By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Packed with gloomy-yet-catchy singles like “1905 & The Muslim Exception,” “Their Turn Trying To Rule The World” and “White Fathers,” French melodic punks Nightwatchers returned this past October with their 10-track sophomore album ‘Common Crusades’ via Lövely Records, their first new music since 2019’s ‘La paix ou le sable.’
Sonically, the band showcases a more post-punk side, but the subject matter remained the same, however, centered around raising awareness of the events of France’s violent colonization and exploitation of its occurred territories, albeit through differed perspectives.
Nightwatchers are composed of drummer Freddy Coste, guitarist/vocalist Kevin Bodei, guitarist/lead vocalist Julien Virgos and bassist David Mareau.
The Music Bugle had the chance to speak with Virgos about their new album and more.
Music Bugle – What makes you the most proud about where you come from?
Julien Virgos – We’re not particularly proud about coming from Toulouse, France, but there’s a lot of good things going on, actually in the French punk scene, so we don’t have to envy other countries. We have plenty of good bands locally, which is great!
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music?
Julien Virgos – It’s instinctive. You don’t have to overthink it. You don’t really need to know the music to play in a punk band. I don’t know shit. That’s exciting. Also, playing in small places, intimate shows right in front of the audience. They can touch you, you can touch them, there’s no barrier, so you feel the audience, way more than in a big venue playing on a huge stage. That’s exciting as well. We like to talk and meet new people after the show and that’s something you can’t do that easily when there’s backstages and shit.
Music Bugle – What was your goal for your song “1905 & The Muslim Exception”?
Julien Virgos – That you play it again and get it stuck in your head. That you take a look at the lyrics and their meaning. We don’t have specific goals, otherwise.
Music Bugle – What was it like working on your new album?
Julien Virgos – We released our first album ‘La Paix ou le Sable’ in 2019 and we recorded ‘Common Crusades’ in September 2020, so the writing process was pretty fast. The songs came easily. We’ve played together since 2016, so now, we have some habits that make it easier. Kevin and David spent a lot of time working on it at home. They usually arrived at the practice session with ideas already pretty structured. I guess this new album is in the continuity of ‘La Paix ou le Sable,’ exploring a bit more some post-punk orientations. The recording with Mathieu Zuzek went pretty good. We worked with him before. He knows our sound and he gets what we want and don’t want. We’re super happy with the result. We all agree to say it’s our best release so far.
Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?
Julien Virgos – Both, I guess! We’ve experienced both. (Laughs) It’s a good way to spread your music. It was way more complicated before the social media era, but the main point is to play live in front of people, still. Whatever goes on the social medias can’t replace in-person experiences. It also facilitates the trash-talking. Way easier to insult someone on social media, indeed.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Julien Virgos – We didn’t play any shows. I didn’t see any shows. I usually go to a couple of shows a week, so it was rough. I missed it a lot.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need a break?
Julien Virgos – Out of town, wherever it is. I like to visit friends who live far away when I need a break from the daily business. We all work aside of playing in Nightwatchers, so going on tour is a nice way to take a break!
Music Bugle – What’s something that you wish happened more in today’s music industry?
Julien Virgos – I don’t care about today’s music industry, honestly. It’s not my job and it never will be.
Music Bugle – What has been your proudest accomplishment?
Julien Virgos – As a band, musically, our new album. I know it sounds cliché, but that’s my answer. I’m super proud people give a damn about the lyrics and the concept of our releases beyond music. I didn’t expect much about it and I’ve been stocked about the reactions. I’m very proud of it, because it’s the first time people actually pay attention to what I sing. For the best or for the worst! (Laughs)