Eindhoven Calling presents you, the reader of Alternative.Lv, an outside look at the Baltic scene. I’ve been to all Baltic States and have seen and heard quite some bands there. Back home, I write for various e-zines and magazines about music, now also for this one. This editions band is Talbot from Tallinn. Maybe you would like to be next? Let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org
So, Talbot, an obscure name from an obscure band (and also a defunct French car brand). They’ve been doing quite well this far with pounding music that has hypnotic qualities to it. I’ll not fake a deep insight here, I’ve already written it down in a review on Some Will Never Know zine. You might know it from the Baltic Hardcore mixtape I did there recently.
Anyways, there are some peculiar things about Talbot you should know. First of all, whatever their sound may suggest, they are not a big band but two guys from Estonia. Magnus and Jarmo drive their van across the world to present people with their unique sound and have recently been playing on the famous Roskilde festival (and pretty much anywhere else, most likely in your backyard or so).
We got to ask them some questions for the Eindhoven Calling! section on Alt.lv, where we now also try to give some attention to other Baltic Bands that might be interested. So hit us up when you know some or are interested.
So, enjoy reading my chat with Jarmo and Magnus over a couple of weeks.
GS: Hey, how are you guys doing? Can you tell us a bit about Talbot and what you guys are about?
Magnus: Hey there, I’m doing great, thanks. We come from Tallinn in Estonia. We’ve been active as a band since the summer of 2008. The idea started a lot earlier, I guess in 2003 or something. There was just no actual time to get started. Talbot makes heavy music. I guess the main influence may be Metallica and the Seattle bands, I used to listen to that a lot.
Jarmo: Can’t complain either here, everything is cool. So yeah, we started our main activities in 2008.
GS: So what is the scene in Estonia like?
M: I think its doing well, the scene is getting bigger and better every year with more interesting bands. Some names to check out would be Nevesis, Tolmunud Mesipuu, Pedigree, Highmachine and Shelton San. There’s no real difference with other countries bands I suppose, just that for a small country, we have quite a lot of them. Nevesis and Highmachine are great choices for those who like some riff based rock, pure rock’n’roll. Tolmunud Mesipuu is a very original mix of country-sounding guitars with trippy rhythms, like Yawning Man meets Earth.Shelton San is a noise-rock group with great songwriting and Pedigree is something for the industrial fans.
GS: Is it largely mixed up or do you really have different ‘scenes’?
M: It's mostly more like mixed up. I think the metal-scene seems to be more alone-standing and independent than any other genre, but that makes other stuff more interesting, I guess.
GS: You guys are named after a now defunct French car brand, that stopped production 20 years ago. Why?
M: It’s like a mixture between raw and beautiful, elegance and rusty scrap metal, like we define our music.
J: The Talbot Horizon for example, it’s a very raw looking, box-shaped car.. And the Talbot logo on the other hand is very elegant and beautiful.
GS: Do you guys have any side projects going on right now?
M: I don’t have any going at this moment.
J: I’m working on electronic-industrial project Blood Pavilion and with my techno outfit Skull Trading. Playing around with some more ideas as well, but those will come out when the time is right.
G: How do you make time for all the things you guys do?
M: At the moment I'm more dedicated to Talbot, so it means no rush with other stuff.
J: Just have to hang in there. So many ideas, so little time.
G: So, I’m also interested in the tattoo shop Jarmo has. What can you tell us about your tattoo style? And would it be possible to get tattooed by you?
J: If the idea or design speaks to me, then yes, it's possible to make an appointment. But about the style - let's just say that I love sketchbook style and dots. Lots of dots.
GS: So what is it like to be punched in the face by a mammoth?
M: Like there’s no tomorrow.
GS: Ok, so you’ve got the new album out, how do you feel your music and style has developed through the albums you’ve made?
M: Well, Tundra was the first. It’s quite cold-sounding, experimental and slow as far as our records go. EOS follows and is an entirely different animal, more difficult and complex and also more like a concept album. Scaled is much more aggressive-sounding and more psychedelic. It’s the next step in our music.
GS: So what’s the writing and recording process like for Talbot?
M: Usually we work on some ideas, some riffs and short pieces until it all comes together and becomes a song. Then there’s a lot of arranging and finally we record all the stuff in a few days so it maintains a raw feel.
J: It might take a long time for those pieces to come together and gecome a song. Sometimes it’s soon, sometimes it takes forever.
GS: So at a live show what can people expect?
M: Prepare the ground to be shaken. Everyone who is not afraid of heavy, untraditional sound should check us out.
GS: Why do you guys own a Chevy instead of a Talbot?
M: Because we like it.
GS: I hear it was sold recently? What will the replacement be?
M: During a Russian tour we had problems with our starter motor. It was quite moody, so sometimes it started and sometimes not. Usually when a policeman stopped us, It did not ignite the engine. So we had to push it to run. It happened more often when we were on border or near police. Must have been an interesting and weird view seeing a band pushing their van to start all the time.
J: Yeah, we used to have a green Volkswagen van, which was a fun thing indeed. We’ll be trying to buy another Chevy or GMC for the autumn. But the blue Chevy was actually quite reliable, no problems occurred. Although, the fuelpump was a bit "iffy" all the time, but nothing happened to it while I had it. Worked just fine. So, probably the coolest tour story concerning that particular van is the Poland gravity hill adventure. Check it out from the YouTube (you can find this video right here).
GS: What have been the most exciting places you’ve played this far and with whom?
M: Japan was a very special place and experience, so was Australia and the Balkan countries were fascinating, like all of Europe. In a way every place is special and unique and it’s really hard to choose between them. Venues in Japan are very well-built, like a bomb shelters. There are absolute sound-proof doors in them, so you can have a conversation and a drink in one room while band is playing loud in other.
J: Every place has its own specialties.
GS: Do you feel that having seen so many places influences your music in some way?
M: That may be true, experiencing various stuff makes you musically more rich I guess.
What are the coolest bands you got to play with on tour?
M: Hmm, I really can't remember them all, but playing with Karma to Burn, that was really cool.
J: Five Seconds To Leave from Czech Republic has been one of my favorites. And Otkaty from Russia.
GS: A Dutch writer said that every Estonian has a deep love for composer Arvo Pärt. What do you think about this?
M: He might be right there. I’m not a big classical music listener, but his work I respect very much.
GS: Who would you call the building bricks of Estonian music culture apart from Arvo Pärt, what musicians should people definitely check out from Estonia?
M: From soviet era, there was many good acts (Ruja, Sven Grünberg, Apelsin). These are artists that every Estonian knows. Nowadays there's Ewert and the Two Dragons, which in notable and has gained an international fame. But classical music and choir music has been always a strong basic for Estonian culture.
GS Where do you see Talbot going in the future? What do you hope to achieve?
M: Next gigs are Rock Summer Festival in Tallinn, and Roskilde Festival. There’s much more talk about us thanks to that Roskilde show, it’s the best promotion a band like ours can get.We're planning to release a vinyl in the beginning of summer, that's a main goal now.
J: Yep, the vinyl is the next step between the next shows in deed. Hopefully soon there will be the vinyls of the previous releases as well.
G: When will the Vinyl be available? (I definitely would want the old work too).
M: The vinyl version of Scaled will be available in late July.
J: Yep, it has taken a long time, but it seems that they will finally be available in the end of July in deed. At least they're planned to leave the pressing plant around July 24th, so they'll be available a bit after that. And we do have the ideas of releasing the EOS and Tundra on vinyl as well, hopefully soon enough.
G: So, Roadburn?
M: When we're asked. Maybe next year, maybe never. We'll see.
J: We have no rush with it.
G: What are you telling your listener on Scaled, the latest album? It swings somewhere in between cosmic kraut and creeping doom, what I hear at least.
M: True, an idea was to make an organic album, not only a heavy riffing but also a silent and trippy parts in it, so It would keep the record interesting to the end and would not become boring.
G:What is the trick of creating such a big, heavy sound with only two musicians?
M: I guess this compact kind of orchestra like we are in needs a special attention for musical arrangement. All the instruments must be in its place, the frequency specter should not cover each other and so on. Many bands are just playing with their big amplifiers and low-tuned instruments, but I think it does not have definitely effect of being heavy. Always should be left some room for dynamics because thats where the heaviness comes.
G: Did you ever consider getting more band members?
M: No, I think it would be too difficult to operate. We're happy as it is now.
J: I don’t think we need more members anyways.
G: You guys do everything yourselves, can you tell us about that and how important being DIY is for you guys?
M: Well, actually there is two sides. Doing everything by ourselves have taken us to the level of freedom which would be hard when you are bonded with some label or something. There's much more hard work but in the other hand there's more freedom. But very often DIY has a meaning of something punk, political or anti-corporate movement. I must say that we're not politically minded and just trying to find a way how to create and develop our music. That’s our DIY.
J: Yep, in our case the DIY just literally means that we have done a lot of things by ourselves. But we don't live by the "DIY-lifestyle". We just want to do our music and doing it by ourselves is the easiest way. otherwise you would have to sit and wait for something to happen. No fun in the waiting.
Nothing against having a decent record label around, but it just haven't happened to us so far and we're not running after them as well. The deal should be making both sides happy, the band and the label. Hopefully it happens one day. When it's the right time.
G: Any last words to give to our readers?
M: Listen to good music (or make it) and se eyou on the road!
J: See you soon!