Solo project The Wheal from Paris, France (also of Seventeen At This Time) blew me away at Out From The Shadows IV earlier this year. Now Frederic is making his dark return with another U.S. tour! The Wheal’s music is irresistible dark electro, but the real experience is the unique live performance Frederic puts on that really gets the audience moving. It really left an impression on me and now I can never miss a show when he’s in town! Check out The Wheal’s music below, as well as my exclusive interview with him!
You played the first show if your tour in NYC last night! How did it go? Are you excited to be back in the U.S.?
That first show was rad! Bernard Herman’s Rock and Roll Dungeon at The old bohemian Grove! Can you expect more than this from life? We didn’t get a big crowd and the PA hit me hard with some heavy distortion, but that was damn good. So: thanks for having me, Bernard – you rule. And I can’t tell how proud i am that people Iike TIMEGHOST or PAN would come over here to attend a DIY WHEAL show. Those guys count among the best musicians I have ever met. Their presence is a reward. As for being back to the US, hell yeah I am sooooo excited!
What cities are you touring that you didn’t get a chance to earlier this year and which are you most excited to visit?
Well, this tour has more to do with « coming back to the scene of the crime ». To be honest, booking it was kind of tricky. Most cities I didn’t know – and therefore had no established connections in – would just not answer. In a way, it is OK. I wanted to come back to some places I loved and dig deeper into their vibe – I am fine. I just hope it doesn’t mean that the US, that always was so welcoming to me, is starting to get cramped and lose its sense of curiosity towards the alien. As for my favorite cites: Would it be Chicago, Portland ?… Dude, I can’t tell. I love them all.
What have you been doing for these last few months between tours?
Lots of shit. Had to move to a new apartment in Paris. Had to get involved again in my other act: Seventeen at this Time, because we want that thing to come back to life before springtime. I also had lots of work with my day job. I am blessed with a pretty cool bohemian day job. I love it but it means I have to be creative all the time. I never stop.
What do you like to do in new cities when you’re not at the shows?
I fall in love, I am being heart-broken, hen i start all over again the next day. That’s what I am doing between shows.
Favorite and least favorite thing about the U.S.?
Favorite: the punk energy. There is definitely a unique punk energy to American cities. Maybe it is because we are standing here in the heart of darkness of the western capitalist world. From a socio-economical point of view, punk is a welt on society’s skin that is sending an alarm signal – hey, dude, you got cancer, do something about it. The greater the cancer, the most powerful the signal. For obvious reasons, punk is very strong in the U.S. nowadays. And I dig that. Least favorite thing? Sex. When it comes to flirting you guys are the best. I never felt more confident about my eros than in America. And I really appreciate it. But what about the real deal? Is it me or do you guys never fuck ? People here are so pretty and fun, what a waste! You should totally fuck more.
What is your favorite part about playing live?
I could say communion, but it wouldn’t be honest. My favorite part about the live experience is more selfish that this. When I perform as THE WHEAL it brings me back to that special place from childhood. You know, when children play and their whole inside world comes alive around them. That space where nothing matters but the rules of your personal game, the place where you can be everything you want, do everything you want. THE WHEAL brings me back here. And that’s where I want to be. Now if Ican take some of you guys with me and we play together in my little playroom, it’s all even better.
What are 3 to 5 of your favorite albums?
The Cure’s Pornography, Rowland S Howard’s Teenage Snuff Film, Dead Can Dance’s Spleen and Ideal, Soft Cell’s Art of Falling Apart, anything from The Psychedelic Furs. I am so happy I can get to hear the Furs all the time in the States. In Europe they are forgotten. It is such a shame.
What inspires you and your music? What keeps you going?
Well… THE WHEAL is kind of a non-intellectual, spontaneous, lower-belly thing. It has to do with propulsions. Most of them erotic. So what propels me forward and keeps me going is my appetite. This is probably not gonna stop soon.
Who has been your favorite band(s) to play with so far?
Dude, I have played with LOTS of amazing bands. Honestly I can’t stop being astonished by the level of commitment, honesty and integrity I see every day in the U.S. I could name a hundred names. But OK, I will name ONE. I am riding with the Terminal A guys these days. They are the best. They are the ones who move me the most. If Brecht and Dessau would come back today, they’d be Terminal A. I probably love them more than I love my own thing. They are this country’s best hope for the future.
What do you have planned for THE WHEAL after this tour?
Recording. I mean : i have been travelling around the world for 2 years with this collection of songs, working my ass off in order to become a decent performer. Now I need to shape this into some efficient sonic weaponry. So we are gonna start to work on a LP. I have a couple of friends from Mexico who offered to get their hands dirty with sound-design and production. Good. They are sharp. You can check them out under the names Vision of Lizard (that’s Carlos) and Daniel Arp (that’s Daniel). Those guys can definitely bring me the dance floor edge that THE WHEAL needs. We were thinking about moving to Berlin together to handle this. I don’t know if we can overcome all the legal obstacles and shit, but we are gonna try. Fingers crossed. A bunch of bohemian Jewish Mexican guys trying to start some dance-floor revolution from a 2-bedroom flat in the heart of old Europe. Hey, you never know. It could work, right? First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin.