Sisyphes (\si.zif\) is the Margate-based project by former La Houle guitarist and songwriter Geoffrey Papin. Their unique part-pop, part-dreamy and definitely alternative sound features elements inspired by the avant pop music of Stereolab, Broadcast and Julien Gasc. Sisyphes’ name is taken from Greek mythology – the deceitful character who has been doomed to push a boulder to the top of a hill for eternity. While perhaps music and art could be categorized as similarly futile, these are the things that get us up in the morning to push our own personal rock once again.
Hi guys, great to meet you! How are things?
Couldn’t be any better, in the middle of a trip to Egypt and back to release an album.
Firstly, could you introduce yourself to DMC’s readers?
Sisyphes started out as my (Geoffrey Papin) main music project. I wrote most of the forthcoming album by myself, although lately I started working with Chris on guitar and Luke on drums. I really feel the project has morphed into a band now, with a strong connection on stage and sharing similar music taste. We’ve already written a few new songs and I can’t wait to record those as I feel they both bring a new dimension to this project.
You hail from the quirky seaside town of Margate. How do you feel your upbringing has shaped you as artists?
We are all living in Margate at the moment but grew up in different towns. I can only speak for myself but I grew up in Angers, France, and I feel that my music is strongly influenced by some the iconic French Artists I heard played in my parents’ living room like George Brassens, Jacques Brel, Serge Gainsbourg. My parents were enthusiastic travellers and I Inherited this passion from them, so here we are, a Franco-English project inspired by harmonies and polyrythms from all around the world.
Your most recent single was released on 30th September. Could you provide some more information about the release?
Comète is the second track of our upcoming album and – like most of my work – is a song about love because, to paraphrase Albert Camus (who gave our band its name), in the end I don’t think there is anything else but love. Our next single is called La Lassitude and is out on 28th October.
What kind of inspirations have you drawn upon when making the single?
The lyrics were written by Clementine Blue and the goal was to describe the route of a comet who is travelling through space looking for love, going from planet to planet but escaping their gravitational lure, finding the biggest planet of the system, crashing into it in a big bang, creating a new universe…
The track paints a picture of feeling lost and looking for a path. Could you touch more on this?
Well yes this comet is definitely an object lost in space – just like the rest of us – but as Antonio Machado says, « travellers there is no path, you make the path by walking ! »
The accompanying video is an animated voyage, illustrated by Margate-based visual artist Callier Epps. How does it fit in with the track’s message?
I’m so glad we worked with Callier on this video. On top of being a beautiful visual object, Callier with this black and white minimal animation interpreted the lyrics with some freedom, giving another dimension to the track with this touch of abstraction that allows people to interpret it their own way.
In future news, your 8-track strong album ‘Deviant Pop’ is slated for release 11th November and is mastered by Geoffrey Papin. Could you talk about influences for this?
We recorded it just before the pandemic with Franklyn Mockett in a castle in the south of France. It’s a mix of many influences, mostly shoegaze / avant pop / french synth wave. Or My Bloody Valentine meeting Stereolab meeting Flavien Berger.
Do you have a favourite track off of the album? Why is that?
I think Comète is my favourite track. It’s very pop and very adventurous at the same time. That’s what I wanted to do with this album, some kind of deviant pop.
It’s been lovely chatting with you Sisyphes and good luck with the future releases. To round off the interview, is there anything else in the works from yourself that you can let us in on?
You have to imagine Sisyphus happy ! » said Camus. So all I can say about future releases is that, despite the very melancholic music that we produce, we’re hoping to be on a path toward awakening and blissfulness.