I listen to a lot of music and one band that is definitely on my playlist is Abbygail from France. The capital, Paris, has been an inspiration to painters, writers, dancers, musicians, etc. There is a certain je ne sais quoi factor about France in general that encourages Creativity and music is no exception. Names like Memphis Slim and Josephine Baker come to mind. Every musician who has ever lived or visited there has to a greater or lesser degree had his/her creativity enhanced. Abbygail is no exception.
Abbygail started out in 2010 and their current line-up features Bertrand Roussel (lead singer), Luke Debruyne (lead guitar, backing singer), Guillaume Rue (rhythm guitar, backing singer), Pascal Roszyk (bass, backing singer) and Anthony Deron (drums). The track I most enjoy on “Electric Lady” (released March 2017) is “The Whisperer”. It has a certain... je ne sais quoi factor!
I have chatted with Will (Guillaume Rue) on a few occasions in between tours and the preparation of Abbygail’s second album, scheduled for Spring 2019. We took 5 & had an opportunity to converse.
Crow Xp: Good to catch up again, Will. There is out there all kinds of music genres so let’s cut to the chase. How best is Abbygail described? “Classic Rock with mufflers” is how you often refer to Abbygail’s style…
Will: Yeah! Good chatting, Crow. Yeah, you’re right, this is how we tend to describe our music. We like it hard!
Crow Xp: Interesting. Because one of the tracks on “Electric Lady” is a Blues number called “Abby”… ;) Many female references here… Plus the band’s name (Abbygail)… Who is this lady?
Will: To begin with, when Luke and Pascal started the band back in 2010, they wanted to avoid clichés that often go with bands names, so they started to think of first names and they came up with Abbygail, which, back then, was “Abigail” but for visual reasons, we decided to change the spelling and add an extra B and a Y. As far as this “Abby” is concerned, she does exist… at least in my head… Is it dream or reality... Close your eyes, listen to her story and make your own opinion…
Crow Xp: You have been touring a lot… And you are a self-producing band…
Will: We are indeed. Touring has always been at the centre of the project because to us, music is meant to be played live. It also is a great opportunity for us to meet incredible people. However, it’s getting a little complicated to get dates in nice venues because it seems that people are more and more into tribute bands for some reasons, and obviously, music creators tend to be impacted by this trend.
Crow Xp: Interesting you should mention tribute bands… What’s your professional and personal take on that? I’m particularly interested in the creativity factor… Where & how does it fit in?
Will: That’s a tricky one… First of all, we respect every musician. However, I wonder about this whole tribute thing. I’ve got the funny feeling that some people tend to watch tribute bands gigs as if they were attending the real stuff. Sadly enough, ticket to main street bands prices have gone incredibly up over the past decade and it might be the reason why people would rather go to tribute bands gigs. I’d tend to think that people are not necessarily willing to discover new music, they stick to standards, out of some kind of nostalgia, I don’t know. However, this has an impact on us because when we get in touch with bookers, they quickly ask us what band we’re covering. Well, none mate! We’re Abbygail, playing Abbygail.
Crow Xp: Speaking of creativity… You’re in the process of songwriting for your second album. I hear it is scheduled for Spring 2019. Share with us some of what we can expect…
Will: Ah ah! This album is going to be a blast, I’m telling you! We were really proud of our “Electric Lady” but this one to come – the name of which I have to keep secret – is going to be even better. We’ve been working our brains out to make it sound more consistent, and you’ll hear some good old “punch in da face” classic rock riffs, fat bass lines. I’d say this album is the perfect representation of what the band is now.
Crow Xp: One of your favourite lines is “A Led Zeppelin song a day keeps the doctor away”… Do you follow your own prescription? Share some of your major influences, both as a rhythm guitarist and on a personal level…
Will: Jimi Page and Led Zeppelin have always played an important role in my life both on a personal and musical level. Page has always been by my side, straight from the beginning of my early guitar years, back in the late 90s, I think I’ve worn my dad’s Led Zeppelin II record out. But this music thing all started when I was 5 or 6 when my dad offered me a record player. I went through his records collection and I came across what was about to leave me awestruck like never before and never again since: ‘back in black’. I was about six or seven but the intro of ‘hells bells’ as well as the Young brothers’ guitar playing still echo in my head. With a big up to Malcolm and his unique touch and sense of rhythm.
Crow Xp: Indeed… the passing of Malcolm Young last year was a huge loss…
Will: He had perfectly understood that a great riff depended on the quality of the silence you’d put in it. He was such a genius. He was there, not moving much, always the same attitude but he was a surgeon. Every single chord he played struck you like a wrecking ball on fire. He truly was the rock in AC/DC’s roll.
Crow Xp: Let’s come back to the new album… I hear there will be another Blues track on the back burner… What’s your personal/creative take on Blues in general and how do your audiences respond?
Will: We decided to also have a Blues track on the second album because blues is at the origin of everything, music wise. If you listen to pioneers such as Chuck Berry, you hear blues in the background. If you listen to AC/DC, here you go again. Nothing has changed, “the song remains the same” (here’s your Led Zeppelin prescription for the day by the way). And it’s nice to get back to low tempos, when we play it live, it’s like being in the eye of the cyclone. It’s quieter, the atmosphere gets different.
Crow Xp: Personally as a Blues fan I’m delighted that there is; I guess that will feature in the set. What’s the tour dates schedule?
Will: Yeah, like I said, we’ve tried it live, people gave us nice returns about this new song, let me give you the title as a gift, “I feel so bad”. What else would you expect in a blues song? Regarding the tour dates, we’ve got a coupla things planned, mainly in France, to keep up with our audience but we’re engrossed in the recording process so we’ve slowed down a little. But there’s a lot to come since we’re about to start working with a record company to help us promote our music and get into bigger venues.
Crow Xp: Everyone in Showbiz has amusing anecdotes & crazy stories. I’m sure you also have a few…There’s always that one funny story… Care to share one or three?
Will: Hard to pick just one or two but there was this one time when we were on a big stage in front of like what 400 people, opening for the Tygers of Pan Tang and when Bertrand, our singer, removed his jacket and wanted to throw it away in a rock’n’roll move. It became funny when the very jacket nearly landed on Pascal’s head. We cried with laughter while playing “Back door man” and the whole crowed cheered. That was funny as fuck. We laughed a lot with the audience when we talked to people after the show.
Crow: That certainly is a fun one. Thanks, Will. Maybe some day it will have lyrics. When it does, we shall recall how I suggested it and earned myself Royalties in the form of a couple of beers or three shots of JD. Looks like Take 5 is over and the Recording studio clock is starting to tick. So appreciate the hangout. Thanks and look forward to catching up again some time soon. Meanwhile, bonne chance until next time.