Some people are confused about French rockers Fall Flavored. The band have honed an edgy rock meets punk sound that it’s hard not to love but, apparently, some are being led astray by the powerful vocals of lead singer Yasmine Senoussi.
As guitarist Benji Delecourt tells us: “Some people think that it’s a man singing (laughs). But I assure you that she’s a woman. A woman with a very powerful voice.”
Fall Flavored began life when Benji and a friend left an old band in the pursuit of playing punk rock. In October 2014 they created an EP that was “a bit melancholic, perfect for rainy days” which, combined with the autumnal weather, led to the band name. They then recruited an official drummer in Philippe Baska, a bassist in Pierre Burette, then finally completed the band with the addition of Yasmine last year.
The latest addition is also the band’s main lyric writer, but Yasmine has taken a fairly roundabout route into the punk rock world. Being sent to music school by her mother saw her fall in love with the violin, which she’s now played for 15 years, but she soon got fed up of playing classical music and started experimenting with the instrument in other genres. This led to the idea to start a one-woman band, which saw her learn other instruments like the guitar and focusing on singing, then she eventually came across Benji and both parties found the perfect match of freedom to create while playing alongside ambitious musicians.
And in terms of lyrics, Yasmine tells us: “I’m inspired by common life scenes. There is so much to say about people, I don’t need any cause to defend or anything. I want to communicate with people who might recognise themselves in my lyrics, and why not, gather them into the Flavored community so they may find support or anything, and discuss it with them.”
What you can’t get confused about is the awesome sound of this band. They recently released debut album 180, which oozes punk rockiness but is relatable to all audiences – to the extent that even drummer Philippe’s mum loves it (even if she probably has to say she likes it).
The album fuses full-on punk, in the form of songs like brash, raw opening track Epic & Colegram with faster, more pop-punk songs like second track Mountain of Rage. This track, in particular, carries punk attitude aplenty with the opening line “Not giving a shit is what we fucking aim for, You wanted to fight for your rights” then a big singalong chorus. Then there’s elements of rock like the awesome Character in a Role Play, which opens up dark and ominous, continues into big rapped vocals then big singalong choruses and ends with a huge guitar solo.
Perhaps my favourite track from the record is Nonsense, which opens with a cool hanging guitar note then palm-muted guitars support delicate yet powerful opening vocals. A high-pitched, fast-paced guitar riff comes in supporting bigger vocals through a singalong chorus of “I can’t bear this nonsense in which my whole life is contained,
I can’t wait to see the end.”
To say the vocals are downbeat is probably a bit of an understatement, as proved by the lyrics of the third verse: “This shitty life is pitiful, Keep on achieving nobody’s dream and putting mine on the edge, So please stop staring at me, Let me find the comfort in the dark, So love me, leave me, in this nonsense,” ending on a big powerful note. It then signs off in equally depressing fashion with a cry of “Wooooh, in which my whole life is contained, I can’t wait to see the end, woh-oh, in which my whole life is contained, I can’t wait to see… to see the fucking end!” Check it out below:
At face value the lively Runaway sounds more upbeat, with its fast-paced guitar chords and vocals fuelled by a mass of driving drums. But dig a little deeper and the downbeat lyrics remain, opening up with “Waking up everyday, that sucks, Going to work earn your life, that sucks even more, Pick up the kids at the school, do homework, do housework, I’m fed up I’m fed up!”
This is an excellent album that mixes things up to keep you on your toes, and is packed full of raw punky angst and fast-paced melodies to get you bouncing along.
Pierre tells us: “We wanted to explore multiple registers of music at the same time, but without denying our punk rock legacy. Our sound is definitely a melodic punk rock sound with influences such as Anti-Flag or Sum 41, but there’s also some ‘Muse-ish’ or ‘Cobain-ish’ and even post-rock sounds that are very recognisable. We’ve mixed every part of this and put all of our energy and inspirations in the last album.”
While Philippe adds: “We worked very hard before the studio recording. Every sound of every track was prepared, (and) we listened to every song again and again to improve it. Today, when someone listens to our album, they say: ‘Whooo! That’s really you? It seems to be an American super-production!’ but it’s just a Fall Flavored north France’s production!”
Fall Flavored are the first Lille band we’ve met, so we asked them for insight into the area’s music scene. Pierre told us: “Just to be precise, Lille and few towns around is a metropolis of more than one million inhabitants. There are a lot of different places for music (theatres, concert halls and pubs) but the punk rock scene is mainly underground and DIY. The concerts halls are mainly used for French pop/variety concerts, it’s hard to play there with a rock band. Fortunately, there’s a lot of bands and people working to keep this scene alive by organising concerts in pubs and in small concert halls.”
The band plan to be gigging as much as possible through 2018, with plans to potentially have a new record out at the end of the year.