Since a very young age connected to music, French guitarist Dorian Sorriaux has been completing a successful career in the Swedish band Blues Pills, a group he joined in the year of 2011 at the age of 16. The young quartet (who currently have a fifth member for tours and studio sessions, Ryckard Nygren, guitar and organ) soon drew attention for their stage performance and sonority, influenced by the music of the 60s and 70s. Since then, released several EPs and Singles, signed with Nuclear Blast, releasing two successful studio full-lenghts and two live albums (the DVD/Blu-Ray "Lady in Gold - Live In Paris" was released last year, in november), as well as extensive tours as headliners and festivals. (Versão em português)
While the group takes a break after about a year and a half touring on latest album, "Lady in Gold" (2016), guitarist Dorian Sorriaux has found time to work on his solo project. We talked with Dorian to know more about it, and also about his career and of course, the Blues Pills. Check below:
RtM: You are releasing your solo work, so to start this interview, tell us what fans can expect from this EP, called "Hungry Ghost", in terms of sonority and also difference from it to your work on Blues Pills? I see it is more intimate and acoustic.
Dorian Sorriaux: The solo project is quite different from blues pills, which also made me scared to release it at first. I get inspired by 60 folk music and it is much more intimate to me. We are 5 people on stage in blues pills and you can always kind of hide behind the others musically. It's much more intimate to me as they are songs I've written myself and the softer folk music feels more personal. I wrote a demo once and sent it to a friend with the title "vulnerable as fuck" as a joke as it felt so vulnerable.
When I play solo live you don't feel the "having a beer at a rock show" vibe. It's more quiet with an audience sometimes sitting down. I still love playing with blues pills though, both are really fun!
|"The solo project is quite different from blues pills, which also made me scared to release it at first."
DS: It will be released, hopefully around April in the regular digital/physical formats. There will of course be vinyls as well. It will be released through a label but I can't say more about it yet as I'm just finalizing the release at the moment. There will be more infos really soon!
RtM: Have you been feeling the need to do a solo work? And what positive factors would you point out in the opportunity for an artist to launch a solo work?
DS: Yes I think I felt the need to do it. I've been listening to folk music for years now and started writing folk songs a few years ago. It's so fun and when I write songs on my own, they most likely are more folky. So I knew I wanted to do something in that style at some point.
Then after touring for 1,5 years on "Lady in Gold", we decided to take a break of touring with Blues Pills. So it felt like the perfect moment to start the solo project, it kind of felt like now or never for some reason.
RtM: I see that you also showed your quality as a vocalist in your solo, so I would like you to tell us also if it is something that you want to develop more, and which would be the vocalists you most admire?
DS: Thanks, I used to sing as a teenager but I stopped for some years when I joined blues pills. Then I started to slowly sing again, but that's when I started to sing folk. I stoped trying to have a rock voice, it just felt more natural to song softer songs.
Some of my favorite singers are Van Morrison, Terry Reid, Curtis Mayfield, John Martyn, Donny Hathaway..
It's so much about the songs and how much emotions they put into it. Neil young is definitely one of my favorite singers, it's not like he has the most incredible voice out there. But he wrote some of the most incredible songs I've heard.
RtM: How was the tracklist chosen? What factors weighed in the choice of songs that are in the EP?
DS: It came quite naturally. I knew which song should be the first and which should be the last. So from there it was really easy to finalize the track list.
I had quite many songs to choose from and ended up not recording a couple I thought I would record. Me and Zach, who produced the EP, were just listening through my songs and picking the ones that felt strongest at first listen. It also felt like those 4 songs were fitting together really well.
RtM: And could you speak a little bit of each of the songs on the EP?
|"When I write songs on my own, they most likely are more folky. So I knew I wanted to do something in that style at some point."
"Huitoto" was written on my couch, it came really quickly. Like I just played the whole song while recording it on my phone and that was the demo. The lyrics on this song are a bit more vague which I also like so people can put their own meaning on it. To me it's a song about loss, more like loosing yourself through doing things in your life that don't make you happy.
"Hungry Ghost" was also written on my couch! I remember having to spend a bit of time figuring out the chorus part, but once that came, the song was complete. The title is inspired by a book by Gabor Maté. To me, the roam of hungry ghost is where endless desires are. It's the hungry ghost in us that's always seeking for more. More money, more success, more booze...It's a different thing for everyone and obviously it's much stronger for some people. The hungry ghost choose to hide the pain and have the temporary pleasure, then you can't stop seeking for that temporary feeling and you get trapped in that roam.
I got the idea for "Need to Love" in Porto while I was on tour with Blues Pills. I ended up walking the shady street of the city and walked by homeless people smoking crack. That image stayed with me, i didn't plan to record this song but Zach liked it when I payed the demos. So we finished it in the studio and I'm really happy with the way it turned out.
"Hello my Friend" is the most personal song on the EP I feel. It's about a friend that was going through a mental breakdown. We used to hang out a lot and play music and all of a sudden I couldn't get a hold of him anymore. Then I heard he was in the mental hospital. Then the song became more about a few of my friends that have suffered, some that couldn't bear to live any longer in that suffering. So quite heavy and personal :)
RtM: Do you have plans to make a full-lenght album and maybe to do some shows or a short tour to promote your solo work?
DS: Yes I do! I'd like to release a full length this year. I started playing solo shows and I'm booking a tour around the release of the EP.
DS: Speaking of influences, I would like you to tell us about your beginning in music, who were your main influences and how did your interest in music and playing guitar come about?
DS: ZZ TOP was my main influence as a young kid. They became my favorite band around 4/5. Then I discovered the early Status Quo, AC/DC, Rory Gallagher, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton..
RtM: When did you get the first guitar and what was it?
DS: I was 9, it was a classical guitar that my mum bought me at a second hand market. I still have it!
RtM: Currently there are many new bands making music influenced by the classics of the 70s, using that sonority and even more "vintage" visual. There are always those who go down this road to take advantage of some movement or trend, but there are bands that make this kind of music really spontaneously, as we can feel in your case and the Blues Pills. I would like you to comment on that, and how the interest in this classic sound came about, and what factors do you think contributed to being so natural for you to compose and play this vintage style?
DS: All of us in Blues Pills have been heavily inspired by the music of the 60's and 70's and the records back then sound like a guitar or a drum recorded onto tape and that's what it is. There was no sampling, no crazy editing, no digital drums or fake amps.
So we wanted to re create a similar feeling, and used vintage instruments, recorded on tape...
|" I believed in Blues Pills from day 1, but I didn't really imagine that kind of 'success'"
DS: Thanks! Live shows are really important to us.
RtM: Were you surprised by the receptivity and success with the Blues Pills? Tell us a bit of what it's like to suddenly have your band with 2 albums released worldwide, being called to major festivals. I think it's very important to have a team to rely on when a band starts to have a bigger repercussion, with lots of details to take care of, from the schedule of shows and interviews to the financiers.
DS: I believed in Blues Pills from day 1, but I didn't really imagine that kind of "success". I guess because I didn't think about what success would be like. I just knew it had a lot of potential and it was really fun to play!
We were really lucky to meet the right people and build a good team of trust worthy people around us. Also we always supported and cared for each other through the difficult times which really helped.
RtM: The excellent receptivity that the Blues Pills got, allowed you to play in several countries. I would like you to tell us which were the most outstanding shows for you, and which country you still did not have the chance to play and would you like to visit on an upcoming Tour?
DS: Rock Werchter last summer was huge! One of the biggest crowd we played for. Also the last time we headlined London early December was one of my favorite blues pills shows I can remember. It was a small venue, my favorites, and the energy from the crowd and in the room was just awesome!
We've never played South America but I would really love to!
RtM: And what can you tell us about the Blues Pills plans for 2018?
DS: We're gonna play a few festivals this summer including Wacken and Woodstock Poland. We'll probably also work on new songs.
RtM: Thanks for your time Dorian, hope to see you soon here in South America!
DS: Thank you! I hope to come play music there really soon!