As someone who has dreamed for some time of putting together a compilation of bands I respect/admire/nerd-out on, I have much appreciation for the work that Yann and Thibaut have put into the three (so far) Falling Down releases. The French duo have managed each time out to corral artists and bands from across a range of genres and acquired material unavailable anywhere else into a series that’s become everything that’s best about the Various Artists section: Something special that’s separate from the regular discography, that’s maybe a little more under the radar for most fans, but that those who seek it out can treasure for as long as the band is around and longer.
And being a fan of the CD format, the four-disc Endless Edition of Falling Down IIV, with its gorgeous psychedelic artwork contained in a metal tin, is a welcome arrival. It’s already been reviewed, so I’ll spare the full list, but with audio and video contributions from Pelican, Ufomammut, Julie Christmas, Aiden Baker, Across Tundras, Mars Red Sky/Year of No Light and much more, Yann and Thibaut have been able to craft a tracklist that has a genuine album-style progression despite a range of artists, styles and varying productions. More than a ton of unreleased material from a wide variety of acts, it’s a solid listen.
I’d go on, but you get the fucking point, and the bottom line is they’re people who do good work, who were kind enough to send me one of these monster things, and I wanted to help spread the word some more than just a review. If you decide to click down and read the interview, please know that they’re native French speakers translating into English, so if you’re an English reader, some of the phrases might be awkward or whatever. As that kind of thing periodically results in awesomeness, I left as much of what Yann and Thibaut had to say alone, because it comes through clearly that they take the process very seriously and I think that’s what it’s all about.
Full Q&A is after the jump. Please enjoy.
Thibaut: We have always been in flowing, and we still are. We are both so close and so far from this project; both I clears it as I impregnated in my blood.
Tell me how the scope of the project has grown since the first comp was three CDs.
Yann: First of all, I think this is important to precise that when we started to working on the first volume, we were completely young (18-19 years old) and extremely inexperienced. I mean, really. At this time, we wondered during all this new project what the hell was going on: every new step was difficult.
The first volume was full of modesty: we wanted to release a “simple” compilation, with some bands that we loved. But after some weeks, we understood we could try to create something more… “special,” with for example some unreleased tracks. This period was really the most exciting: try to imagine our reaction when we received messages from a lot of our favorite bands (Amen Ra, Year of No Light, Kehlvin, Pelican, Rosetta, Callisto, Kylesa, Time to Burn, etc., and we were also in touch with Isis, Envy, Cult of Luna, etc. ). What was happening was fucking unreal.
Since the beginning, clearly we can see that there is a strong interest and an infatuation. Therefore, as time passes, the true scale of this project is becoming ever clearer: the next steps were easier. A typical example is the situation which prevails regarding the interest of the bands that we contacted: some years ago, no reply. Now, we’re beginning to have their interest and their trust, and there is no word to describe this amazing pleasure. This is for this reason that we decided to release a new volume completely previously unreleased: it would be quite unbelievable that no progress has yet been made in this field. I need to progress. Always and continually.
How hard is it to coordinate getting tracks from that many bands? And all unreleased! Are there people you’d like to include in compilations that you haven’t been able to because they don’t have anything unreleased?
Thibaut: It’s really complex, it must absolutely that nothing escapes you, you know… But inevitably, and at several moments, the situation entered a spin, and this must be managed as an acrobat in the void.
It’s a fatality, for various reasons, some bands that we would like to see participate can’t provide us an unpublished track. But overall, I think we can’t complain too much of the whole made.
Yann: For the bands, at this difficult time, I assume it’s crucial to make sure that the money, the time, and the energy are used in the most cost-efficient way. It’s not easy to convince them to give us a previously unreleased. Moreover, the most part of the confirmed bands had to composing and recording a new song especially for this event: try to believe the unbelievable. Honestly, I don’t know why these bands accept… perhaps they understood that our leitmotiv is simple: made by music lovers for music lovers. No bullshit business. No contracts. Only the passion and the trust.
Why IIV instead of III?
Yann: I proposed this idea to Thibaut, he was also excited. This is absurd, and also logical; this is rational, and also irrational. As far as I’m concerned, this is a message: “Nothing must be obvious.” I guess if there is a fourth volume, the surprise will be less important: some Belgian friends have been there before us.
Bullshit seems to be something we think inevitably shared with others: some curious people asked us if it is a mistake on our part, and take the time and the trouble to tell us that the number three is written III, not IIV, according to the cultural heritage of Roman civilization. Thanks guys for your help. Truly appreciated.
About the term “.endless edition,” Thibaut proposed me this idea, I was also excited. We are born to Exist, not to know, to be, not to assert ourselves. By the fall, we’ll drag down to earth, and Earth laughs, for it hopes that we will not be able to rise from that endless fall.
Thibaut: People have the logic that the world care to teach them. Once this is over, it’s the chaos. This is impressive.
How did the Endless Edition come about, and where did you get those metal tins from? How fast were those sold out?
We wanted a really special packaging, we were unsure, wood, metal, or whatever… And then things happened like that. These editions were sold out in four days and… well, it’s incredibly surprising.
Was there anything in particular you were looking for band-wise? It seems like IIV even more than II has bands people maybe haven’t been exposed to yet. Are you looking to introduce new acts to listeners more this time around?
Yann: Well… I don’t know: I assume we have convictions only if we have studied nothing thoroughly.
When we choose the list of the bands that we want on a new volume, we don’t calculate and we fulfill our thoughts when we don’t think. We want to collaborate with the artists that we love and we respect, we don’t think in terms of success or in terms of discoveries. I would like to add that the notoriety of a band is extremely subjective (we have witnessed the kind of judgment in reading the reviews, or more generally in the feedback from the buyers). We’re extremely pleased when we learn that someone have discovered a great band by .fallingdown, but it’s not our ultimate goal: we do what we want, not what people would like. Some people were a little disappointed when we released the second volume: too “eclectic,” not enough “post-metal” music, or whatever. So be it.
It seems like there have been so many great bands who’ve taken part in the series since it started. Is there anyone you’ve wanted to get to be involved who hasn’t yet?
Thibaut: There will always be bands that we love so much, and that will never be on Falling Down. Because it’s impossible, because they no longer… It’s like that. It’s a bit like the dreams and the world, as consciousness and here, things will never be in osmosis. Everywhere and in everything, nothing worthwhile for idealists.
Yann: The challenge is to bridge this clear gap between our aspirations and the reality. We all know that this road is fraught with pitfalls and that the most difficult task is to persuade our last favorite bands: you can be sure that they are now few. We had this impressive chance until now. In order to benefit from the surprise element, I don’t want to list them, but hope to be able to send you one day a fucking incredible flyer with all these new confirmations of previously unreleased tracks.
Yann: We wanted something psychedelic, yet without falling into the traditional imagery of the ‘60s/’70s, again particularly significant during these recent years with this revival of psychedelic music. Sylvain/Synckop is really talented. He has met our expectations, and has transcended them. We can only thank him sincerely: this is a great satisfaction for us. I really think the entire visual represents us, at some point in our lives. You can check out his work on his website: http://www.synckop.com
Will you keep the same pace going forward with the next release? Have you started working on IV yet?
Thibaut: I don’t know, as I said before, we are in unsettled flowing, into nothingness. So much hard to accomplish anything in a fucking universe, so much far away and totally out of phase with self.
Yann: We don’t like the term of “compilation.” For this volume, and a fortiori with the .endless edition, we wanted to try to create something new. We don’t know what and why, but we wanted to share a specific list of new music of bands that we think awesome, with a unique visual aspect completely insane, and an intellectual approach (for example, by the texts in the booklet… for one time, sorry English readers for this inconvenience) that we believe fundamentally important. If there is a new volume, you can be sure our tendency will be still to push the limits in this way as far as we can.
Tags: Falling Down, France