Fet.Nat: The WL Interview

Purveyors of: Not giving a flying f*** and making one hell of a new groove.

File next to: Groucho Marx, Duchess Says, Can, Afrika Bambaataa.

Playing: Wavelength Summer Music & Arts Festival, Sunday, August 18th at Stackt, 28 Bathurst St. Get tickets here

“Hello Emma, I am Jean-Francois Nault aka JFNo. I will answer your questions as best I can and in personal objectivity without really taking a stand on behalf of Fet.Nat.”

Bring your grandparents, parents, children, and friends who haven’t seen a Fet.Nat show. In times of post-post-modern angst, this Gatineau/Hull quartet will help you regain your purposes and laugh off your stupidity in their absurd chautauqua. Their recent release, Le Mal, is deservedly on this year’s Polaris short list. Wavelength’s Emmalia Bortolon-Vettor had a chance to ask front-person, JFNo a few questions about performance, life, and Canadian music culture. 

Hull, March, 2014. What was happening then? 

My professional life was rolling like crazy — music, managing a bar and my tattooist-chalk drawing trade. My personal life was running deep in a dark time of my life, a large group of my friends commited suicide in those months before and after March 2014. It was also the end of a relationship that lasted 20 years with the mother of my only daughter. With Fet.Nat, I think we were working on Purple Emperor at the same time. Let’s say that this short album reflects my mood of this spring 2014, which was very emotional.

How much of an influence does the Rock In Opposition Movement have on your musical identity and how do you think this movement has dispersed into Canadian independent music culture?

The Rock in Opposition Movement. I rarely participate in identity movements that divide or polarize people. So I cannot have opinions on a brand such as Rock in Opposition Movement.

Hmmmmm ….? I did not know, or rather, I never really thought that I identified with a movement of “rock in opposition.”

On the contrary, I always thought I was part of a free movement without expectations from whomever of the industry while having no opinion about it either. Doing my little business quietly without pushing things too much, you know what I mean? Maybe this is my personal definition of opposition. Having no goals for success or recognition.

The only thing I tend is my hand, so you can “tenir ma vie.” It fascinates me, these musical labels, identity labels, and specialized categories. All that leaves me very indifferent when it is taken too seriously. Nous sommes tous nature.

I’m in opposition against racism, cruelty against nature and living lives, hateful branding, the Indian act, big corps, gov’t thieves, blue-tie and black-tie criminals, monkeys with money and guns… I can’t say that I’m in favour of not being in favour when music is concerned. Got more oppositions but I prefer PEACE ….. Place toé!

When you perform, what type of connection with the audience are you seeking?

Always have my “A-game” ready for the stage as long as I have the health to do it. Otherwise, I have no expectations from the crowd. It’s like going shopping without a penny in your pocket. There is nothing free if we try to control the crowd, as it costs me nothing to let me go without a net in a great ball of light and love. As the wind is free, I use my signs to refresh the people around me. It’s corny but I thrive with gratitude pretty much all the time in my life. Especially when it’s time to go to bed.

What is this dialogue between what you play live and what you record?

I would say that the essence of Fet.Nat is created in our rehearsals. We do rehearse rarely and when this time comes, we are in a hurry to play what is going to be the future songs of Fet.Nat, instead of playing our show to perfect it. I could say that it is at this moment that Fet.Nat shines with all its brilliance. People would love to hear our rehearsals. So the direct-live show is rather a better organized reflection of our rehearsals, while the recordings are the image of our form of work that we have between us. There has been a natural hierarchical process since the beginning of our adventure and we never thought of doing otherwise. I usually hear the final mix at about the same time as the public does.

How does not wanting to “pay to play” influence the way you tour and play shows?

I’m sorry, but pay to play is just plain stupid and the ones that do pay to play are stupid too. Making music for me always been something that you have to be careful for what you wish for and I consider myself not stupid enough to think that it is playing when you’ve paid to do so.

How do you feel that promoters and DIY venues can thrive in an inflating, expensive city?

I am always interested in innovators, creators, and enthusiasts full of inspiration. Like many people around me, they can work miracles with almost anything. They are very smart and safe. Reality catches up when one is in the clouds or in the compulsive imaginary world, but true success comes with the gestures and commitments up to our forces. Yes, it’s nice to take chances and see what luck might give us, but I dare to imagine that a passion such as being an independent promoter comes with wisdom and a lot of patience and not with impulses.

What are you listening to right now?

Corners, Idles, a lot of Québec-rap like Fouki, Alaclair Ensemble People (mostly Eman and KNLO from that crew). Gifted Gab and Blimes Brixton are amazing and this French rapper Roméo Elvis is also grand. I’ve just purchased a ticket for KoKoKo in Montréal next month, my biggest coup de coeur since last year. This will be their first visit to Canada. Last album purchase is Roots Manuva (Run Come Save Me).