When you think of hard rock and rock ‘n roll, France probably isn’t the first country that comes to mind. But Berserkers, who have been around since 2009 and recently released their new full length ‘Lock & Load’, are looking to change that. On this newest album they’ve done their best to merge the worlds of old and new, taking classic keyboard and guitar driven rock and adding some modern flairs alongside just a hint of metal. It caught my attention with hook after hook, accented by the soaring vocals of Julien “Julius” Logeais. Today we’re excited to bring you a premiere of the band’s new music video for the song The Foolish Man, so you can hear for yourself just how well these guys have these rock hooks down. Check out the video below, along with an interview with Berserkers where they talk about all the work that went into this material.
Transcending Obscurity (Chris Dahlberg): For those just hearing Berserkers for the first time, give us a brief introduction to the members of the band and how you met.
Berserkers (Julius): Hi, my name is Julien “Julius” Logeais. I’m the singer, bass player and creator of Berserkers. In 2009, I created the band to play Hard Rock with a modern touch. We are a kind of evolution of Hard rock music you know. At the time (2009) the band was composed of me and Julien “Judy” Rosello (Keyboards), and we met Leo in February at a concert in Bordeaux (Rock school Barbey). A few weeks later Julien “Pix” Lamy and Arthur Orsini joined the band to play guitar. Judy left the band in April 2013 and Val was called by Leo to play Keyboards in his place.
In June 2013, we started to record the first album. The first album was released in January 2014. After lots of shows, Pix left the band in October 2014. At the time we had two new songs called Blind Taste and Vampire Lady. After this event, we decided to write a new album that reflected our new line up and our new inspiration.
Leo: Hi, I am Leo the drummer. I met Julius by the intervention of another musician. Then I successively liaised with Berserkers with Arthur and Val.
TO: Your second album ‘Lock & Load’ will release in September. It took a year to write and half a year to record and put the finishing touches on the material. How does this compare to the writing/recording process of the first album?
Julius: The first album was a Best of dating from 2009 to 2014, the very first time of the band. The second album was entirely composed of new stuff in a more organized way. We had fun from the beginning to the end of the process. This new album is very cool.
TO: You’ve had keyboards since your formation, and once Valentin “val” Sarthou joined you gained the Hammond organ. These instruments play a prominent role throughout ‘Lock & Load’ and give off a distinctive 70s vibe alongside the modern influences. Tell us more about the role of the keyboard/organ in your music and where Sarthou fits into the overall writing process.
Leo: Keyboards are a crucial instrument in Berserkers, it allows many possibilities to color our music and is particularly important to enrich and alternate the chords while the guitar plays riffs or solos. We are glad that since Val joined us, our music has a variety of sounds it never had before, even if the Hammond organ sound is prominent, and we enjoy keyboard solos as well as guitar ones.
Julius: We are all in the writing process. This album was composed in rehearsal with microphones on the drums and guitar cab to not forget any ideas of guitar parts or keyboards parts or drums part. Then I wrote the vocal parts.
TO: Julien ‘Julius’ Logeais has a strong voice, which is key for a high energy rock band. What’s his background as a singer, and has his approach to singing changed at all from your first album to ‘Lock & Load’?
Julius: Thanks, I work very hard to sing with a voice as strong as the music. My vocal parts on ‘Lock & Load’ are more bluesy and warm than the vocal parts of the first album. At the beginning, I didn’t want to sing in the band, but time passed and people like my voice. I like Ian Gillan, Bruce Dickinson, Joe Bonamassa, three fucking great singers. I try to sing as good as possible like these guys but with my voice.
TO: Guitarist Arthur Orsini was responsible for production/recording of the album. What do you think are the benefits of having a member that can handle these elements in-house rather than hiring someone from an outside studio?
Arthur: Auto production allows us to take the time we want to record, and to save money. But to me, this is not only a question of time and money, recording and mixing Berserkers is just natural. This is my job. When we write songs, I already think as a producer and try to imagine how we will record the song and how I will mix it. Mixing Berserkers has always been a challenge.
This is not exactly metal, but this is not pure rock’n’roll either. I can’t apply a recipe, I have to find my own. I don’t think someone who doesn’t know the band as I do is able to do it properly, even if he is better than me as a producer. Maybe I’m wrong… Anyway, I think I just like to record Berserkers!
Leo: Arthur is a self-made man in recording, mixing and mastering things. He started with recording other bands, and his first involvement into Berserkers studio sound was with our EP ‘The End is Nigh’. He is a perfectionist, like the rest of us, which is a good thing for doing our sound ourselves, as we can spend time in order to obtain the best result. As a main composer of our songs, Arthur knows how it should sound but has also the capacity to adapt his work to unforeseen events or ideas found while recording.
TO: I think the album is catchy from beginning to end. With that being said, are there any particular songs that stand out to you as favorites?
Julius: Vampire Lady of course, I like the album in its entirety but for me Vampire Lady is THE song.
Leo: My favorite song on ‘Lock and Load’ is The Foolish Man. But that said I am very proud of the whole result.
Arthur: My favourite song is Heroes are back in town. But I think my best solo is on Vampire Lady, and I love the short Hammond solo in Rock save the world. Every time I hear it, it makes me do “air keyboards”!
TO: The press info for the album mentions that you worked on some music videos for this new album. Do you have any details about these yet, and what songs will they go with?
Julius: Yeah, of course. The Foolish Man is the first video clip and the second is Blind Taste but Blind Taste is an animation 3D movie with us playing in a saloon.
TO: The album art is killer, and gives off a bit of a western film vibe. Who created this artwork, and how does it tie in to your music?
Julius: The artwork was made by Thomas Bourdon, he’s a very great designer for me. He understood our music and now you can see his mind on the artwork.
TO: So far your albums have been released independently. Have you been pursuing any label deals for the future or are you happy with keeping things independent for right now?
Julius: Hum, Yeah, We look for a label, so Labels if you read my word….ahah.
TO: You’ve played shows throughout France. How would you describe your live performance to someone that has yet to see you on-stage and what has been your best gig to date?
Leo: Energic, strong, emitting positive vibes, and nice to listen to, as we work with our own sound technician.
Julius: When you come on the show, you can feel the power of Hard rock song with powerful lyrics and a hell of a solos coupled with good melodic parts. All of this with a universe of Western movies or Mad Max-like.
TO: When it comes to great rock bands, every country has their fair share of classic groups. What are some great rock bands from France that may not have gotten the recognition they deserved abroad?
Julius: In France, for me we don’t have great rock bands, not for the moment.
TO: With the album release set for September, what else does Berserkers have planned for the rest of 2016?
Julius: Play lots of gigs and grow up!
TO: Is there anything else you’d like to say about ‘Lock & Load’ or Berserkers?
Julius: Listen to the ‘Lock & Load’ album guys and your life will begin to change. We are there for a long time to play Berserkers’ Hard rock!