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A Small Band With a Big Future: Interview with Behind Locked Doors

Two days after seeing their performance at the Emerganza contest, I stumbled across two members of the band Behind Locked Doors at a festival. We talked a little, and they agreed to give me an interview the next day. We spent the whole afternoon together in a park; eating cherries, chatting about Micki’s obsession with red pandas, and complaining about the suffocating weather. To escape the upcoming storm, we headed to a small restaurant. There, they told me about the band’s story, their inspirations, and their future projects.

When did you start making music, and what pushed you to do it?
Anthony: Since we were born! Since we’ve been able to sing, we’ve been singing together. But the thing that actually pushed us to make music was the movie School of Rock. I watched it with my brother, right after, we went and stole our dad’s guitar. A few days later he taught us a few chords. So I was around nine, and Micki was seven.
Micki: It started with the singing, then we began to learn guitar on our own, just by listening. Later, with the internet, we learned a bit more, and we continued to combine our skills.

When did you decide to start this band, how did it happen? What is it like to be brothers and to work together as artists?
Anthony: It all started just for fun with my little brother. We were playing the songs we liked in our room as kids, we didn’t write anything. We got into it again two years ago. For a year I was part of a metal band called Forgive the Weak with Julien, our current guitarist. When I left the band, I asked him to join us.

Micki: With Anthony, it’s been quite serious since February 2016. But it wasn’t really “a band,” we did a few shows just for fun. Behind Locked Doors really started around October 2016, when Julien came in. That’s when we began we really started to dive in, that’s why we applied to take part in this contest. This pushed us to work more on our songs, in order to have something ready for the shows.

Anthony: Actually, it was our friends that asked us to make a real band! For us, it was just for fun. I didn’t picture myself only with you (Micki) on stage; I don’t know why… But when Julien came in, it made a real difference. He is THE perfect guy; he is a good balance between us, personality wise. Because, as brothers, we obviously often get pissed off at each other… which is great, because that’s the reason why we can talk so freely about what’s wrong with our music, and to end up with something perfect. You know, Micki often tells me “shut the fuck up, it’s not good at all, just do it again from the start.”

Micki: Yeah, at some point Anthony will start yelling at me, then Julien will tell us to chill and take a deep breath. That’s the moment when we will all take a step back and start to work together again. And then it’s all good! Naturally, those things happen, but at the end of the day, it’s for the band’s good.

Can you describe your style in 3 words?
Micki: Woooh! That’s a hard one ! (laugh) I would say “acoustic.”

Anthony: “Alternative”… And Magic System! (laugh) (Magic System is a band that makes party/summer/fun songs, very famous in France, check them out if you want to know why we were all laughing) No, but seriously, don’t put that part in the interview! (sorry guys I did) “Melancholic” maybe? Let’s say “Acoustic,” “Alternative” and “Melancholic.”

Which artists are your influences?
Micki: How many times do we have to answer that? (laugh) What’s great is that we all have different backgrounds. We all bring something different! Julien likes many gypsy jazz guitarists, and he also listens to a lot of progressive metal. Anthony has a really “metal/post-hardcore” voice, and I do bring a “pop” touch. I like Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran, but at the same time, I listen a lot to the bands we saw last night, such as Sleeping with sirens, Pierce the veil… So it’s mostly post-hardcore /metalcore, then it’s really diverse: jazz, pop, rock…

Anthony: The sound engineer we met this weekend told us we sounded like a mix between Paramore and Andy McKee. I think this is actually true, if you mixed those two, it would kind of sound like Behind Locked Doors. Anyways, we don’t look for resemblance with anyone, we make the music that we feel like doing.

How do you work during the process of creating a song?
Micki: Anthony and Julien mainly work on writing the music, and I’m more on lyrics. I try to give a poetic touch to our songs. The guys are usually working on how to give the lyrics a good atmosphere. We usually start separately, then we put everything together to fix it all. We can spend hours and hours until we are satisfied.

Anthony: Micki is really good at finding the right words in English! Most of the time I’m writing the main guitar line, then Julien adds his own things. It’s crazy how talented he is! But you know, it’s so hard to be objective on a song you worked on for at least weeks, or even months. Sometimes we can spend three days on one single sentence! We are such perfectionists, if there’s a tiny thing that’s wrong, for me, it ruins everything.

Micki: The night before the show we spent an hour rehearsing one sentence! We really wanted everything to be fixed in our minds. Sometimes it takes time, but that’s what it takes to be happy with your work.

Anthony: Damn, this sandwich tastes like shit.

My orange juice is SO WEIRD too omg! But next question… what does inspire you?
Anthony: There’s nothing special! I usually just sit with my guitar and see what comes out. It really comes from nowhere, I could spend nine months trying to do something, and nothing good would happen, then within a week, I could write four songs in a row. Even when we have deadlines, we never force anything. The pressure can be a booster, but it can also lead to rush things, which can be detrimental.

Micki: For the lyrics, it really comes from everywhere… Sometimes you’re just sitting in front of blank paper with no inspiration. And suddenly you see a landscape, you’re having a beautiful moment with your friends, and you will be like “wow, this is inspiring, I want to write about this feeling.” And then you will write some pieces of sentences, that will eventually become your whole song. Even while listening to a song, sometimes I hear a word that sounds nice, and I feel like using it in my own way.

I just want to talk about a moment that moved me during your performance… Micki, before the last song (Hope), you said a few words about Christina Grimmie, then you seemed very emotional while singing. Can you tell me what she means to you, and why you wanted to dedicate this song to her?
Anthony: Wow, it gives me goose bumps just to think about it… Micki asked the band to do it because he really cared about that. Christina Grimmie was one of our idols when we were kids. You know, this girl makes videos from her bedroom and she has this incredible voice… She was part of those artists that make it thanks to people, not because they are born privileged.

Micki: Yeah, that’s what I find beautiful with Christina Grimmie. Since the beginning she fought to make it in the music world despite all she had was a shitty webcam, her old piano, and her Zelda tees, showing her geek side without caring about people’s opinion. It was not professional at all, she kind of started like us, and then she ended up making a featuring with Adam Levine on The Voice. I’ve always followed her career, I’ve always found her covers beautiful, sometimes even better than the originals. This woman was extraordinary, and even when she was shot by a crazy fan, she was doing her job so well. She was signing autographs at her merch table, talking to her fans, when that guy decided that it was over for her… So when we learned that the last day of the contest would be on the 10th of June, exactly a year after she was killed… Some people told me that she would be thinking about me. And we won even though we kind of messed up the show, and most of our friends told us it was because of her.

I was so happy that you won the regional contest! Was it the first one you’ve attended? What did this experience bring you?
Micki: Yes it was the first one! The Emerganza really gave us more confidence while on stage. Also, we chatted with the jury, so we’ve been able to take in all the criticism to improve our work. We had good feedbacks from them; it’s awesome.

Anthony: It really forced us to move our asses to do something! Having this goal, this deadline really helped. And at every step of the contest, we ended up first, including the last one that brings us to Paris, which is something we would never think of. We really kept that work rhythm and the habit of seeing each other a lot. With my brother, all we do is working on our music, so when Julien comes, it’s 100% efficient right away. Being brothers is a huge advantage.

Micki: Also, it allowed us to see all the different parts of the music industry! I mean, we make our own promotion, we made our t-shirts, our wristbands, we sold our tickets, we worked on our lightings… Even for the last show, we rented a bus to take our friends and family from our hometown to the venue… So if we are not happy with something we only can get mad at ourselves.

Anthony: It takes a lot of work, but it was a good experience. Also, we got to play in some venues our idols played to, it was a dream comes true.

It must be even more stressful to have to deal with everything, right?
Micki: It’s exhausting, but it’s also so cool because it enables us to control every aspect.

Anthony: He (Micki) is SO ANNOYING ! He’s the worst, really ! Three days before the show you can’t even talk to him, he’s freaking out. It’s awful! It’s because he’s too emotionally involved… Or maybe because I’m not enough… (laugh) Julien is also stressed, but he’s more quiet about it.

What are your projects now the Emerganza is almost over?
Micki: Having a social life! That would be nice.

Anthony: Yeah, it’s been a long time, I think I forgot what it’s like… (laugh) The Emerganza is not over yet, so we’re really focused on the Parisian show… But we were thinking about recording something. Not necessarily in a studio, but a good quality thing.

Micki: Also, this weekend the venue shot and recorded our performance, so even putting it on the internet would be great so people could finally see what we do online. We really need to make an Instagram account too! We don’t have enough time to do all of that at the moment…

Any tips for people who would like to start a project? Like a band, business, or anything they might want to do.
Micki: Never give up. Really! We’ve been making music for more than a decade now, and people got to know us very recently. Our advice would be to not give up, and to really work, work and work. That’s the work that will lead you where you want to be.

Anthony: Working hard is the recipe, really. Obviously, there are geniuses out there, but if you work enough, it pays off. This is actually the first band where I’m really proud of what I’m doing. I end the songs with a huge smile on my face, and it can be hard to get there. I will show you old videos from 10 years ago when we were singing, it’s crazy, we couldn’t sing! And the lyrics we wrote were… quite interesting. (laugh) So “work” would be my advice.

Micki: And do not give up! It’s the most important. When you’re alive, the most important is to chase your dreams, so that one day you will be really happy because you made it.

Anthony: Micki wrote the first sentence of the chorus of “Hope” that says “Time is passing by and I’m learning how to fly.” And I think that this sentence says everything.

Micki: This song really represents our band. We all went through hard times, within ourselves and with the people around us, while we dreamt about living our dream. And you should never hesitate, despite the time it takes, despite everything that goes wrong, you need to keep going. Even if no one likes it.

Anthony: So many people come at me saying that we should add a drum, a bass… But we won’t, that’s not the way we see things. People always want to put everyone in a box, to put labels on everything, but to be happy with what you do you need to do it your own way.

Micki: And not only in music, but also as a dancer, or whatever, you shouldn’t be afraid to be different. When you want to do something different, people are afraid. Even our parents, they support us, but not 100% because “it’s not a real job.” But at the end of the day if we ever get to play in a big venue we would be proud of ourselves because no one ever told us it was a possibility. But obviously, we’re still so far from that!

Anthony: For sure! We’re so far from that, but we will keep going that way. I hope that one day we will be able to make a living out of our music, that would be awesome.

Micki: What is beautiful is to keep dreaming, and that’s what we do. Making people sing along, making them move their heads, their hands, making them cry, laugh… It doesn’t matter the feeling as long as it creates a bond with the person listening, that’s all that matters. And that’s what we want to do.

They couldn’t have ended this interview on a better note. This is exactly the message I want to convey through my writing and in real life: never give up on your goals, do it your own way and work for it. Meeting those guys was amazing, they are so kind, funny, inspiring and talented. I’m sure one day they will be playing at huge venues, with a lot of fans(girl)s waiting for them outside, and hopefully, I will interview them again.

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Special thanks to the Tom Firth and the Emerganza for the pictures, and to Caroline A., Lola B., Margot D., and Juliette L. for the help.

  • Margot Dulac

    You rock girl !! ??

    • Valentine Laval

      Hahaha thanks ! They do too ?