Maps and Foils is a post-hardcore outfit consisting of Ewen (bass), Lucas (drums), Tristan (vocals, guitar) and Thomas (backing vocals, guitar). They released their first album in 2017 and are coming back with a vengeance with Les Anathèmes. We sat down with Tristan to talk about their new album, their music and much more!
OSR: How was the band formed?
Tristan: We started the band as a duo with Thomas in 2016 with the will to play heavy and emotional music. A year later, we released our first album called #1 with a bunch of songs crossing metalcore and shoegaze. We already knew we were going to perform live at some point so we asked our good friends Lucas and Ewen to join us. We played a couple of gigs and suddenly the old songs became noisier and crazier as the new material turned out to be darker and angrier. We ended the year 2019 with our single ‘Fin Du Monde’ and are now very proud to come back after the lockdown with a brand new EP!
OSR: What makes your music unique?
Tristan: Singing in French might be what makes us stick out the most, I guess. It gives a certain flow and colour to the music that you can only get by singing in your native language. We have been compared a lot to Aqme, a french band that people either love or hate because they are too soft for metalheads or too loud for your average rock fan.
I like the idea that our biggest asset can be our biggest flaw. We don’t exactly check all the boxes of a post-something band and I hope we can keep it that way. Hopefully, people will come in for a certain type of song and stay for the rest! Whether it’s for the brainless riffage or the heartfelt lyrics, I am ok with it.
OSR: Is your music creation affected by your personalities?
Tristan: It definitely is! I am pretty much a ball of anxiety that writes noisy nonsensical songs while Thomas has a more laid back approach, full of beautiful music and killer neck breaking riffs. Combined, it can either end up as an eight minutes post rock song ala God Is An Astronaut or a one minute sonic nightmare that wouldn’t be out of place in the Converge catalogue. Lucas is a meticulous madman when it comes to drumming and Ewen is super good at finding melodic bass lines that serve the song so they help a lot in the construction of our sound. By pin pointing what we are willing to play or not and confronting our different influences, the music becomes very interesting.
OSR: What is the background of the new album Les Anathemes?
Tristan: Right before the lockdown, we were supposed to record our second album and play a couple of gigs to promote a new single on the way. Obviously, shows were postponed and studio sessions were cancelled. It was really frustrating and I couldn’t cope with the idea that we wouldn’t do anything for a while, so I sent some demos to Thomas and asked him to write the angriest music he could write. In the end, we decided to release the two best songs plus some kind of bonus track.
It wasn’t supposed to be that short but we figured out “well, this is pretty much our Beautiful Ruin (the Converge EP), screw everything and let’s release the shortest mini-album mankind has ever heard”. For once, we left all the melodies and dynamics at the door and went full berserk on this one. Especially in the lyrics where I went a bit more political and on the nose than usual. It wasn’t supposed to be this political at first but with the French government pushing people’s faces down the toilet and the outrageous amount of stupidity becoming the norm right now, the line “Nous ne marcherons plus jamais seuls/lardant les loups droit dans leur gueule (We will never walk alone again/stabbing the wolves straight in their mouths)” has become a cathartic mantra.
OSR: Of your own music, do you have a favourite track? If so, why is it your favourite?
Tristan: I’ll have to choose ‘Le bruit qui retentit en enfer (the noise that rings in hell)’ off of our first album #1. It was our first single and also the first song we wrote where we felt like we had found the core of our sound. The lyrics are pretty much about my old band breaking up in a messy way, which resulted in the creation of Maps And Foils. It’s all about going forward no matter what but also about forgiveness and brotherhood. It’s all water under the bridge now and I love this song because it’s a daily reminder that, as corny as it can sound, best friends are forever and what we do isn’t totally meaningless.
OSR: What are the obstacles you have had to overcome to reach this point?
Tristan: The hardest part was to get noticed and finding our first gigs. As musicians, we obviously suck at defining our music and promoting ourselves so it has been a long road of hit or miss situations. Playing this type of music is pretty much a daily fight if you want to make fame and money out of it and we are not smart enough to compromise our DIY habits. We are now slowly but surely building an audience and it’s really rewarding to see familiar faces at shows that are not just our girlfriends and mums. We were pleasantly surprised by the reception of our new EP and people are eager to hear what will come next.
OSR: After the pandemic, do you have plans to tour? Where?
Tristan: We hope we can get back on track in September and play a couple of shows in France before 2020 eats us all alive. It is definitely time to support the local scene and all the great people busting their asses to make it happen. Hopefully, 2021 will be a rich and interesting year for us with the new album on its way.
OSR: If you were animals, what animal would you be and why?
Tristan: I love manatees! They are peaceful sea cows that like to be themselves and cuddle a lot. They go through life at their own pace and are a great symbol of tranquillity and clarity in a lot of cultures which I find pretty inspiring. They’re so cute and chubby, how can you resist?
OSR: Has your music journey gone in a specific direction or did you just fall into this genre?
Tristan: The four of us grew up listening to a lot of different things but we were all heavily influenced by the alternative metal scene of the 90s/00s with bands like Deftones, Tool, System of a down, all this good stuff. Lucas is pretty much the ultimate SOAD fan and Ewen is our Melvins guy. Thomas and I are big fans of The Dillinger Escape Plan and all the bands that revolve around the early metalcore/mathcore scene. We are pretty much sloppy punk rockers who want to play heavy and melodic music. Hopefully, in the end, it sounds like if Deftones was impersonating Cave In and vice versa.
OSR: What are your plans for the future?
Tristan: We are still releasing content to promote Les Anathèmes with live videos and some “fun facts” kind of things to explain the whole concept behind the music. The next step is obviously to record the new album this summer and find a nice structure to promote it. We had a lot of time during the lockdown to be sure that our second album would be something special. Not only for us but also for the lovely people who have been supporting us since day one. It’s not going to be another two minutes manic ride, though!