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Ms. Poppins and Europe's Cocaine Piss come to London

No. Not Mary Poppins, but probably Walt Disney's absolute antithesis Aurélie Poppins, vocalist of European punk/noise band Cocaine Piss is coming to London to play Baga Yaga's Hut at Corsica Studios on Friday 3 May 2019.

The band will be celebrating the release of their third album Passionate and Tragic featuring 12 manic, gender-bending outbursts committed to tape by right-on legendary noise rock record producer Steve Albini.

But who is Cocaine Piss?

Coming into twisted existence in 2014 in the Belgian city of Liège, pretty much as a bad taste joke, Cocaine Piss swiftly established their name on the local alternative rock scene. They quickly claimed their own particular style with furious high-octane gigs that never hit the half-hour mark - kind of like watching the Dead Kennedys, Bikini Kill and Melt Banana all playing at once while really high on their namesake substance. In no time at all the band started to spread their fluffy wings across the rest of Europe.

The Pool and The Dancer are the permanent stain marks they’ve left so far, marking their whirlwind of activity (over 400 gigs all over Europe) - two albums that have shown that their simple and aggressive style of noise punk can also grow and evolve. The latter was their first one to be recorded with the absolute legend Steve Albini. It went so well that the big man stuck around for Passionate and Tragic, committing twelve short and sweet blasts to tape with his typical unique touch. The record marks yet another chapter in the progression of their basic sound, as it sees the frantic foursome incorporate more noise rock (think early Mudhoney or Big Black), which only makes their outbursts beefier and stronger in impact. Thematically, they’ll give you plenty to think about while your body shakes uncontrollably – equality, gender or otherwise, is the main thread in their work, and songs like Fake Tears, Role Model or Poor Decisions will have you reaching for that lyric sheet long after they’ve finished ringing in your ears.

Putting their money where their mouth is, Cocaine Piss always make it a point to collaborate with young and promising people. The art director chosen to take care of all the visual aspects of this latest release (album cover, photography, videos) is Laetitia Bica, who earned her stripes in the fashion business. As you could already see by the My Cake video (watch below), she has fully embraced the colourful rainbow, diving deep into the Cocaine Piss universe. Together with Thierry Tonnes she took care of all visuals that will accompany the sonic chaos.

Ahead of their European tour, we caught up with vocalist Aurélie for a whistle stop chat.

Jamie: What's the story behind the album title, Passionate And Tragic?
Aurélie: It’s a line from the song Happy ending. It’s about looking for yourself between the boredom of having a predictable and stable life and the need for excitement and passion. It’s about looking for intensity in anything you do.
 
Jamie: Passionate And Tragic was recorded at Electrical Audio in Chicago (USA) with the outspoken and legendary producer Steve Albini. What worldly wisdom did you learn from him?
Aurélie: Well, we weren’t there to hear about his opinions, so we didn’t ask about them, and he didn’t offer them. But we did learn a lot by observing the way he works and interact with people, and the lesson there would be: nobody fucking cares if you’re famous or not, do what you've come to do, and do it the way you want to do it. There’s no room for bullshit at Electrical Audio. It really is a fantastic place.
 


Jamie: In the UK the contradictory media often say hedonists don't exist anymore. Is this true?
Aurélie: I have zero opinion on that. From our perspective, as a band, pleasure is a central element to what we do. We do what we do because it makes us happy. We love playing music, and we fucking love being on stage. So we decide to live that way. We are lucky to be able to make that decision.
 
Jamie: How political is your music?
Aurélie: I guess all music is political, ours is no exception. Obviously what you say and the stories you’re telling are political. Musicians don’t live in a vacuum, being on a stage is political anyway. The whole music scene is political. With whom you collaborate on projects. Who you put on stage. Those are all political decisions.
 
Jamie: 'How', 'when' and 'why' did you get involved with music?
Aurélie: Cocaine Piss is my first band. Since I was a teenager I’ve always been involved in the music scene, being in the audience, then organising shows. I think I always wanted to be on a stage, but it took what was supposed to be a one-night project to actually do it. I’m happy I did it.
 


Jamie: Visuals are clearly important to the band, tell us about working with Art director Laetitia Bica and Photographer and Graphic Designer Thierry Tonnes.
Aurélie: Collaborating with other artists is super important to us. It feel fantastic to see your music and your universe being translated into visuals by people you deeply love and trust. Thierry did the artwork for Passionate and tragic, and when he showed us his idea, it was a revelation. Yes, this is us, this is what we want to show. Same goes for the first video we did with Laetitia, for our single My Cake. We shoot this video in one day, and it was quite the experience for us as a band. We spent most of our day together on the floor surrounded by trash bags and covered in vaseline and water. It was intense. Laetitia is a visual genius and the kindest person. We are working on a new video with her at the moment, and it’s going to be even more unreasonable.
 
Jamie: What can people expect from the London show for Baba Yaga's Hut at Corsica Studios?
Aurélie: A lot of energy. Dancing together. Living our best life for a moment. Also a lot of swearing, sweating and yelling.

cocainepiss.bandcamp.com

Passionate and Tragic is out on 5 April, released by Hyper Tension Records.

Baba Yaga's Hut present
Cocaine Piss
Corsica Studios
Friday 3 May, doors 7pm
babayagashut.com