Malcolm Lacrouts & Phil Jordain

The Inspector Cluzo

Metal-Temple Editor David Nowels recently interviewed Laurent 'Malcom' Lacrouts (Vocals, Guitars) and Mathieu 'Phil' Jourdain (Drums) of THE INSPECTOR CLUZO, a French Blues Rock power duo. The interview was done just in advance of their Oklahoma City appearance on 9/25 supporting AVATAR's Country World Tour.
By David Nowels
September 29, 2019
Malcolm Lacrouts & Phil Jordain - The Inspector Cluzo interview
Thank you for taking a moment to check in with Metal-Temple and our readers. I covered your last appearance in OKC back in February when THE INSPECTOR CLUZO were opening with CLUTCH. The band's set that night was a definite highlight, and certainly gained THE INSPECTOR CLUZO a roomful of new fans. I believe it was your first appearance in OKC? Had you guys played OKC previously?

TIC: No, it was our first time in OKC.

Can you fill us in a bit on  THE INSPECTOR CLUZO?  Can you provide us with a short history on the band?  How did the duo concept come about, and was that always the plan?

TIC: We started in 2008..when our old band (WOLFUNKIND) stopped. In that old band we had, like 4 different bass players …so Math and I decided to keep on doing music together, but without any bass players      …We discovered that things were easier when it's just two of us. We 're working on the farm together, we're handling the business of the band together. We're "brothers in ideals" like the title of our new acoustic album, "Unplugged – Globalization Blues" that will be released in 2020.

What kind of influences did each of you have growing up? What music/bands did you listen too? Blues seem to be an obvious influence. Was there a particular guitarist or drummer that each of you found yourselves really drawn too?

TIC: In fact, it would be all American music. Blues for sure, (Robert Johnson, Charley Patton, Son House) , but also Jazz with John Coltrane, and soul with Wilson Picket, Curtis Mayfield. We love historic folk singers like Woody Guthrie; particularly their messages. In fact we're really into your US roots culture, for us it is the real music. We're learning a lot about how to play it properly rather than like Europeans.This is why our music producer is Vance Powell in Nashville (CLUTCH, JACK WHITE,  THE RACONTEURS, CHRIS STAPLETON)…we're learning a lot from him…

The only thing is that, we don't want to imitate US bands like many European bands try to do. It makes no sense at all. We 're GASCONs,and  we try to be as authentic and unique as we can be. This is why in our songwriting , there are all these movements within a single song. You'll have the falsetto voice right after a screaming voice, as well as piano, forte dynamic and nuance. Which is really like Debussy the french classical compositor or Erik Saty,..but we play it with balls, like a US band would do This is what THE INSPECTOR CLUZO is trying to do, playing in a US way but with European songwriting. Effectively taking the best of each parts in a sense.

I've read that THE INSPECTOR CLUZO, in your 10+ years, have played over 1000 gigs in over 65 countries. Is there a particular show that stands out as being the most memorable?

TIC: Well they are many. Japan had been always special for us, as our career started there at Fuji Rock in 2009. That was crazy. Madagascar was special to play at a festival called Libertalia, in a dictatorship, with cops in the bac. Oh, and Peru too, where we had to go through a 4800 meter mountain to reach the festival in the Amazon jungle! There are so many.  We love experiences. It's certainly our Gascon spirit; many people from our part of France have this spirit for adventure …Cadillac (Antoine Laumet de la Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, the French explorer) is the most famous Gascon for you guys in US . There's also, D'ARTAGNAN (French musketeer) of course, etc…

Your tour is billed, "We The People Of The Soil Tour" and you're often referred to as "Rock Farmers". Can you elaborate on the meanings behind this?

TIC: We own an organic farm of 8.6 ha (roughly 21 acres) called LOU CASSE ('The Oak' in Gascon language). It is our second job aside of the music. We're food self sufficient and we grow organic corn (with our own seeds), organic wheat & hoat. We have 250 geese, as well as ducks and chickens, all of which are fed by our own cereals, and of course we have 6 sheep to clean all the prairie..and Miguel our goat who is on the "We The People Of The Soil".  This is why people called us ROCKFARMERS. Ultimately, we're all people of the soil, everyone on this planet. The back to the earth; the act locally to think globally movement are what we believe in.

Laurent, for our gear nerds reading, what kind of gear are you using?  Mathieu, same question, and also, how tough on your kit is it's nightly deconstruction?

TIC: With my guitar: there are no tracks or samples, and no octavers or bass line on TIC music. It is all organic playing with my hands. My playing is a mix of finger picking techniques in a blues style with funky stuff. I have always used  open tuning Gb, or Db  or Cb, which I am changing at the end of each song    During the end of each songs, I am doing a bass and guitar line at the same time, hitting the bass strings & high strings fast, like for a finger pickings movement, BUT with a pick, so it could definitely appear really a bit  funky. My guitar is a Gibson SG from 91, and a Jazz guitar detuned in C b. Then I use a MARSHALL or whatever. I really don't care, but preferably with two channels, drive and clean.  Most of my sound sound comes from the technique rather than the amp or pedals. I evolved to this because when you arrive in PARIS, the Marshall you' re asking for is probably not there!    So I am not really too picky with my amps…I don't care, the fingers are most important. As far as pedals, I have wha-wha, a reverb, a phaser and a tape echo.  that's it     Just easy, old school, bluesy stuff.
As far as the drums, Mathieu is fixing his drums all the time just before, during and after the show, but we don't really break a lot….. don't worry!  

The last couple of questions are centered around life on tour. If there was one CD that ended up stuck on repeat in the van/bus, which one do you hope it is and why?

TIC: We're super fans of ..Bluesville & Real Jazz on Sirius XM! That's nearly all we listen to when we are on tour over here! We also love Pearl Jam radio because they are one of our favorite bands ever .

What's one personal item that you wouldn't want to go on tour without and why?

TIC: Nothing particular really. We're not picky guys, we're farmers. But, we used to not be too kind with ourselves….

Lastly, what's the best piece of advice you've gotten from a band or artist that you've toured with?

TIC: Mike Muir from ST (SUICIDAL TENDENCIES): "Don't listen to what people are saying about you, even if it hurts. Just follow your road", and that is what we do.

Sincere thanks to THE INSPECTOR CLUZO for taking time to speak with us, as well as Emily at Big Hassle for getting everything arranged! Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming Live Report and photos from the Oklahoma City tour stop of AVATAR's 'Country World Tour' featuring THE INSPECTOR CLUZO and '68.

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