At Hellfest 2019, I had the opportunity to meet Louis and Jona from Coilguns. I share with you this pleasant exchange that I had with them. I really recommend you to listen to this “angry rock” that comes straight from Switzerland. They have interesting things to tell you.

First, let us start with the presentations. Who are you and what is your job in Coilguns?

Jona : My name is Jona Nido and I play guitar.

Louis : My name is Louis Jucker and I am the singer.

How would you define Coilguns musically speaking?

Jona : I always say that we make angry rock because we mix a lot of stuff. I do not say that we do something especially by mixing the influences of each but it is a fact that we take a little at all rocks.

We do not really like to set boundaries. So, we can have elements from grind, punk, hardcore, noise but still with a very angry rock base, I feel.

About the songs, do you have favorite themes or recurring themes?

Louis : The last album we released is called “Millennials”. It is a name that people would have given to the generation that concerns us. I find it quite curious and strong to give a name to a generation that is “in progress” especially if there is no real link between the people who represent it apart from everything around them. It’s a bit like the Internet generation. It’s something that connects us.

Of course with an album title like that, all the songs will really question what connects us, what makes us have something together and all the problems it can create. Then it also have a look at the cowardice we can have compared to that.

Then, after, without wanting to do conspiracy or anything; this album also helps to be able to exorcise this impression of being a kind of mini ant in a gicantic anthill which does not know or find which direction it is necessary to walk in this anthill. It is also to exorcise that, to shout out these questions that turn in our heads. It’s about the job market, about our individual liberties, about our relationship to love, desire, our sources of fear … It’s a hyper-violent music, unpleasant, noisy but it can carry our ideas.

For my part, I discovered you in a small room. During the show you (Louis) had a close enough contact with your audience, there was a lot of physical interaction with the audience. I was wondering how you would manage this tomorrow, on a stage so far from the public.

Louis : What I’m working on is something pretty close to the moment. I do not necessarily want to shock people, rush them or force them to listen. I really try to find a way to be at the same time in a place and it often passes by gestures but they are improvised over the concerts because they may not be the same in Liège than elsewhere.

Here at Hellfest it will still be different because it’s an audience that will be weird: it’s a big meeting with lots of people who know us, others who do not know us and who all come from different horizons. I think it will be difficult to create the present moment. Especially because I think the people here are waiting for something to happen. I’m not sure there will be a need to go down in the audience, to touch people since anyway, touching all of them would take a lot of time. We will see, anyway, it is not something that I can prepare too much since it must remain natural and in the present moment.

Do you expect something in particular from this performance here at Hellfest ? Reach a new audience, have a better visibility ? Maybe it’s also a dream for you to play on a stage like this?

Jona : Where we are now, I would not say it’s a dream. It is rather the continuity of the work we began when we started the band. That is to say that with the last album, it’s really something that we had set ourselves as objective. Because it is clear that it is an complicated life to tour at the level we tour. We do not play in front of hundreds of people every night and yet that’s what we do full time. And then, in some ways festivals such as Hellfest gives us credibility, it validates our work a little.

When we released the last record “Millenials”, we thought that if we were programmed at Hellfest, it would give us some juice. Of course, there are many other things that give us energy and make us want to continue. It’s true that it’s been a few years since we tried to play it and that there might not be arguments to do it. And now, I do not know how the decision was made but what is certain is that we released this new album. We have the impression that there is an evolution, that there has been development. And then, as luck would have it, we’re booked at Hellfest so it’s not at all pretentious, but it seems natural to me in the continuity of what we’ve set up to do.

After that it is pretty interesting to see that we play at half past 10 in the morning. What made me laugh, but after talking with other people, I realize that it is a position that highlights the band because suddenly we become the band that plays at half past 10 in the morning . I do not have the impression that there will be an audience of people who do not know us at all, but, by snowball effect, we will of course be exposed to many people who do not know us or who have never had the opportunity to see us but who know us. And after what it opens, I feel that it’s more on the “pro” side: it’s going to maybe impress one or two or three guys who come to concerts if we tell them we played at Hellfest, but I realize that I have seen other bands, in such big festivals, but  they are still playing in front of 150 people in touring clubs.

Louis : Everything is out of proportion. I think it’s pretty cool that we are placed in a weird place on the program, it fits us pretty well. And then I looked, there was a guy who had a t-shirt with the programming and we are all the way down in the center. I think that’s exactly what we are. We have no dreams of greatness or stuff like that. I just hope we’ll be able to prove something that makes it a good day.

What do you prefer: a festival or a small venue? What is best for Coilguns ?

Louis : Exactly, we had been programmed while we were on break. We had been programmed at the Paleo Festival, which is one of the biggest music festivals in Switzerland. They had programmed us to close one of the evenings. It was rather something that I dreaded. I wondered if it was really such a good idea. Especially since it’s an audience that does not know this music, so we do not know how it will react. I did not want to do the fair beast or the caged animal or the freak show or the exotic product. I think that was not the intention of the programmers at all. What we do is spectacular: because we play very hard, we move a lot, we shout very loudly. There is something spectacular but it is not at all a show that wants to be a source of fascination. We want to share energy. I did not find the result as conclusive as that. After, it’s a time where we did not tour much.

Later, there was another festival, a little smaller but the same kind that had programmed us. And there, we had a long talk with the programmer and we were also at another moment of confidence in our scenic game. And it went really well.

I feel that now, we can play anywhere. It does not matter whether we are playing in front of five people or in an empty club, or in a hype club or in a festival: they are only different subjects with which we can work with so I have the impression that we can go everywhere. Our music works better and better in big speakers. At first, there were so many cymbals and then just guitar with riffs that no one could get what we wanted to say. I think now we are going in directions that are often closer to songs and I think that, it can also make the thing more interesting to play.

I do not think we have the will to make niche music. Finally for us it should not be niche what we do but seeing what is “not niche” music we would rather play niche music.

I leave you the last word of this interview.

Louis : It gives me the same impression as if you were asking me to record something to put it in a satellite and send it very far. I wonder who still reads these magazines, who is interested in that. Then, since they read us, well I thank them for showing us interest, for documenting themselves and for having this curiosity because I find it beautiful. So, thank you for being interested in that.


Picture by Tigroo Photo for All Rock