No Such Thing As A Stupid Question #7 w/ Guillaume Archambault (The Ultimate Screamo Band)

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The Ultimate Screamo Band is currently one of the hottest acts within the international screamo scene. Guillaume Archambault utilizes the project to unfold his musical genius, writing the songs, the lyrics and of course playing every single instrument. Now, we finally had the chance to catch up with him to talk about his passion and everything happening around the project - right now as well as in the near future.

Hey Guillaume, thanks a lot for sitting down with us to speak about your project - „The Ultimate Screamo Band“. Not too long ago you came back from a US tour with Commuovere. How was it?

Guillaume: The Ultimate Screamo Band US tour 2017 with Commuovere was simply awesome and amazing; in the end we played 16 shows of pure punk screamo energy where we met with so many great DIY bands like us, revisited some old friends and made new ones along the way. I cannot express how grateful I am to all the people who hosted us and made me realize this dream. This has also been a very liberating tour for me, as I am used to sit behind the drums in my other projects and fronting an emoviolence band was always one of the challenges I wanted to achieve. I consider myself a timid person (on some levels); this tour made me comfortable at every show and helped me break the barriers of shyness on stage. It was a truly great experience that I am happy I shared with Commuovere and my two friends Robin and Alex, who played with me. Despite all the bad political news we hear about the United States, I think it is a truly beautiful place in the world where the punk scene is strong and tight, and where there are a lot of really good hearted, all inclusive and respectful people. This tour was just magical.

Following a bunch of shows in last year’s August, the recent tour has been your second live appearance. To turn a one-man-project like TUSB into a functioning live band you had to find musicians to join you on stage. How did the collaboration with Robbin (drums) and Alex (guitar, ex-Nous Étions) come about?

Guillaume: Turning TUSB into a functional live band is not something I had in mind when I first created the project. The idea was mostly to release records and have fun being creative. What is truly amazing about this type of music is that you can travel with it and visit the scene in different areas of the world, and I have always loved that about it. The first 3 shows played in 2016 were sort of a road test for the project. Finding friends to play with me was kind of complicated but what is cool about this 'band' is that I can switch instrument if need be. Robin, my best friend, has played drums for all the live shows so far; as for bass and guitar, the lineup was slightly different from 2016 to 2017—this band is really malleable and I love the dynamics it creates. Playing the songs live is so much fun!

How did the preparation of the tour looked like for the three of you?

Guillaume: The preparation of the tour was definitely an important part of the whole process. Basically, how we work is: I sit down with each musician individually and teach them all the songs; with Robin who is a younger drummer, this has morphed into some sort of drumming lessons, and we have a lot of fun doing it—practicing speed and different time signatures; with Alex this year it was super fun to work with an actual guitar player who interpreted the songs better than I would. We tabbed all the songs together and practiced fast tremolo picking, we had a lot of laughs around the kitchen table, screamo is fun for that. In the end when all is ready we just practice the set a few times in a jamming space, set up a good guitar and bass tone, borrow a bunch of amps and everything is good to go.

Right before crossing the US border, TUSB also played two warm-up shows in Montreal and Toronto, where you performed at Zegema Beach Festival. You played in, let's say, for punk shows unconventional locations and occasions. Tell us about your experience there.

Guillaume: Playing Zegema Beach Fest in Toronto was one of the highlights of that tour, it was actually the first show that was booked and sort of became the reason why I took the band on the road again. One of the particular things that I noticed about the US scene, a big difference with Europe and even Canada, is that houseshows and basement shows are a very common thing (concerts happen more often in show houses than in bar venues). So you end up playing shows in different settings. Knowing that and loving it, I decided I would organize the tour kick off party in Montreal in my own apartment, it truly set up a good mood to begin this tour with. Then in the States, when things did not work out for whatever reason, venues would change last minute; and so we ended up playing in a pizza restaurant and also at a wedding (the ultimate screamo wedding in West Virginia). We met some amazing folks everywhere and truly felt accepted in a big family.

What was your favorite show of the tour and why?

Guillaume: It is really hard to pick one show and say it was my favorite; I definitely enjoyed every one of them. I guess I can mention the show in Amherst, Massachusetts, where we played with Sleeper Wave and Worst Days, two bands that I consider family now. The energy was beautiful and we played in an old 18th century house; Commuovere played such a good set that night, everything was perfect.

You had to cancel your show in Indianapolis, because Commuovere and you, both felt unsafe at the venue, explaining that „sometimes you have to decide what’s best for you and your friends“. I couldn’t help but think about Saulnier’s „Green Room“ and its mirky setting, crossing my fingers that everything’s ok. What actually happened?

Guillaume: The date in Indianapolis was simply canceled because the organization of the show was already extremely drunk before any band even got to the venue, nothing really bad happened but some of us in our crew felt it was not such a good idea to bring our instruments out of the van. We were also all getting very impatient at this point in the tour and voted democratically to cancel both our presences at the event. There was no nazis or violence like in the movie you mentioned.

You speak of TUSB as a ripp-off project, which is „heavily influenced by a few bands of the past“. What was the initial inspiration for you to come back to the sound of these bands, and which ones were you thinking about more specifically?

Guillaume: What we call 'screamo' or 'emoviolence' (or skramz for the younger generation) has always been my favorite genre in the hardcore punk spectrum. The melodic riffs, the buzzing sound of the guitars, the intricate time signatures, the screams; elements that really touch me personally, right in the heart. I started this project because I felt I could not quite find anyone interested in playing the same music in my hometown. I actually started "the ultimate screamo band" by recording covers of my favorite bands; Orchid, the Apoplexy Twist Orchestra, Raein, Buried Inside, Union of Uranus, Pageninetynine, The Flying Worker, Kaospilot, etc. Unfortunately, those recordings were never finished. Later on, in a very dark moment of my life, I felt very creative and decided I could write my own stuff and expel my demons. It worked. Now this project is my main 'band' and I feel very fulfilled by everything happening with it, despite the fact that the name is not very serious and is often laughed at.

You’re currently in Europe, working on new material. We’re eagerly waiting to hear new music from you. What can we expect, musically as well as in terms of the release-format?

Guillaume: The new material was mostly written during my trip in Europe; through the screamo online network I met a very nice person (hi Fabian!) who was nice enough to record my album and lend me instruments to work with. You should check out the studio, it's called Sunsetter Studio, located in Bremen, Germany. This new album is going to be 10 songs long; it will be very raw and aggressive, emo and violent. I am still figuring out the release format but for now the idea is to press a one-sided 10" and to consider it my first "LP", but the total running time is under 8 minutes. We will see! So far two-three DIY labels have shown interest in participating in the release; I am very excited for it.

What can we expect musically as well as lyrically?

Guillaume: The songs are really short and are the logical continuity of my previous material; I tried to incorporate different chords on guitar and expend the universe of the bass lines; lyrically, this album, like my two previous releases, relates the breakup of my last love relationship. The album title is 'Tout est fini', which means 'everything is over'; it's a sort of hommage response to La Quiete's La fine non è la fine (The end is not the end).

Any touring plans for 2018?

Guillaume:Yes, totally! Here is a scoop: ultimate screamo band will be in Europe in May 2018, I'm currently beginning the booking process for this tour. Keep an eye out and come say hi!

Last but not least we’d like to give you the chance to name a few bands you like to recommend.

Guillaume: If you read this interview, there are a lot of chances you know more bands than me; right now in my playlist is: Hot Cross, Malady, Louise Cyphre, Orchid (as always) and Nirvana. In the music scene right now, bands that really impressed me are: Cassus (UK), Handsaw (USA), Piri Reis (MALAYSIA), Massa Nera (USA), People's Temple Project (USA), Unable to Fully Embrace this Happiness (Austria), Rutka Laskier (CZ), Lora (RUSSIA) and of course Commuovere (CAN).

Hey thanks for this interview!

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