With a string of shows lined up and their debut EP being released on April 19th, Disgusting Beauty are making sure 2018 is their year. indieBerlin caught up with Silver Cendrey and Francisco Parisi to discuss, well, music.
indieBerlin: Tell us a little bit about your musical background
Silver: I grew up in the countryside, often locking myself up in my room with my small treasure—a few rock albums: psychedelic, grunge… Until I discovered my father’s collection of stolen vinyls that opened me to new genres, blues, jazz, and of course, French ‘chanson’.
Francisco: I grew up listening to Argentinean rock music, with the mix of classical stuff from my parents, but I became crazy about music after I heard Supersonic from Oasis for the first time. I was 14. I didn’t know you could hit so many nerves with only 3 chords! And since then I’ve always been in bands, playing shoegaze or electronic pop music. Professionally, I started working in studios, engineering and producing since the past few years.
A road-movie, of the kind that includes cheap motels and murders.
indieBerlin: How did you come up with the name Disgusting Beauty?
S: One summer night wandering the streets, going from bars to bars and feeding on the energy of the city, we sought for a name that would rightfully translate our aim as writers and composers. Our sound was still in an embryonic stage at the time, but the plan was clear: digging deep into the aspects of both the city of Berlin and of
the contemporary life that can arouse disgust in everyone, in order to extract the beauty that paradoxically lies in its centre, waiting for us.
indieBerlin: What was the last concert you went to?
F: The last one I can remember was The War on Drugs, at the Tempodrom. It blew my mind.
S: I went to this jam session in Wedding the other day… It’s 4am, and a Russian guy kneels in face of the keyboard, wedging the mic between his thighs and sings ‘Underneath the Mango Tree’;… Best version to ever come to my ears.
indieBerlin: If you had to describe your music to a deaf person, what would you say?
S: I actually already had to, so I started dancing in circles trying to embody the rhythm, then I sang to him… He could read on the lips, and said the lyrics were weird…
Sometimes I think there’s not much you can create after 80 years of Rock and Roll history…
indieBerlin: If your music was a movie, which genre would it be in?
S: A road-movie, of the kind that includes cheap motels and murders.
F: I once scored a movie for a friend. It was about an anarchist-turned- terrorist group in Spain, killing corrupt politicians, with loads of blood. Funny, because it’s the most tender music I’ve ever written so far.
indieBerlin: Where do you get your inspiration from?
S: For the words, Baudelaire, Bukowski or Maïakovski are the firsts to come to my mind. William Blake as well; our song, ‘The Fly’ contains extracts of one of his poem. For the singing and performance, mainly the 60’s madness (Morrison, Jagger, Sky Saxon), but also the darkness of the late 70’s (Ian Curtis).
F: From anything, really. Sometimes I think there’s not much you can create after 80 years of Rock and Roll history… so I start focusing on emotions, and then it feels natural to start twisting a classical blues into a violent psychedelic trip. It’s like searching what kind of music you want to listen to on the radio at that moment.
You can’t just get lazy with the good stuff.
indieBerlin: What music do you listen to when you’re touring?
S: Last time we’ve been backstage, I remember listening to Iggy Pop, Black Sabbath, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
indieberlin: How do you feel about covering a song?
S: I discovered singing going to jam sessions, mixing my own words with lyrics from many different bands. It’s a unique feeling to think that perhaps you understood at least a part of the singer’s message and vibe—and it connects you to others who share that understanding. Some covers have this power to transmit more than the original; I’m thinking of Hendrix version of ‘All Along the Watchtower’ or Oasis’ ‘Am The Walrus’. There are songs that we’d love to cover live: ‘The Passenger’ by Iggy which was the very first track we played together, or ‘The Revolution Will Not
Be Televised’ by Gil Scott Heron.
F: I love to do it, but it’s also a challenge. You can’t just play what these people did, it’ll never be as good. It’s a privilege we can use some songs that inspired us to connect with our audience, but I feel we have an obligation to experiment with them and go beyond. You can’t just get lazy with the good stuff.
indieBerlin: How do you think the audience in Berlin is different to the audience in other cities in Europe?
S: I’m French but never played in my country so far, heading there this month for the first time. Berlin is my home and here I’m feeling more part of the crowd than something else, even if I have this microphone in my hands that gives this tremendous amount of power for 45 to 60 minutes (depends on the set duration)…
F: Yeah, for example, in our last gig at Schokoladen, there was this dude that stole our bottle of wine. It can get wild out there in the city.
indieBerlin: Do you prefer to play big festivals/stages or smaller club gigs?
F: Yeah. In a small stage there’s nowhere you can hide. With our first EP being released on April 19th, we will be doing a lot of gigs around Berlin, hopefully getting closer to our local audiences. But we are looking to reach out outside as well, traveling to France later on that month and festivals in the summer.
S: The size doesn’t matter as long as the contact between the band and the crowd remains direct… I personally enjoy those tiny smoky basements where the people can hear, see and smell that we’re giving all we have.