It’s always nice to find people that are as geeky and snobbish about music as I am. I stubbled across Braquage last week and was instantly a fan. I immediately emailed VP, having never spoken with him before, to let him know that I liked his site. As fate would have it, his girlfriend had turned him on to Jeans And A T-Shirt a while back and he was a fan. After some back and forth over email, I thought he would make for a great interview. The following interview was conducted over AOL Instant Messenger on August 4, 2002.
Brad: Let’s start out with some background. When and why did you start Braquage?
VP: I started the website back in 1999. Originally, some friends of mine and i wanted to start a magazine that flirted with the ideologies of the situationist movement. We just wanted to create something experimental. Put out perhaps 2 0r 3 different formats of the same magazine a few times a year, with photos, writings and band interviews
Brad: So it started as a print thing?
VP: Yes, exactly. Our intention was to create a fanzine that was almost like a book. something substantial. Eventually, people started to flake out on the idea, some good friends of mine were having trouble with their relationship. So they parted ways and I lost 2 more people who were into the concept.
Brad: What’s the story with the name of your site?
VP: Well, braquage is a strange little french word. We were sitting around a friend’s place back in fall of 1997 listening to the Stereolab album, Dots and Loops. The first track on the album is called “Brakhage,” after the filmmaker Stan Brakhage. But a french friend thought it was “braquage.” Braquage means “the act of making a sudden movement in the opposite direction,” “the act of being set against something.” it also means “an armed robbery.” I instantly became fascinated with the imagery that this one word could generate.
Brad: More people should put as much thought into their sites. Is it fair to assume that music is a major part of your life?
VP: Well, sure.. but then again… more people should have names for their sites that others can pronounce…wahey! Music is definitely a big part of my life. I’d say most important, probably. Many weekly rituals are built around music
Brad: Like Jeans And A T-Shirt 🙂
VP: Fantastic name. My attire of choice.
Brad: Tell me about who you are listening to as of late?
VP: I’ve been criticized often for not listening to too many new bands. I’m not too into this new wave of garage-y stuff that’s coming out. So I’ve started to rediscover stuff i listened to when I was back in middle school and high school in the late 80’s/early 90’s. So i’d say The Stone Roses, Ride, The La’s. Definitely The Smiths, and anything by The Jam or Paul Weller, in general. But new stuff…I definitely love The Coral, Electric Soft Parade, The Music’s new LP is great. The new Primal Scream…I could go on forever. There’s 150 albums worth of favorites on my iPod at the moment. Of course i must mention the new Queens Of The Stone Age… ha ha ha!
Brad: It should be noted that I did not put you up to saying anything about QOTSA. I am pretty with you on the whole garage-y thing. The Strokes are overrated *gasp*! If I have to sit through Meg Whites terrible drumming…just, someone get me a gun…
VP: Oooof..yeah…she’s pretty average…but i do quite like The White Stripes. I went to see Interpol last night, and afterwards people asked what i thought. “BETTER THAN THE STROKES.”
Brad: *Laughing* You think Interpol falls into the garage-y category?
VP: Nope, not at all.
Brad: Oh, ok. I was ready to argue…
VP: I just think they’ve got good taste in who they rip off.
VP: This band called The Stills, who opened for them, were brilliant too.
Brad: I like Interpol’s album a lot, and despite what I said about The Strokes being overrated, I liked their album the first hundred times I heard it.
VP: Yeah, the Interpol album is great.
Brad: Do you see a lot of shows?
VP: An offensive amount of shows.
Brad: Ha. Some would say the same about me.
VP: My girlfriend goes to more than I do though.
Brad: Wow, she’s a keeper.
VP: Ah yes, she is. I’m willing to take a day off here and there..
Brad: What’s been the best show you’ve seen this year?
VP: There have been so many. I’d have to say Oasis. 13th August 2002 at The Beacon Theater in NYC. Probably my favorite because I had front row seats to it. I’d put Doves up there, as well as Super Furry Animals and the South/Elbow tour.
Brad: You like the Brits quite a lot.
VP: Yeah. Brits and Swedes.
Brad:The Hives or ABBA?
VP: Umm, not The Hives so much. More like The Soundtrack Of Our Lives, another reason why I loved that Oasis show. What was your favorite show this year?
Brad: Who’s interviewing who, mister? Kidding. The Elbow/South tour was amazing, but The Hives at The Roxy was one of those shows I walked away from and was just smiling. I was so fucking happy…It was a totally infectious show. Seeing And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead was pretty fantastic as well. While it wasn’t my favorite show, seeing Chris Martin duet with Mos Def at the Aimee Mann/Beth Orton Amnesty International show was incredible. Oh, and Superdrag.
VP: Wow, all of those shows must’ve been quite amazing. I certainly left The Hives show smiling too. Seeing Chris Martin cover “Songbird” [from the new Oasis album] was excellent as well. I’m glad people still talk about Superdrag.
Brad: I think they are one of the best rock bands making records.
Brad: What is it about music that excites you? Like, why all the effort, money spent, etc?
VP: As much as I love the music itself (meaning the collection of sounds), I love the instruments, the imagery, the fashion, the packaging, the venues, the history and the culture. I love the change it can infect, be it political, social or simply on one’s moods.
Brad: Very nice, concise answer. How about some easy questions? First album you purchased?
VP: Ever? I think it was The Beatles 1967-1970 double LP. The first album I was ever given was rapper’s delight. (Ha ha ha. Absolutely no clue why.)
Brad: First concert attended?
VP: 1988. Run DMC/Public Enemy. The Front Row Theater. Cleveland, Ohio.
VP: Yep. Plastic uzis and everything…
Brad: Top 10 favorite bands/artists of all time (in no particular order). Off the top of your head. Don’t think, just answer.
VP: The Smiths, The Jam, The Beatles, My Bloody Valentine, Primal Scream, The Stone Roses, Aphex Twin
Brad: 4 more…
VP: Radiohead, The Who…I’m missing one, right?
Brad: Yes, one more…
VP: Joy Division
VP: That’s the toughest question you’ve asked.
Brad: Oh, c’mon…
VP: This just in from my girlfriend: “QOTSA at 20, thats really good”
Brad: As in billboard???
Brad: I’m telling you, they are going to change music…
VP: I hope it’s them and not The Strokes.
Brad: Amen. I think that’s a good note on which to end.
VP: Fantastic. Thanks brad!
Brad: Thanks for your time. Merci beaucoup.
VP: Je t’en prie.