If you get off on 70’s rock, soulful vocals or French men in three piece suits you should check out Inspector Cluzo. I’m talking to drummer Mathieu over the phone on day one of their Australian wide tour. Laurent is asleep on the couch, gently cradling his guitar. Mathieu explains that “we’ve had a lot of traveling.”
Forming only last year, this two-piece rock funk duo are now slipping some of the biggest international festivals under their belt. 2009 is another promising year. They’ve just hit Russia and Taiwan’s Spring Scream Festival, ahead of them lies a summer of European festivals and the prestigious Fuji Rock festival. Now they are enjoying the Australian sunshine and over the Easter weekend are shacked up on the east coast for Byron Blues Fest.
Mathieu tells me they are keen to catch some big name Aussie acts like the John Butler Trio and Ben Harper and enjoy the smorgasbord of international acts the blues fest offers including The Black Keys.
It’s their combination of rock beats, funk grooves and often high note soul vocals that lets Inspector Cluzo walk between the worlds of blues, funk and rock. They have been heavily influenced by 60’s and 70’s music, from AC/DC and Led Zeppelin to Otis Redding and James Brown. The resulting sound, in the words of AL, Classic Rock Society (UK), is “across the board 21st Century rock cum funky, rappy, soul appeal.”
Mathieu and Laurent have played together and with others for over twelve years. I was curious how it ended up just the two of them. “It’s easy actually, at rehearsal very often we were only two because the other guys were late or lazy… We thought ‘it sounds not that bad, maybe once we have to try a two piece band.’ When the band broke up then we had the opportunity… in the end it worked”.
Now, their first release The Inspector Cluzo has been named by the chief editor of Crossbeat Magazine as one of the best 10 albums of 2008, along with big names like REM, Weezer and Nine Inch Nails.
The name came from their good friend poking fun at their French accents. Angela Moore from Fishbone (who collaborated with them on their first album) drew the correlation with Pink Panther and the name came from there. Mathieu tells us the name also references “the funny side of our music” like the track “Fuck the bass player”.
For all those bass player fans out their feeling a little less love for Inspector Cluzo note their aspiring side project, www.fuckthebassplayer.com, a website dedicated to showcasing bass players with interviews from famous bass names giving a voice to the guys that hold everything together but rarely get the feature they deserve. “I’m fucked, I don’t get no pussy, the guitar player and the singer getting a lot of pussy, I’m just shit” (lyrics, Fuck the Bass Player).
“It’s a good way to promote bass players” Mathieu chuckles.
Inspector Cluzo’s next album is to be created, mixed and recorded this year in their home studio. On the cards for this second release is more collaboration with Fishbone’s Angela Moore, splashes of horns and as a natural progression Fuck The Bass player 2.
Inspector Cluzo partly attribute their fast road of success to their high profile industry support.
“We have a very good label and booking agency who are connected internationally which always makes things easier.” Importantly, Mathieu goes onto to add “and people like our music, it makes it easier for us as well, I’d say that’s the main reason, people are attracted to and like it, maybe because they feel something that we give”.
Inspector Cluzo will be giving it to Sydney with their gig at the Vanguard on the 16th. Expect “good energy coming from stage, like when you meet two things together and you feel something special.”
Whilst sporting suits on stage, don’t expect to catch them like this on King st. If you see two gents in “regular Australian clothing like flaps, surf shorts and a t-shirt” look again, it could very well be Inspector Cluzo.