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Interview: Hyperculte (Switzerland) - New Zealand Tour

Interview: Hyperculte (Switzerland) - New Zealand Tour

Daniel Beban / Monday 18th March, 2024 9:55AM

Orchestra of Spheres' Daniel Beban interviews Geneva post-kraut duo Hyperculte on the eve of their NZ tour, presented by Pyramid Club.

Hyperculte's music is right up my alley: driving rhythms, syncopated grooves, no-wave angularity, trance-inducing repetitiveness, chanted vocals. I've seem them at least half a dozen times and they're always fantastic live. And just a duo too! Vincent Bertholet on double bass / vocals and Simone Aubert on drums / vocals (and guitar which she has balanced on a chair and smacks with a drum stick every now and again). These two are total alternative music workaholics from Geneva. Aside from Hyperculte, they're both involved in plenty of other bands and projects, run festivals, record labels... you name it they probably do it. They're modern-day troubadours keeping a radical, DIY spirit of music making alive and well. No bullshit, they are one of the best European bands currently operating and they're going to be here in NZ for an epic tour in March and April! I sent them a few questions via email which they kindly answered.


Thursday 21st March - Porridge Watson, Whanganui with Tender Moonlight, Norns
Friday 22nd March - Last Place, Kirikiriroa / Hamilton with Glass Shards, Late for Life Drawing
Saturday 23rd March - The Wine Cellar, Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland with Oksun Ox, TOOMS
Sunday 24th March - Green Door, Ngāmotu / New Plymouth with Late for Life Drawing
Wednesday 27th March - Snails, Te Papaioea / Palmerston North with Meth Leopard
Thursday 28th March - Meow, Pōneke / Wellington with Class War on the Dance Floor, Cave Circles / Borrowed cs
Friday 29th March - Tim's Place, Mārahau with Fairydog
Saturday 30th March - Mussel Inn, Onekakā with Outer Orbit, TwotoTango
Wednesday 3rd April - Yours, Ōtepoti / Dunedin with Sewage
Thursday 4th April - Space Academy, Ōtautahi / Christchurch with No Exit, Zane 2000
Friday 5th April - Pluto Projects, Te Waiharakeke / Blenheim with Twin Rudders
Saturday 6th April - St Peters Hall, Paekākāriki with Shhadows, Oonaverse

Tickets available HERE via UTR

Dan: What's the music scene like in Geneva, and how does Hyperculte fit in?

Geneva's scene is super rich, dynamic, eclectic. With a lot of great bands in different styles. Historically there was a huge alternative movement in Geneva in the '90s, with more than 100 squats in the town. A lot of artistic squats, with a lot of venues / theatres / cinemas and artists. The cultural and creative life was very important. With all these different venues, there was a lot of international touring bands who played there, which had a big impact on the bands here. We both come from that movement, where we learnt how to organise a show and saw so many great concerts. We are clearly identified in this, Geneva's alternative scene.

This cultural movement was so strong that there is still a big support from the town to our different projects, and different venues / festival. We both organise a festival, Baz'art for Simone, and Face Z for Vincent. It is for instance possible to organise shows in a squat, and receive subsidies for doing that. It helped us a lot, and it still continues.

Dan: You guys both are involved in loads of music, as performers and curators. Can you each briefly outline some of your current projects?

Vincent: As well as Hyperculte we both also play in a new band called Yalla Miku, with our mates from Cyril Cyril, and 3 African musicians: Samuel from Eritrea, Ali from Algeria, and Anouar from Morocco. I play also with Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp, a band I founded in 2006, and for whom I compose the music. We're 12 on stage, and 14 on the road. We're going to release our 6th album next November on Bongo Joe.

Simone: I play in four bands: as Vincent said above, Yalla Miku, which is a weird mixture of kraut, psychedelic pop punk; Massicot, a weird post punkish no wave trio; Tout Bleu, sort of art experimental pop, on top of Hyperculte. It is a bit too much. : ) But recently my work as an artist and musician moved to sound design and sound art. I compose more and more music for dancers or contemporary performing arts, sound installation, and I really love this new direction in my work. It gives me the opportunity to leave the music industry that I don’t understand to stay as close as I want to my position as an anti-capitalist artist. I studied fine art, maybe I just finally get to join my studies to my life! After 22 years of touring!!! Haha!!

Dan: Can you tell me about the festivals you organise?

Simone: The little festival I organise is called Baz'art. It is mixed media, music, art installation, workshops… Everything is welcome as long as it follows the spirit of the “all together” something. Meaning, having to deal with whoever comes by, as the festival takes place in the public space. We like this confrontation, and I think we are too much centred on ourselves and need to open to other communities as artists. Anyway. It is fun, and our favourite NZ band Orchestra of Spheres have once ended the festival in a huge conga line (we say “La chenille” in French, it sounds better then)… a lot of fun. In June we will do our 14th edition. Working on it right now!

Vincent: Face Z is a music festival I started in 2006, very eclectic. The festival changes its name every year, it started with Face B in 2006, and will finish with Face Z in 2030. Next December will be Face T. It goes in all directions: punk, experimental, desert blues, trad music from different countries, bedroom pop, noise, chansons...

Dan: What's the story of the amazing costumes on the cover of your first album?

It is inspired by the book of French photographer Charles Fréger Wilder Mann, about traditional carnival costumes in Europe. The ones we use on this pictures are from Valais, a mountainous region in Switzerland. These costumes were used for carnival there, but it is so old we don’t really know how this tradition started. The place where we did this picture is important too, it was done by Lake of Joux, where Simone’s ancestors where living as farmers.

We were being asked a lot of questions about cultural appropriation at the time, and we were happy to find out with Charles Fréger’s work, that we have more in common than thought. These costumes could be from anywhere in the world. Check the book, it is great.

Dan: Predictable question sorry, but what are the musical influences on Hyperculte's sound?

Simone: Devo, Bauhaus, Can, Talking Head… But where are the girls?!!! Of course Tom Tom Club, Siouxie, the Slits. And why not even Crass for their engagement, and super punky shows. I think we are quite messy live too!! :)

Vincent: Sonic Youth, Joy Division, The Ex, Dog Faced Hermans, Fela, Charles Mingus, dub reggae...

Dan: Do you know anything about New Zealand music?

Vincent: The first concert I've ever organised was for a musician from NZ, Graeme Jefferies, in 1992? '93? It was a solo show in the student radio station where I was working as volunteer. I love to listen to Orchestra of Spheres, Connan Mockasin, Aldous Harding... I'm really looking forward to discover new bands on this tour, your scene has quite a good reputation.

Simone: I myself don’t know many bands or musicians from there except our friends from OOS. But I really like the music reaching us from your island, and in my thinkings I always compare both our places. A 'bit' isolated, so super close to nature and embracing weirdness as a beauty. Looking forward to playing with all the bands we will meet on the tour!!

Dan: Can you tell me about the crazy aborted Covid tour of NZ in 2020... what happened?

Simone: When we left Europe on the 10th of March 2020 to reach NZ, trouble here was very close. Italy was shutting down everything, but Switzerland not yet… four cases were found in NZ, so we thought we could just manage to get our three weeks tour without any worries… it was wrong. Plane was empty when we left, and we realised already we were probably making a mistake. Anyway. We managed to do few shows, then Vincent had to go back for his family, and three days after everything has closed. People in NZ were scared of us as we speak with our Frenchy accent, Covid was hitting hard in Europe at that time… Super stressful. Also just to get on a plane to go home as the whole world was in panic trying to go home! What a mess.

Vincent: It was so sad!!! I was crying when Simone and Nadan left me at the airport in Auckland (I decided to go back to Geneva before the country shut down, because of my family, schools were closing). It was like I'd touched the gift of my dreams, but someone took it right off my hands. I realised also how much I'm addicted about touring, playing music, travelling. I thought it was finished. Covid was a very bad period for me.

Anyway! We are soon back to finish it properly this time!!! Finger crossed!!!


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Hyperculte (Switzerland) w/ Tender Moonlight + Norns
Thu 21st Mar 8:00pm
Porridge Watson, Whanganui
Hyperculte (Switzerland) w/ Glass Shards + Late For Life Drawing
Fri 22nd Mar 8:00pm
Last Place, Hamilton
Hyperculte (Switzerland) w/ Oksun Ox + Tooms
Sat 23rd Mar 8:00pm
Whammy Bar & Wine Cellar, Auckland
Hyperculte (Switzerland) w/ Late For Life Drawing
Sun 24th Mar 6:00pm
Green Door, New Plymouth
Hyperculte (Switzerland) w/ Sects In The City and Rug Doctor
Wed 27th Mar 8:00pm
Snails, Palmerston North
Hyperculte (Switzerland) w/ Fairydogs
Fri 29th Mar 7:30pm
Tims Place, Maharau
Hyperculte (Switzerland) w/ Outer Orbit + Twototango
Sat 30th Mar 8:00pm
Mussel Inn, Onekaka
Hyperculte (Switzerland) w/ Sewage
Wed 3rd Apr 7:00pm
Yours, Dunedin
Hyperculte (Switzerland) w/ No Exit + Worldwide Panopticon
Thu 4th Apr 8:00pm
Space Academy, Christchurch
Hyperculte (Switzerland) w/ Twin Rudders
Fri 5th Apr 7:30pm
Brayshaw Park Chapel, Blenheim
Hyperculte (Switzerland) w/ Sshadows + Oonaverse
Sat 6th Apr 7:30pm
St Peter's Hall, Paekakariki