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Theo Hakola

Paris, France

Theo Hakola

An American musician, writer, actor and director who has been based in Paris since the late 70s, Theo Hakola is a committed cultural activist. Born and raised in Spokane, Hakola left Washington in a pursuit of life, liberty and happiness that took him from Guatemala to Spain and New York City to London before finally depositing him in Paris in 1978.

Founded by Hakola in 1980, ORCHESTRE ROUGE played extensively in Europe and made two albums with RCA — the first produced by Martin Hannett (JOY DIVISION, THE DURUTTI COLUMN) — before breaking up in 1983. And then there was PASSION FODDER. Formed in 1985 when Hakola signed to Barclay-Polygram in France, Passion Fodder recorded five albums of the little gems in almost as few years.

"Hakola's vision is painfully raw, twisted and compulsive. He's railing against life's ugliness and monotony in the manner of the 19th Century poet tripped out on opium. The songs burn with the urgency of the afflicted and it's impossible to put aside an image of him singing up from the gutter; Baudelaire with an electric guitar." (NME)

In 1987, Hakola produced the first album by NOIR DESIR, Où veux-tu que je r'garde ? after having convinced Barclay to sign this combo from Bordeaux whose impact on the French music scene would soon assume Nirvana-esque proportions.

In 1989, Passion Fodder moved to Los Angeles where they recorded their fourth and fifth albums - Woke Up This Morning... and What Fresh Hell Is This? - before finally calling it a day in 1991. Jean-Yves Tola and Pascal Humbert went on to become the drummer and bass player of 16 HORSEPOWER (Humbert later formed DETROIT with NOIR DESIR singer, BERTRAND CANTAT) and Theo Hakola moved back to Paris.

Following the release in 1995 of his second solo album, The Confession, Hakola performed a remarkable series of concerts. Amongst those seduced: NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS who invited him to open for them on their European tour.

Having had a first experience at acting and touring a play in 1983 when he was given the role of Alaska Wolf Joe in HANS PETER CLOOS' production of BRECHT/WEILLS's opera Mahagonny, Theo Hakola directed and performed at the turn of the new century, along with eight other actors and musicians, his play La Chanson Du Zorro Andalou in theaters around France.

Recording albums would seem to have taken a back seat to literature and theatre as the new century progressed. As well as working for numerous French theatres, putting into practice a form mixing literature and song, Hakola completed his first novel in 2000 — The Way of Blood — published in France as La Route du Sang and soon followed by Blood Streams (La Valse des Affluents). Hakola's completed his "Blood Trilogy" with The Blood of Souls (Le Sang des Ames) in 2008. His fourth novel — Rakia — came out in French translation in 2011.

Returning to what he claims to be his greatest pleasure: making albums, Hakola came back to recording in 2007 with Drunk Women And Sexual Water, an album graced by the presence of WARREN ELLIS from DIRTY THREE and NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS. It was followed in 2012 by what may well be Hakola's most beautiful and powerful album to date — This Land Is Not Your Land.