Chokebore
oct 4th 2002 - Barbey Rock School, Bordeaux, FR
interview with Troy B Balthazar (guitar & vocals) by Barbara H, Angus Anderson and Invisible Moses

Barbara : hello

Angus : hello

Moses : hello

Troy : hello.

B : how are you ?

T : Is this for radio or Ö?

B : for a webzine

T :  webzine, oh, cool.

B : how are you ?

T : good, I am really good.

B : we saw you back in May in Toulouse, what has happened to you and the band since then ? what have you done ?

T : most of the band has been staying in Europe, traveling. I spent my summer in Europe, I went to Switzerland, in the Alps for a while, I went to Corsica and Marseille, played couple of shows. I went to USA really fast, and wrote lots of songs.

B : are you going to use the songs for Chokebore or for yourself ?

T : both probably.

A : Is your solo album still a project, are you working on it ?

T : I am working on it. I am doing a lot for it right now. I talk to different labels but I want to make sure it is cool, I have to do it the right way. I did a video for a song, that was cool. I was helping other people writing their albums. I helped this girl named Melissa auf der Maur.

B : I heard about that.

T : I wrote some songs for her album and it is really cool, man. Itís cool to write music for other people.

B : how does it sound ?

T : it sounds pretty good, it is bizarre, man. I signed on two of her songs and thereíll probably be a big album so itís cool. I would like to write for people and Iíd like to play with many different people, just to sing on an album would be great.

B : did you find a label for Chokebore in the USA ?

T : in the USA no, not yet, but I think it should be pretty easy. Wherever I go back, everyone is like ďwhere is the album? where is the album?Ē they are asking.

B : so you have not really thought about it yet ?

T : we are getting ready to work on it. You got to send out CDs, you got to talk to a lot of people, it costs work.  It is the opposite of music but it is necessary.

A : there has been a lot of articles about Chokebore lately, a lot of reviews and interviews, in France at least. Do you think you are becoming the next big thing, ten years later ?

T : oh man, I donít think like that because that is so random. I donít know what people will like, I donít know what people want to hear. I am just making songs that I think, hopefully, are beautiful and meaningful. I used to think that but we have done five albums, man. I donít even think about that anymore, thatís like saying maybe Iíll win the loto. My flat mate in Los Angeles always said ďI'm gonna win the loto! I'm gonna win the loto!Ē. To do that stuff is like winning the loto.

B : are you just getting jaded ?

T : jaded no, I justÖ, I donítÖ

B : ...have high hopes anymore ?

T : because it does not matter, having hope does not matter, what matters is to do your art and continue to do your art.

A : you can live with your art still.

T : not really, kind of. I am really skinny, man. I try not to think much about this stuff, I hope, it would be great if something happens.

A : it would be easier.

T : it would be easier, yeah.

A : do you know if the record sells ?

T : itís better, I think in the first month it sold more than the whole last album, itís cool. It does not affect the band at all.

A : it helps.

T : I think it only helps if you sell a lot of albums, then I think it changes, I mean a lot. Until you sell a lot of albums, itís pretty much underground, which is cool, we are used to it. But I donít sit around thinking this next song is gonna make me famous, cause itís music and music is art for me. If I think that Iíll write pop songs and I should not do that.

B : would you like to tour America ?

T : yeah, but I think we should have the album out first because itís rough if you donít have an album out in America. Itís fucking hardcore. But it should not be to hard to get the album out

B : see what happens.

T : in the next six months, weíll find out.

A : how much did you like promoting Itís a miracle ? do you like the promotion thing ?

T : I like interviews, itís cool because I donít usually think about this stuff, I usually think about the music, so when people talk about it itís good for the music. Itís cool to hear how I feel about because I never ask myself how I feel about. I like promotion, sure, because it feels like itís positive. It feels like itís a forward motion, feels good. And itís cool to talk to people, you know, cause I fuckiní sit around all day and donít talk to anybody.

A : Pale Blue re-issues your 3 first albums, how do you think the people who discovered you with Itís a miracle will react when listening Motionless, which is rough ?

T : shit, I donít know man, probably theyíll like it.

B : youíre just selling them at the shows, do you plan on releasing them "for real" ?

T : right now itís just the shows but the technical sideÖ, I donít know if itís going to be hard to put them in the shops or not. We are going to find out real soon.

A : itís impossible to find them now so itís pretty cool you done that.

B : we have something like 8 CDís to buy for us or for friends tonight.

T : we changed the artwork for the first one.

M : itís been years and years of searching them

A : even Black Black is becoming real hard to find in France, and in London I have not found any Chokebore record.

M : this is our quest tonight.

B : what do you plan on doing during the next months ?

T : me ? Chokebore ? Chokebore, we're gonna tour.

B : where ?

T : for the next month and a half, we're gonna tour Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, I think thereís a show in Prague and some France. After that, we're gonna take a month and a half to write the next album.

B : do you plan on recording it real soon ?

T : I donít know, cause I plan on coming to tour with B Balthazar in the spring so I have to do all the writing for Chokebore before that. So maybe weíll just write and stop so we can have time to listen to it and record in summer maybe.

B : you are going to tour Europe ?

T : yeah. In April I think.

B : when do you plan on recording the B Balthazar album ?

T : well, it depends on the labels. I have a lot of songs now, so I am just going to wait for the right label, cause I want to make sure you can find it in the stores.

A : last time we spoke with you (here), you said that Black Black tour had been quite a painful tourÖ

T : it was dark.

A :Öhow is it going for this one ?

T : better. You have questions that you donít have answers for in your life and itís hard for a while until you find the answers and then life gets easier.

A : how much do like living together all the time on tour ? do you look for free time ?

T : yeah ! weíve been together for a long time, itís pretty hard but we never get in fights, or anything physical or when we're really really angry it only lasts for 5 minutes. I definitely look for free time, itís hard to live really close to people for years in a van, but they are really nice guys. We just kind of grow up really relax, so it works. Free days are good, just to separate, to be individual person and then come back, itís important.

B : what do you think about your fans ? because in Toulouse there were fans screaming during the showÖ

A : ..they spoiled Days of Nothing and lot of songs

B : ...and SEB WOOd, who did the interview with us there, was almost assaulted by one of them because he asked them to shut up

T : shit. Sometimes there are drunk people at the shows but there are always only 2 people. We toured so much with Amphetamine Reptile, when we used to tour America a lot and we are used to real aggressive crowds and there was some times when it was cool. For me it does not really spoils, but maybe it spoils for other people. Sometime itís good to have people who just lose control but not in the slow songs. Last night we played in AngoulÍme and there was a drunk girl, no it was the night before, there was one girl who was really fucking drunk, everybody else was cool and she was just ahhhh, right in the fucking front, screaming the whole time. I did not know what to say. I did not know if I should make her feel bad so sheíll be quiet or let her keep continue. She went on for a while and then I said something and I felt bad cause she was just having fun. It is easy to stop that if you have a microphone, if you have the microphone you always can win.

B : what about the video for Ultra Lite you shot ?

T : we shot it with a couple of guys from Paris and hopefully it will be cool. We went out to the sand dunes, near Bordeaux yesterday, and did some bizarre fucking things over there, and some bizarre horses, took some photos of the horses and piano. Hopefully, it wonít be too normal. I kept on telling "make it bizarre, psychedelic or just fucked up". The song is kind of sweet so it needs a bizarre video. You'll see it in the next months.

A : they told me it was a shame to wear this shirt tonight (a Chokebore t shirt), knowing that I was going to do the interview with you.

B : we are so indie we donít like wearing t-shirts

A : What do you think of people wearing your shirts ?

T : itís cool man. some way you got to make money to eat food, people donít buy t shirts I am not going to eat.

B : itís not about buying them, itís about wearing them at the show.

T : I think itís actually really cool because it means the personÖ, every time someone wears a shirt it means the person has a history of listening to the band. I see a guy in the audience, wearing a t shirt, I know he listened the albums, he knows Chokebore. A real fan, not just someone who heard of or a friend told them to come to the show. These persons know the words and really listen. I think itís cool. There was a guy in AngoulÍme with the original bear shirt, he has known Chokebore for so fucking long.

(silence)

A : last time we had some stupid questions on paper and forgot them. Itís time to be creative.

B: what do you do right before the shows ?

T : relax, just try to relax the mind. Think about music and forget about how bizarre it is and just play.

B : what is your favourite memory since you been with Chokebore ?

T : oh shit. Probably, there are a lot of good moments Iíll remember all my life but this one I remember, we were playing in the USA, east coast, Maine. There was one person at the show and a dog, one person and a dog. So we played that song, Ghosts and the swing of things fromÖÖ an old album.

A : A Taste For Bitters

T : yeah A taste For Bitters. We played so relax because there was nobody at the show, and we played it so beautifully and I almost felt I left my body, floating with music. There were a lot of moments like that but this one was real intense. Just the way it should always be.

B : thank you.

A : thanks a lot

T : if you think of anything else later, you guys can come up 


/pic by Angus Anderson taken live at the Havana Cafe in Toulouse on May 17th 2002/