25 September 2021
MONSIEUR POMPIER’S TRAVELLING FREAKSHOW. Sounds kooky, right? Not only the band’s name is kooky, but also the orchestra conductor Monsieur Pompier, his new album, his video clips, and his freaking freaks are kooky. Expect bizzaro entertainment, synth-pop tunes, the French cancan, Kraftwerk bleeps, and sparkling sparks. Curious?
I thought so. Let’s start the Q & A show…
Who’s Monsieur Pompier? Is he for real or someone’s alter ego?
“Monsieur Pompier is the leader and instigator of the Travelling Freakshow. He’s a
collector of oddballs and oddities and likes to present his madcap menagerie to the
world. Monsieur Pompier was at one time my alter ego, but over time the Pompier
side grew stronger and stronger by the day to the point where the “other” me faded
into obscurity. I’m pure Pompier now.”
And what about his Travelling Freakshow?
“The Travelling Freakshow is my band of merry misfits, there’s ten of them so far but
soon there will be more. The Ear Fairy, for example, cleans your ears at night, takes the wax home with him and makes up small waxen sculptures depicting the people he visited. Guts The Cat is my fabulous feline who wears an onion for a hat, can turn herself inside out and occasionally, plays the fiddle. Micky Mould, by contrast, just wants to keep things clean and prevent anyone from enjoying their lives. He was created when I accidentally left a loaf of bread in my shed for several months.”
With song would you pick to introduce yourself to those who never heard of you?
““The Crabbit” is my current personal favourite and a good introduction to the demented universe of Monsieur Pompier’s Travelling Freakshow. “The Crabbit” is a half-crab, half-rabbit hybrid who entices young people into various vices. Once you’ve seen The Crabbit, you know you’ve got the habit.”
What impact did that awful pandemic had on your artistic activity?
“It had no impact whatsoever. I have a feeling Doctor Moogle might be behind it all.”
Many artists started to cover other artists during the lockdown times.
Did you do that too? If not which song would you pick to cover?
“I have a real aversion to covering songs but I will say that at our first ever show we
performed a ramshackle rendition of “What’s New Pussycat?” by Tom Jones so maybe
we’ll bring that back one day.”
Your new album is called TEATIME TERRORS. Why and
what or who inspired the title?
“I wanted to bring to mind TV shows like Tales of the Unexpected and The Twilight Zone,
bad Stephen King stories and folk horror. I feel the alliterative title sums up the mood of the album well. Unsettling, bizarre, yet eerily mundane in both the topics and settings.”
I suppose it’s you on the LP’s striking artwork. What’s the story behind it?
“The cover is taken from a 1950s piece of packaging which was originally used to
hold a pair of plastic eyeballs which one could drop into an unsuspecting friend’s drink. I always knew this would somehow end up as the album artwork as the face bore a striking resemblance to my own. The scanned design was then edited and embellished with new eyeballs and typography by the supremely talented Kate Stuart resulting in the final artwork.”
What can we expect from a live Monsieur Pompier performance?
“What is unique about our live shows is that not only do you get to witness the performance of the songs themselves, you actually get to meet and interact with
the characters in the songs, whether you like it or not. The Ear Fairy will inspect your
ear, Doctor Moogle will give you his diagnosis, and Banana Boy will shoot live beetles
at you with his slingshot.”
Which movie would you show on a big screen
behind the band to visualize your music?
“The Abominable Dr. Phibes.”
What‘s the best and worst track you heard so far in 2021?
“I recently discovered the band Stump and I think that their song “Buffalo” might be both the best and worst song that I’ve heard this year. Other music highlights from recent times that I suggest your readers check out right away include The Gathering Doubt, Tirikilatops, Scunner and Rita Braga.”
Are any Monsieur Pompier mouth masks available?
“We aren’t currently making masks available to the public but there are plans for
all manner of Monsieur Pompier merchandise including t-shirts and toys in the not
too distant future.”
Sparks or Devo?
“I love both bands but whilst I’m particularly fond of the Freedom of Choice album by Devo
I think that overall there’s a lot more meat on the Sparks bone. Lyrically, stylistically and simply in terms of sheer quantity, Sparks are the superior band for me even if they can end up being like as sickeningly sugary sweet that you can only eat so much of in one sitting without throwing up. My favourite Sparks albums are the self-titled debut album (originally titled Halfnelson), Kimono My House, and Whomp That Sucker.”
Frank Zappa or Captain Beefheart?
“100% Captain Beefheart. For me, Frank Zappa was a great technical musician but Beefheart was a true creative weirdo. My favourite Beefheart tracks are “Brickbats”, “Tropical Hot Dog Night” and “Harry Irene“.”
Next step for Monsieur Pompier?
“I’ve already got most of the tunes for the second album written. I just need to record them now. We’re performing live again and with Halloween approaching, we’re sure to be busy badgers in the coming weeks. Keep your eyeballs peeled for more music videos also!”
Merci bien, Monsieur, pour votre cooperation
May the road rise with you
Buy/stream the new album here…
MONSIEUR POMPIER: Facebook