Hi Jacques, thx for your time for this interview. You are very active on the scene and you play in lots of bands – so we will talk about them one by one. Our readers may be capable with Masquerade, which were playing in Prague in 2014. Can you please introduce the band and musicians for those of our readers, who haven’t heard of it yet?
Jacques Saph: Masquerade has been created in Helsinki, Finland, by singer Suzi Sabotage. They played lots of gigs with various line-ups until I joined last year. Together we played all around Europe, as well as in Russia, USA and Mexico and we are doing the final touches on our first full length album.
You joined the band in January 2015, can you tell us something about the departure of the former members of Masquerade?
Jacques Saph: Most of them were good musicians and good persons but weren’t the best fit for Masquerade. So Suzi decided it was time for them to leave, and replaced them with William Freyermuth on drums, Anton Välimaa on guitar, and myself on bass.
The band released some singles and eps, but you are now preparing first long-played album. On your website there is information, that we can await the album in spring or summer this year. Can you tell us something more about it? Will there be any surprise musically or will the music continue the work you have recorded so far? And what about the title of the album?
Jacques Saph: Yeah, we think the record will be out around late spring or summer. We just finished recording it. It totally sounds like Masquerade but there’s a lot of experimentations in it, Suzi wanted to incorporate lots of various music styles into our music. It’s definitely not gonna sound like the average post-punk record. We took risks with that one!
Let’s move to your another project – Virgin in Veil. Can you explain your intentions to start such a band? How did you got together as a band?
Jacques Saph: At the time I created ViV, I was only playing in Secular Plague and missed playing deathrock like crazy… So I started to write some shit and recorded the demo. I then asked close friends to join, starting by drummer William. Then Anton joined, and finally Suzi, so ViV has exactly the same line up as Masquerade, which makes it super convenient to play gigs.
The band only released a demo and an EP, but you did shows through Europe and even in US and Mexico – just within one year of existence. That’s pretty exciting! Do you have any recipe for such a success?
Jacques Saph: Lot of hard work and dedication, I’d say. And also the fact that we are all experienced musicians with many contacts is definitely helping. And we’re not afraid of being loud and opinionated… Some people hate it and we have quite a lot of haters, but as well, there’s many people who are happy to finally find people who aren’t afraid to speak their mind, be loud, bold and authentic.
Virgin in veil and Masquerade – two different bands, but the same people are involved in them. Isn’t it a little annoying, when you spend so much time together?
Jacques Saph: No, it’s not, really. First, Suzi and I live together so it’s not a new situation for us… And we go along very well with the guys so it’s rather cool. I’m definitely happy things are that way. It makes it easier to tour and play gigs, because our two bands consists of just 4 persons.
Both bands often go on a tour together and you mostly play two shows in one evening. Isn’t it tiring – all the playing, touring, I would be exhausted in couple of days!
Jacques Saph: Haha, it can be, but whatever. We give the maximum on stage, sometimes we sleep for three days straight once we’re back home, haha. But yeah, it’s worth it, we love it.
Can you explain who did the artwork for demo and an EP? We find it kinda disturbing and unusual – such oldchool porn pictures. Who chose the pictures? Were there any problems with them? Fairy Dust records is going to release “The Glory Hole” on vinyl, will the cover be censored or will it be changed?
Jacques Saph: I chose those pictures, with the band’s approval. The idea behind them is to show to people that they are shocked by those “old school porn” stuff, while really offensive things -hate, racism, and so on – are truly banalized nowadays. So I’m asking you, what’s more obscene, sex, or hate?
And yeah those covers got censored a lot online, on facebook, youtube, spotify… It’s such bullshit: Facebook for example allows European far right parties to have a page and spread their hate, but if an image show a nipple or a cock, it’s a no go. Assholes.
Fairy Dust is releasing the record as it is, with the original cover. We previously had offers from labels who wanted to censor the art, and we told them to go fuck themselves. We are not for sale. Take us as we are, or sign another band.
Secular Plague – your another band. You describe the music as Vegan Anarcho Punk. You also do charity gigs, appear on benefit compilations and make donations to various non-profit animal-rights organizations. Are all of the musicians of the band vegans?
Jacques Saph: At the time we started to label ourselves “vegan anarcho punk”, we all were vegans or vegetarians. Things have changed a little since my moving to Finland, as veganism isn’t as popular as it is in western europe. Right now I’m the only member who doesn’t eat animals. But I’m pressuring those guys to finally take the last step as soon as!
Are you an active vegan (vegan activist)? Lyrics of this band are mainly politicial and are about serious problems in society. Are you interested in politics and things that are serious in the world?
Jacques Saph: I used to be more active as an activist. I have to admit that with three bands, I have far less time for militantism. That being said, I’m using the “popularity” of all the bands to help causes we believe in. For example, we played charity gigs for Hunt Saboteurs, gave the profits of shows to refugee centers and Finnish animal rights organization. I will always use my bands as a platform to promote stuff I believe in.
Who compose the music and who write the lyrics for your bands? Are you personally the most active or do all of the members equal amount of work?
Jacques Saph: It depends of the band. In Virgin in Veil, all music is by me, while lyrics are a common effort with Suzi who is a super talented lyricist. In Masquerade, I have been writing a few songs alone but most of them are team work between myself and the guys. Suzi writes all the lyrics. And Secular Plague has always been myself writing everything, but maybe the other members will start writing as well, I’m definitely not against the idea.
You are active in punk band, post-punk band, deathrock band, you play on guitar and bass and also sing. What are your musical influences? Which bands (or musicians) had (or still have) the biggest influence on you?
Jacques Saph: I have a shitload of influences… But I think the guys who really made me want to be a musician were the Sex Pistols and The Cure, whom I discovered when I was around 15 years old.
Do you have any other musical project, in which you are active, or are 3 bands enough?
Jacques Saph: No, three are enough, for fuck’s sake! haha!
Do you have any goal you want to achieve? Both the success rate and venue where you would like to play.
Jacques Saph: I don’t especially have a particular goal, I want people to enjoy my fucking music, but I’m not really after being super succesful. As long as we have fans, it’s cool by me. Don’t need to be the most popular band ever you know, it’s great that people can have a good time with our music.
Is there any musician, with whom you would like to cooperate?
Jacques Saph: Valor Kand and Robert Smith? Haha, I never really though about that. Basically, any good musician who is a good person as well.
Do you have any other musical ideas? Something you would like to do? Or are 3 bands enough?
Jacques Saph: I have tons of new ideas, so maybe you can expect new projects in the forthcoming years… But for the moment I’m really full with those three.
You play in 3 bands, that would be very tiring. How do you manage it? What about your job – do you have enough time for your bands? What do you do for a living, does it have something in common with music or do you do something completely different?
Jacques Saph: I’m lucky enough to work from home, so I can manage my time pretty well. I have enough time for both the job and the bands, nothing to complain about that.
Why did you move from Paris to Finland?
Jacques Saph: because I met a super sexy Finnish blond and wanted to be close to her, heh!
Is there any goth/post-punk scene in Finland? How strong it is? We know Finland mostly as a country full of metal bands, but are there any goth parties or gigs on regular basis?
Jacques Saph: It’s not the best country for goth music, but not the worst as well. There’s a few good bands, a few okay parties. It could be better as always, but it’s not that bad already. Instead of complaining we should try to make it better.
Can you recommend some interesting bands from your neighborhood?
Jacques Saph: I really dig one band from Helsinki which is called Fate VS Free Willy.
You are going to play 3 shows in the Czech republic in March – both as Masquerade and ViV. What can we expect? Are there any differences in stage presentations?
Jacques Saph: Energy, passion and performance! Yeah, Virgin in Veil and Masquerade are quite different on stage. Different songs, different styles, different front (wo)man…
Your image is based on classic post-punk and deathrock images. How important is this for you? Are you thinking about your image before every show?
Jacques Saph: Indeed, image is important. Whatever you like it or not, it’s important for the audience. People don’t go to a deathrock gig to see 4 guys with stained shirts and facial hair. On that point, deathrock is more than music, it’s a whole show and I like it that way. That said, our stage appearence isn’t very different from our everyday’s look, we’re not wearing an uniform or something. That would be fake.
Have you ever been in the Czech republic? Are you looking forward to this tour? Do you have some places in mind which you would like to visit here?
Jacques Saph: Suzi has been there as she performed with Masquerade in Prague in 2014, before I joined the band. I’ve never been there, but I’m really looking forward. I always enjoyed Central Europe so I can’t wait to vist CZ. And yeah, that fucking bone church looks so cool! I’d love to visit it.
Usual question as the last one – is there something you would like to say to our readers, your fans in the Czech republic?
Jacques Saph:Yeah, have a beer and a good fuck for me. And see you at the gigs of course.
By Aleš Ash Lochman