We get to know European rockers The Bateleurs.
So, who are you?
We are The Bateleurs, a blues-rock band.
Where are you from?
We’re from the metropolitan area of Lisbon, Portugal.
How long have you been together?
We’ve met around 2012 and started playing together in clubs, mainly cover versions of ‘70s rock like Zeppelin and Purple, and then started writing our own songs around 2016.
How long have you been playing music?
Myself (Ricardo Dikk, bassist) and Rui (Reis, drummer) have been professional musicians for longer than we like to admit; we’ve done pretty much everything here in Portugal, both as live freelancers and session studio players, and we still do. Fortunately, we’ve never had another job in our life; Sandrine (Orsini, vocalist) has fronted a number of bands over the years, both covers and originals, and also doing freelance and studio work.
Why should people listen to your band?
Apart from the fact that we write about subjects that almost everyone can relate to, like living life in the modern world and all the pressure surrounding it, I really think that our strong point is the way we approach playing music in the first place; we believe that the evolution of technologies in music production sucked the life out of the art, and we are compromised in doing all our recordings without using digital editing tools to correct our performance. We have a grudge against auto tune and audio quantization, two techniques we are very familiar with because of our work as session studio players, and we absolutely forbid ourselves to use them in our work. We just get down to the studio and play it and sing it until our fingers and throats bleed, like how it was done on the old records that we love. I hope that truth and commitment are evident to the listener when hearing our songs.
What is your ideal touring line-up?
We’re not gonna say we’d love to tour with Zeppelin and Purple on their golden years… but if we’re talking about contemporary bands, our perfect tour line-up would be with Rival Sons and Fantastic Negrito.
What does music mean to you?
I usually feel that a person doesn’t choose to be a musician, it’s more like the music chooses you to be its vehicle; music is art, is a language, is the most powerful force in the universe, it’s incredible diversity, and it reaches everyone, despite race, religion, social status, there is a song for each and every human being in the world.
What was the first record you bought when you were younger?
When I was young, my dad owned a big collection of records, and we’ve listened together to Zep, Purple, Joe Cocker, The Beatles, Janis, Blood Sweat & Tears, Moody Blues, Otis Reading, and I love them all to this day… when I was about 12 years old, I was a pre-teen totally into heavy metal, so the first record I bought with money I saved from Christmas was Iron Maiden’s latest album at the time, Somewhere in Time (yes, I’m old).
Rui comes from a family that is really into classical music, but the first record he bought was Maiden’s Life after Death.
Sandrine’s sister was a huge music lover and amateur singer, and flooded their home with records from Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Elton John, among others; after she moved from France to Portugal in her teens, typical teenage rebellious attitude made her buy Pantera’s Far Beyond Driven, a record she loves to this day.
What artists first inspired you to start playing music?
For me, it was definitely Steve Harris and Cliff Burton. When I was 12, those two were bass gods. Rui started playing after discovering The Doors, with the more psychedelic vibe of their sound being the great motivator. Sandrine started singing when she was extremely young, around 6 years old, but the trigger that made her dream into being an artist was Celine Dion winning the Eurovision Song Contest.
What’s the most aesthetically pleasing album cover that you have in your collection?
Unfortunately, I don’t know where my old records ended up when I left home, I didn’t bring them with me, and I totally lost track of them, with my parents moving and everything! Though I remember that when I was young, The Beatles Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band really blowing my mind.
What kind of movie genre do you think your music would best be the soundtrack for?
A movie I can’t say, but our fans usually tell us that our music is perfect for driving, especially a long road trip.
Recommend us a record, a book, and a movie…
I’m gonna go with a modern record, there’s no point in recommending a Zeppelin album if you don’t know them, you should;
Rivals Sons – The Great Southern Valkyrie; their last record in good, but this one, the previous, is a masterpiece.
For a book, Stephen King – Lisey’s Story; one of King’s masterpieces, a novel about madness, and of the gifts it brings sometimes.
For a movie, Irréversible; a French thriller, a movie so different that will leave you fretting about it several days after you watch it.
Any last words for the readers of Highwire Magazine?
One of the big problems that rock ’n’ roll music faces nowadays is the constant obsession of the fans with the past. People continue to buy the 101st re-edition of the GnR or AC/DC classics and don’t support new bands; they buy tickets at an exorbitant price to see their youth idols trying to rock in their 70’s, meanwhile, gigs with exciting new artists at a modest price are half full or even empty.
Rock is not dead, there are a lot of amazing people making amazing music but the real rock fans are not paying attention. They prefer to spin the same old records over and over again; if the music they love is not on the mainstream right now like it once was, maybe is because these fans are not supporting new bands the way they supported the classic ones when they were young.
If you love rock, be there for it, buy the music, go to the shows, and maybe in some years The Rolling Stones can retire and we’ll have enough young blood to carry the torch… this is our main message and our primary goal, not to let rock ’n’ roll fade away.
Meanwhile, we hope you check out our music and be tuned for the release of our album this fall.