Audio,  Music Reviews

An interview with Flare Voyant- The “barbarians of rock and roll” *

* Dubbed by friend of the band, Russian writer Ann Geil, who inspired the group to unite.

  Photo by Sonia Shahid

When an American writer and ex-groupie from the 70’s suggests your band name you should probably take it, and that’s exactly what Rock and roll loyalists Flare Voyant did. Based in London and comprised of incredibly gifted musicians from around the world, it is no wonder Rolling Stone Brazil described them as the legitimate child of globalisation.

Impressively, although the group is made up of fairly young members, they have already achieved a fair bit of success and praise within the music industry as individuals. Take for example Thomas Baignères (vocals); he has opened for artists including Pete Doherty and Mick Taylor. Furthermore, Lucas Roxo (drums) was part of Psych influenced group Bombay Groovy, while George Hudson (Bass) played in avant-garde rock group Purson. Completing the line-up is Rod Bourganos on electric guitar, who played Sitar in Bombay Groovy and was deemed to be a “bon vivant” and “multiinstrumentalist” by Rolling Stone Brazil. Joining forces in 2014, Flare Voyant was united through their obsession with creating the twenty-first century sound of Rock and Roll. Even though the sheer skill of each of these artists individually is apparent, when they unite they are able to produce something phenomenal. By joining forces they raise each other’s vibrations resulting in a truly electrifying listening experience.

Group Selfie with Chris Kimsey

Attracting the attention of famed producer Chris Kimsey, who in his career spanning four decades has worked with the likes of The Rolling Stones, Peter Frampton and Led Zeppelin, Flare Voyant created their first album under his guidance in January 2016. Their self-titled debut album contains 9 tracks, with their first music video for Ephemeral Romance being released in June of this year. Check it out here:

Despite having a strong 70’s blues sound taking influence from groups like the The Rolling Stones, Humble Pie and Grand Funk Railroad, Flare Voyant manages to create something inspiring through the way in which they are able to merge these musical influences and add an underlying poetic flare throughout. Flare Voyant brings something special to the flooded music scene. They epitomise Rock and Roll while still producing a sound we haven’t heard a million times before. They achieve what so many bands try to and fail at, and this is precisely why they are the sonic boom of creativity this decade has been missing.

Chris Kimsey puts it beautifully by stating “Flare Voyant is a band of burning and prophetic vibrant sound revealing the spirit and transcendental melodic rock in a new inspiring form.” His words couldn’t ring truer; Flare Voyant epitomizes what it means to be a Rock and Roll band in the twenty-first century. Their power is magnetic and I am sure major success is coming their way.

  Photo by Sonia Shahid

I was able to peak into the minds of Flare Voyant to see a new side of their creative brilliance. Their electrifying charm really comes through during the interview, see for yourself:

Describe where you were at musically before you came together as a group?

FV: All the members have gone through numerous groups and musical projects, but we can say that all of us share very similar musical roots. We all have done a big research on the rock music from the mid 60s to the early 70s, which later expanded to ethnic music varieties, jazz, R&B and still continues to evolve. Although we all come from different countries, we can say that we always spoke the same “language” when it comes to musicality.

What inspired you to become musicians? Are you self-taught or did you study music?

FV: It is not a rational decision; it is perhaps a sort of karma! We have studied in different ways, from classical piano to classical indian music. However, the main thing was self-taught through playing live and listening to the sacred recorded legacy from the masters.

How would you describe your music to people?

FV: Our music comes from a myriad of influences but our main effort is to make it sound accessible and clever all at the same time. We want to make it deep enough to reveal something new after each listening but fluid enough to be pleasant listening at first. We also try to make it fresh rather than nostalgic.

On your artist biography it states that the name of your group, Flare Voyant, was suggested by an American writer and ex-groupie from the 70’s. Are you able to let us know who this is and how you were introduced to them?

FV: Unfortunately we are not allowed to reveal much about it! But what we can say is that we met her through the internet and it is not the first name you may think about. She inspired us a lot…

Your first self-titled album has a quite intriguing cover. What was the motivation behind this album art and who created it?

FV: That art work was made by the incredible artist Gian Paolo La Barbera! It is actually the visual identity of the group and the cover for the USB pen-card we used to promote our demo! The artwork reveal many elements from our concept, such as the female entity manifested through Nefertiti and the triangles, the warm colours, the flamboyant tree, the Ankh!

Can you elaborate on your creative process as a group? What goes into writing a song? Do you work together or is the creation of the arrangement and lyrics led by specific members? Perhaps you can use the creation of Ephemeral Romance as an example.

FV: Usually Rod brings us the songs and we work on them. However, after the track Empty Soul Thomas started contributing lyrically by using his poems on Rod’s musical themes. Thomas is a great poet with published books and we believe on the potential of exploring this encounter between music and poetry.

The track Ephemeral Romance is one of the earliest ones and emerged during a jam, when Rod brought the riff. It was meant to be a funky and raw track, lyrically exploring the superficiality and fragility of love relationships nowadays.

What influences and inspires the lyrics and melodies in your songs? Are these based on real life events or cover specific themes?

FV: They must come mainly from what we listen to, mixed with situations we face or observe on real life events. Some come from specific events, such as the song Borders. This one reveals our repudiation on Brexit and closed borders..  “you Cerberus of the borders, will you let me in? Is my bloody piece of paper worthy of your stamp?” .. that’s how it goes! The UK border force has traditionally been hard on some of our members.

If you could receive musical critique from any musician or group (alive or dead) who would it be and why?

FV: Jimmy Page, definitely! He’s the supreme maestro! We never received any critique from him but he happened to give Rod and Lucas a “luck hug” just before the recording sessions with Chris Kimsey.

The album is strongly influenced by artists including the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Humble Pie and Grand Funk. On a broader scale, which artists and genres are you influenced by musically? Are you influenced by any contemporary groups?

FV: James Brown is one of our main references! Todd Rundgren in the early 70s is also a very strong influence on us. As for contemporary groups, there’s one in Rio de Janeiro called Nitú that we admire a lot and we would love to incorporate a bit of their aesthetics in our sound.

Which contemporary musicians can your sound be compared with?

FV: We believe our sound can be superficially compared to what bands like the Lemon Twigs are doing. It is rock and roll after all but it’s not a common place or straight to the point raw rock music. When it comes to audience, we initially targeted both modern psychedelic and rock n roll fans. We wanted to please from Temples to Royal Blood fans. Then, when the Lemon Twigs emerged and suddenly developed all that “hype” about them, we expanded our audience aspirations. Some guitar bands such as Greta Van Fleet are receiving a lot of attention and this inspires us to persist on this format.

Your first album was produced by the legendary Chris Kimsey, who has worked with many phenomenal musicians of the course of his four-decade long career, including those who have had a strong influence on your sound.  How has it been to work with someone who has been involved with producing the sound of so many prestigious musicians?

FV: It was a pure delight! Chris became our master and good friend, we learned so much with him! He is a wizard of the sounds and thought us that everything is about capturing an inspired live performance and recording very punctual overdubs. It was also very inspiring the fact that he believed we were delivering as much as our idols.. and he worked with all of them.

Have there been any crazy or unexpected events that have happened while creating your first album?

FV: Well, one day we couldn’t find Thomas and we were late for the recording session.. after a while we found him trying some blouses at the female department of Sainsbury’s.

What is your view on the record industry of today?

FV: It’s living a period of transition.. hopefully there will be more money coming in when people start consuming more live concerts, streaming and vinyl all at the same time.

You’ve stated that you idealized the sound of what twenty-first century Rock and Roll would sound like, which you’ve managed to create in your first album. What else are you hoping to achieve with your music in the future?  Where do you see yourselves 5 years from now?

FV: We are still aiming to reach the Rock and Roll sound of the 21st century and that might take a whole life time.. and when we get there, we may even perceive that it won’t even be Rock and Roll anymore! However, we hope to get as closer as possible and start playing the festival circuits, touring worldwide within the next few years.

What outside of music contributes to the development of your music? Is there something you do to rejuvenate your creativity?

FV: Nothing is completely outside of music, as music is everything! Even architecture is frozen music, according to Goethe..

If you weren’t making music what would you be doing or like to be doing?

FV: That’s a tough one to answer..  we could be doing something between diplomacy, poetry and agriculture! We are doing anyway, as music hardly pays the rent!

Are there new music videos in the making that we can keep a look out for?

FV: Yes!! We are always working on them but we are waiting for the right time to release them, after releasing the EP we recorded with Chris Kimsey!

Any plans for a tour or upcoming shows?

FV: We are currently preparing the release of the EP and then we’ll probably start playing live again by October!

What advice would you give to other musicians trying to start out?

FV: If they want to professionalize, first thing is doing a proper research of music and learn how to properly play your instrument. After that, target your audience and carefully plan every step in order to make your career feasible.

If there is one thing you could have people take away from your music what would it be?

FV: In the end, all we want is to give them a good time..

Interested in hearing more of Flare Voyant? Check out their soundcloud page:

Review written by Isabella Moulton– a stylist and designer by day, and aesthetic aficionado by night. For inquiries, please contact her at: theeccentricbourgeoisie@gmail.com | Keep it groovy <3

My passion for music was cultivated by my parents, who took me to see obscure bands perform and encouraged me to start my own record collection at a young age. I grew up listening to Pink Floyd and Peter Frampton with my mom; she told me if I listened to Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” in complete darkness my life would be forever changed…I did and it was, thanks mom. From then on I realised that music does not exist solely to colourfully take up time, but is rather an experience that should be had as many times as possible. One of the first concerts I attended was The Who at the Hollywood Bowl, but as a teenager I started seeing a lot of indie bands at the local music hall, and was fascinated by the story their music told. Every song has a story and I wanted to hear it. So here I am, currently based in Vienna and work as a stylist and designer for my own company “The Eccentric Bourgeoisie” -- I’ll happily add some extravagance to your dull wardrobe or give you some flair to help you stand out above the rest at an event ;) I have lived in the US, Canada, Malaysia, Spain, the UK, the Netherlands and Italy. Wherever I have travelled music has allowed me to broaden my horizons by experiencing new things and meeting interesting people. It has the ability to connect people from different cultures and generations, influencing the way we think and feel…there’s nothing quite like it. The way it can capture the essence of a time, the energy of a people, and allow later generations to relive it is awe-inspiring.
 My musical interests predominately centre on what was produced in the 1960’s and 1970’s, but I also appreciate more modern bands as well. Something happened during this time musically and artistically which can never be recreated; it was like a sonic boom of creativity. I am drawn to the fashion, art films (Especially Nouvelle Vague and Giallo) and the records which were produced during this magical period in history. I have a soft spot for 1960’s garage, glam rock and of course French Playboy singers. My top picks include: T. Rex, Jacques Dutronc, Nino Ferrer, The Doors, Joe Dassin, the Kinks and Jacqueline Taieb. I adore modern bands which take the musical energy created in previous decades and build on it; some of my favourites are the Triptides and Mystic Braves. Show me your record collection and I’ll show you mine. Know some great band I should listen to? Get in contact! I’m always looking to expand my musical horizons.