A rhythm collective somewhere between industrial rock and urban folk, an atypical project, at first a commission, it became a passion that unites a dozen percussionists-ants for almost ten years now! Renowned for its interventions and for not hesitating to leave the stage and take to the streets, Le Rythme des Fourmis launches its first album. The release of « No Pasaran! » is the opportunity to meet a founder ant of « The Rhythm of the Ants ».
Dear Ant n°1917, is it humanly possible to listen to an album made of rhythms played on metal drums, in one’s living room, lying on the sofa?
Not just in the living room! Try it and you’ll see.
Frankly, yes! As a matter of fact this project is initially conceived as a complete show, designed for live concerts, for direct action, but we recorded and remixed it so that it is adapted to all imaginable listening circumstances. The presence of originals and reworked versions creates a nice balance, radical but effective. It’s a journey ranging from metal rage to an intimate encounter between drums and tablas. Soon you will also be able to single out the tracks you wish to download. But frankly:
ten 7,5 euros for 17 tracks -there is little room for hesitation, right?
What is the secret to transform the raw sound of metal in these rhythms that appeals to festival fans and demonstrators (and their children) alike?
Many rehearsals, research, as it is a true alchemy to extract? polyrhythms from these metal. Sometimes they are inspired by real traditional rhythms that one of the ants brought from a migration, others are collective creations. It is also a convergence – metal meets animal, via the wood …of the drum-stick! The unison, the dialogues, the solos generate these festival and urban trances … It’s universal: rhythm speaks to our very essence.
The visual aspect is also important, we play on recycled drums –it’s appreciated and makes the concept accessible to all! And the fact that we can all play on stage as well as intervene on the street or on a truck, offers a great freedom and spontaneity that has always appealed to the public.
The album is titled « No Pasaran! » and opens with Russian songs. Who is targeted by this title?
« No Pasaran! » (“They shall not pass ») was the rallying cry of the International Brigades in Spain, who fought fascism in 1936. The extract of the opening song is from the « Partisans’ song ». We wanted to pass on these messages of struggle and resistance, to address this « No Pasaran » to contemporary « friendly fascists », to remind them they are not invincible. It’s also reflecting an attitude and participation in numerous demonstrations of solidarity .
But the ants are much more than that! It is also a call to party, to enjoy the beat, the groove and the dance! Everything is rhythms and cycles – from the mere heartbeat of an ant to the lunar and cosmic cycles, from right to left and upward…
And why « The Rhythm of the Ants?
First, the key rhythm of the ants is the alarm: they drum the alert off their abdomen. In addition, working on rhythms requires great concentration, a form of symbiosis, an attentive, open and collective spirit. The ant symbolizes this spirit of solidarity pretty well.
Ants are fascinating, often far away from preconceived ideas. They are not royalists, as you have been told in school, they are actually anarchists. The most insignificant ants can bring forth a major decision, there is no hierarchy. Nor are they hard workers, more than one third of an ant-nest is always resting! Of this third, a further third never seems to work at all and contrarily to the unfortunate fable ants are very generous … Hey Miss, do you have many unexpected questions like that one?
Yes tons of, I was about to ask you how this project was born?
By chance, a friend asked to build a « Stomp »-like show for an event. During the rehearsals, with two drummers friends and a dancer, we were instantly thrilled by the incredible metal drum sound! This also allowed to reconnect with what brought me to music in the first place: industrial and electro 80s. Many excellent drummers and percussionists joined the project.
Then we made the opening of the Festival of Fantastic Film in Brussels –that’s when it really started. Ten years have past, and here we are!
When choosing metal drums as an instrument, aren’t you afraid to be considered Tambour du Bronx or Stomp clones ?
This would mean all electric guitarist are Jimmy Hendrix’s clones … We have a great respect for Les Tambours du Bronx but we have another approach, maybe even more focused on the drums. We are fewer in number and include females in our formation so we prefer to focus on a more rhythmic, polyrhythmic work. We do not play with brooms or match boxes, we thump on metal! And for your information, the bands who brought the sound of metal drums to our generation are actually Test Dept. and Einsturzende Neubauten.
Listen to the rhythms//
Read the album review//