve always been too heavy for a pop audience, and too pop for metalheads. Our sound is heavy but we have melodies. Nothing symphonic, just good old melodies like The Beach Boys or The Beatles who knew how to write them. I regret that in this musical genre a lot of people forget how important melody is. Headbanging to heavy riffs is fine, and you can do it to some of our songs, but being able to whistle tunes is what I go for.
I’d love to hoist up this type of music out of the stereotypes of the genre. I’d love to have a sexy crowd, well groomed, not just metalheads and hardrockers. We should give out tuxedos and three piece suits at the entrance of our shows, and have free hairdressers as well.
In the course of Loading Data’s 14-year-long existence you only released three full-lengths. I understand you’re perfectionists, but why does it take you guys so long to come up with a new material?
Well, many different line-ups slowed things down obviously. Right after we released Frenchman, Nevada, the band broke up. I was going through a rough patch and the guys I was working with at that time didn’t really understand that. I eventually left for the US where I started the band with Adam Keller on drums. We met a bunch of people interested in the band, but that only worked out for a couple of years and I headed back to Paris. It took some time for me to want to restart the project, and I eventually met Nakat who became our bass player for 6 years. Then, Matt became the drummer. We’d started recording with Adam in Florida what was to become much later Rodeo Ghettoblaster. Ryan Sanbrook was producing it, but half way through I had to come back to France, and Matt who was also a sound engineer and producer decided to finish it. So, we rerecorded some of the songs we’d done in the US and kept other ones the way they were. That album took 4 years to be recorded, mixed, and finally released. It’s a ridiculously long time. After that, we needed to tour to promote it and didn’t really concentrate on writing anything. And 2 years ago after touring extensively with Nakat and Matt, I decided to start writing some new tunes. That’s what you hear on Double Disco Animal Style. Although 2 or 3 tracks date way back even though we never played them. We went to L.A., recorded with Alain. And when I got back we decided to go our separate ways and I found a whole new lineup, motivated, young, and with a touch of sexy! But to answer your question, it won’t take 6 years before we record the next album! I’m already working on some new material!
Double Disco Animal Style was produced by Alain Johannes in his studio in Los Angeles. How did you end up working with such a renowned producer, and what did your collaboration look like?
Meeting Alain is the best thing that ever happened to the band. It’s a long story. It’s a suite of crazy coincidences & signs. It seems like meeting Alain was written all along, all over… but I just hadn’t seen it. Alain’s become a great friend, much more than our producer. He’s gifted and extremely talented. I love his music, and I love the way he works as a producer. It’s very unique. He definitely understood what I was going for. It’s like he was in my head and heard things the way I heard them. I didn’t have to tell him anything; he immediately got it. Each song was produced differently: different amps, different mics, different rooms and different instruments. And each time he had That idea that made it all sound so unique. Whether it was the guitar tone, the drums, the bass or even the vocals. It’s the first time I come out of a recording studio totally satisfied with what I hear. It was an amazing time. We recorded for 3 months. I can’t wait to record the next album with him… sooner rather than later.
I’m a huge fan of the production on the new album. I think it sounds amazing. What was the most difficult aspect for you during the recording process?
I’d say the most difficult aspect of these recordings was to record drunk. Haha. No, the bitch was that I was sick for the whole first month and couldn’t sing. My voice was shot, and that stressed me out and made it even worse. Luckily, Alain had all sorts of shamanic little potions that helped me get better. Therefore, we worked on all the rest for the first month waiting for my throat to heal, but apart from that it all went very smoothly. Alain had problems with his neighbours for the first time in 15 years that he’s had that studio. And many other bands have recorded there, such as Spinerette, Eagles Of Death Metal and many more…. And it had to be us that woke the neighbours up!!! But, it worked out fine. We moved the bass amp to another room and that was that. So, no real difficulty recording. With Alain it’s all very laid back.
One of the most interesting things about Loading Data is that you tend to sound really dark and neurotic, perhaps more so than any other stoner rock outfit around. Plus, the lyrics for your songs can be described as trippy. What exactly are your prime inspirations?
I’ve had some pretty damaging experiences in the past. Haven’t we all? I tend to transpose it into my songs. But overall, the songs speak of love, deceit, depression, death, everyday life, drug induced dreams, our superficial society, sex and love again & resurrection.
Double Disco Animal Style strikes a fine balance between straightforward rockers and more experimental jams. Which type of songs do you find more difficult to write and why?
It’s hard to say. The first 2 albums each were written in a week. I’d sit down, smoke a lot of pot, drink a lot of booze and start writing and it all came naturally. However, this album was a longer process. We recorded a bunch of other songs that aren’t on the album either because we weren’t satisfied with them, or because we didn’t have time to finish them. I wanted this album to be different. I wanted to sing deeper with my natural voice. I didn’t want to belt out like I did on former albums. I wanted to be free to record what I wanted and not be stuck in a yoke. I don’t care that people define us as stoner rock, robot rock or whatever. I just want us to play what we like. We’re rock and that’s enough for me. And while writing this album I didn’t think about being in a genre or outside of a genre. I just wrote what I wanted without thinking «That’s not Loading Data».
For me, it wasn’t an easy task to pick out the highlights from your new album. Which tunes are you particularly happy about?
It’s funny because I don’t necessarily like the ones that are the most popular amongst the fans. I love “On My Heart,” and “Butterfly Shelf.” A lot of people adore “So High,” yet I wasn’t even sure I wanted it on the album. So it’s hard to say. I love “Round and Round” and same thing: it’s not one of the most popular ones. But I’m happy with all he tunes. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be on the album. Some songs just have more meaning to me than others, like “Midnight Situation” that I wrote for someone special.
In the internet era, it’s extremely difficult for quality music to get noticed. What’s the best way to distribute music these days in your opinion?
Internet is a great way to promote your band, your music, to have the chance to have people listen to you. It’s a great way to promote your shows. Yet, people who don’t know you will have a hard time hearing about you unless you spend thousands of dollars on promotion and banners etc. It’s a real market of tens of thousands of bands. And most of these bands are talented. So it’s hard to emerge from the mass. That’s why, it’s important to play gigs as much as you can. Internet can only do so much. Maybe in the beginning, with myspace some bands were discovered, but now I doubt it’s possible. I’d love to be wrong.
What are your future plans? How are you going to promote Double Disco Animal Style?
Well, a lot of touring. It’s the lifeblood of any band. Hopefully more & more. Still the best way to promote yourself and the most exciting part of being a musician. You need to get out there and meet your fans and conquer. I’m really impatient to head back to the States to tour, but that won’t be before 2014 since for the moment our management is working on a big European tour for September/October.
The album is streaming and can be purchased at this location: