Interview with RED CLOUD!

January, what better time to take stock of the past year and look ahead to 2024? New K-RPM team-member, Caroline Landré met up with Roxane (vocals), Rémi (guitar), Amy (guitar), Maxime (bass) and Mano (drums) from Parisian band RED CLOUD to talk about their past twelve months, and what the year ahead holds for them!

K-RPM : Hi RED CLOUD! Can you tell us a little bit about how you came to be a band? When did it all come together?

Rémi: Here’s the official story: I started composing the first tracks at the end of 2018, and then Roxane joined me through a mutual acquaintance in 2019. I listened to what she was doing with her previous band and was blown away! I asked her to put her voice on my first demos, and the band grew from there. Then we met Maxime in 2019, at which time, we had another drummer who didn’t stay on. Then Laura joined us at the end of 2020, Mano arrived at the beginning of 2021 when we took advantage of the Covid period to write songs. We started gigging in 2021.

Everyone: Our influences are Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple for the organ and guitar riffs, AC/DC, Rival Sons, DeWolff, Monster Truck, obscure bands from the 70s…

Amy: it’s a bit of a mix of 70s classic rock, our tribute to the best of the 70s!

K-RPM : January is often a time to take stock, after the champagne and the galette! What are your memories of 2023 within the band? What were your highlights?

Maxime: You have to look at our situation at the end of 2023! We released our first album this year and had a great end to the year with a lot of live dates.

Mano: Also we crowdfunded and exceeded our target.

Rémi: In order over the year: we released the first single, then launched the crowdfunding campaign to finance the album, which was then released in March. Then we had to deal with the departure of Laura (ex-organ player), but we quickly met Amy and worked with her over the summer.

Mano: Amy came in and told us it was the best album of the century, even after the 2nd rehearsal! (laughs)

Amy: It’s true, I loved it!

Rémi: … and since then we’ve been doing a lot of concerts with Amy, so we’ve been on a roll!

Maxime: And at the end of 2023, a TV appearance too, ending the year on a high note! (Culture Box – France Télévisions – December 20, 2023)

K-RPM : I imagine you were very proud at the album’s release in March. How did you go about recording it?

Rémi: We did it ourselves. I recorded all the musicians and did the mixing and mastering myself.

Mano: Actually, the answer to how we recorded it is: “Rémi”!

Rémi: It was done over several weekends at Laura’s house, where she had a small rehearsal studio in her cellar.

K-RPM : Talking of Laura, how did you feel about the line-up change? Did you know it was coming when the album was released?

Maxime: Yes, we knew, we found out a little before the end of the crowdfunding. It was complicated at the time, but then we had to get on with the album release anyway. When she told us she was leaving, she said she’d still do as much as possible to promote the album and that she’d be there as long as we needed her. Rémi: In the end, we saw it as an opportunity to bounce back and project ourselves towards something else, hence the idea not to replace the organ with an organ but to test new formulas. We had to turn the situation around. It’s a page that’s being turned and a new one that’s opening up that’s going to be exciting with the new formula!

Roxane: It’s always complicated in the heat of the moment, because it’s a family member who’s leaving just when you’re looking ahead to the album release. Personally, I’m in a phase where the first album will always be the first album with all the good things on it (and the youthful mistakes) and all I’m waiting for now is for us to record the next one with Amy to start something else.

Maxime: It was complicated in terms of timing, because the crowdfunding wasn’t finished yet, so it was difficult to communicate it right away, but we bounced back quickly and it revitalized us.

Roxane: We talk about the difficulty of the thing, but obviously there’s no resentment. We’re very happy for her and we still adore each other as much as ever!

Mano: on a positive note, we’ve all been thinking together about our identity today, we all joined the band at different times. Amy arrived having listened to the first album so the five of us took the time to think about the identity we wanted to cement for the band.

Roxane: Now we’re into hard rock, and on the third album we’ll be doing zouk polka!

Amy: I think that, beyond the genre, it helped to establish an identity for the whole band. The critics and reviews of the first album focused on the organ, and that was great, but it might have been complicated to do a follow-up to that album precisely because it was so organ-centric. And now with this line-up, it gives the band a more global identity and we’ve come up with music that suits all five of us.

K-RPM : Amy, tell us about yourself … where are you from and how did you join the band?

Amy: I used to do Airbourne covers on YouTube in my bedroom, so I was in the shadows waiting for the Holy Grail!

More seriously, through classified ads. I was looking for a serious band and came across their advert with the clip, which I watched and immediately thought was great, from the first listen. They were still really into organ, so at first I thought my chances were dead (laughs), but in the end they were open to the change of instrument, and they also liked the way we rewrote the songs afterwards!

K-RPM : Coming after the first album, how do you manage to fit in on existing tracks?

Amy: I try to identify what the organ is doing and above all what its role is in the song, not necessarily the exact notes but rather what role it has: is it more of a layer behind, does it accompany the riff, does it accompany the voice? And I’ll adapt my guitar to that, to the song. Sometimes I’ll take Rémi’s riffs too, and that’ll give something more massive, and I can also rewrite some of the organ passages, the psychedelic solos for example.

K-RPM : In any case, it works well! Moving on, how does 2024 sound? What can you reveal or tease?

Mano: The first scoop is our second appearance on Culture Box, this time live (on France 4 – Monday January 22, 2024). It’ll be available on replay – go and watch! And on our YouTube channel, of course!

Rémi: We were thrilled because it was an incredible opportunity to appear on TV and present our music to as many people as possible. Personally, that’s why I make music, so that people can discover us and listen to our music. I don’t do it for myself, I do it so that people listen to the music. So we need all the help we can get in terms of promotion, and this was a crazy opportunity at our level!

K-RPM : How did it all come about?

Rémi: We’d already been on at the end of the year for a story on the descendants of the Rolling Stones, a recorded show, and they really liked it so they contacted us again for a live appearance and an on-air interview.

K-RPM : OK, and to continue with 2024, do you have any other surprises?

Maxime: We’ll be back on the road from May until the end of the year, we hope!

Roxane: if any labels, magicians or billionaires are interested, we’d love to hear from you! (laughs)

Mano: We’ve got about fifteen tracks ready and we’re still thinking about what form they’re going to take, how they’re going to be recorded and released, but we’ve got a lot of stuff coming out that we can already preview live, of course!

Rémi: Yes, we have a huge desire to release something this year!

Mano: … especially as we can. It’s just a question of logistics and organization, but we’ve clearly got something big in store for 2024!

Rémi: We’ve got a single coming out in March, the song we played on Culture Box.

Maxime: Without revealing too much about what goes on behind the scenes, we’re a small team, just the five of us, and we manage everything from communication to promotion for the tour. You’re always promoting, playing, managing communication… From May we’ll be back on the road until the end of the year, we hope!

K-RPM : Do you think 2024 will be a pivotal year, the moment when all the stars align to take you to the next level? What would you need to do that?

Amy: We need to get our music out there as much as possible! That’s the challenge when you’re a band just starting out: to open doors and get people to hear you. And that’s what we’ve done, we’ve done a lot of concerts, and we’ve had great feedback every time, so now the aim is to get on playlists, get on TV, in lots of different media, to open up to a wider audience.

K-RPM : So where will RED CLOUD be in 5 years’ time?

Mano: the Stade de France!

Amy: The forecourt! The forecourt of the Stade de France (laughs)

Mano: the Stade de France, the Champ de Mars, Longchamp, the moon for the more exotic fans. Wembley, the Las Vegas Sphere…

Rémi: Someone’s been asking for us there, by the way!

Mano: In 2029? No, in 5 years, if we haven’t done the Olympia, it would be a scandal. I think so.

Maxime: In 5 years, if we’re not making a living from our music, it’s a scandal.

Amy: In 5 years, I hope Rémi will have stopped buying guitars and I hope he’ll have finally found the guitar of his dreams!

K-RPM : And finally, what question would you like to be asked?

Maxime: Is rock dead? (laughs)

Roxane: Who would I want to be if I wasn’t me? Jeff Goldblum or Elmo from Sesame Street.

Rémi: I’d love to be asked some technical questions, about the music, the guitar sound, how did you go about building your guitar sound to get to where you are?

Mano: I think he’d like us to ask him about Kiss!

K-RPM : OK, I’ll see you next time then! Thank you RED CLOUD!

Thank you Brian & Caro and K-RPM! Thanks for following Red Cloud and for all the photos at our concerts!

nterview and photos by Caroline Landré