When you think of punk, the mainstream minds go towards either the British scene that introduced it to the world or the modern-day pop-punk era that supplied many millennials with a place to mosh during the summer at Warped Tour once upon a time. France, however, does have a bit of punk in it, but according to Topsy Turvy’s the scene isn’t as widespread. That’s just one of the things we talked about as we dove into everything from writing habits to their new album, ‘It Can’t Be Easy,’ which drops on January 13th.
Kendra: When I think of punk I think of it here in America with Warped Tour and that whole scene, and overseas, my head definitely goes towards that London scene, so where do you feel French punk fits into the grand scheme of things?
Topsy Turvy’s: Actually…nowhere? I think that a big part of the French punk scene has turned towards America since the ‘90s, because of all the radio songs, video clips, and movies we’ve seen when we were kids. Maybe we failed to create more or different because it seemed to be better somewhere else, our childhood was mostly influenced by the USA culture, so we just try to be down there.
There is (was?) a French punk scene, singing in French, who proposed something new, like others who don’t sing in English but they rarely seemed to be related to the US or UK scene, punk rock music is not really popular here now (was more in ‘80s/’90s).
Kendra: Y’all have done your part with keeping French punk out there with half a dozen releases to your name over the years. With each new record, do you sit down together as a band and go over the thematics and whatnot or do you just go in and treat it like a blank canvas?
Topsy Turvy’s: We don’t really try to do something coherent (except in 2012 where all the EP is about a story). Most of the time, we write songs about what we have in mind. We are two writers in the band, the music is done before the lyrics, then we choose the one who inspires us the most. However, we keep a global theme visible on our artwork as a background story from the beginning of the band to the end.
Kendra: Going back to your French roots, what local venue would you say your 2023 release, ‘It Can’t Be Easy,’ fits in with most when you think about the aesthetics and overall feel of the record?
Topsy Turvy’s: Definitely not the Confort Moderne, the big venue there, which was a great underground place before but is now subsidized, elitist, at the antipodes of our way of thinking. Impossible to organize DIY shows in this place despite multiple attempts and requests. There are not many local venues actually…so maybe, a secret place, safe and welcoming to everybody is the best, we just have to find it, or create it!
Kendra: For me writing comes easiest late at night (or when I’m at my day job avoiding said day job). What about you? When you look back at songs like “No Surrender” and “You Don’t Know” did you come up with them at specific times that you feel you tend to be your most creative?
Topsy Turvy’s: Sincerely, I’m sorry but I don’t remember my mood and the environment when I wrote these songs, but I’m a bit like you in general, it’s easiest late at night most of the time! Oh, I have a lot of ideas under the shower too, but often I forget them!
Kendra: Perhaps it’s on tour because since kicking things off in 2008, you’ve hit the stage in over two dozen countries. As we continue to get back into the swing of normalcy around the world, what are some countries or cities you have on your personal bucket list to play?
Topsy Turvy’s: Because of the environment and after all the tours we made, we think that it’s time for us to really pay attention to the impact we have. Actually, we are looking for places where we can go with a van so it’s mostly about Europe, but there is always a new country and new people to meet so we will be touring again and again, even if we have to do it by bike!
Kendra: Being that it’s a new year, have you set any sort of music resolutions for yourself?
Topsy Turvy’s: After recording this album at home, we find that quite easy to do so we wish to create more and release songs more frequently now!
Kendra: Lastly, with ‘It Can’t Be Easy,’ out on January 13th, what lies ahead for you?
Topsy Turvy’s: Touring again, as we’ve done before, better and more we hope!