I had a chance to catch up with French Female Celtic Punk band, Toxic Frogs. We talked about their musical background, the making of their video, their upcoming EP, and more!
Could you tell us a bit about each member’s musical background?
Ella, lead singer and violinist, comes from country music, rock and Celtic music! Perrine, violinist, from classic music, jazz and Irish music. Lydie, on drums, comes from jazz and rock. Lucianne, electric guitar, pure rock. And Elvina, on bass and Fiddle, from classic music, rock and gypsy.
How did you all meet and begin writing music and performing together?
Ella: 8 months ago, I got this idea to create this Punk Rock Celtic girls band. That was an original idea, that kind of girls band doesn’t exist. We didn’t know each other before. I asked my musical and friendship network for some help to find musicians! And it worked, We loved each other!
Lydie: As we began our first repetitions and composing together, it worked immediately.
Lucianne: We start playing and ideas just came to us within 5 minutes.
Elvina: All our musical shets are created in 5 minutes! It’s crazy, so fast!
What is the significance of the band’s name?
Ella: Ah Ah! For English people, french are “froggies”, it’s a funny pun.
Elvina: And toxic! In the Amazon there are all kinds of frogs, colored, small and so cute but extremely dangerous and toxic.
Perrine: Like us!
What is life like in Lyon, France? Can you tell us about the music scene of Lyon?
Lucianne: There are lots of bands in Lyon, but no Celtic rock ones…
Ella: You can find every kind of actual music, électro, pop rock. There are lots of concert halls but mangers are stucked up with Celtic music, even if this style is successful in France.
Perrine: So we’re on Tour everywhere, except Lyon.
Could you tell us about a few of the most exciting and interesting live performances the band has been a part of to date?
Ella: For now, we’ve done few concerts, we’re a young band. Our first one was in January and it was great!
Elvina: The people were incredible! We understood right away that feeling was here between us and them, and that our musical choices were good.
Lucianne: Our last concert was in a secondary school, with lots of students jumping everywhere and singing with us during one hour. That was magic!
Lydie: No Lucianne! Our last concert was in a pub and the feedback broke down during the show. We went one with only one feedback on stage… That was rock n’ roll!
What can you tell us about the two singles (‘Toxic Frog’ and ‘Rock the Stage’) the band has released so far? What experiences and events led to the writing and recording of these original compositions?
Ella: Toxic Frogs started from a frenzy. We get tired from not so nice and guys that are rude with us. We decided to write a song to explain what we think of them! We also had the idea of a video clip with a silly and funny script. We’re not really feminists.
Lydie: We really love men!
Elvina: Yes, Yes we love men
Lucianne: For Rock the Stage, we wanted to tell about the life of a band on tour. We didn’t think that a Tour with Toxic Frogs would be so mad!
Ella: It’s a sheet all based on energy that’s hyper, positive, and happy. When we perform it on stage, people jump everywhere.
Perrine: When we’re on stage people screams our lyrics! “I’m a toxic froooog, toxic frooog, you will poison yourself, I’ll see you in hell!”
Ella: After that, we had to record these 2 singles to approach Festival managers and so on.
What does the recording process for Toxic Frogs look and sound like?
We recorded in a studio near Lyon, the Purple Sheep. They do a good job with great equipment. We had a great feeling with Jean, sound engineer. We recorded in two days. We work urgently from the beginning, we love that. We wanted a real English punk sound, with a not-so-clean violins sounds and Jean understood immediately what our final goal was. Also, our first EP will be recorded there.
What instruments and musical equipment does the band use live and in studio?
Ella: In studio, I use my old acoustic violin with a great rock and folk sound. On stage, I use an electric violin Yamaha (V255 silent) with a huge energy thanks to its pre amp. I have a partnership with Yamaha Music Europ, I’m one of their artist in stringed section. Lucianne has an electric guitar from a stringed-instrument maker, Sylvain Hartwick, and a fender telecaster.
Lydie plays drums on MAPEX, Snare Tamburo, Cymbals ZIDJAN, AGEN and ISTANBUL, sticks VATER. Perrine plays on a five strings électric violin handmade vintage. And Elvina plays on a Fender Deluxe P-Bass and on an ancient acoustic violin.
What went into the making of the Toxic Frogs music video?
Ella: We wanted a video clip full of fun and energy but we had no money. So, a friend of mine, a talentuous guitarist, GaëT, shot us with his own Smartphone! We did it urgently again! Two days and without authorization of the city of Lyon, in particular in the subway. We went down the subway with the cameraman. We fimed during ten minutes trying to escape from the Security. The same with the tag on the wall, it’s, of course, forbidden; That was funny, our friends keeping an eye for the police. The fabulous great Irish tap dancer, Sébastien Jaquemin from the Sidh Dance Company came dancing for free, also Boris Riou the piperman. We all made it with friends acting, other friends let us filming in their places.
What is the overall message you are trying to get across with the video?
Ella: The script was build around an original idea from a friend, Olivia Klimis. Men wearing frog masks and other scenes came very quick and in a very natural way.
Lucianne: Message is that girls are too often harassed in the street, everywhere, only because they are girls, but girls are not passive, girls’power!
Perrine: At the end of the clip, tables are turned, we became the Toxic Frogs wearing masks.
What are some of the challenges the band has faced with the task of crowdfunding?
Ella: We actually used a kisskissbangbang to produce our first EP and it’s very hard to explain to people we don’t have enough money to do it ourselves!
It’s very important for us to arrive till the end of this project. So, we try to motivate people doing some Small acoustic vidéos, teasers.
What are some of the rewards you all are giving away to donors / supporters?
Ella: Lots of great things! People can give from 5 to 1000 euros! For example, with 25 euros you’ll have a CD, an original dedicated picture, a Toxi Grogs Tshirt. With 50 euros, the same and a Toxic Frog cap. With 75 a tanga or boxer more! After that you have the Totally Mad Packs! The Toxic Secret Pack. All the same as before + a VIP diner cooked by the band in Lyon, in one musician’s home with an acoustic concert + 2h of SPA in Lyon before diner and eternal gratitude!
When can listeners expect to hear new music?
Ella: The EP will be recorded in may and distributed in June. We’ll titled it “Obsession” as one of new pièces, very hot, inflammatory and most of all very punk.
Is there one particular photographer the band works with to showcase their image, or are there many?
Ella: We’re working with several photographers coming to shoot us on stage. They’re all different, but great photographers. We’re Lucky because most photographers are inserted by 5 girls on stage, it’s unusual in France.
What other French artists are you all currently listening to?
Ella: Shaka Ponk on actual french scène, it’s an original and great rock. And older bands more often disappeared, like les Beruriers noirs, Rita Mitsouko, Sege Gainsbourg for his musical Genius and poetry and Noir Désir of course!
Are there any American artists that particularly intrigue you as well?
Ella: Yes! Lots of in Irish punk rock style bands. We love the Dropkicks Murphys of course. FM are fantastic and in Canada we’re following the Mahones. Lots of bands are great!
What does 2015 hold in store for Toxic Frogs? You all have a number of performance dates already lined up for this Spring and Summer, correct?
Many things! First, we’re booking our 2015 tour, it’s long and complicate to do, we already have some great dates as The Interceltic Festival in Lorient in august, so huge! We may be have a Tour over Europe with a US Irish punk rock band, we’re trying to manage this tour together. We also wish to make an other video clip in June, with a real director, but we can’t say more for the moment. We also wish to organize an european Tour and an american one in 2016. England, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Italy, and the USA
Ella: I played in 2013 at the Shamrock Fest in Washington with my former band, I‘d like to play there with Toxic Frogs, I loved the USA! So we make a call: we’re searching bookers, concert managers in Europe and somewhere else!
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, would you like to tell our readers anything else?
Yes! Don’t forget to help us for the KKBB and a big « MERCI » to you!