“After all these years on the road together, we’ve come up with a few original songs, and we’re finally releasing an EP with three originals and one cover,” says singer-guitarist Jake Skolnick of BandàBordel, a intercontinental collaboration pairing San Diego’s Quel Bordel with BandàpArt, from Bedarieux, France. “All the songs are high energy French-English folk-punk and a mix of the two cultures and bands that make up this project.”
The title, Convoi Exceptionnel, is French for Wide Load. “The bands latched onto this term during the 2017 European tour together and thought it personified the wide touring caravan of the multiple-band package, not to mention the shenanigans on the road.”
Those shenanigans are referenced in at least one of the new songs. “'Le Poulpe, or 'The Octopus' in English, is about a prank game the two bands play where they smack their hands over each other's faces at inappropriate times and shout 'Le Poulpe!'”
As for the other tracks, “'Manolo' is the true story of a French gypsy king who had a hard life. He was arrested and cheated on by his wife, and they killed by his men accidentally when he escapes prison. 'Je Chante' is the anthem of the two bands, a song about the experiences touring together, half in French and half in English. The ending track is a cover giving a fresh interpretation of the French nursery rhyme song 'Jean Petit' like you've never heard before.”
The origins of Quel Bordel go back to when Skolnick, a Ukrainian gypsy, met classical violinist Regina Brown on a French Caribbean cruise line. After serving a year-long residency at Jimmy Love’s downtown, they released a debut EP in 2013, Qui Ne Chante Pas, followed the next year by Does Not Speak French. “We merged with BandàpArt a few years back to create this supergroup project, mainly as a byproduct of most of the members touring together at least once a year for nearly seven years,” says Skolnick.
The hybrid nine-person group headlined the debut San Diego Gypsyfest in 2016. “BandàpArt actually helped me move into my house on their one day off on the last tour, and I don’t know many bands who would use their tour money to buy housewarming presents and blow-up swimming pools and fish.”
- Wednesday, December 26, 2018, 9 p.m.
762 Fifth Avenue,
The debut BandàBordel EP premiers December 26 at Atomic downtown, where other Mannequin Vanity Records signees on the bill include BJ Jezbera, MohaviSoul, and Kick-Stomp Ensemble. “Attendees can expect a wild party that spans across many cultures, genres, and age groups,” says Skolnick, who has served as talent buyer for the Tipsy Crow and the Field downtown, as well as OB venues such as the Holding Company and OB Noodle House.
But being an experienced booker doesn’t make him immune from terrible gigs. “We played at a t-shirt factory in Montpellier [France]. We worked for our lunch, moving boxes and re-arranging the warehouse stock during the afternoon, and at night we played for the few employees of the factory. It’s actually become part of our ongoing prank wars between the two bands, to do one ridiculous show each tour.”