French rock & roll trio settles in locally
By Abby Johnston, 11:00AM, Fri. Nov. 29, 2013
The Wyldz’ lightning-fast licks arrive straight out of Eighties metal, but rather than a hairspray haze, the trio emerged from a music school in one of Paris’ most storied blocks. After less than a year in their new home of Austin, the band’s just released debut Human Rise, while landing an opening slot for REO Speedwagon at the Moody on Dec. 5.
One spin of Human Rise and its clear the Frenchmen are more Ozzy Osbourne than Moulin Rouge. We caught up with guitarist Alex Dhee, bassist/vocalist Mitch Bassoul, and largely silent drummer Oliv Porrini just after rehearsal.
Austin Chronicle: How y’all doing today?
Alex Dhee: We’re good. We just finished rehearsing for our gigs. We usually work from morning to mid-afternoon and then we take a rest.
AC: Tell me about your transition from Paris to Austin.
Mitch Bassoul: It’s a long story, so I’ll try to keep it short – but cool. We came here in January of this year. We wanted to make something in America, but we didn’t have any contact really, just one person. Nothing happened until we met our manager, Haven Eskind. We were having a drink at a place, and Alex passed by her hippie van and said, “Hey! You’ve got a cool van.” She heard the music, liked it, and invited us to stay in Austin, which is such a cool city for rock & roll.
AD: We’ve got our own studio, because we’re living in the same place we work. All of our stuff is in the living room, so it’s a special studio. It’s pretty cool.
MB: Wicked cool.
AC: What does a typical day look like for Wyldz?
AD: We meet around 10:30am for coffee altogether and prepare the day, what we need to work on. We make set-lists if we need to. Right now, we’re working on that for our gigs that are coming up. Then we just work on the songs as if we were doing the gig, talking to the crowds and linking two songs. We rehearse the whole show.
AC: Tell me how y’all met in Paris.
MB: We met in music school in France and became friends. Around 2010, we thought why don’t we do something together – something we want to hear. There’s a lot of creativity in the group, so we didn’t have a problem with finding it. We’re all good creators, if I can say that too.
So we did a French national tour and played in a lot of different cities just to spread the word. Make music, make love, make peace, that was what we wanted to do. The name of the album is Human Rise, because we all wanted to find something we share together. We are all human beings and one.
AC: What music school was that in Paris?
AD: ATLA. It’s in a special block of Paris called Pigalle, where Moulin Rouge is. It’s a really crazy, crazy place. In our one year in school, after our studies, we could focus on just music. We all played in different bands and had different experiences, but there wasn’t anything really happening until we came here to the U.S.
AC: What specifically were you each studying at ATLA?
AD: Every one of us started music very young. The school taught us how to play country, jazz, classical.
MB: Reading music, studying harmony, too. The school was kind of jazz-oriented. We think the school helped us be more confident in our instruments, but it didn’t help us much to create and compose. More how to be professional.
AC: What’s the biggest difference between French crowds and the ones here in Austin?
AD: I think that the people here are much more open-minded. They love rock & roll. They live for that.
AC: Are y’all excited to open for REO Speedwagon in a couple of weeks?
MB: Oooooh, yeah we are.
AD: It’s a real honor to open for those guys. With any band, you want to stay with the times. So this music that was made in 1977 is still playing. It’s a great thing that we were chosen to open for them and just learn, because they’ve got the experience. We are the little kids working with the teachers.
MB: We’re the young guys opening for the ancients. Ancients in a good way.