In October, I told you that I would get an interview with the “back-comer” Romain Gutsy. Yesterday Romain released a new single called “Like an Uyghur in China”, and as promised, I managed to get an interview. Here it is:
Bro: Hi Romain, long time no see. So I’ve already said to our readers that you were back and that it made me happy. Now, you told me you want to focus on the present and future, and my first question is then about your new single “Like an Uyghur in China”. Now let me put it that way: in the song “If You Don’t Mind”, you made it clear that “I don’t do politics”. And now you start 2023 with a highly political song?
Romain Gutsy: It’s not political at all. It’s about oppression. Oppressors can be from any political side, and they deserve the same, based on what they do to oppress people. I sing about people. People who are oppressed, and people who oppress. I don’t care about the fact that the oppressors in China would belong to the Chinese Communist Party. I have nothing against this party per se. If they stop oppressing people, that’s fine with me. I have nothing against the Buddhists in power in Burma. And nothing about the Russian ruling party when I sing about Crimean Tatars. I have everything against the people who, while belonging to one or another of these groups, or even being their leaders, oppress people because of their faith or their ethnicity. As said in the song, “the Hell is full of” them.
Bro: Understood. So you made a song in favor of human rights?
Romain Gutsy: You can say it that way. I would say that this song is in favor of human beings. But yes, “human rights” works too. I like people to be free to be what they want to be and to believe what they want to believe. The song mentions three oppressed minorities: the Uyghurs, the Rohingyas and the Crimean Tatars. These people suffer for real under heavy oppression. But there are far from being the only ones. I could have added the Tibetans, for example, but also thousands of others. In fact, it is also addressed to individuals. Whoever is oppressed by an asshole, or a madman, is concerned by this song. It’s a song against evil insanity and personal freedom.
Bro: I’ve seen that your last songs were crafted with a great sense of humor, like “The Girl from Kerry” or “Frenchy Boy”. This one seems quite serious. Are you shifting towards more serious themes?
Romain Gutsy: Well, I may be “shifting” from time to time, but in fact, any song has its own mood and it cannot be always “fun”. I don’t think “Like an Uyghur in China” is “serious”, but it’s not really a funny topic. Were you an Uyghur, a Rohingya or a Crimean Tatar, you might not laugh too much about your situation. But it’s not “serious”, as it’s art, and also because I always write with some distance. At least I try too. In addition, you could see some humor in my answer to oppression: “I tell the oppressor, the hell is full of you”. It’s quite a desperate attempt to do something, while in fact it’s a very underestimated effort if you expect to change things. Like a kid saying, “you’re mean” and expecting it will affect the bad people around him. Nonetheless, at least it says something. And who knows? The power of words, the power of a song…
Bro: Got it. As we know, you’re French. Is this question of the oppressed minorities part of your French background, as we know France likes to be thought of as a country of human rights?
Romain Gutsy: first of all, I’m an artist. And the day I became an artist, I also became a man of no country. Or of all countries. I was born a Corsican, then a French. Then I played Irish music and became an Irish. Then American Music and became American. Spanish Music and became a Spanish. But I’m also an Uyghur, a Nigerian, a British, a Japanese, whatever you want. As far as France is concerned, I don’t think it played a big role in my writing of “Like an Uyghur in China”. To write the song and be truthful, I had to feel Chinese, Uyghur, Burmese, Russian and Tatar. And to love them all.
Bro: OK bro (said Bro). So what about the future, are you planning new songs, and maybe gigs? I remember well that your best part as a musician was on stage!
Romain Gutsy: Both. New songs are coming and there should be a new one released in February that has been composed and written by Marc Bentel. Until now, Marc was mainly working on the production side, but he proposed me a very nice song of his, called “Trouble and Delicious” and we recorded it. As regards gigs, that’s definitely something that I’m planning for the future. But nothing is already on the agenda. And I don’t know where I will start touring. It could be France or Belgium, but in fact, I’m prone to think that I’ll start by the United Kingdom.
Bro: And you are planning to stay an “independent”?
Romain: Depends what you call an “independent”. I love to work with others, and that include labels. So if there are good opportunities to work with a label that I like, I’ll do it. In the industry, there are people who know better than you some parts of the job. So it’s better to work with them and succeed instead of trying to do everything by yourself and fail. But still, I stay independent in my choices, at least those which seem the most important to me.
Bro: OK, thank you Romain, I’ll add “Like an Uyghur in China” in one of my playlists. Will you follow it?
Romain: Of course, Bro. You have sure taste and it’s a pleasure to be featured in your playlists.
And if you want to see the last video of “If You Don’t Mind by Romain Gutsy, here it is:
And Bro O’Sullivan indie Folk Playlist: