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The Inspector Cluzo Talk Independent Farming, Best Concert Venues, and Favourite Books

Laurent Lacrouts and Mathieu Jourdain of The Inspector Cluzo join us for a convo about farming, favourite books, the best concert venues, and much more.

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The Inspector Cluzo, photo by Philippe Salvat

If you had to describe the run that The Inspector Cluzo have been on since their debut in 2008 in one word, we think “epic” would do just fine. The Gascony, France duo have just entered their 15th year together, wasting no time to start the year; they released their brand new studio record, Horizon, late last month. Remarkably, this is Laurent Lacrouts and Mathieu Jourdain’s ninth proper full-length, an album they have referred to as their most personal to date. Interestingly, each of the twelve tracks corresponds to an event from their lives that they have personally experienced.

Nearly three years in the making, much of the album covers their lives as professional, independent farmers and their battle against big factory farming companies. It’s not made very apparent within the regular media, but farmers all around the world are constantly posed with the threat of being swallowed up by large corporations. Lacrouts and Jourdain live this life every day. They catalogue their struggles in their songwriting, with tracks that discuss protecting their geese, trying to navigate the large bird flu pandemic, the negative aspects of chemical farming, and their fight for an agroecological system.

Today we are joined by both members of The Inspector Cluzo for a pleasant little conversation about random, interesting topics, like their most significant accomplishments, favourite books, best concert venues, and a whole lot more.

What do you think is your greatest accomplishment?

“We bought an abandoned 300-year-old farm in Gascony, France, ten years ago called Lou Casse (it means the oak in the native Gascon language). We transformed it into what it is today: a 15-hectare agro-ecologic farm, all organic with our own free-seeds (no GMOs or hybrids seeds), as well as local species that are disappearing, like Gascon sheep, Gascon geese, chicken, and turkey. We have 1 hectare of vegetables. We worked really hard to rebuild this farm, and recreate the local richness where our roots are: Gascony.

“The farm feeds three entire families, and we’re selling around 10,000 meals a year to the local farmers market every Saturday (vegetables and meat, all organic). We’re really proud to have re-energized this local richness in three primary ways: the economic impact has been great, but more importantly, we are also positively affecting local social and environmental change.”

What’s something you know isn’t real but wish existed?

“Rock n’ roll music?”

Artwork for the album ‘Horizon’ by The Inspector Cluzo

Artwork for the album ‘Horizon’ by The Inspector Cluzo

If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?

“We’ll be a fox with no hesitation. They are the natural predators of our chicken and geese… so sometimes the fox pisses us off. We find them climbing on top of our fence or sliding through a small hole under the fence, but we really admire how clever, patient, and strategic the fox is.

“Around May, fox mothers have their babies and they could hunt up to 25 km just to grab a chicken neck or a goose to feed their kids. We accept this, as it is part of the food chain. The problem is that after three or four geese are killed by the fox, it keeps on going, being the wild hunters they are, just for fun and pleasure. At that point, we had to inform the fox; they had to stop…

“We don’t kill wild animals; we’re not hunters, so we just inform him politely that he needs to get out from our farm (laughs). We just shoot in the air when he is around, and because this animal is so clever, he understands that it’s time to leave this area.”

What’s something you’re proud you’ve never done?

“Winning a Grammy Award or Victory of Music Award in France! Please save us from that (laughs)!”

If you had the chance to know when you died and how, would you take it?

“We’ll die at the end of our life because dying is part of our life… this awareness is the basis of ecology rules, and all environmental aspects. As professional farmers, we face the wild animal death every day, in the forest, in between species within the food chain. Accepting death as part of your life as a natural process is understanding why you are there on this planet called Mother Earth.”

When do you feel like the best version of yourself?

“Just being ourselves, being authentic.”

BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, other?

“Any of them… planning to get out from that one day… we’re too connected. nothing against it, but it comes to a point where we’re less and less connected to Mother Nature. And for us, the future is that. We just stay connected because of the band, but when the band is done, we won’t be so connected anymore, no need in our daily life.”

Beer, wine, or liquor?

“We’re from Gascony, so of course, wine, Bordeaux or Madiran, or Cote de Gascogne or St. Mont. There are so many varieties in the southwest of France. For liquor, like all Gascons, we drink the Gascon liquor: Armagnac! The oldest “eau de vie” in France, really authentic, still, not globalized like Cognac, so more authentic taste done by authentic people.”

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would play the lead role as you?

Russell Crowe. But sincerely, we pray for this not happening, like Grammy Awards etc. And it’s not a question of not wanting success etc… it’s just that we’ve been educated to remain humble, and modest, and we think we don’t need all that. Our best award is that after 15 years of a musical career and nine LPs, we still have people buying our stuff; that is the most important thing.”

How do you drink your coffee?

“Like all Latin European people, black! Here, if the coffee is good quality, then don’t mix it with something; it’s a sacrilege! It’s like meat or anything here; we don’t add sauce because it’s challenging the taste of the meat or the vegetables themselves. We’re fortunate to have good quality products where we’re living, well raised, well-grown. We like to focus on the product itself.”

The Inspector Cluzo, photo by Cyril Vidal

The Inspector Cluzo, photo by Cyril Vidal

Favourite book of all time?

“In the U.S.: John Fante’s Ask the Dust. That is exactly what we like in U.S. literature: less is more, like blues music… it’s really hard to remain simple, but not basic, especially when you’re full of skills…

“In Gascony, well, The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. D’Artagnan (the French Musketeer) is born close from where we are, and all musketeers were all Gascons like us, so, yes, even if it is a bit exaggerated, like a Hollywood story, there is a part of truth in these musketeers and Gascons guys…

“In France: all philosophy of lights, Montesquieu’s Lettres Persanes, Voltaire’s Candide, Rousseau, but also Tocqueville that you guys know really well too, and that is part of your history too. We really think we really need more of this philosophy of lights nowadays in the global world, to fight against all that kind of ideologies coming from everywhere.”

Wii, Xbox or Playstation?

“Man, we’re farmers; we don’t have time for that!”

What’s the best venue you have ever played in, and why?

“We could write a book as we have played more than 1,100 concerts in 65 countries. We are the kind of guys that like to be out of our comfort zone. Fuji Rock 2008 and 2014, we have played there eleven times now, but 2008 Fuji Rock was special because Fuji Rock is always special. The Japanese audience has always been so kind to us. We have played in Wuhan, China (2012, yes we know what you think, but not our fault), India, and Madagascar, and we were carjacked in South Africa in our touring car…

“We have played Russia, we’ve played this awesome festival in Peru called Selvamonos in Oxapampa where we had to cross a 4,200-meter mountain in the Andes in a bus with the audience and technicians.

“Recently, we played a symphonic show in our 105-year-old home town arena to 4,000 people. It was special to play our music for the first time with classical musicians. Last summer, we played the Hellfest main stage in front of 50,000 people, just the two of us, no tracks, live like usual, and that was huge!”

If you could have dinner with any musician (dead or alive), who would it be?

“We would invite Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa to our farm, to eat our food. Hendrix, because he is and will always be the Mozart or John Coltrane of that instrument, and Zappa because of his awesome sense of humour! That would be a fantastic night.”

Born in 2003, V13 was a socio-political website that, in 2005, morphed into PureGrainAudio and spent 15 years developing into one of Canada's (and the world’s) leading music sites. On the eve of the site’s 15th anniversary, a full re-launch and rebrand takes us back to our roots and opens the door to a full suite of Music, Film, TV, and Cultural content.

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