KRAAK FEST 2023 HIGHLIGHTS: Bâton XXL
Big sticks & big sounds, all the way from Amiens coldest but biggest heart ~ Bâton XXL charges fistfirst into KRAAK Fest with the energy of drumming heartbeats. We got Romain to talk about his overflowing ambitions and tech rig, and the importance of letting go & reach higher strata of trance states (and insomnia).
You’re part of a lot of diverse musical projects, as well as other solo endeavors. How did Bâton XXL come to be?
I integrate a specific device for each project ranging from acoustic drums, to 100% electronic devices, to a mixed instrumentarium like in Bâton XXL. This last one is my research laboratory of rhythmic game, song and trance. This installation was born from my desire to integrate the practice of the instrument with notions of amplification and sound diffusion in space that I was able to develop in my research and rehearsals as well as at the Accueil Froid Nuke, a self-managed concert hall where I am co-programmer/sound manager.
Your technical rig is rather particular and unique to the Bâton sound. How did you put it together?
A bass tom and a snare drum played standing up, effects on the feet, a banjo placed against a guitar amp in autonomous feedback, a raw and intense approach to percussion, an assertive play with rhythm and metrics, a search for trance and letting go, a direct hit, a sound of radical completeness, a mastery of tension and mastery of tension and suspended gesture. I conceived this project as an installation, a face-to-face exchange, a complicit duet between the banjo's songs and my own, passed through my drumming and each one following their own conditions.
It’s a really undefinable sound in this solo, high energy, not quite electronic or industrial or any one vibe/genre. What music influenced you for this?
I am driven by the different forms and intensities that music composes. I'm always looking to discover and cross these paths, to go there, all the way willingly and understand it as a sort of spiritual pilgrimage. I like to go back to the origins and I try to weave fundamental links between traditional music and ethnic songs, trance and repetitive music, noise music and letting go.
What are your plans this year, with Bâton and/or other projects?
I’m working on a performance-concert for the CNCM residencies, with Nina Garcia (guitar), Anna Gaïotti (tap dance) and Jennifer Caubet (sculptor). The body and physical involvement as a new field of collective experimentation, sculptures hindering the physical capacities of the three musicians. I still do a lot of booking and sound management at the AF and at the Briqueterie, Amiens and lead monthly rhythmic awakening workshops for children and adults.
In terms of music:
Some dates in early March with Bâton XXL, in Belgium and Northern France
A Carte Noire tour with the duo Groupe Froid in May, Belgium, Netherlands, North France.
A date with La Race at the festival Frisson Acidulé, September 2023
Also getting the status of intermittent (which I never had) if everything goes well next year and finally get out of financial misery, buy myself some shoes, go to a restaurant, take some
I have a global project to succeed in linking the arts and my music. I'll get there, and it will take me a lifetime.
Completing a physical recording for my solo projects would be the Holy Grail too, but I'm never satisfied enough to stop something at one place.
So I’ll keep working, playing, trying...and hopefully get some sleep at some point.