Daïtro: Raising Questions Instead of Singing a Rebel Truth

An interview with Lyon's finest emo punks Daïtro

Daïtro is one of the best bands in the world right now. These guys from Lyon, France, are some of the nicest people you’ll ever see and it’ll be a big misfortune to not read this interview.


Salut, Julien! In the beginning could you introduce yourselves(self), give us a brief description of how long have you been together in Daïtro, what’s the story behind the band and what about your releases up to now.

Hello! So, I’m Julien, I play the guitar and sing in the band. I play with four other good dudes, Benoit who plays the drums, Aurelien who sings, Gwen who plays the bass and Sam who plays the guitar too…

I know Sam since I was 3 years old and Benoit since I was 13, and one day we decided to start a band so we learned to play our instruments… We started to play as a three piece in 1997 but it was just to learn how to play together, write our first shitty songs… The band as Daïtro started in 2000, we were a four piece for the first four years, there was no lead singer (I sang everything), and Thomas was playing the bass.

We released a debut 7″ in 2002 and an MCD ‘Des Cendres, Je Me Consumme’ in 2003 with this line-up and then when Aurelien and Gwen arrived (in the beginning of 2004) we did a split with Raein in 2004, a first full length ‘Laisser Vivre Les Squelettes’ in 2005, a split with Ampere in 2006, one with Sed Non Satiata and another 7″ in 2007.

We toured mostly in Europe since then but also in Japan in 2006 and in the US in 2007. There is no particular story behind the band, just friends wanting to play music altogether, that’s how we started and what is one of the main statement of the band…

You released a split album with your friends Sed Non Satiata that is a benefit for two collectives in France and an Italian organisation. Please, explain us how did you come up with the idea for making this split and give us an info about the collectives you’re benefiting.

We were involved in Food Not Cops which was the Food Not Bombs in Lyon and we missed some dishes to cook and serve dinners. We thought we could raise some money with the next record for it but as we didn’t wanted it to benefit only something from our hometown, we decided that it would be cool if it could be helpful for other local associations of people being involved in the record.

As I said, Food Not Cops is based on the Food Not Bombs idea, we collect food for free in markets, cook it and then serve in the street to people in the need… Unhurt is as an association in Toulouse preventing ears damage… Spazio Autismo is an association in Bergamo helping autistic kids to make their lives better and more enjoyable. The LP in the US will also be helping for Casa De Elizabeth, an orphanage in Tucson, Arizona helping children who have been deprived of a loving family…

What other bands, projects, collectives, organisations are any of you involved with? I know you’re making a DIY label/distro and that you’re doing artwork and packaging for Daïtro and other bands…

Gwen and I started a new band with our friend Hugues, it is called 12XU, it is more Wipers-Hot Snakes-Dinosaur JR. driven… we played our first shows and will record a demo this week end! Gwen and I also started Echo Canyon Records, we released the split with Sed Non Satiata on CD and have other projects on our mind for the next future… I do some artworks sometimes too. Sam is co-managing a DIY art gallery in Lyon too and make some exhibitions in other cities too… So far that’s all, it’s quieter than before actually!

The messages in the Daïtro’s songs seems to be social/politicaly awared but the writing style is more introverted and layered not directly hitting the listener with songs about politics like the generic hardcore/crust bands. Do you think your DIY attitude, playing in squats and benefiting different causes make you political band and is this a political act in and of itself?

Our topics, the way the band works, where we play and what we want to do with it comes from some political awareness but it doesn’t make the band ‘political’ if you know what I mean… I think the meaning is too strong and it would be pretentious and unfair to all the bands being really political..

With the band, I think we are more trying to put out questions we have instead of singing a rebel truth. But I don’t consider ourselves as apolitical at all too so we’re somewhere between these two extremes. Too many people think that the fact of being DIY make them political whereas I think it is a fantasy.

Being a militant, going in demonstration, glueing posters for Anarchist Federation or whatever, trying to reach different people with radical ideas this is politics. Most of the scene here is simply extreme left wing friendly whereas few are real political militant…

What is the meaning of hardcore/punk for you? Is it a lifestyle, youth rebellion against the norms, a tool for radical ideas or something else? How does the meaning of DIY and activism changed for you during the years?

Hardcore punk for me is a tool that helps me to be aware and fight social and cultural dogmas, it helps me to get self confidence and helps me to think that brotherhood and solidarity still exist on this planet. But throughout the years, I lost my naivety about it, I stopped to think that it was a fantastic parallel world with only good and reliable people, I can notice the good and the bad too and being with other people not being in the punk thing sometimes helps me a lot to keep hindsight on it, and not being swallowed by the punk dogma.

I was way more activist two years ago but I’ve been so disappointed by some people or being sad by some things that happened that I calmed down everything. On the other hand, I can’t stop setting up shows, playing with the band, having ideas of records to release but now I just try not to do 50 things in the same time and do things better when I’m involved in…


Do you think this scene is really offering something new that you could explore all of your own without being trapped in the society’s norms and rules? Or is this just a close minded social-clique with different trends, posers and divisions within it?

You always have the good and the bad, the positive and negative aspect, you can’t say punk scene is all white or all black. It definitely brings something new of course, punk scene brought really interesting ideas to the way you can build an independent network, how you can achieve big things on your own, how you can challenge some ideas you got from your education or from your culture. It really helped a lot to build my own person and to feel fine with it and it created some really stimulating things like DIY, radically different way of thinking and living, giving room and a voice to minorities…

The negative aspect come from the fact that punk is well known now and that people can take from punk only some parts of it. So I don’t think there is a whole punk scene fighting with the same will of making things, I think there are several punk networks with different level of radicalism… that’s how it created cliques with boring posers and folklore pretending to know the truth about what punk is.

What are you doing on daily basis outside the DIY hardcore/punk milleu that have positive impact on the people’s lives and deal with the idea of mutual aid and solidarity? How can we enact in our everyday lives to the alienation, violence and nihilism in the modern westernized white-male-hetero dominated societies?

mmm… Being aware of how it is stucked hard in our cultures and traditions is the first and most important step to change the bad habits we inherited, like the way we can speak, words can use and reflexes we can have towards women, gays and marginal people, or let’s say people in general. Then besides what is related to punk, I’m not such involved in mutual aid and solidarity in my hometown except giving old clothes, being aware of what I buy/eat/trash, things which are the most basic things you can do. The punk involvement (bands, shows, label, and other temporary projects) and my job fill my life enough to have a complicated personal life sometimes so I cannot do more actually because I still want to keep free time to spend with people I love. On the other hand, I don’t know if I met the good people I’d like to do such things with yet… But, once I’d feel I can do it, I’d definitely get involved in local things who have an impact on people living in the same place…

We probably did 10 times Food Not Cops in 2006 and it was a really good experience for me. Sharing moments with homeless/marginal people was something I really appreciated cause it’s positive not to be disconnected with them. Thanks to the benefit, we’ll buy some dishes and other stuff to cook in the street so it will help all of us to have a new dynamics about it and make Food Not Cops happening more often now…

At the moment I’m sending you the questions for this interview there’s the biggest NATO summit in history taking place in Bucharest, the capital of Romania. 27,000 cops were mobilised to keep everything peaceful and quite and the repressions against the alternative looking people started weeks ago. The protests in Bucharest are forbidden and activists are arrested without legal reasons. What do you think about all the militarism, propaganda and police presence defending the world leaders and NATO policies?

It’s just completely frightening and I just wish there will be riots just for the principle. I still can’t believe the governments people elected need to be protected like this… At least, it shows that anticapitalist struggle has become a serious threat for them if they needed to be protected like that… Hopefully it will become bigger and bigger… It shows how our modern societies we praised as being a model of democracy are fucked up.

What I think about militarism, propaganda etc. defending these dudes? How could I find one good reason to justify it? Who could do it except themselves? I’ll give you a more local example that really pissed me off too. Last year in Lyon, I was coming home and i had to cross a big place in the center… there were cops everywhere in the buses. You know, real cops dressed like soldiers… I went by one and asked ‘what are you doing here?’ The guy told me there was the Ministry of Internal Affairs under the tent on the place and that they were there to keep the place quiet. It was very peaceful you know but now, it looks like every time there is something liked to the government you need a big security. I was pissed off and it makes me so nervous, I couldn’t believe it… I said ‘don’t you think there is a REAL problem with government if every time it is represented it needs to be protected with 10 buses of cops? Honestly?’ He just replied me telling he was just doing what the hierarchy thought it was good to do. So what can you do…? You just want to smash those dickheads faces just for the principle of being there…


Do you have an opinion about the French militarism and Sarkozy’s pro-American and pro-Zionist positions. As well as the French policies in CAR (Central African Republic) supporting the brutal dictatorships and sending French troops still fighting wars in Africa to keep up the current militarist regimes?

France supporting African dictators is something each French president is doing, like a custom, it’s not Sarkozy’s idea. The most famous for that is Mitterand who sold so many weapons to dictators, stayed quiet during Rwanda holocaust etc… France and Africa have a terrible common history and it is totally ignored in France, it’s crazy, except the fact that France had African colonies. All you hear in school and news here about postcolonialism in Africa is like France helps African countries to elect presidents, helped financially many countries and we can congratulate ourselves on how we did the job well… It’s bullshit!

Did you hear that there was a project of law defending positive aspect of colonialism to be taught in history classes in school two years ago? Hopefully it didn’t happen thanks to teachers protest but I was so astonished that a French person could even think about it… French industries are so well in Africa, it brings so much to France, there is so much lobbying and lies that they’ll help any regime who will help to keep the benefits.

About the Sarkozy’s pro-American and pro-Zionist positions, it makes me worried. I think the other presidents (Chirac was known for it) were Palestinian-friendly to be friendly with all the Muslim community in France, I think. It didn’t make him better or more acceptable though, but at least I was relived to sometimes see him questioning the US policies. I think, Chirac is the last right-wing president with that slight anti-Americanism coming from DeGaulle. Sarkozy is the new generation… He only thinks and act in a very extreme liberal way, he’s one of these modern liberal leaders who’d do any things for France’s commercial health, at any cost. The US policies are responsible of so many modern tragedies that I cannot be other than really anxious because of course I don’t support or justify.

What was your opinion about the big CPE civil unsrests and riots in France?

It was really cool they happened because it pushed the government to change the law. As you probably know, we have a numerous of social advantages in France that tend to be more and more canceled because of a very radical liberal politics. That sucks for people of my generation because it is an open door to more and more social precarity. I’m relieved to see how young French people keep in their heart this reflex to go in the street when there is something wrong for them… There was HUGE demonstrations, it was really a massive thing… but I’m not idealistic about that you know, I know it happens only in some extreme cases, which is still a good thing I admit of course, compared to other countries where it seems more dangerous to rebel against the government…

Back to music related questions. What bands have influenced you the most? And if you can name a few great bands you like but have been underrated.

I don’t really have secret bands I love and who influence me with few people around me ignoring them… Maybe just Lisabö, a Basque band, singing in Basque language… their records are very hard to find, very limited, they only play in Basque country and they are in my top 5 of my favourite bands ever with no doubt. It’s the saddest music I know and a great influence of the band too… We’re all fond of Breach too, I think that’s where our taste for heavy rhythm comes from…

We did like Envy a lot in the past too, but we don’t really consider them as influential. The other bands that could stand as our models would probably be Yage, 12 Hour Turn, Hot Snakes, Lack, Aussitôt Mort, Sed Non Satiata… It stands as the common ground for the songs. Then we put some of other more personal and specific musical tastes and feeling in them to make it sound.

We also think about the ideas we had in the previous releases and try to put them forward and further for new songs.


The “emo” trend is very popular right now and Daïtro is an emo band, haha.

We definitely like the emo punk label because it has sense to us since it is linked to emo bands that always are/have been models to us: Yage, 12 Hour Turn, Sinaloa, Policy of 3, etc. These bands are strongly attached to the DIY scene… Screamo sounds more pejorative to us sometimes and it’s related to a part of punk that we’re not very excited by, so being labeled as ‘screamo’ we don’t really take it as a compliment.

Whatever, for the last three or four years the musical press and big magazines stole the words emo and screamo from punk to make it a commodity on a big level, it became the new face of emo and screamo for people which is sad, if even the punk scene people didn’t notice it. Underground emo and mainstream emo doesn’t have the same purposes and same goals. I think every mainstream band is very self-centered whereas underground and DIY bands want to build a strong radical community, considering their bands as ‘amongst others’.

Mainstream emo is very tennage orientated, based on image and fashion like rock stars, whereas underground emo bands doesn’t care about that. Also for mainstream screamo bands, musically I consider it as modern nu-metal, it has the same clichés, it’s so boring and so predictable. The way they look, the way they act like rock stars on videos is soooo pathetic, it doesn’t really annoy me, I’m just very amused about it… Then, being older now, it’s funny to see young kids pretending to be very underground because they listen to magazines screamo bands, whereas in reality they’re just a product of this new trend created by magazines… It doesn’t piss me off at all…

I was probably the same when I was 17, when I was listening to Nirvana and other bands on major labels, pretending to listen non commercial music, haha!! Then, if people in the punk scene put all ‘screamo/emo’ bands in the same bag, seeing all of them with the same prejudice I think they seriously miss some part of objectivity and they should learn more about different faces punk can have. The style of music you play doesn’t give the credibility at all, it’s above all what you say and the way you do your band.

We did an interview with Aussitôt Mort not a long time ago and Antoine talked about the French scene. And he said that it’s great that bands and people from different cities are communicating and making shows, splits etc. together united by the same purposes like the DIY activism, music, friendship… What’s the situation in your hometown Lyon, are there many good bands, squats/venues, zines, activities..? Also what’s your views on the whole scene in France, your favorites bands at the moment?

There’s always been some really cool things going on in Lyon, people trying to open squats, set up shows a lot in different styles or playing in good bands. There is a solid hardcore punk background… Then there are so many shows now that I can’t find the diversity that was there seven or eight years ago where we were all going at each other’s shows; today everything became more specialized because people cannot afford to go at every show… so it slowly created sub-divisions and cliques…

In Lyon, there are some cool places where punk exists, like in a squat called Le Boulon where people also live in, Grrrnd Zero where we practice and where most shows happen, who also have a space dedicated to autonomous art gallery, La Luttine, a small place where we can all go and meet people on Saturday afternoon to read zine, talk and listen to music, there is a lso the silk screen workshop in this place and is used for small meetings of political organisations.

Lyon always had a strong militant cousciousness too so it gives the punk scene a lot of possibilities. Then about France in general, I won’t complain about its situation because it’s easy to find people having the same ideas that you have or having the same purposes. But I have the feeling that it’s happening in France what happens in Lyon : every music style has a specific network which maybe things easier but it doesn’t really help mixity of ideas/styles etc, I think it slowly tends to make people more close-minded. About zines, there are more zines than in the past too, mostly wrote in French which is cool…

Aussitôt Mort, Bökanövsky, Sed Non Satiata, Gasmask Terror, Death To Pigs, Lexomyl, Lost Boys, Ned are probably my favourite bands nowadays also, I do like them a lot… About squats, there are few ones being there since more than 10 years now like L’Etincelle in Angers, Les Tanneries in Dijon, standing as the most famous ones… But it’s definitely not as in Germany for example where each city has its autonomous and alternative place. It’s definitely harder to keep a free place here for a long time, there is a lot of repression, especially here in Lyon where all the squat didn’t last more than 1 year… It’s sad but on the other hand, it creates some good dynamics when a new one opens…

What are your future plans for new releases, tours, shows in places that you have never been?

We’re finishing a new album that we’ll record in July… Then we’ll probably tour this fall and it sounds like we’ll be able to come and tour in the South/East of Europe which make us really excited about it cause we’ve never been there… Then we discussed about other splits with some friends bands too!

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