Jona Nido, Coilguns Interview Oct 2011

Jona Nido from Coilguns gives us a introduction to the band, how their latest tour have went, and an overview of their album.

Why did you pick the name Coilguns?

Nothing extraordinary actually. We were looking for something short and that would somehow fit the music. So after a few researches Louis sent us a few names and we all picked up on that one. And then after a closer look at it, this name appeared to be a perfect match.

So besides the Wiki page that reads : “A projectile accelerator which utilizes electromagnetic coils to discharge a projectile(s) at extremely high velocity.” I’m gonna quote Louis’s favourite description:

“A coilgun is for us a weapon of mass destruction that a stupid associal teenager is endlessly trying to build himself without ever succeeding properly. It’s a stupid hobby who’s getting him busy on weekends, lost 24hours/7 in a naive dream of conquering the world, helped by his physician apprentice kit.
For us it summarizes this will of starting a super high energy band and make things happening with what we have. I explain:
We’re really attached to the DIY logic, we manufacture our records ourselves for example, we can do everything on our own and because of that we do things and move faster than any other band.”

How did you come up with the idea for this side project?

Nothin’ much than the need to do something else than The Ocean really. It’s been 4 years now for me since I joined the band and haven’t been doing anything else.

Although I had the chance to write some stuff for The Ocean, I felt the need to do my own band and it all started last december when I was in the US. I wrote 3 tracks – I assume it was a good day for me – sent them to Louis and Luc since we’ve had a few chats about starting a new band months ago and that’s it! They liked it so I booked a studio and we went there without expectations at all, but the result we had in 3 days was good enough for us to start thinking about doing this seriously and from then on, things keep happening for this band which is unbelievable.

How would you describe the band?

I’m gonna do this without using any proper labels ok? To me it sounds really dark, intense, oppressive, violent and also really negative. We all are really happy and funny people, but we love to install a really doomy and heavy atmosphere on record and live. Even if the goal in the end is to share some positive vibes with the listener I’d really desscribe it  as negative, violent and hopeless sound.

I think the following metaphore does fit our concept:

“it’s like a good rough fuck. While you’re doing it, you slap, spit, choke but when it’s over, everybody’s happy and had a good time.”

Jona, what made you work with Luc and Louis on this project instead of finding other musicians?

For what Luc is concerned I’ve never been thinking about someone else. He’s the first drummer I’ve ever played with 11 years ago, he’s a fuckng groove machine and such a creative drummer as well…and we know how to play together, we understand each other. So this added to the fact that we have the same schedule for the whole year was a perfect match!

I wish I could say the same about Louis but unfortunately we were drunk and he was there, so we invited him to take part in this band but we were not responsible of our decisions at this particular moment…

More seriously, he’s been playing with Luc since 10 years as well and for the same schedule reason it was just easier to play with people you know well and you know there’s not gonna be any timing conflict.

The one thing about Louis is that he was supposed to be a bass player and now he decided to focus on vocals only. And he’s a fucking good frontman. He’s also such a knowledgeable person and without falling into poshy concepts, his song titles and lyrics, as soon as he explained them, are always really interesting and always fit the violence of our music.


Why did you pick Switzerland to create the Ep?

Simply because we all live there in the same town, that we know everyone and that we have good friends that are willing to record our stuff for free since we’re always broke!

I’m not saying we will never record anywhere else but as a matter of fact it is easier and cheaper to do everything home right?

We are still really lucky to have such a good circle of friends, thinking of Steve Notari who recorded both of our ep’s, Julien Fehlmann who mixed “stadia Rods”, our second Ep, and Frank Hueso, French dude who works with this awesome band “Hacride” who actually mixed this split.

Those people wanted to help us because they think we have something to say and we muchly appreciate it.

I’d like to add that even though it’s beautiful, the place where we actually live is really depressing most of the year, so it’s def. a better environment to write some angry tunes than being under the sun of Cali.

What equipment do you use?

I have a pretty special setup since Louis’s not playing bass anymore and we still wanted to have some.

I built myself a huge custom pedal board made out of 25 different pedals, most of them being AB boxes and AB polyswitch that allows me to sound like 2 guitar players and 1 bassist.

I’m running all these stuff into one wonderful Orange/Matamp OR100 from 69, an ENGL Fireball and a Mesa Big Block 750 for the Bass. Whenever I can use the full setup I’m using 4 guitar cabs and 2 bass cabs. right now it’s all mesa and ampeg but in the future I’d like to get some Orange and Emperor cabs.

I’m really happy with this setup, on the last ep we have few instrumental parts and the only way to have any dynamics in them when you only are 2 people playing is to be able to build it up with adding layers. This whole setup really makes this possible.

I have this Morpheus Droptune pedal that you can set an octave lower running through a distortion and then into the bass amp and then I have several effects that goes only into one guitar amp or the other one… I can have some bass, no bass, have only one guitar playing then both of them… Cannot wait to go back in the room and experiment some more!

In terms of guitars I’m using exclusively First Act guitars. Handmade in Boston. I got two of them “Sheena” model, they obviously have a killer look, but also they sound huge and dirty. Pickups are so powerful and aggressive that I couldn’t imagine doing something else with them really.

I just ordered a custom 9 string semi-hollow body. Should have it when we’ll be touring the UK next year.

What kind of response did you get to the EP from your fans?

Which fans? If you’re talking about Ocean fans, reactions have been really good! Obviously this has given us a lot of exposure and the first 200 hundreds copies we sold were most probably being bought buy some Ocean fans. But after a few hours of work, promos and shows we are starting to have our own fanbase.

I’m really happy as most of the people get our point and what we have to share. I like the fact that we’re not seen as a rip off of the band we quote as influences (although it has happened) but more affiliated to them. I even had some reviews or feedbacks where people say that even though it is still a first ep and you can hear it, there is something special to it that makes you love it. Nobody seems to know why. But this makes me really confident in the fact that something there is. We just need to develop it more.

Can you give us a quick description each track from the EP?

I’m just gonna quote Louis again here:

“Isn’t a title supposed to be the key of a song enigma? Those texts

were mostly written in an introspective way, as if you were in one’s
head. They have many different meanings and should be freely
interpreted. I use harsh vocals as a way to blur it even more.

I’ll quote wikipedia and tell you that “Mastoid” is a part of the
human skull, located very close to the ear, subject to painful
infections, that “Kachinas” are some spiritual dolls american natives
give to their children, and that “Phersu” is the masked character of a
violent traditional etruscan game.

I’ll also pretend that Kachinas was mainly inspired by Patricia
Piccinini’s work, a very disturbing australian plastic artist, or that
Phersu is related to the story of Louis XIV’s twin brother. Mastoid
could be the story of a friend of mine who had tinnitus, couldn’t
sleep anymore, and turned into a complete prick.

Put these different evidences together and you’ll get an idea of what
the texts are talking about. But that’s only a small part of the whole
picture. You’ll for example never be able to discover that kachinas
was originally written for a taxidermist I fell in love with.”

What/who were the main influences for it?

Definitely the Old Dillinger Stuff, Converge, Botch, Breach and Cursed. Not necessarily musically. But the whole attitude, approach of writing and recording process.

What made you choose Berlin based label Pelagic records to release the EP?

Well, we first released a limited version of it few months ago, with like silk-screen print cover and handnumbered records and when Robin (Former member of The Ocean and owner of Pelagic) listened to it it just send me this e-mail saying :

” Did you not ask me to release it because you don’t want me to or because you’re to shy to ask, in which case you’re stupid”

So I guess from there it would have been really stupid to not do it. Robin has been really helpful and supportive with us and I know I can trust him. No bullshit between us, we’re on the road 24/7 together 6 months a year so we don’t exactly have a relation Label > band. Unless we find a bigger label that would offer at least the same conditions I’d love to keep working with him.

It also makes us feel even more like a real band you know. From what you can read on the Pelagic website and if you know Robin a little bit you would know that he’s following a certain aesthetic with things he released and he also has pretty high standards in therm of quality when it comes to music. So the fact that he offered us a deal did mean a lot to us.


How was the reaction whe you toured with Dillinger Escape Plan?

We played this show with them in August in this legendary but really small venue in Switzerland called the BAD BONN. It was obviously sold out (200 cap venue) and although we’re completely affiliated to them and that I openly speaks about how much Ben Weinman influenced me in many regards I think people get that we are completely different.

In summary, reactions have been good, we’ve never sold that much merch than that night and the best came out form some of the DEP dudes who told us that our sound was “crushing” and that they watched the whole show from side of the stage.  I really hope we get to tour with those guys once.


How did The Mastoid Tour go?

It went really well. It really was a test for us and after this we can proudly say that Coilguns is a band that can tour, and we will.

I guess we worked with the right people (props to Charly Lurat from Rust Booking) and we had an average of like 60-70 people every night which is really good.

We had some really good shows in some key cities were the right people were there as well and seriously I couldn’t be more happy with how this tour went.

Our shows are pretty intense and I don’t think most of these people knew Coilguns before, but we were good enough apparetnly to have them stay. We are putting a lot of ourselves in this project you know and people can feel it. This band really is Luc, Louis and me completely naked. It is what we really are and people get this. Can’t wait to play shows again.

What are the plans for the rest of this year and 2012 for Coilguns?

Well, as frenetic as we are, before the first EP was released we actually recorded a second one called “Stadia Rods”. 30 minutes worth of music. Instead of going to the beach, we spent the summer rehearsing and writing songs 6 hours a day and at one point we decided to book a studio again. Took us 5 hours to record Guitars and drums, all in the same room. Louis recorded his vocals the next day in his living room and our friend Julien Fehlmann mixed and mastered it in 4 hours the next day. We then manufactured it ourselves and there we go. in less than a week we were able to recorded and produce a record, that’s part of our strength. It sounds quiet different, still really “straight in your face negative violence” but we added a few really dark instrumental / sludge parts.

So this album will be released early next year on a 10” vinyl through Scottish DIY label Dead Dead Dead Music and right now booking for our next tour has started and we are getting the first confirmations. It’s gonna be around march and we are planning to come to the UK which we are really looking forward since press so far has been really good.

We are also gonna work on a full length and hopefully it’ll be released still in 2012.

Are there any messages that you would like to pass on to the readers?

Support your local scene and don’t stop going to shows to discover bands. People have kinda forgotten this lately.

Let yourself be surprised by some completely unknown bands. Too many of them are so good.


Thank for your interests


Thank you to Jona for taking the time to fill in this interview


Band Links


My review of Coilguns and Kunz – Split EP


Interview with Louis about Kunz


About Sheila

Former Editor, Team Co-ordinator as well as PR, news poster, pass requester, Ex-Scottish Team Leader for PM since 2011 \m/ \m/ Also owner of the infamous Garfield L'arpie, who is a official mascot of RACPA UK. Check out RACPA UK (Rock Against Child Pornography and Abuse UK)