Could you tell us about the band members and your different roles?
There are five of us playing. I’m Dominique Peter, the drummer. Then there’s Julien Oresta on guitar, Fabrice Oresta on bass, Lionel Dumas (DJ Twelve) on turntables and Antonin Chaplain on keyboard. Then, there’s Nico on the video mix, Baschier on the light-mix, Greg and Pierson are our engineers and Vincent is our tour manager. There are 10 of us in total, a big family!
How long ago did the project come about? What made it happen?
As HIGH TONE, we started in 1997. We actually knew each other since we were 15 years old, and we did other small projects together before starting this one. There was no singer in the band; that’s what we liked really… we wanted to do instrumental Dub, but at the same time we were very much influenced by other, different styles then, like Jungle from England, some underground techno like The Spyral Tribe. They were the times when Rave parties just started in France, the Trip Hop scene from Bristol, with bands like Massive Attack, was coming up. In essence we play Dub-Roots music and we like to play traditional music in a way, but mixed with all those influences as well… constantly manipulating, and always creating our own sound.
Why the name “High Tone”? Considering the low sounds always so present in Dub music, is there a reason for it?
There’s not really an idea behind it, we simply liked the combination of the two words together. “High” as in the roots and reggae songs, as a feeling..
Main influences and musical inspirations?
All the ones I mentioned before, and of course the Jamaican scene and its message, but more the likes of people such as Lee Scratch Perry and so on. For us, Dub music is perfect for playing instrumentals, and we love to mix it with other elements, the fat beats of Hip Hop and things from other music styles, always with some electronic touch to it.
What message/s do you want to bring across with your sound and your visual art?
Freedom in life, in your brain, in the music...that’s what we love about traditional music, you get to be part of the culture from different countries; when listening to traditional music you can sometimes hear about how people should live… it’s a big part of the culture and very interesting. We want to use this element.
How far would you like to go with it? What’s your main goal? What about your current and near future projects?
We don’t know… we never knew, really. It’s just a project, and we just go ahead, we don’t think about the future, only about now. We want to take it like that; we don’t really want to take on big projects but just keep on doing it bit by bit. The adventure with Jarring Effects is perfect because they are like us, the way we want it to be. Very artistic and passionate people, we like that.
You’ve probably had the chance of performing in a lot of places worldwide...Have you been to Spain before, how do you like it? Which other places have you felt well-connected to?
We’ve been here before, in Girona, Tarragona, Madrid...it’s a good crowd! We were surprised by the good response from the people… some even knew the albums, so yeah they were good gigs! We love Spain, it’s a very happy and outgoing place, and we’re very sensitive to this kind of thing. We’ve had a good time in Switzerland, Holland... Holland is similar to Spain; we always play there but on the real underground scene, which as you know is not a good thing for business (although I hate this word). You know what I mean! Not money, but loads of passion...
What do you think about the scene here… can you feel that it is “newer” than in other places, like France?
In Barcelona it is a bit different because there are a lot of French people living here and they influence the locals, friends tell other friends...We now play in small towns, like here or in small local parties, and people find out and come along. Sometimes we’re a bit like aliens to them, because there are some families and people of different ages and they don’t know what to expect, but it’s ok in the end.
What things are important to you, both in life and music?
It’s relevant to us that people discover HIGH TONE’s music and play it at parties, to enjoy it and have a good time.
Also, we hope Europe becomes less racist and politicians really do something about that. It’s us artists everywhere who pick up on the frustration of society and it’s important to bring that across to people; what we play is what we see and what we feel.