After 25 years of music experience and working in various bands, multi-genre artist Antoine Poncelet is finally taking the lead to pursue his own creative vision with a new band, The Antoine Poncelate Band, and their new single, "April."
Sometimes the finest ideas come from the most difficult periods in one's life. That understanding occurred for Antoine Poncelet during the pandemic, when the founding members of his band Precious Bones no longer shared the same passion that had blazed inside them to continue. Alone in the pursuit of his aspirations, he would launch a new project with songs recorded during his career with numerous bands since the beginning.
Nothing we do is a passive experience. I’m not unique in the idea, but these songs are for the world. Someone out there needs them, or they wouldn’t exist. Maybe that person is you. Maybe it’s your neighbor. Maybe the next single will hook you in. You never know unless you get on board.
During this period, Poncelet would meet a remarkable group of musicians who would assist him continue his musical odyssey. With the freedom to pursue his creative goals, Antoine Poncelet's new artistic enterprise, The Antoine Poncelet Project, has produced a new single, "April." Combining elements of hard rock and goth to produce a unique expressive representation of early glam inspirations such as David Bowie, Bauhaus, Pink Floyd, and Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Jesus Christ Superstar," Poncelet is now able to create the sound that feels right to him after 25 years.
What made you want to start this band?
Antoine Poncelet: Necessity! Sadly, during the pandemic, tragedy struck my original band, Precious Bones, right before we were to release our first album. The band did not want to continue, but I knew that I had to. Having been in various bands throughout my life but never being the focal point, I decided to start a new project that would feature songs that I’ve written from the beginning of my musical journey to the present and where I would be able to express my vision in ways I was never able to do before by just being a member in a band. Luckily, I was able to bring together some of the best rock and rollers to help me realize this new venture. This group of musicians has surpassed my expectations and truly become a force of their own. We’re now writing new material together in addition to the amazing arrangements of my songs, new and old, that we’ve been working on over the past couple of years. This truly is a band with the capital "B."
What are your musical influences? What makes you continue to pursue music in this genre? There are so many different music genres within your wheelhouse such as gothic rock, punk, and hints of industrial rock, especially tied into your single, "April."
Antoine Poncelet: Believe it or not, but even though this is The Antoine Poncelet Band’s debut single, I wrote this song 25 years ago when I was in high school in hopes that I could sing a song with the band that I was in at the time. That didn’t happen, but I still feel connected to the song, and now, with the intense arrangement and performance by The Band, the song has new life and may finally be ready for the world.
To answer the question more directly, my musical influences 25 years ago were not that different than they are now. I’ve been a devoted fan of David Bowie since I was 6, and my tastes basically spiraled out of that. At the time I wrote the song, I was listening to a lot of glam: David Bowie, Bauhaus, Pink Floyd, and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s "Jesus Christ Superstar," and I wanted to blend all of that together into a romantic and spiritual minidrama of my own. And, after 25 years, I think that’s been accomplished.
I don’t really subscribe to a particular genre in my writing or in my personal taste. I think there’s good and bad in everything. So, like a musical magpie, my songs have always been hybrids of my tastes. I do tend to gravitate more towards hard rock and goth genres because of the drama and emotions typically expressed through the music and lyrics, but I also enjoy listening to Olivia Newton-John once in a while.
How was this process different from any other project you have worked on before? How has this single challenged you as an artist?
Antoine Poncelet: Before working in this band, I was always an equal (or lesser) part of any process. Now that I'm the leader of a band, I have the power to say "yes" or "no," and I have people around me who understand where I’m coming from and what I’m looking for. The way this band took to the songs is incredible, and I finally feel confident in myself as a writer and can focus more on performance and putting as much energy and emotion as I can into the songs, which I was never able to do at this level. Every musician I’ve worked with in my life has been amazing, and I love them all, but there’s something about The Antoine Poncelet Band that just feels fated, and nothing feels like a challenge we can’t face. The only challenge here is how to get the world to listen to how great this band is.
Lyrically, your songwriting is deep; it's poetic but also quite dramatic in terms of singing. It's one-of-a-kind and adds depth to the instrumental energy you employ.
Antoine Poncelet: Thank you! I’ve always been a bit of a classical lit-head and lover of many forms of poetry. I think that a song has to mean something to someone, even if that someone is just me. Bad writing brings a song down, so I always try to use the best direct words and chords I can so that people can actually connect with them. Vocally and performance-wise, I just try to convey my interpretation of the words just as much as any other musician in the band does through their instrument. This union of our intentions is what can truly make the song magic.
What have you taken from these two singles personally and as a musician that you didn't get from other projects you have worked on previously?
Antoine Poncelet: For me personally, just being able to put this old song out with my new band in today’s musical environment is a dream come true. I mentioned before that this song was written 25 years ago by a very different person than I am today, but I can still connect to it from a different perspective, and it still feels hot. I find myself listening to this song on repeat, which is something I’ve never done before. I always felt that a recording or performance was off," and there was nothing I could do about it because it either wasn’t my song or my opinion was nixed. But we took the time to make sure this recording was something the whole band would be proud of and definitely listen to if they weren’t a part of it. I think this single is a great introduction to my world and a springboard for what’s to come from The Antoine Poncelet Band, for sure.
What do you want listeners to take from this experience?
Antoine Poncelet: I want listeners to see that some dreams never die and that, despite the cliché, with hard work, patience, and passion, you can accomplish anything. I’ve had so many disappointments, setbacks, failures, etc. in my life, like so many of us. But I think these are important songs with richness and beauty that require attention and diving below the hard rock surface. Nothing we do is a passive experience. I’m not unique in the idea, but these songs are for the world. Someone out there needs them, or they wouldn’t exist. Maybe that person is you. Maybe it’s your neighbor. Maybe the next single will hook you in. You never know unless you get on board.
What is next for you?
Antoine Poncelet: This single is just the beginning. Throughout the next few months, we’ll be releasing further singles and videos online, releasing physical EPs (for those who prefer something they can touch), and continuing to hone our live show all around the New Jersey and New York area. I hope the songs do connect with a larger audience and we can grow our own community. If not, I’ll keep trying.