Cri’Art welcomes Princesses Leia on Friday November 18th. The “Comedy metal” band presents a highly parodic live show that seeks to deconstruct the clichés of this musical style with humor.
Bringing metal and humor together in a show. A winning bet by Antoine Schoumsky and Dédo, two comedians more used to one-man shows than Hellfest stages. Together with Xavier Gauduel and Cleo Bigontina, they form the Princesses Leia. An interview with Antoine Schoumsky, the creator of this crazy band
How do two comedians manage to form a comedy metal band?
This is a project I’ve been working on for a long time, but I haven’t found the formula to mix humor and slightly edgy music. When I met Dédo, when we were members of the troupe Les Insolents, and I learned that he sings, I presented him with my idea. From one thing to another drummer Xavier Gauduel is our tour broadcaster and we auditioned for bassist Cleo Bigontina. First, we wanted to have fun in the cafe-theater for 10-15 minutes. And then he gave a very good answer and he was a little heartbroken (laughs). It’s a bit of a joke that turned out well. We quickly found ourselves in the French metal scene and did the Hellfest Warm Up Tour. First it was a live performance. When Covid came, everyone asked us if we had an album, so he made an album. The tours have started again and we have just signed the second album.
Why did you choose to be called Princesses Leia?
I found the name of the night Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia in Star Wars, Editor’s Note) died. I’m not a huge Star Wars fan, but seeing metalheads with beards and muscular profile photos on social media getting a little teary-eyed made me laugh. I thought it was good to have a metal band named after a princess in this modern world.
A comedy metal show, what is it?
A character that embodies all the clichés in the world of metal is very close to a clown in my interpretation. I want to perform at Eurovision, but no one wants to help me because everyone thinks it’s outrageous. Only Dédo accepts and I find myself forced to compromise. Dédo definitely embodies the metalhead because he looks a bit like a French comedian (laughs). We integrated our musicians into the story. It’s a show that does something to break down the clichés about metal. The goal is to make people laugh as much as possible in the lyrics and songs. That’s why it’s not just metal at the show to gather a diverse audience.
Why do you want to break the clichés?
It came from an interview, and when I said I listen to metal, the reporter grimaced. As in opera, many people have a priori. But actually these are the codes you need to know. Metal is an underrepresented medium in the media, and when it is, it’s often clichéd, even though there are so many different styles. In recent years there has been a hype that has changed things a bit with Hell Fest. So I had such a wish. But it was also a personal pleasure, a dream of a teenager who wanted to be a rock star.
So you played the Hellfest Warm-Up Tour, but you’re also touring smaller venues like Cri’Art. Should it be different for you?
Hellfest was great. We had already played in great venues, as comedians, but we met 15 on the Tour Bus, so that teenage fantasy came true (laughs). To finish at the top of Nantes with all the big groups was, well, great. But for us, it was already a bit of a surprise that they wanted us, so we are very happy when people want to see us. We are good everywhere.
More rock part one with Damantra
“Damantra” group will open in the evening of November 18. The Toulouse folk juggle with time to offer ’70s rock torn between blues and prog metal. Armed with saturated riffs, its lead singer Aretha Kilmister swings the audience between intimate moments and explosive transitions. Damantra will be accompanied by Castres’ Lo Bolegason.