What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
Gigi (vocals): I suppose it was when I started to make noise with my friends at 15. That feeling is hard to shake! We both grew up in the countryside at some point, and music also becomes a form of emancipation when there’s nothing else to do. Suddenly, you’re a part of something; you’ve got an escape…
Coco (guitar):For me, it was when I picked up a guitar to write a song about my maths teacher and make my high school friends laugh. I had no idea how to play, so I was just plucking open strings. I stuck with it when I realised it didn’t sound too bad, hoping to shine at parties. Unfortunately, that never happened, and my guitar skills haven’t really improved since. (laughs)
Introduce us to all of the members and your musical history.
Gigi:We’re a duo based in London, but we’re originally from France. We play a form of post-punk that veers towards coldwave. It’s dark, sometimes quite noisy and aggressive, while other times it’s catchy and danceable. Before Zeropolis, I played in various punk and electronic acts in different cities where I lived across France: Loches, Tours, and Paris.
Coco: I’ve been listening to punk rock on and off for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest musical memories was listening to the French punk band Les Garçons Bouchers on my Fisher Price cassette player in the early ’90s. Fast-forward many years, I was also in another duo called Crime Department before moving to London. We played a weird cop-themed synth-punk using drum samples from better bands with actual drummers. Our biggest achievement was getting ripped apart by Maximum Rocknroll in one of their reviews.
Name me your 3 favourite Albums?
Both: Oof, that’s hard to choose! In no particular order:
‘The Argument’, by Fugazi
‘Blood Visions’, by Jay Reatard
‘Typical System’, by Total Control
What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?
Both:Probably the entire Sex Pistols “Nevermind the Bollocks” album!
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in. How do you feel you are doing?
Gigi: We don’t consider ourselves a part of the industry! We prefer the DIY approach to music, where it doesn’t matter whether your band is good or not. It sounds cliché, but success or progression isn’t really something we discuss…
Coco: Yeah, we’ve probably spent more than we will ever earn from the band. It’s just become a part of our life. I think we would still make music even if nobody cared!
I’m seeing a lot of debate about women not feeling safe at music gigs, any thoughts on what we need to do to help?
Gigi:Educate your boys and listen to Bikini Kill! Coco:I think the solution is a zero-tolerance policy for abuse. I loved seeing the growing criticism of Hellfest this year, partly due to several bands on the bill having members convicted of domestic violence, like Johnny Depp and Tommy Lee. The festival president also had disrespectful comments about the treatment of sexist and sexual violence, and there were allegations of sexual harassment within the festival staff. Some performers dropped out as a result, sparking a public debate about the so-called benevolence of the metal scene. We need to keep the pressure on!
As you develop as an artist and develop using socials, what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips?
Gigi: Despite the algorithms, we still believe the best way to get people to discover your music is to write good songs and play gigs! We know many bands who don’t even have social media accounts, don’t make music videos, and aren’t on Spotify. Yet they still manage to sell out their gigs and records.
Tell us Two truths and a lie about you.
Gigi:One of us has been taken into custody in Syria. One of us has been taken into custody in Paris. One of us has never been taken into custody. You do the maths!
What’s your thought on Spotify’s monopoly on the music industry?
Coco:It’s funny because I recently watched that Netflix biopic about Spotify. It’s not great and it’s probably heavily dramatised, but it somewhat illustrates how that company killed the music industry out of a good intention. I read somewhere that some musicians were now moving their choruses to the beginning of their songs to hook listeners before the 30-second mark; so they can get paid by Spotify. Isn’t that insane?
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
Coco: I do believe that Sir Paul McCartney died in a car crash in 1966. But apart from that, I think people and governments are too incompetent and disorganised to form up conspiracies that can stand the test of time.
Did you buy anything you don’t need during the pandemic?
Gigi:Definitely too many beers!
Coco:Well… I got a dog. I love him though, wouldn’t trade him for anything! Also, those weird kettlebells. You know, for home workouts? I don’t think I used them more than twice!
What was the worst experience on stage?
Gigi:Of course, playing in front of no one is never fun and something most bands will experience at some point. But the actual worst experience might have been when a power strip blew up mid-guitar solo, during our song ‘Your Life’. The whole sound cut out and the air began to smell of burnt plastic. We had to find the circuit breaker and reconfigure the whole power supply setup while on stage.
Tell us something about you / each member that you think people would be surprised about.
Gigi: I work in a school!
Coco: And I design video games for a living.
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
Gigi: Believe it or not, but behind the tough man act we have pop sensibility. (laughs)
I hear you have a new music, what can you tell us about it?
Coco:We do have new music out! The song is called ‘The Nobodies’, and it’s the first single off our upcoming LP, ‘1000 Walls’, which is set for release later in 2023 via AnalogueTrash.
Talk me through the thought process of the new tune/s.
Gigi: The song was inspired by our beloved president Emmanuel Macron, who in 2017 said that “train stations are places where we cross paths with people who succeed, and people who are nothing”. It’s such a violent thing to say, and it speaks volumes about his outlook: people who aren’t like him are just numbers, barely human. I saw it as being about people like me. The slackers who don’t fit, the families with no prospect, the nobodies… Like Schrödinger’s citizens: invisible but constantly used in the public debate as some kind of scapegoat for the system’s failures.
What was the recording process like?
Coco: Most of the songs were already 95% complete when we got to the studio, so the process was fairly straightforward. We were fortunate enough to record with Jonah Falco, who (unlike us) is a real musician and instantly came up with incredible ideas on how to enhance the songs—with piano, floor drums, vocal harmonies and whatnot—while being open to our own crazy ideas, like recording maracas or hitting a steel bar with a pole. Some of these ideas may or may not have made it to the final mix!
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?
Gigi: Less is definitely more! We probably tried to do too much for our first EP. Some songs had four or five layers of synths and multiple drum tracks before we even started to think about the guitars or vocals. It often led to clashing harmonies and overall wonky sound. It’s kind of stupid because at the end of the day, we are nothing but a glorified MP3 player: the only parts that we play live are the guitar and vocals! So for this new album, we decided to scale everything back and start all songs with a very basic rhythm section that we could use as a foundation to focus on live parts. Only after this did we add background synths and percussion to support the main arrangements.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
Coco: There’s always room for improvement, but perfect is the enemy of good! I don’t think there’s anything we could change at this stage that would drastically improve the record, to be honest. It is what it is!
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Gigi: Maybe debunk a few things about the France riots that everyone must have heard about by now, as there’s so much misinformation on social media these days. It all started because of a kid being shot in the head by the police. France has always been a police state, but in recent years the use of firearms has become commonplace. Police officers now draw their guns just to be obeyed, and shoot when they’re not, and the number of fatalities for non-violent offences has increased dramatically. Yet none of the policemen involved have ever been locked up. There is a disgusting double standard where kids who steal from a supermarket can end up in jail for years while state murderers walk free, are decorated and benefit from crowdfunding campaigns…
Coco: The resulting riots crystallise all the fantasies of racists worldwide, who see them as justification for their rhetoric. This is profoundly messed up considering that they were sparked by a racist act in the first place… Even if you don’t understand the actions, you can at least try and understand the anger! There’s a moral divide in the air that’s really alarming.