No Money Kids — Félix Matschulat (vocals, guitar) and JM Pelatan (bass, synths, programming) — is a rising Paris-based blues rock act that quickly established a unique take on blues rock, which incorporates vintage gear with electronics and modern production. With their first live shows, the duo set themselves apart from their cohorts, but when Matschulat suffered a violent epileptic seizure and a broken shoulder while in the studio, his music career and the band’s future was in jeopardy: hospitalized for six months, there was the very real danger that Matschulat would never be able to play guitar.
After Matschulat finished a long and difficult rehabilitation, the members of No Money Kids felt an urgency desire to return to writing and recording music, as well as to playing live. The duo went on to furiously write their full-length debut, 2015’s I don’t trust you, a raw and spontaneous album, recorded, engineered, mixed and mastered in entirely DIY fashion by the band’s JM Pelatan — and released by Roy Music/Alter-K.
Matschulat went through a long and very difficult rehabilitation but once he was well, the duo felt an urgency to return to the stage. They went on to furiously write their debut album, 2015’s I don’t trust you, which was a raw, spontaneous album, recorded, engineered, mixed and mastered by the band’s JM Pelatan. Centered around characters on the fingers, the album touched upon beauty in pain, shadow in light and other related themes. Interestingly, around the same the band developed chiaroscuro imagery that went on to catch the attention the fashion word — in particular Schwarzkopf, Stylist, Glamour, Modzik — and led to the band working with international directors on music videos.
In 2016, the duo caught the attention of the high-end, ready to wear, “designated discovery” group of the Cotélac brand, who released a special-run 15,000 copy, free promotional EP distributed to over 110 stores in France and abroad. Adding to a growing platform, the band started playing shows internationally and won over music supervisors here in the States with their music making prominent appearances in a number of TV series including Banshee, Night Shift, Veep, Killjoys, Goliath, Dollar, Legacies, Servant and Shameless, as well as major motion pictures like Misconduct, Get The Girl and Baby, Baby, Baby.
After playing more than 100 shows, they wrote and recorded their sophomore album, 2017’s Hear the Silence and 2018’s Trouble, both of which were released to praise from Les Inrockuptibles, Rolling Stone, Le Monde, France Inter, France TV, FIP, Sourdoreille. With even more growing attention of them, the duo made the rounds of the national festival circuit with sets at Rock en Seine, Solidays and Art Rock.
Of course, much like countless acts across the globe, the band’s plans were put on hold as a result of the pandemic. And as a result of pandemic-related lockdowns and restrictions the duo, who for most of their history wrote their material while on the road wore forced to change their creative process. The end result, the band’s third album Factory, which is slated for release later this year was written and recorded in the isolated atmosphere of an abandoned factory-turned recording studio. Thematically, the album is influenced by the overall sense of anxiety, uncertainty and doom of our current moment.
Factory’s latest single “Crossroad” is a brooding, late night blues stomp centered around skittering beats, slashing rhythm guitar, wailing, whiskey-fueled guitar work, industrial clang and clatter and Matschulat’s sultry cooing. Thanks to some healthy reverb, the instrumentation seems to sound as though it were bouncing off massive walls and ceilings in a way that recalls Chicago’s My Gold Mask while drawing some fair comparisons to a growing number of blues rock duos.
Interestingly, as the duo explain, the song’s title is derived from the mythical story of Robert Johnson meeting the Devil on the Crossroad, and selling his soul to the Devil, so that he could be the world’s best guitarist. And as the song points out, humanity itself is at a crossroad, and the decisions we make right now can impact us and future generations. What will we do? Will we do the things we need to protect our planet? We will see.