The Dharma Jerks
I cannot remember the last time I interviewed…
a French artist but, thinking back, it must have been Jazz songwriter, Ellene Masri. She resides in Las Vegas, now, so there are no French-based artists on my site. The Dharma Jerks have arrived and proves what a sense of the exciting, eccentric and wonderful music is coming out of Paris – the boys are based in the capital and revelling in its opportunities.
I speak with the chaps about the video for their song, Mary Anna; whether there is any more material coming up and how The Dharma Jerks came to be. They look ahead and state whether they are coming to the U.K. – and how their week has been.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Physically? Well! Psychologically…?
As an Englishman...you may not know there’s a season before fall: here, it’s never a good time to change season.
But, our E.P. release is coming and we are pretty excited!
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
We are four guys living in Paris – we have played together for more than a year. We play Garage and Psychedelic Rock: music to jump around and being fuc*ed up (to).
Talk to me about your new single, Mary Anna. Is it inspired by a particular girl? What is the story behind the song?
We prefer not to smear a lady in public (B.T.W…was she a lady?)
Mary Anna, I know, is taken from a forthcoming E.P. What can you reveal about that and the type of songs that will be included?
It’s our first E.P.; recorded in excellent conditions - which is rare for a first shot.
We recorded it live - which means we actually play together in the record. It’s tough but it’s the best way we found to communicate the energy we wanted to share. There are six tracks.
They represent most parts of us: naive Pop, obsessive psychedelism (sic) and violence.
I want to know about the band-name, The Dharma Jerks. Does it have a Jack Kerouac link (and The Dharma Bums)?
Well done for the reference - people don’t always catch it! It’s exactly about The Dharma Bums: we just replaced ‘Jerks’ for ‘Bums’.
The band is based in Paris. What is the city like for new music? What is the scene like there?
There’s huge energy in Paris in term of gigs and music. Every night, a lot of great people and venues organise events.
The city, and France, has faced a lot of threats and terrorism this year. How has that affected The Dharma Jerks and do you react to politics and how the country is struck?
We don’t really put a politic meaning in what we do...
You may answer that question and say playing music is, of course, somehow politic - but we are just four Jerks playing music very loud.
Can you remember how you all got together? What was it about you guys that meant you set up a band together?
Imagine going on a Tinder date and she becomes your girlfriend…
The drummer answered an ad from Bastien and Aurelien - who were already playing together at home in an early version of The Dharma Jerks. He then came with a friend playing guitar.
There no doubt it has worked - because we were drunk the first time we played a gig together.
You say, on your website, you play music loud so you don’t need to talk to one another. Do you guys hang a lot outside of music? What is the bond like in the band?
Relationships are simple between us.
When we need to discuss any subject; everyone brings his own knife. So, we mostly play together and hang out when we tour.
Your music can be described as Garage-Rock. Who are the artists that inspired all of you? Did you all grow up around heavy and intense music – or was it quite a diverse education?
The band almost split discussing this question...
What tour dates do you guys have coming up?
We’ll be touring in December, January (2018) and February in France: Paris, Bordeaux; Poitiers (and more T.B.C. soon).
Follow our Facebook page!
Is there any chance the band will come to the U.K.?!
We are definitely looking for it!
Glad you are ok for us to use your flat when we arrive - that’s so great of you, Sam!
Who are new acts you recommend we check out?
If you each had to select the album that means the most to you; which would they be and why?
Louis (Drums): The Who - Who’s Next
I’ve learned to play drums in order to play these drums parts.
Matthieu (Guitar/Clavier): Rival Sons - EP
Because I can’t get tired of this.
Bastien (Vocals/Guitar): Foxygen - We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
Maybe not the one that means the most (there are too many); not the biggest sound, either, but definitely one of the most recent slaps in my face. A summary of the ’70s, carefully applied.
Aurélien (Bass): The Velvet Underground - Loaded
Raw, simple - but so brilliant.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
Never listen to the advice of a band who hasn’t yet released their first E.P.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Take on Me - a-ha
Drugs Drugs Drugs – Tonetta
You Shouldn’t Stick Around - Foggy Tapes
Oh! Sweet Nuthin’ - The Velvet Underground
Follow The Dharma Jerks