Earlier this fall, on October 30th specifically, the French ten-person folk metal/Celtic punk outfit Barbar’O’Rhum released their second full-length album, Journal de B’O’R, via Mannequin Vanity Records. Shortly following the release of their new album, which has an ample amount of history of pirates both musically and lyrically intertwined into it, I was given the pleasure to talk to the band’s mastermind Capitaine Barbedrut about everything from his and the band’s influences/inspirations all the way to how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the band’s ten members this turbulent year.
I have to start by asking what the significance of the band’s name Barbar’O’Rhum?
Captain Barbedrut: Hello, thank you for your time! Barbar’O’Rhum is a multi-layered pun. In French, it sounds like “barbares au rhum” which can be translated as “barbarians full of rum” in English. “Baba au rhum” is also a dessert in France (“rum baba” in English). And “barbarorum,” which is the genitive plural of the Latin word “barbarus” which means “barbarians” in English.
How would you describe your music to anyone who may have never heard your music before?
It is a mix between the melodies of Celtic punk, the power of folk metal, and the universe of pirates. We want to immerse listeners in the pirate’s world with a modern touch.
What are your musical influences?
We are a very eclectic band regarding musical influences so I think we can find all of them in our music. I composed most of the songs and I listen to a lot of different things: Medieval music, pagan folk, bluegrass music, hard rock, punk rock, Irish punk, folk metal, extreme metal… We look for inspiration in every kind of music we love.
How about your musical inspirations? What are those like?
The first musical inspirations were Dropkick Murphys and Alestorm. Today, I am personally more inspired by Irish punk bands like the Japanese band The Cherry Coke$ or medieval metal German bands like Feuerschwanz or Saltatio Mortis. I love their universes.
You draw a lot from sea shanties and traditional folk music, is there any part of the history of pirates that you would love to cover that you may not have touched on already?
Yes, there are a lot of things to say about pirates. And it’s important to search for new topics to talk about. We just want to stay in the period from the 1500s to 1800s, we don’t want to talk about the pirates from Antiquity who captured Caesar even though it’s interesting too. For the third album, we want to talk about pirates who weren’t only from the Caribbean.
If the chance preceded itself, is there any musician you would like to collaborate with? Rather that is to write a song or be featured on a track with?
Good question! We never really thought about that. For now, we would prefer to collaborate with some friends of ours. We are like a family. But if one day we could collaborate with someone, we would love to collaborate with a French metal band Ultra Vomit -which we really love. We’d love to be featured with them!
You released your newest album Journal de B’O’R back on October 30th. How has the album’s reception been so far?
We have had several good and stellar responses, so we are very happy! We worked a lot on this album and it’s always pleasant to receive good reviews. Thanks to Jake and Dustin from our label and Melanie our PR! We have had a very good amount of media coverage.
Writing music with ten members must take a while to get everything right, does anyone accidentally step on anybody’s toes during the writing process of Barbar’O’Rhum music?
You’re right, it’s not so easy to write songs for so many people. But on this album, we are only seven musicians -that’s already a huge number. Usually, I compose the base of the songs for every musician. After that, I present the song to the band and if the band enjoys it, we learn it and every musician can adapt his musical part. Three songs on this album were composed by two other people. Jérémy, our bassist and Colin, our keyboard player, sent me their ideas and I have adapted them to uniformize the song with the rest of the album.
Having two bass players is pretty unique, who purposed this idea to be incorporated into the band?
We have two bass players, but it’s only because our first bass player wants to play the bouzouki [a Greek string instrument]. Though, in the end, it is so good to have multi-musicians. They can switch their instruments. The two bass players can also play electric guitar.
I assume with the worldwide pandemic, all of the support plans for Journal de B’O’R were put on hold by COVID-19?
Yes, it was a very complicated year for every artist. We only played five concerts this year and had more than thirty shows cancelled due to COVID. We hope we will be able to show our new album live more in 2021.
So how have all ten members of Barbar’O’Rhum been keeping busy with all the downtime the past several months?
Some members are professional musicians, but others have regular jobs. It was quite difficult for the former. We have been kept busy by the work on Journal de B’O’R and practicing with the new line-up. We had to rework every song because of it. So it was a busy period for us.
Thanks for the time. Is there anything else you may want to add?
Thank you very much to you! Your interview was very detailed.
Our new album Journal de B’O’R is available on the main digital platforms and in the physical version -with a 28 pages-booklet- by contacting us. And the last thing I want to add is that it’s important nowadays to support our local music bands. Continue to listen to the songs on streaming platforms, watch YouTube videos, and before all, buy merch and albums from them.