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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 9:20 am    Post subject: FANFAN TI BOT OF TABOU COMBO! Reply with quote

Yves "Fanfan Tibot" Joseph
Interview conducted by Patrick Desvarieux

Fanfan Tibot

1) Please tell us about the upcoming Tabou Combo CD? How many songs, when will it be released, what is the title and who will be producing/distributing it? All the info that you can expand on is fine.

FANFAN: The next album will have ten songs.We are hoping for a mid summer release. It is almost completed. The title is"SANS LIMITES". Produced by Tabou Combo distributed by Antilles Mizik in the Usa and Haiti.Musisoft in EUROPE.We have in this album traditional Tabou songs,and new generation approach.Shoubou sings most of the songs of course but we have two intervention by Ralph Conde one by myself and two by Dany Le Beau.

2) Why did it take so long (3 years) to release this one, especially after the huge success of "360 degrees"?

FANFAN: After the LIVE AT THE ZENITH we had to take a breather in order not to crowd the market.We have enough products for the consumers.Thirty albums on the shelves plus videos. Our very first album Tabou Combo in Haiti is still selling.They can wait for us. Also we do not release albums under pressure only when we are ready.

3) Are there any predicted hits on this record from a personal point of view?

FANFAN: All of them are hits and we are aiming at different crowds and different age brackets.Since Tabou is widely known internationally, we have to please a wide variety of fans. Everyone should find one that they like.

4) Was Tabou under a lot of pressure to release this one simply because of your "royal status" in the eyes of many people? People expect the best from you guys.

FANFAN: We were not under pressure to release but yes we are under pressure to do good.The eyes of the industry and the fans are on us.I can feel it.That's why we are spending $40.000 for a recording. Kassav has already released his, I have not heard it yet.Internationally they are our fiercest competitors.

5) Do you think that Tabou is STILL the top band in the Haitian music industry today? Why?

FANFAN: Yes we are and will continue to be so for a while.I do not see anything close in the horizon. It took us thirty two years to achieve this popularity and it still growing. We are deeply rooted into every Haitian heart.We are the pride of the Country.We are more professional and still provide the best concerts.

6) Tabou has had a tag (probably unfair) in the Haitian music industry the last few years as "very popular when it comes to CD's", but "not quite as popular on the Haitian bal circuit". Do you think that that tag is accurate?

FANFAN: What musicians and also the public fail to realize is that artists in general make most of their money in record sales.Haitians have a bal approach to the business, it is not their fault, it's the wrong legacy. That's why most of them die poor. They sign the contracts where they sell all their rights to a producer with no royalties.

They do not belong to SACEM nor to ASCAP. They do not have a publisher, no lawyer no agents. All they care about is how much money they are getting paid for a bal.If you save all the bals monies that you have collected you still do not have a proper retirement. We were like that too but we have grown a long time ago.

Our retirement money should be royalties from past hits. It is also normal that our popularity has declined from the bal circuits, not because we are not playing good music but because the tissue of the crowd has changed,our public has gotten older. We are still the best for major events. This album should bring us back.

7) Has Tabou lost touch with the Haitian youth of today that listens to music? If not, what has the band been able to do to prevent that from happening?

FANFAN: The Haitian youth of today listen to music that they promote on the Haitian media,and follow their own crowd. That's the normal path of life, I do not envy anyone

I have done much better on my youth days (New York City, 600,000 copies sold worldwide, (Mabouya, Baissez Bas and so many hits). You cannot prevent anything like that. You have to continue to take what the conditions of life offer you and make the best out of it.

8) I'm going to put you on the spot. Are certain original members of Tabou trying to get Shoubou to retire or trying to phase him out of the band little by little as it has been rumored?

FANFAN: This question is related to the previous one. In fact we have been under a lot of pressure to rejuvenate the band in order to attract a younger crowd.

Since the lead singer of a band is the one who attracts most of the crowd, we felt that adding a younger singer next to Shoubou would allow us to do just that. Shoubou is a part owner of Tabou Combo and still has the best voice in this industry. He should retire whenever he feels like it.

9) Is there major friction between Shoubou and Herman Nau. That story has been circulating around the rumor mill for years. Please clear it up.

FANFAN: Shoubou and Herman both have strong personalities and zero tolerance. It's normal that they have frictions from time to time .They have a lot of respect and love for one another.

10) A while back, you guys held an open audition for singers to come and sing in order to decide who would sing next to Shoubou in Tabou. Why did that search abruptly end. Have you guys given up on that?

FANFAN: We are still searching,so is Shoubou.There's going to be a time when we will not be able to carry the flag any longer.The legacy must linger.

10a) Are you worried about public backlash against Tabou if Shoubou were to leave the band?

FANFAN: Shoubou is not going anywhere. When you leave Tabou Combo there is no higher place to go in our market.And also Tabou Combo is Shoubou, Herman, Kapi, Jean Claude Jean and myself.

10b) Can Tabou survive without Shoubou if he were to leave?

FANFAN: Survival is a strong statement. The instinct of survival is innate in every individual.Children survive when losing their mother at birth.You mean "continue to be successful". I am not going to answer that question since it's irrelevant to the situation.

10c) Was Gazzman of Dzine ever approached by Tabou about joining the band?

FANFAN: Yes. That was a mistake.

11) What happened at the Top Vice anniversary party with Shoubou? A lot of people are talking about that. They are also saying that you and Herman gave him a piece of your mind after what allegedly transpired.

FANFAN: I was not there at the time, we had just finished playing and I went outside. I heard that Shoubou made a statement concerning Freddy. That if Freddy had to leave Top Vice would no longer exist. I think that was a very strong statement, although that was his own opinion, not Tabou Combo's. He should have done it in a different setting, like an interview, not while singing in Tabou. That's very equivocal. We did what we had to do.

12) Which ones are your favorite Tabou records in the catalog?

FANFAN: New York City, Mabouya, Respect, Kitem fe Zafem, Aux Antilles, Zap Zap.

13) Apart from "New York City", which one(s) do you think had the most impact? Tell us why?

FANFAN: Mabouya and Baissez Bas. In terms of record sales they are unbeatable, they are still selling.

14) Which Tabou Combo record is your least favorite and why? If you have more than one, please feel free to name them and give us the reasons why you did not like them.

FANFAN: The Masters, Indestructible, Canne a sucre, Go Tabou Go, Isabelle. Not real hits, just a bunch of tunes, and they came out at a bad moment.

15) What was the most positive experience you've had as a member of Tabou Combo? Please give us an example.

FANFAN: I have had many positive experiences. The most positive was New York City. It enabled us to know how things work while you are on a major label. The attention you get, the pampering and the fame. It's a good feeling to hear your songs everywhere you go in Europe, in jukeboxes, major radio stations and Clubs.

16) What was the most negative experience?

FANFAN: (No Comment)

17) Is the door still open for Adolphe Chancy to return to the band, or is the door shut on that part of the history of Tabou Combo?

FANFAN: Dophe is part of the Tabou family for ever.He has branched out to other things, but he will respond whenever we need him. In fact we were together in the Bahamas last week end. We are civilized people.

1Cool What was behind the departure of bassist Yves Abel from the group?

FANFAN: Yves wanted to do his own things,he was not free to evolve as he wanted in the band. He is probably a much happier guy now.

19) Do you guys see yourselves performing at the same rate five years from now?


20) Are any members of the band contemplating retirement?

FANFAN: I do not know,as for myself I will never retire from Tabou may be as a performer but not as a member. It's been tooo long.

21) How does that make you feel when you see the achievements that the band has accomplished over the years? What goes through your mind?

FANFAN: I am very proud of us.Coming from Haiti with no musical infrastructures we have done it on our own.We have paved the way for the new generation, including Kassav.

22) If you had to choose a band besides Tabou Combo for their accomplishments in the music industry, who would you go with and why? Okay, let's go with five in order of merit.

FANFAN: Nemours Jean Baptiste,Shleu-Shleu,Ti Manno and Gemini, Magnum band, Kassav.

23) Is there anything left to do for this legendary band in this business? Is the hunger for success still there?

FANFAN: We need a major hit in the American market, the fire is still burning. When people see us they always think we play reggae.Konpa must be recognized as a legitimate beat.Things are getting better since I got the endorsement from LP. We are getting there.

24) Do you think that Tabou Combo is appreciated by the Haitian fans the way that they DESERVE to be because of your body of work and accomplishments?

FANFAN: We do not deserve anything, we have things for ourselves,things that we believe in our fans comprise of people who share the same ideas. Those who share compassion for us do not belong to the crowd. We do not need them.

25) Any final words?

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