Asylum Pyre : Join the Resistance !

Asylum Pyre : Join the Resistance !

Asylum Pyre is one of those bands that do not leave one indifferent and that one has little difficulty in remembering.Discovered for my part two years ago during their only gig in the North of France, I remember being impressed by their ability to take over the place and captivate the audience. From the very first seconds of the show, the band pours a breathtaking energy throughout the venue, without ever letting up, and the more the tracks come and go, the more you ask for more. The same goes for their fourth album, simply entitled N°4, released a little over a year ago by M & O Music.
N°4 is a concept album that propels us in 2052 into a devastated world. Each member of the group represents a character from an association of resistance fighters, defenders of Mother Nature. The album tells us their story, their struggle. The introduction sounds like the first page of a book that opens gently, we feel that it’s the calm before the storm. With its rhyme-like allure, this first track allows us very quickly to get acquainted with the two main voices of this album. This is the first opus with the singer Ombeline Duprat, alias Oxy Hart. With the eleven tracks that follow, we’re tossed between very powerful tracks like Dearth, Lady Ivy or The Right to Pain, and other little sweets like Into the Wild or On First Earth (which was recently published with a “lockdown video”). Two singles were released shortly before the album: Sex, Drugs and Scars with a Lyrics video, with the participation of Beast In Black singer Yannis Papadopoulos, and One Day with a video clip worthy of the biggest productions where we can discover the different characters embodied by the band members.

Musically, this album is full of surprises. On the drums, forget the blast beats, it’s with groovy patterns that we kick your ass. The bass is very present and gives all the depth to the sound, while giving a nice little solo part on One Day. Guitars want clearly be incisive with heavy distorsion, with a special mention for Lady Ivy’s smashing debut. The solos are played by Nils Courbaron (Sirenia, T.A.N.K). The whole is enhanced by numerous synth sounds which give a modern electro side to the album. As far as the vocals are concerned, Oxy reveals here the extent of its capacities. We feel at ease as well on calm and laid down parts where we almost have the impression that she whispers in our ear, as on passages where she can let all her power burst, as on the after-solo of Lady Ivy. The male vocal parts are provided by Johann Cadot, guitarist, main composer and author, and the symbiosis between the two singers is remarkable.
The album ends on Cemetary Road, a nugget in my opinion, which once again allows us to appreciate the diversity of Oxy’s vocals and the work of nuances brought by the whole band.
To sum up, this N°4 is the album you need when you need a big musical slap in the face … But beware, future “Fighter”, when you’ll have pressed “Play”, you won’t be able to do without it.

Asylum Pyre : Join the Resistance !

A few days ago I met virtually Ombeline, in Bosnia for the lockdown, and Johann. They tell us a bit more about the band and the upcoming projects.

Asylum Pyre is 10 years old! Johann, when you started the project, did you imagine it would go this far ?

J. It was never really thought through, I never even thought about having a band when it happened. They were just people I met a few times by chance, we made a jam one day, and then we brought a composition, we found a name, we made a demo … Today we’re almost thinking about the next album while we’re recording the current one, but at the beginning we didn’t know what we were doing, where we were going… we didn’t know how to play… [lol]

If you had to do it all over again, would you do it all the same way ? What would you want to change ?

J. I think I’d work a little more on the theory and the instrument before I get started. There have been a lot of mistakes in the history of the band. Some people’s choices were not the right ones at a certain time, some behaviours were not the right ones either, including me. Taking a step back, trying to be more confident at some times… I don’t have the answer, actually. Apart from an album that we should have stopped during the recording process, rested and started again from the beginning (Spirited Away), the rest was the natural evolution of things.

I would have liked the first bassist, Julien, could have stayed in the band. I love the members of the band today, I don’t have any problem, on the contrary, but it’s true that he’s someone with whom we built the band and who brought something else to the project, someone interesting, and I regret to have lost this contact. I’d like to have him too but I wouldn’t take any of him away from the current team.

Ombeline, you joined the project quite recently, I believe it was two or three years ago ?

O. Even more so now, at the end of 2016. It’s getting old! I do feel like it was two years ago, but it’s going to be four years this year. Johann was just starting to make the No. 4 demo when we met.

What made you want to join the band? How did it happen: was it you who positioned yourself or did the group come to you?

O. It was a recommendation. I already knew Asylum, I had seen the band play before and I was very happy when Johann contacted me. It was a friend, Steve, well known in the Parisian metal scene, who told Johann to contact me when he was looking for a singer. One day, I was at work and I got a message from Johann: “Hello, I’d like to talk to you” [lol]. Then I had an audition. That day, when I left Johann’s home, I clearly sulked, I wasn’t happy at all. It must be said that Johann has a rather special way of auditioning. I arrived at his home and he introduced me to the new songs. He gave me one of them and said “OK, sing ! ». It happened pretty much like that. I think we were together for at least two or three hours and I left without even saying goodbye [lol]. It wasn’t against him it was to me, I really thought I wasn’t being good enough.

You have a great team with you, can you tell us a little bit about the other musicians ?

J. No … [lol]

O. We love them very much, we miss them very much.

J. Actually the oldest in the band after me is Thomas, who arrived 7-8 months before Ombeline, when we were preparing the two tours with Stream of Passion and Luca Turilli. He’s an excellent drummer who brings a touch of rock and a lot of groove to the music.

O. And tribal, a touch of rock and tribal I would say.

J. He really brings something interesting to Asylum. In fact, it’s from one of his drum patterns that we reviewed almost all the copy on Dearth that became what it is today. In the beginning there was something we weren’t happy with. We reviewed some passages with Thomas, and then the chorus and some passages with Ombeline, and finally the song has nothing to do with its first version.

Then there’s our friend P.E. on bass… Then on bass and now on guitar, because he came first as a bass player, then he left, and he came back. He had to leave because of personal problems, we weren’t angry, he didn’t have time. And finally he had time again and he came back as a guitarist, which was a big surprise. We reinstated him and we are very happy to have him back. He’s got a lot of experience, he was in a band called Heavenly, which is very well known by Power Metal fans, he toured a lot with Stratovarius for example, or Edguy at the time. Excellent musician too.

And the last one, Fab, otherwise known as “The Salmon”, who joined us since our little expedition to Slovenia for the MetalDays where he had just had to replace P.E on bass, and who has since joined us as a proud bass player. Excellent musician, super nice too.

Asylum Pyre : Join the Resistance !

What are you most proud of about Asylum Pyre? What do you think is your strength?

O. If I may say so, I can’t speak for the whole career of the band, but on a personal note, this is the last album and especially the fact that, for the one that’s coming up, we’ve all got to know each other. With N°4 we made a first try of each other’s influences, and Johann managed to appropriate and combine them while keeping the Asylum Pyre style. Sometimes when you have a composer, you recognize his own touch and that’s all, but Johann is very open to what we can bring. He includes all the ideas, we rework them, and that’s really nice. So there’s still Johann’s touch which we recognise perfectly as a songwriter and essentially as a composer, but there’s also, for instance, the slightly fusion, African rhythmic side of Thomas I was talking about earlier. Johann is very open about that and it’s a real pleasure to be able to have patterns … you know “Toum toukoutou koum” [Ombeline sings us a rhythm of African percussions … a real pleasure].

J. Indeed, I would say that I manage to mix everyone’s influences. I come from nowhere musically, I don’t have any base, I didn’t take any lessons, I started from scratch … As a very good friend who played in Asylum as a bass player said : ” To be where you are with what you know is incredible “. Maybe that’s the pride of the band, starting from nothing at all and with very few basics, to be able to do something nice and to have been able to make albums (especially the last one) that have a good face, to have been able to play last year in 1500 people venues with a warm welcome, that’s a real satisfaction for the band.

O. As a small aside, I bounce back on what Johann was saying, there’s also something very Franco-French where you have to have studied music etc.. You always have the impostor syndrome: because you won’t have done such a music class, you’ll be pointed out sometimes. For me it’s a question of listening, of assimilating what you’ve already been able to listen to, then of course there’s the part of talent that makes you know how to put things together. It’s also the role of Johann, the conductor, to manage to mix it all together.

With the album N°4 you brought a whole universe with stage outfits that are rather topical. Where did this concept come from ?

J. It’s an evolution since the beginning of the band. When you look at the lyrics from the beginning it was already a little bit about these things. Last year we made a history of what each album tells, and even if it wasn’t necessarily conscious, we realized that there was a natural evolution of the themes from the awareness to the near future, to a hypothesis of the more or less near future. And then there were exchanges, discussions on these subjects related to the environment, to the protection of the planet, which touched me a lot. We often talk about these things in the band, we can joke for a moment and then suddenly talk about politics or the future of the world. We never get bored as a topic of conversation. We talked a lot about that world, especially when we discussed the cover and what the lyrics said. So it’s kind of a long and common maturation.

O.That’s right, it also follows the evolution of society, more or less recent awareness. I was already aware of this before I joined the band, I was already militating for WWF in particular, so the themes Johann deals with are issues I’ve been aware of for about ten years or more. There’s an ecological awareness and to become part of the world, that’s the advantage of this album and also of the album to follow and the next ones, it’s that we follow our own paths. Concerning the mask and the fact that it was designed like that for the cover, we have a cynical spirit, we have to admit it. Not in the bad sense of the word, always criticizing everything, but rather putting things under observation, confronting them. I had seen that Louis Vuitton proposed masks in China with their acronym, and it’s quite interesting to see that this tool, which is not at all aesthetic, had finally become a fashion tool. It’s completely cynical when you look at the way they’re made, it’s toxic, it’s an ecological disaster, but you’re still on the fancy side and it corroborates exactly what we could say in the lyrics. There are always two-way messages, you can understand the lyrics in a detached way as if it was a story, but if you dig a bit deeper you have a lot of references to a lot of current things.

J. It’s true that the mask which is becoming a fashion accessory, we didn’t think it would come so quickly !

I heard that the next album is already well underway. What can you tell us about this one ?

J. It is very likely that there will be a part I and a part II because we already have a lot of initialized tracks. So even if we will certainly work on it again, there is at least the basis for about twenty tracks. We’re going to record them as two albums, but thematically it’s going to be closer, there’s the idea of having two parts. In terms of story, it’s going to be the continuation of what we did on N°4. In terms of music, there are still some evolutions, more tribal. We had fun coming up with a name for the band music style one day. As we couldn’t define our style, we used to say modern power metal, but that’s very short. So we said we were doing modern and traditional power speed electro pop metal with tribal touches. So it’s gonna be something like that.

Ombeline, on the album N°4 everything was already almost done when you arrived, this time is it you who will compose the vocal parts in their entirety ?

O. No, it’s Johann because he has much better ideas about singing than I do, if I have any suggestions of course I’ll let him know. I’m not bad at doing all the double vocals and the little arrangements because of my influences, but that’ll come afterwards.

J. There’s a real World touch that Ombeline brings on some passages.

O. And Jazz! That’s what Johann calls “Oxysing” the song. I have a background of saxophonist, so there’s necessarly some stuff that’s a bit… swinging! That’s my speciality.

J. There will be even more mixing than before, in fact, there will be a few small passages that will surprise people I think.

O. We’ll be able to say that we make some “bitching” music again.

What are your ambitions for this new album, and more generally, for the band in the next few years ?

O. Logically of course it would be to be able to promote the album. Then I think what we need to mature on are the stage elements, to reinforce the visuals that have already been developed. It’s not for everyone, you have to be able to think about things graphically, you have to have an idea of the scenography, and when it’s not your job, it’s not always easy to envisage it.

J. For the moment we don’t really know when the concerts will be able to come back. We’ve got a number of shows that have been cancelled, we’ve got one in England normally in September but there’s a big risk that it will be cancelled too. So it’s complicated today to have this kind of visibility, unfortunately.

O. I also think that as far as Asylum is concerned, we should try to use the new media tools. As Johann said, we don’t know when the concerts will start again, and we should take advantage of this time to better position ourselves from a digital point of view. This can also be part of the band’s projects.

Has this period of confinement allowed you to achieve things that you had left aside before, for Asylum Pyre and/or for other projects ?

J. Many things yes… tidy up, first ! And personally I’ve progressed on a lot of projects, so now I have 5-6 albums just waiting to be recorded and arranged.

O. Only ?

J. Yes, I speak for those who are finished.

O. I was a little disappointed, actually.

J. No, or there’s 17 of them! I’m only counting songs that are pretty much structured, if you add all the ideas, things where there are only bits or a chorus, you can multiply by two. What about you Ombeline?

O. It was nice to finally be able to settle down and do little things, even if it was only to review the demos, everything that has already been done, etc. It was a great feeling to finally be able to settle down and do little things. I usually run out of time. And next to the band, I have projects of series. I was finally able to settle down, and fortunately I had taken my cameras before leaving, I take advantage of being in Bosnia to be able to shoot what I had in mind. Finally it’s time to win on the sequel, when we’ll have to go back to work full time. I also had a web series project on Bosnia on which we’ve made really good progress. And I updated my site, a lot of little things. It’s been profitable for that.

We all tidied up around us eventually…

O. Yes from a physical and mental point of view as well!

It’s allowed us to re-focus, to realise the little things that we tend to forget, especially in the Paris region I think. In the end you get attached to things that are far too material, comparisons with others. Yesterday it was stormy, I was in bed and I was thinking to myself “that’s really the ultimate happiness” when you can start to fall asleep with the storm and the rain, what more do you need! It’s the kind of thing when you’re in too much turmoil, especially in Paris, you end up not even appreciating it anymore, you don’t even realize you have it around you. The fact that things are going a bit slower, at least on my side, has allowed a kind of refocusing that was absolutely necessary.

J. I quite agree with what you’re saying here, and it reminds me of a pun that I read not long ago: « Je ne veux pas revenir à l’anormal »  [« I don’t want to go back to the abnormal » in English] and that’s a bit like that. When I saw the people in the streets, all the cars, I said to myself « no, I don’t want to go back to that ».

Thank you very much for answering these few questions. We look forward to listen your fifth album and to see you on stage again. Any last words to conclude?

O. I used to say “stay curious”. We used to talk about the positive effects of being in lockdown, at least for those who were lucky enough not to have sick relatives, there’s the fact that they’ve been able to discover things. Of course some people got bored, but most of them started to learn a new language, or to get back to an instrument. So: let’s try to ensure that what we were able to learn during the lockdown can continue, let’s remain curious.

J. No better !


Photos : Alban Verneret

Pour suivre l’actualité d’Asylum Pyre :


Four Year Strong

Do you know ... Four Year Strong and Brain Pain ?

There are bands like these that you don’t know what to expect and you discover with surprise. One of them was Four Year Strong. From the first songs I told myself that I had to present them to you but also their new album! Alan Day, singer and guitarist of the band answers some of our questions about their new album and the band.

Good morning, how are you ? Your new album Brain Pain came out February 28th, how do you feel about that? How was the first reactions from your fans?

I’m really excited about the release of Brain Pain. Its my favorite album we’ve ever made, but obviously I’m biased. The reaction from fans has been better than we even hoped it would be.

A small question about your past, what were the influences that inspired you to create the band that you are today?

When we first started the band, I came from a pretty punk/alternative background and Dan was in a hardcore band. When we met I was just starting to get into hardcore/metal and Dan was starting to get into emo/punk stuff, so we thought of starting a band that kind of smashed the two together. It definitely started more on the emo side of things with a little bit of heavy, but as time progressed and we wrote more and more songs, the heavy side of it just worked its way in and started to play a huge role in the sound. At first people really hated it, people at the local shows didn’t really seem to get it. But it felt right to us so we kept going with it, always trying to hone it in and have it make more sense to the listener. I’m glad we stuck with our gut and it finally started to catch on 6 years later.

How do you create your songs ? Do you start with the music itself or with the lyrics ? For the lyrics, do you find a theme and do you create around this theme or do you work around a catch sentence?

We always start with the music. It usually starts with a guitar riff, and we’ll base a song around a musical “theme.” Once the vibe of the song starts to take shape, we try and write vocals that fit the feel of the song, usually starting with a basic melody. The lyrical content will usually come around by happenstance when we’re ad-libbing around a vocal melody idea, and then things start coming together. But thats just the most common scenario, we’ve written songs in a lot of different ways over the years.

I’ve seen that you didn’t want any deadline for this album and that you wanted to take your time to do it right? When and why did you say “OK that’s the moment to release it” ?

Yeah that is true, we were in NO rush to put out an album. We just wanted to make sure we were putting out the RIGHT album, no matter how long it took. I think we ended up booking studio time with Will Putney when we had a handful of songs that we knew were going to be on the album. At that point I believe we had written get out of my head, talking myself in circles, learn to love the lie, worst part about me, and a few others, so we felt like we were in a good place to start moving forward.

Except for that, did you change your way of working for this album compared to the previous one ? If yes, how ?

The biggest difference between this album and any others is how many songs we wrote. We probably had 40-50 song ideas floating around. I’ve always known the advantage of writing more songs – the more you write, the better chances of writing something great. But until brain pain we never practiced that method. On our self-titled album, we only wrote the 10 songs that are on the album, and once we finished recording them it didn’t feel like enough and we just added go down in history from our EP we put out before it on the end so it was longer. It just didn’t feel like we had put our hearts into it the way we used to, so we wanted to remedy that and work harder than we had in YEARS to write songs that felt right to us.

I’ve also seen the music video “Lean To Love The Lie” where you explained :

“It’s about being stuck in a mutually miserable relationship, but you’re both too much of a coward to leave. If you’re going to lie to yourself about being happy, you might as well learn to love it. Lets not kid ourselves…We’ve all been there”

So have you learned to love the lie in your life or were you brave enough to leave ?

That song was loosely based on real life events, but was more of a  narrative written about situations we’ve seen our friends and family in. Its such a common occurrence, and it just felt like a great theme for a song that we thought people could connect with.

You’ve announced 6 shows / festivals in Europe. Do you know if you’ll have more dates in Europe or maybe in Belgium for our readers ?

We will definitely be doing more shows in Europe on the brain pain cycle, but theres no plans currently because of the covid-19 situation. Hopefully things will get back to normal soon and everyone can safely go to shows again!

In which country (ies) do you dream to play and why ?

We’ve been fortunate to play a lot of amazing countries, and we hope to keep expanding on the territories we’re able to play. I know its not a country, but a place we’ve always wanted to play that we have not yet is Hawaii.

We leave you the last words of the interview to tell everything you want to your fans or/and to our readers.

We just want everyone to check out our new record and keep your ear to the ground for when shows start happening again. We can’t wait to be playing music for you all again!


Photo: Gavin Smith

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Les Acteur de L'Ombre - INTERVIEW-2

Meet Gérald from the label Les Acteurs de L'Ombre

A while ago, we contacted Les Acteurs de L’Ombre and Gérald, the label manager, took the time to answer our questions about this French label focused on black metal and extreme metal. At the end of the interview, you can see the links to their social media and their catalog where you will certainly find something to delight your ears! We previously published several interviews of bands related to Les Acteurs de L’Ombre like Hyrgal, Aorlhac and SETH.

First of all, who are you and what is your role within the label Les Acteurs de l’Ombre ?

Hello, I’m Gérald, manager of the label which I created in 2008.

Les Acteur de L'Ombre - INTERVIEW

Les Acteurs de l’Ombre, how did you choose this name?

I created Les Acteurs de L’Ombre in 2001 with 3 friends. I proposed this name at our first meeting. The idea was to find a name that reminds both the members of the underground scene and those who defend it in the shadows. A name that brings us together in our passion and our activism to defend the underground and bring it to life.

Can you tell us the story of the label?

Following a professional transfer in 2008, I had to leave the presidency of the association LES ACTEURS DE L’OMBRE created in 2001. I took the opportunity to launch the label independently from the association. I am a passionate of black metal since 94. Since then, I have never stopped investing in the scene, through bands, a fanzine, a webzine, an organization of concerts and festivals. In 2011, the show organization branch and the label were split into 2 different self-managed entities.

How does the current situation which put the world asleep affect the label?

We are impacted like everyone else in the music and entertainment industry. Everything is on standby, as if the world had fallen asleep. Besides the fact that physical distribution is almost at a standstill because the stores are closed, people are less ordering on the internet and I have learned that Amazon is currently pausing. Due to the cancellation of tours and festivals we will not be able to hold the stands as we should have done. This will generate a huge shortfall which jeopardizes the releases that follow the summer. We need to find a solution to generate enough cash so that we do not carry it over.

What are LADLO’s criteria concerning the bands that you integrate the label?

There are many criteria to consider, of course the artistic and musical quality of a band is the most determining thing. But we must have a global vision, because what has often made the difference for us is the seriousness or professionalism of the band combined with its motivation. The feeling in our exchanges is also particularly important. When a band comes to us showing a real willingness to collaborate with us while approaching our possible collaboration in a professional way, it lets us bring more credit to each submission. By that I mean, a band that comes with a concept and a successful graphic universe, a medium and long term vision of their career, a desire to play live with a real scenography and who know how to surround themselves with competent people to develop their art. The band must also agree to support us in promotion and to be available. On the contrary, we sometimes sign bands that need management, so we put them in contact with graphic designers, photographers, recording studios, bookers and we support them at different levels.

Is there a band in which you did not believe at the beginning but which surprised you during its evolution?

We do not collaborate with bands that propose us an album that we would not like, we believe in each release, including bands in our roster because we only commit to one album at a time. We are all volunteers and since our opinions all have the same weight, we choose our releases by voting by majority. Thus, some of us work on releases of which they are not particularly fans, but it turns out because, like our tastes, we produce very varied albums. However, it can happen that bands exceed our expectations in terms of reception and feedback from the public.

What are the 3 best releases this year from Les Acteurs de L’Ombre?

In my opinion, we propose a rather wide range of what we can find in extreme metal with a tendency to black metal and all of our releases deserve the same attention. I think there is something for almost everyone. I have the feeling that our catalogue offers quality and true diversity. This is the feedback we have received from people who follow us and who can buy our releases with their eyes closed. I have never regretted a choice of release, even old ones, because we lead the label with sincerity.

Also, I could not tell you that one release is better than another, they are all different, and I am proud of each of them. I took a long time to answer your interview since it was sent at the end of 2019, so I adapt my answer. Currently, we have 3 releases completed in 2020:

MONOLITHE, 8th album, “Okta Khora”, released January 31, 2020 (progressive doom metal)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71MNLpWD1_Y

SONS OF WANTED MAN, 1st album, “Kenoma”, released on February 7, 2020 (blackened post metal)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eBrpfEYFqo

BORGNE, 9th album, “Y”, released on March 6, 2020 (industrial black metal)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZ0tpf5a_nQ

And I’m blocking quite a bit on GRAVE CIRCLES “Tome II” album to come. GRAVE CIRCLES is one of our artists who remains the most faithful to the original style, without being limited to it. If it does not revolutionize the genre, it has found its identity through various influences. The result is a tortured black metal in the image of the themes addressed in the lyrics. An intense and varied album, with sometimes complex structures and brutal riffs, but also throbbing or melodic, with airy and occult atmospheres. An underground beast, creeping and dissonant, punctuated by an infallible drums and almost ritual incantations.

If you could change something in the music industry, what would it be and why?

I would say that it is a cog that has been made over time, that it is difficult to adapt, and also, that it tries to adapt as best as possible to the continual evolution of modes of communication and broadcasts. There would be lots of things to change because there are a lot of inequalities, but at our level, the problem that we regularly face is the problem of artists’ rights and their remuneration. Many of them are not SACEM affiliated, that can causes problems at certain levels, and on the contrary we have additional costs for those who are affiliated. It is not always obvious because we operate in total self-management, and the fact that we are not in the circuit, and do not benefit from the help and agreements with the different organizations, it represents a cost for us. Not to mention that artists who are novice have trouble recovering their rights due to their disorganization. And I am not even talking about ridiculous royalties on streaming …

Do you ever work with other labels? How are the relationships between the different French labels?

Yes, many times, but it has never been a good experience. Collaborating on a release implies a certain organization, rigor, and synchronization between the two labels. Unfortunately, things are such that the internal workings of each are not necessarily in adequacy and complicate the whole process. We often have bad surprises with poor workmanship depending on who managed what. And then, you have to agree on deals, visuals, media, merchandising, distribution … Always quite difficult.

The relationships between the French labels are pretty good, we give each other a helping hand, we also have fun together. We are not competitors and have known each other for a long time.

What are your expectations and goals for the coming year?

I just hope that we can continue our activity as long as possible with the same fervour. I dream of always more rewarding collaborations and memorable moments. Given the current economic situation, our priority is to find a way to be able to maintain the planned releases after the summer. We are currently thinking of alternatives, and are relaunching in these times of confinement, projects that have remained dormant for years. All that remains is to keep our faith and hope that we will at least partially make up for the deficit.

A last word for our readers?

Thank you and Metal Overload for your support. I just encourage the readers to come and have a look at our roster: https://ladlo.bandcamp.com I think our bands are still too largely unknown and yet very deserving.


Picture of Gérald by Thomas Orlanth

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Tersivel : a journey through History & Feelings

Tersivel : a journey through History & Feelings

Born in Argentina in 2004 and now based in Sweden, Tersivel is an independent metal band evolving in a pagan/folk register, to say it simply. It’s Lian Gerbino (vocals and guitars) who introduces us to this unique project which is wisely mixing History and inner struggles on a strong atmospheric background balanced with deep and heavy riffs.

To begin simply, who are Tersivel?

We are Franco Robert on keyboards, Danny Ebenholtz on drums, and myself, Lian Gerbino, on vocals and guitars.

What does « Tersivel » mean and how did you choose this name in particular?

In short, Tersivel is a made-up word which I relate to the word “gathering”. I’ve been writing about it a lot, for years, trying to polish its meaning and significance. An in-depth exploratory explanation will be available in my book, which is planned to be out by the end of 2020.

How that name came to be the one for the band… I guess, in the early days of the band, we were a bit too much influenced by Tolkien. I personally was fascinated by the creation of languages, words, different races, places, and, for some reason, it seemed right to create a name for the band, instead of using something that already exists. In our first record, “For One Pagan Brotherhood”, I persued that trend of creating names and places, therefore characters such as Vosslat and Brënn and places such as Endera and Elveria were created.

Tersivel : a journey through History & Feelings

You’re considered as one of the first pagan/folk band from Argentina. What brought you to this particular style and what were your inspirations at that time?

It was a sort of evolution, I guess. It wasn’t like I decided to form a “pagan/folk metal band” per se, I just wanted to make some noise, you know, make music, express myself, explore. Now, 16 years later, it has a completely different meaning. Back then, I recall that I was (and, in many ways, I still am) very fragile emotionally and I didn’t know how to deal with that. A sort of emptiness devouring me from the inside. So, like every other human being, I needed to find a way to face Chaos. Music, poetry and books, especially from ancient Rome and Greece, started to fill that void and, for better or worse, to give me some answers about myself. What I like, what amuses me, etc. Music-wise, I’m addicted to music. There are so many records I love and got inspiration from, that it would be impossible to talk about all of them.

Also, how do you explain the fact that you were the pioneers of this style in your country?

I think it was a timing thing. In the 2000’s, there was a demand for new music. Thanks to globalization, movies, games, and of course, music; people, especially teenagers, had more entertainment options. Their taste was… Sophisticated, so to speak, and that opened a gap for folk metal in Argentina. I used to say: “Remove Lord Of The Rings from History and probably you remove folk metal as well”, at least in Argentina, that seems quite true.

At that time, there were only 3 bands, including us, playing this style of music in our country. The term pagan/folk metal came years later. We were simply known as the band playing in skirts (wannabe kilts) or the band in costumes.

You’re there for a while now, so is this style more popular in Argentina now? Are there other bands in the same field that you could recommend to us?

I don’t think it’s more popular than before. I dare to say that it’s less popular even. Remember that gap for folk metal I mentioned before? Well, the “gap” is really a gap, not a huge space. And in my opinion, that gap is closing in after the novelty for dressed-up bands have passed. Of course, there are diehard fans that won’t let the genre disappear into oblivion, but still, the gap is closing in. As for Argentine bands: Skiltron, Tengwar, Cernunnos, Vorgrum, Einher Skald, Triddana, Wulfshon spring to mind.

Tersivel exists since 2004 already. What are the highlights of your career?

I don’t know, I’m the kind of guy who’s always looking into the future. It’s hard for me to think of something I did as a highlight moment. I’m proud of what we did so far, of course. Our catalog has some good moments. We have some cool music videos too. We toured and met cool people. But again, I think that the best of Tersivel is yet to come.

On another hand, I read that you’re now based in Europe, what happened? Are the metal scene and the culture different here than in South America?

Just life stuff. None of us make a living off the band so when I moved to Sweden, it made sense to focus our efforts here. As for differences between South America and Europe, culturally is not that different. Especially in the cities. I don’t know how it’s in remote places, of course, but basically, the “New World” is mostly an extension of western civilization. As for specific differences, I’m inclined to think that metal music, in general, is way more popular in Europe than in South America. And that popularity helps to shape a healthier underground/middle scene. You might saw Megadeth playing in Buenos Aires for 50,000 people but 99% off that audience won’t go to see underground/middle bands ever. You get the picture…

You describe your music as « ever-changing, sometimes epic and esoteric » and it’s funny because it’s exactly what I felt while listening to your last album « Worship Of The Gods » (2017). Could you please tell me more about this album? What is it about?

Well, everything around us is changing constantly. We, as individuals, are changing constantly. I embrace that instead of fooling myself about absolutes. If the music is the language of the soul, and my soul is an immortal manifestation of indestructible energy, and that energy is flowing through the river of time eternally, then the conscious or divine creation of a piece of music is a unique act. Maybe the ever-changing aspect is just an allegory of uniqueness.

As for “Worship Of The Gods”, it’s a record with Julian The Apostate as the main character. It’s not a verbatim biography but a reflection of modern issues and personal subjects I struggle with. It has a lot of historical references but those are just one of the layers. The listener can dig deeper if he/she wants. I even included a full biography list in the physical “Worship Of The Gods” release, for those who are intrigued enough to dive there.

You also release a single last year « Satyrs Wine Part II ». What is the story behind this long song?

It’s very personal. The lyrics reflect a particular moment in my life. Some things that needed to be buried. Some others that needed to be born. It’s an inner talk.

You planned to release a new album this year. What can you tell us about it so far?

We are working on it as we speak. We are also working on a new stand-alone single that won’t be part of any record. Hopefully, it’s gonna be out really really soon.

Finally, do you have other plans for this year? Can we expect to see you on tour, for example?

Only the gods know that now. This Covid crisis is taking its toll. We are/were planning something in the near future. I hope I can be back to you soon with news about that.


To follow updates about Tersivel :


ShadoWhisperS : A world between dreams and nightmares

ShadoWhisperS : A world between dreams and nightmares

Luxembourg is a tiny country close to Belgium but it seems that every metal band created there is pretty good! Let’s discover one of them today with the help of their singer, Diane, and a few words from their keyboardist, Laurent, as well : ShadoWhisperS. The band, evolving in a symphonic register with drops of fantasy, recently released their first full length album, “Mara”, which explores the subconscious from light to darkness.

First of all, could you please simply introduce the band?

ShadoWhisperS was formed in 2009 and after a lot of line-up changes and some recorded demo tracks in the rehearsal room, we released our first official EP, “A Tincture Of Gothic Fiction” in 2017 and our first album, “Mara”, in 2019. ShadoWhisperS is a symphonic metal band with a tincture of gothic fiction, creating a fusion genre combining power metal and elements of orchestral classical music with the dark atmospheres of gothic rock. It’s emotive darkness that tells epic tales of the battle between light and dark, inner struggles, heroes and anti-heroes and of course life and death. We are shadows that whisper truths and seduce into taking off the blindfold. We are: Diane Frisch (vocals), Jean-Claude Sonnen (guitar), Laurent Schleck (keyboard), Piquet Jung (bass) and Mot Speller (drums).

ShadoWhisperS was founded in 2009. What are the big steps of this career?

In 2015 we started to organize our festival « Shadows’ Night ». Another big step certainly was the release of our first EP « A Tincture Of Gothic Fiction » in January 2017 and the videoclip for our song « Slow Death » released in March 2017. The video reached the second place of the Viewer’s Choice Awards at the Video Clip Awards of Luxembourg. We played a lot of fun gigs in Luxembourg, Belgium and France, such as the Steampunk Convention, participated at a Femme Battle and had some shows with local bands.

In 2017, we founded the « Shadows’ Night ASBL » to promote rock and metal music in Luxembourg and the greater region and brought our festival “Shadows’ Night” to a new level by organizing workshops for kids, teens and adults.

In 2018, ShadoWhisperS were present on two samplers: Imperative Music Compilation Vol. 14 and Finest Noise – Der Luxemburgsampler.

In 2018 and 2019 we started our project “Metal & Pipes“, combining classical music and the diversity of the pipe organ with the dark and heavy riffs of the symphonic metal music. The repertoire of the six musicians includes popular classical organ pieces in a new interpretation with the band, as well as compositions by the band ShadoWhisperS in an arrangement with organ music and free improvisations by Paul Kayser.

Finally, in 2019 we released our first album “Mara” and had the opportunity to share the stage with the melodic death metal superband, MaYaN.

Did your symphonic direction come naturally or is it something you build through time?

Diane: The symphonic direction is a combination of classical music and rock/metal music. So that’s just all I like. I think that was just a logical conclusion.

Laurent: I played in a few bands before, but as a keyboarder it is hard to find a band that plays heavy music. So I decided to found my own band and the choice of symphonic metal came quite naturally for me as a keyboarder. Finding a stable line-up was a struggle though.

You recently released « Mara », how would you personally describe this album?

The album deals with dark thoughts, dreams and nightmares, horrifying, unpleasant, sexual, healing ideas in our subconsciousness.

When you wrote the music or/and lyrics for this album, what inspired you the most?

Diane: Dreams in general are very fascinating to me. We can’t really control them and they reveal the thoughts of our subconsciousness. Everybody has nightmares sometimes. And everybody has thoughts he tries to hide. We all know how frightening and real dreams can be. There are so many interesting song ideas right inside all of us.

Who is Mara? What is her history? Looking at the artwork, I think she’s a succubus, but I’d like to know your version.

Diane: When Mara comes to visit you, you feel a heavy weight, it might start at the feet, but it always settles on your chest, leaving you paralyzed! Mara – Maere, Mahr, Mahrt, Mårt – by any name, it was and still is a terrifying creature bringing nightmares.

Laurent: It’s nice you like our version, as we tried to give Mara a new, perhaps more modern visual. We didn’t want to use the image of a succubus. After a brainstorm at our favorite pub, I came up with this idea, trying to respect all of the ideas of the other bandmates.

ShadoWhisperS : A world between dreams and nightmares

And by the way, is the album telling a whole story or the songs are individual? If so, what are they about?

The album is not a real concept album. But it has « Mara » or the nightmares as a central theme. All the lyrics deal with the topic of dreams and subconscious thoughts, the dark side inside us all.

So far, my favorite song out of « Mara » is « Distant Lovers ». In general artists hate this question, but do you have a favorite song out of this album?

Diane: It’s a very difficult question, because, same as when I am writing lyrics and vocal melodies, all depends on my mood. When I am listening to an album (even our own album), depending on my daily mood, I have different favorite songs. When I feel aggressive, or when I am really angry, of course, it would be « Ghost Inside ». When I am in a more melancholic mood, I would prefer « The Reign » for example, …

Laurent: That’s funny. This is my least favorite song. It also went to a lot of changes until it had finally the right mood. For me, it is the title song. It opened new ways for songwriting as we as a band could manage to play a song with a lot of time signature changes and key changes. Plus, I really like the mood and the dynamics of the song.

By the way, I noticed that « Distant Lovers » and « The Last Whisper » are sponsored songs, what does that mean?

When we started with the recordings for the album, we noticed that it will be much more expensive to produce a full-length album with studio recordings than an EP with demo tracks. That’s why we were searching for ideas to reduce our personal financial investment. Our fans had the opportunity to buy the album before the release (some sort of crowdfunding) or even to sponsor a whole song and have their name in the booklet.

On another hand, a funny thing I noticed on your Facebook page is that you call your fans « Minions ». Where does that come from?

Laurent: Our former singer started this, way before the small yellow banana loving creatures were famous, and we just stuck to it. Other bands do it too, Slipknot call their fans “maggots” and we found minions kind of cute.

Now, I’d like to know more about you, Diane, as a singer. What is your story with singing? How did you learn, how did you come to classical singing, and so on?

I started to play music when I was two years old. My parents had no musical education, but they lived in Vienna for four years before I was born. Vienna is known for many famous musicians and artists and this is why the cultural and musical education of their child was very important to my parents. I started with the violin and played that instrument for many years. But I didn’t like it very much. I tried different things in my youth, such as the saxophone, drums and the harpsichord. At the « Conservatoire de la Ville de Luxembourg », you could join the classical singing class at the age of 16 only. That’s when I started to take my first real singing lessons and finally found MY instrument. I was singing in different national and international choirs: « Faust » at the Berlin Philharmony or the 8th symphony from Krzysztof Penderecki (who died a few days ago) for the opening for the Philharmony in Luxembourg for example. At the age of 17, I started to sing in a funk/rock band called « Clandestinos ». We had some songs with comical lyrics and I remember some very funny gigs at Kulturfabrik or at the gay parade « Gay Mat » for instance. Today, I take modern singing lessons with my teacher and friend Hannah White to learn musical and rock techniques too.

Who are the singers (no particular gendra) who inspire or influence you?

That’s a very difficult question as well… I don’t have a real idol. I always say that I am just picking out the best and darkest fondant chocolates from everything I pass through lifetime. As musicians and artists I really love Marilyn Manson up to Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald to J.S. Bach, Henry Purcell and Thomas Arne. I love the voices of Simone Simons and Floor Jansen but I love the way of singing of Ash Costello, Marilyn Manson or Jonathan Davis too.

Singing and the voice itself is something very personal. It is just not something you can try to copy. Surely there are techniques you can learn and you can get inspiration from other people. But I think the voice is different from other instruments. You just can’t buy a new voice, when you don’t like your own and you can never modify it in a way that you will sound the same as a famous singer you know.

I saw on Facebook that you also sing cabaret songs. Can you tell us more about this?

As mentioned before, I’ve been taking singing lessons for musical and rock techniques for two years now. With our singing class, we sometimes have concerts too. That’s where I performed the song « When You’re Good To Mama » from the musical « Chicago », you probably saw it on Facebook. As my husband is a musician too, we also try to play/sing concerts with classical and musical repertoire together from time to time.

Back to the band now, what are your project for the future?

For the moment, we are working on two new albums. The first one will be an album for our project “Metal & Pipes” with pipe organ. And there will be a second album for ShadoWhisperS as well, which will be a concept album this time.

And finally, do you have a word for our readers to finish this interview?

Diane: Dear Isabelle, thank you very much for this interview.

Laurent: And, minions, thank you for your support!


Photo : J.P. Frisch

To know more about ShadoWhisperS :


Acus Vacuum: Charlotte tells us more about the "Empty Purses"

Acus Vacuum: Charlotte tells us more about the "Empty Purses"

Metalheads, I salute you!

Today, due to confinement, I don’t really have any photo galleries to offer you. Therefore, it’s as an interviewer that I propose you some content.
I decided to focus on a Belgian band, coming more precisely from Bastogne and well known in the metal scene, without belonging to this musical movement.
I’m talking about Acus Vacuum! What are their origins, their projects…?

The band created in 2012 is composed of 5 members, two percussionists: Charlotte and Arhur, two pipers: Simon and Lucas and their dancer: Samantha.
We learn a bit more about them with Charlotte.

Hi Charlotte! First of all, can you tell us who you are and what is your role in Acus Vacuum?

Hello Laurent, as you yourself wrote in your introduction, I am one of the percussionists of Acus Vacuum and I’ve been playing this role in the band for more than 7 years now.

How was Acus Vacuum born, what does this name mean and what is its history?

Acus Vacuum was born in 2012. It was originally a duo project between Simon and his brother Nicolas.
I was later welcomed into the band, followed by Steeven (a former bagpipe blower) and that’s how Acus Vacuum was launched.
As for the band’s name, Simon searched for a name that sounded “serious” at first, but tried to keep a little offbeat side to it, because of its meaning.
In Latin, Acus Vacuum, means: “Empty Purses”.

How would you qualify the style of Acus Vacuum, what is its strength according to you?

Acus Vacuum can be described as a clever mix of neo-medieval, festive pagan and folk. Our music also has an instinctive side.
In our current formation, we all come from different backgrounds, each of us brings in his own way his own personal touch, his personal experience.

What’s great is that with our style, we can afford to diversify, adapt, and play in several styles of events, and therefore, it allows us to reach a relatively large audience.

Apart from medieval festivals, we mostly meet you in concerts and metal festivals. Where does the interest of the metal public for Acus Vacuum come from? Are the members of Acus Vacuum all metalheads at heart?

Let’s say that in the band, we’ve always been metalheads in general.
I think that the musical dynamism of Acus Vacuum, as well as our physical presentation, our costumes, our accessories, the atmosphere, (the hypocras?)… It allows us to get closer to the metal scene than to the folk dances.

When you created the band, did you already have such ambitions, did you think you would meet such a success?

Not at all! And it was a nice surprise to see that over the years, the craze for us from the public, but also from the event organizers has only increased.

A few months ago, you made the video clip for “Cernunnos”, a song from your second album “Viribus Naturae”. Can you tell us about this experience, how do you set up such a project? What do you remember from this shooting?

It was a great experience and believe me, it was a great organization! It was two intense days of shooting on two beautiful locations.
We had chosen the “Native-Village” in Neihaischen, as well as the forests around Laroche en Ardennes to shoot the clip of “Cernunnos”, these places were perfect for the realization of this clip.
A nice collaboration with Brice Hincker (who has, among others, directed clips for Dagoba, Smash Hit Combo, …), passionate extras both professionals and neophytes, but all with this motivation, this will to share a great moment with us.
A very beautiful artistic work, we are super happy with the realization. Once again, THANK YOU all for your participation.

Acus Vacuum: Charlotte tells us more about the "Empty Purses"

What are your plans for the future of Acus Vacuum?

Hahaaaaa, we have some surprises for you.
We are working hard on new tracks and we have some great dates planned!
We’ll tell you more very soon, but we have a lot of fiestas to catch up on and don’t worry, we’ll do it with you!

So, I’ll close this interview by thanking Charlotte for her participation, and by inviting you, if you haven’t already done so, to go and see Acus Vacuum during one of their shows.
You can also visit their website www.acusvacuum.com and social networks such as Facebook and Instagram.

On that note, I’ll leave you with the clip of “Cernunnos”.

Wishing you an excellent evening.
Take care of yourself,

Lau


Dear Mother, new Merel Bechtold’s baby

Dear Mother, new Merel Bechtold’s baby

On March 5th started the crowdfunding of a new band : Dear Mother. This project is headed by Merel Bechtold, guitarist in MaYaN and ex-guitarist of the symphonic metal band Delain. By her side, Joey Marin (Delain) takes drums and the Russian singer David Hruska (Deadly Circus Fire) completes this trio.

The band announces a modern metalcore style. A short preview with three titles extracts suggests, indeed, modern sounds, with heavy and loud riffs on which we’ll can headbang any way we wish, this is joined by softer parts.

The crowdfunding ended on April 1st. But, in the evening of March 24th we learned while a Merel Bechtold’s Facebook live that 100% was achieved. Congratulations ! The band had announced that if there was any extra, it would be used to release another music video. So this is not one but two music videos that we can expect for this first album.

Among available rewards, there were the classics : photobooks, signed albums, t-shirts, drumsticks, guitar picks, Skype instrument lessons, … But the trio showed originality because we could also get, for example, guitar string bracelets handmade by Merel, participation in an interactive songwritting, an online videogame party, or a motorcycle tour ride with Merel.

Album’s recording is imminent. The release is announced for February 2021 and a first single would be reveal in September 2020.

The YouTube channel of the band (Dear Mother Official) is already full of interesting videos. Merel, Joey and David take care of promoting the project themselves and we can regularly discover explanatory videos on the thirteen songs that will composed the album.

I had chance to exchange some words via Skype with Joey Marin about this first album. Here is our conversation.


Dear Mother is not a common name for a metal band. Can you explain it ?

Merel came up with the name.

Everyone has their own ‘story’ to the name, because everyone has or had a mother basically.

It sounds and looks cool.

How is organized the composition ? Who write the lyrics ?

David, our singer, has written all the lyrics for the album.

Merel is the main songwriter, and David and me add and change our parts.

It’s a collaboration between us.

What are the themes in this album ? Your inspirations ?

This is personal to David.

Some lyrics are about suicide for example, or about the world in general.

It’s not a concept album with one theme.

When do you think that the drums will be recorded ?

We’re gonna record drums as soon as possible. Because there are some issues due to the coronavirus crisis. I hope it will be very soon, we will try to make it in April.

Did you already choose what song will be the first single ?

We haven’t officially decided yet, but the strongest contender is ‘12 Years In Exile’ . We have to choose what song is more representative of Dear Mother, what song will be affect the audience. I can say you now : « it’s this song » and maybe, later it will be another. We wait that all the album is recorded to have the final result and choose the best. So, not sure for the moment.

What are your projects for 2021 ? Do you think you will hit the stage before the album release ?

I think we’re gonna do a couple of ‘test’ shows for the album release. It will depend on when we will be able to rehearse. 2021 is all about touring and promoting the album.

Great, we will be there !

Next question isn’t about music but it’s certainly the most important for our metalheads readers : what’s your favourite beer ?

Hum … I would say … Corona ! And not because the current situation. Yes, I think Corona is my favourite.

The last word is for you, what would you like to say to our readers ?

Thank you for reading this interview. Keep an eye on Dear Mother, hope to see you all in 2021 !


Picture : Dave Pelham Photography

 

To stay informed about Dear Mother :


Nightwish : There's too much noise on the Internet!

Nightwish : There's too much noise on the Internet!

Nightwish. Real monument in the symphonic world, the band is about to release its ninth studio album, « Human :||: Nature ». It is probably one of the most awaited album of the year. For the occasion, we had the great opportunity to meet the mastermind himself, Tuomas Holopainen (keys) and the multi-instrumentalist Troy Donockley to discuss this release. The men remained quite discreet about their secrets, but they gave us some clues for a better understanding of their vision of the band and how they lead this entity to what it is today.

You took five years to release this new album. Five years while you toured the world, released personal projects, released a best-of, re-toured the world… What a journey ! Was it difficult to go back into a writing process?

Tuomas: No, it was wonderful, actually ! After finishing the previous album, « Endless Forms Most Beautiful », I felt satisfied and I knew already, at that point, that we needed to take a little breather to keep the whole thing interesting. I talked about it with the other members of the band and everybody agreed : « Let’s take a year off ! » Because we have never taken a break in twenty years so it was the time. So, we took that year off and all the band members did their own little side projects. Then, we did this special nostalgia tour, « Decades », playing the older stuff. It was all good fun ! But at some point during that tour, we got all really excited about the future again and I started doing songs and I enjoyed the process again. Sometimes, you need to give these things time, because the last thing you want to do is to force yourself to create and nothing good comes out this way.

In general, how do you work on new songs ? Is there a secret way to create a new Nightwish album?

Tuomas: A secret way ? No… (laughs) You just need to feel something. You need to be inspired, you need to have good stories to tell and, like I just said, you don’t want to create if you don’t feel like creating. So, that’s the very big thing and also, just do it for yourself, never ever follow the trends, don’t think about what people could think about that or the other band members. That’s the only way to keep the art, the music that you create, authentic and real. That’s the basic principle of my songwriting and also, just enjoy the process.

Did you write this album like last year or did you collect the ideas during the past five years?

Tuomas : I started collecting the ideas in the beginning of 2018, during the « Nostalgia » tour. It took about a year, then I started to discuss the themes with the other members, I showed some lyrics, and everybody got excetid. It was no actual songwriting, it was more like gathering ideas. Then, last year, from January to May, I actually wrote all the songs. So, overall, it took about a year and a half.

You are the main composer, but for the lyrics, did you share the work with someone else in the band?

Tuomas: Well, for this album I made all the music and lyrics.

« Human :||: Nature ». It definitely sounds like a concept, so what can you tell me about that?

Tuomas: I wouldn’t call it a concept album, because all the songs are individual, but it’s a thematic album as there’s a running theme that goes through all the songs… Actually, I don’t like using the word « concept album ». We talked about this yesterday, it’s more a thematic album, because the songs are not connected to each other in a way that tells one big story.

Maybe it’s more the case with the second part of the album? I read that it’s a love letter to the Earth, is that right?

Tuomas: That’s a nice way of putting it. I think it’s Nightwish’s love letter to planet Earth. And I consider it as one song, not eight songs. We just put the indexes in between if people want to skip to their favorite part, it makes it a bit easier, but it should really be considered as one song.

Nightwish : There's too much noise on the Internet!

So what brought you to write this? What inspired you?

Troy: We are very interested in the world, mankind, science and everything in a holistic way. We are very engaged in it. And we love to talk about it when we’re out together. It is also a kind of extension of « The Greatest Show On Earth », which was the final piece on our last album (« Endless Forms Most Beautiful »,2015). And it beautifully segways into « Human :||: Nature » as well. But these things just evolved. I’m going to do this as it’s going to be right now, and it’s not going to change. Everything’s in a state of flux, right? A musical flux.

Tuomas: It keeps surprising me actually, how often people think that we calculate this stuff really carefully. Like before starting to do an album we thought it in advance : let’s do a heavier album, let’s take this direction, let’s do this or that… It’s never like that, it’s a flow of mind. You just pick up on something that sparks your interest and you go from it.

Troy: That’s right ! And then something magical does happen. Hence with this album we’ve explored new sounds. There’s a lot areas that we have never been in before. And again, it wasn’t a conscious decision as we didn’t pick what we were going to do, like the three-part harmonies on every single song. It just kind of told us what we had to do. The direction was given to us through the music, through the songs.

Tuomas: That’s a good way of putting it. You have to listen to the songs, what they actually tell you and how do you want them to be presented. They have an essence of their own.

Troy: They do have a life of their own. Once the song starts, which is the foundation of the whole thing, it’s like foliage, flowers and plants that start to grow around, from its source and all the flowers and plants are all the arrangements and the colors we bring. But they kind of grow themselves out of the song, out of the music. And that’s one of the really exciting things for us in Nightwish, it’s that we don’t see ourselves limited. With this, there are no limits for us. I mean, the second disc is a counterpoint to the first one. But some people might think it is really bizarre to follow eight songs with a massive orchestral suite but between us it was the absolute natural thing to do and the only thing to do. And it had to be done as I see it, as a long time coming thing. It was inevitable. It would be a long suite and especially about such a lofty subject as nature and the world.

My next question was about « Noise ». According to what you just said, it seems to be completely a chance that this song really sounds like Nightwish?

Tuomas: It’s not calculated.

So, it has nothing to do with the fact of reassuring the fans?

Tuomas: No, we don’t think about that kind of stuff at all. But when there is one main songwriter in the band, he has his mannerisms, so to say. It’s the same with every artist in the world.

Troy: It really is and it’s identifiable. It’s intrinsic to Nightwish that Tuomas writes the songs and it would be insane to try to take away your core, your essence by trying to be something else. That’s another thing that we strongly believe, this is freedom in art, the freedom to do exactly what we want without the consideration of criticism or of the fawning of compliments all the time. It’s of no interest. We really just need to make the music that we love to be ourselves and hope that the people get the same feelings that we do.

Tuomas: A band is never imprisoned into a gendra which must sound like this or that. There’s no such thing. A band is a group of people doing exactly what they want to do.

Yeah but I do think there are bands that are not like that, who do what their fans want to hear.

Tuomas: Yes, but I just have to disagree politely with them. I don’t think any artistic group needs to be bound to a certain gendra or a certain way of doing things.

Troy: We certainly aren’t. And I think that’s what makes, even objectively, Nightwish a really interesting thing, an entity. I don’t even think of it as a band anymore. It’s a it is a vehicle for freedom in art and music.

So, you released « Noise » at the beginning of this month and you already hit almost 2 million views on YouTube. Is it a surprise?

Tuomas: I didn’t think about it in advance, so I don’t know. It’s a big number, so… It gave me the « waow ! » effect. I was not expecting anything, so it just made my eyebrows raise.

In general, aren’t you sensitive to the statistics on the web or the comments or the reactions of the fans?

Troy: Oh, no. I think you get yourself into a mess if you start to get too involved in that and believe in the hype, believe in the Internet… It’s a monster! I’ve looked at comments and things like that on the web, and it’s the same old stuff: this one says it’s brilliant, this one says it’s shit. This one says it’s fabulous, this one says it’s rubbish. You’ve got to be outside looking in and don’t let it affect what you do. Otherwise, you’d go mad.

Tuomas: One thing that I did when doing the lyrics for the song « Noise », and it is something I’ve never, ever done before, and I did it deliberately: I spent about a week in the discussion forums and YouTube commentary sections on the Internet just to dwell in the darkness, to be able to write those lyrics as they came.

Troy: Really?

Tuomas: I did. I went to the Nightwish discussion forums, read everything that was on our Facebook page. Being there for an hour, I felt like taking a shower and washing my brain, but it was necessary to go there and see that world to be able to create a song.

Troy: Brilliant! I didn’t know you did that. Really, that’s the perfect way to do it.

People on the Internet are always talking, giving their opinions,…

Tuomas: It’s a part of it, not only that, but the constant flow of information there, from everywhere.

Troy: It comes from all sides, and finding only a grain of truth in things on the Internet… There’s so much noise to find the truth within all the noise is a really difficult thing to do. It’s a skill, actually, you’ve got to learn. And the irony is you can’t learn the skill of getting through the noise within the noise. You can’t do it on the Internet, you’ve got to do it outside of the Internet.

Tuomas: For some people, the Internet is a public pillow to scream into. And like you said, it’s really hard to find the truth between all that noise. And false news travels so much faster than real news.

Troy: Yeah, bad and false news are thos which got the most power.

I think we could do an entire interview about the video you released. Did the idea, the story, come from the band, from you?

Troy: Yeah, it did. And again, we talk a lot about this stuff, we’re really interested in and we love it. We love to talk about these these things. So, yeah it all grew out of a huge interest here.

Tuomas: And then, the director of the video, Stobe Harju, arjHarHHSDJFDLFJIalso put a lot of his own ideas in it, visual things, into the video as well.

And can you tell me who are your characters? Did you choose them?

Tuomas: Actually, they were written by the director. I mean, it’s up to your own interpretation. If we go too much into details here, it would take something off from the experience of watching the video.

Troy: It will cause more noise ! (laughs)

Even if the subject is quite dark here, I guess you had fun during the filming.

Troy: Well, Tuomas had a really bad chest. He had a bad cold. So he sat in the bath, covered in oil, feeling really shitty with a gas mask on. And I was leaving, I was going to get my flight home, and I looked at him and he was like… (Troy made a funny face, both laughs)

Tuomas: I was a headbanging, yeah, with all this oil… At the end of the video, you can actually see a glimpse of me without the gas mask pinning my rubber duck into the air. So that’s the revelation that we can see.

And you have two new members in the band, now?

Tuomas: Who ?!

Troy: She means the little girl and the big girl… They are actresses who were brought in by the director.

I thought the little girl was Floor’s daughter.

Tuomas: Oh no, she would never do that! But actually the blonde girl, she’s probably the most famous Finnish Instagram star, Jessica Edström. She actually agreed to come and parody herself in the video.

On another hand, you worked with « our » Tim Tronckoe for the album’s pictures…

Tuomas: Yeah, the good old Tim! He’s a true artist!

How did you choose him?

Tuomas: We worked with him before for a couple of photoshoots and we just liked his personality and the way he takes pictures.

Troy: And he’s fast, it’s truly amazing! Because we’ve been through photographers that have took hours and hours and too many shots to have to look through after. Tim just goes and that’s it!  It’s really refreshing to see.

Tuomas: And he is always really well prepared. Everything was set up when we go there and it took like maybe 15 minutes.

Troy: We did shots at different locations but for the Natural History Museum where we did the shots with Tim, he went in there early  when it was full of the public, it was packed full of tourists. And he he checked out angles and sat the lights… He’s just brilliant and he’s really nice guy as well.

Nightwish : There's too much noise on the Internet!

Now this is a question that most of the artist hates, but I’ll ask it anyway : do you already have a favorite song out of this new album?

Tuomas: No.

Troy: No, not a chance. We have favorite moments, but not favorite songs, it’s not possible. Besides, it would upset the other songs. (both laugh)

A singer told me once that her songs were like her child, so she couldn’t prefer one of her children.

Troy: Oh yeah, that’s a common thing with songwriters, they always say that.

Tuomas: They also say that about their albumsIs, that they are their kids. I kind of understand the metaphor but it’s a bit cheesy I think.

So, I can’t ask you if you have a favorite song from all the Nightwish’s history?

Tuomas: Those things change by time. I mean, you could ask which song I’d bring with me to a desert island, maybe I could answer. But one favorite, that is not possible to choose.

Do you know which one you would like to take to a desert island, then?

Tuomas: I think it would be « The Greatest Show On Earth ».

Troy: Same.

Vous jouez souvent en Belgique, y a-t-il des choses particulières que vous aimez ici ?

Tuomas: I like Tim!

Troy: I like him too. And I liked that whole food shop around the corner, really good. (I think he’s speaking about the Carrefour Market near the hotel, actually)

Tuomas: I also really like Hercule Poirot, he’s a Belgian and it’s probably my favorite Belgian thing. But forget about his new version, David Suchet was the best.

So I had the chance to listen to your new album just before, which was a bit challenging. But a song caught my hear in particular : « Harvest ». It sounds completely different and almost made me think about a Disney song, in a positive way. What inspired you this song?

Tuomas: That’s interesting you see you see it that way. This is a wonderful thing about interviews, it’s we get lots of different approaches, lots of different responses to the songs.

Troy: For us, personally, I don’t see that at all. I see something more anthemic and classic with « Harvest ». The nature of the song for me is a classic folk song, that’s the essence of it. It’s the kind of thing where you’re looking forward to the chorus because communitywise, people want to have a chorus they can sing together and « Harvest » is one of them. I can imagine it will become a live favorite and it will be interesting to hear the audience singing it. At the same time, « Harvest » is full of incredible musical moves. It is splendid and it’s tricky and it’s weird and difficult and really easy at the same time. It’s kind of everything is in there, right?

Tuomas: And once you get the lyrics and listen to the song, it might change your perspective on what’s going on. You’ll definitely be more clarified. Actually, it’s really not fair for everybody to listen to the album once and make up your mind about it.

I did not recognize Marco’s voice on the album…

Tuomas: He sings on every single song of the album, except for « Procession » and he does the backing vocals. He also sings the last song, « Endlessness ». That’s kind of like his solo show on the album.

Troy: Well, he sings it quite hard when you listen to it again, he sings it with quite a bit of venom in his voice, actually. But the choruses are beautiful and there’s a wonderful contrast between the chorus and the verses. When you hear it again, you’ll notice.

Thank you. So I have a last question for you which has nothing to do with Nightwish, but do you plan a new release with Auri in the future?

Tuomas: Yes!

Troy: Definitely yes, we have new music for Auri. When the Nightwish ship docks, we get off the ship and we’ll do more Auri.

Tuomas: I think a 2021 release is possible.

Do you sometimes take a real vacation, without music?

Troy: We had a year off five years ago, but we have adventures outside of music… Well, music is always there but we do have adventures.


Photos: Tim Tronckoe

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PORN

No monsters in PORN's eyes

A year ago, we proposed the interview of Philippe Deschemin aka Mr Strangler, singer of the band PORN on the occasion of the release of “The Darkest Part Of Human Desires – Act II”.

Today, I will debrief the events that have taken place since the release and present the third album that will be released on March 27th, 2020!

Hello how are you? Are you impatient to present your new album “No Monsters In God’s Eyes – Act III”? How do you feel about the end of this trilogy?

Finally an interview in French! We have just given a series of interviews in English for several American, English, Canadian and German radios and magazines. It’s always nice to chat with French media, and that in the language of Molière.

We could speak of mixed feelings. At the same time, sadness but also happiness and pride to have given birth to a complete trilogy which found echo with an audience which, with all our astonishment, doesn’t cease growing exponentially since the release of the first act: “The Ogre Inside “.
I recently spoke with Chris Vrenna (Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson) who expressed his admiration. He was talking to me about the recording sessions of “Downward Spiral” from NIN, which is also a concept album, as well as “Antichrist Superstar” from Manson, on which he also worked. Finding an echo among the public and musicians you admire is certainly the greatest satisfaction that a musician can have. To hear Chris Vrenna telling me : “This is incredible”… It’s now possible thanks to Mr Strangler, and with this new opus ends our adventure with him.

So there’s a little sadness, but you have to know how to say goodbye. Everything comes to an end.

PORN - No Monsters In God's Eyes

Before talking about it further, how was the tour that followed the release of “The Darkest Of Human Desires – Act II”? Do you have any memorable concerts or moments that you would like to share with us? Have you had the opportunity to play in new countries?

We gave a series of concerts including a beautiful date in Paris at the FGO, however all the dates remain good memories.

We have crazy fans, like the characters we play with PORN! We also collaborated with several bands as part of remixes (“Hante”, “Fragrance”, “Entropy Zero”, “An Erotic End Of Times”…). It’s a great experience. And also a strange feeling because hearing your own songs remixed and rearranged in a different way is always destabilizing at the start. But it is part of the rock industrial tradition, so we are happy to do that.
We went to shoot clips in California and around Zurich. These are highlights and allow us to gain experience because the best way to learn is to work with those who work with the biggests. We had the chance to work with Tom Baker on Act II. This guy worked with NIN, Ministry, Rob Zombie, Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson… For the new album, we collaborated with Brian Lucey who worked with Ghost, Manson, Depeche Mode… We are so few French bands to have this privilege, with the particularity at PORN that we are an indie and DIY band… All of this is possible thanks to our fans around the world, we are aware of it and savor it all the time…

Have new doors, hitherto closed, opened for you? (Festivals, magazines, radios,…)

We never felt like we had doors closed. Or they are, but we are not aware of it. To find out, we would have to try to open the door. For the moment, no door has remained closed when we tried to open it. To tell the truth, we don’t do things like the others, we follow our own path, essentially outside of France as you know. Therefore, there are doors that we don’t look at…
I know nevertheless that our marginality is worth to us enmities in the “medium”, there is a lot of jealousy unfortunately. When there should be mutual help… But when you’ve been touring for years with the only objective of earning an intermittence, that you don’t sell enough or don’t stream enough to produce clips, work with big producers… I understand that you can become a hater. I will advise these people to immerse themselves in Kropotkin «L’Entraide, un facteur de l’évolution» (Translated : “Mutual aid, a factor in evolution”) . There is however a good nucleus of motivated and goodwill French bands in France, it’s extremely motivating. We pay little attention to negativity and frustration, we reach out to everyone.

Together we are always stronger.

In the previous interview, you told us that Mr Stangler, interpreted by you, was fighting against this ogre who was in him and that the ogre had finally won leaving Mr Strangler to indulge in murder for pleasure. Seeing that you’re Mr Strangler, if you could kill anyone in the way of your choice without any repercussions behind. Who would he be and how would you kill her/him?

I think I would kill a lot of people… With hands of course. A strangulation certainly, of the type Baseball Choke or Ezekiel to see my victim’s panicked eyes. The name of Mr Strangler comes from there, from my taste for strangulations in combat sports, BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) and Grappling essentially.

The songs on the third album were almost all written at the time. Have you changed anything since then or has time confirmed your ideas?

No, there has been no particular change.

If we follow the clips and the lyrics of the three songs “High Summer Sun”, “A Lovely Day” and “Some Happy Moments”, Mr Strangler would have been caught and gone from anger to questioning:

“I feel the end but I am not sorry. How could I be ? Teach me, I am not sorry. But I am ready for it”
Extracted from “Some Happy Moments”

Could you tell us more about these stages and its history since the second album?

In the second act, Mr Strangler arrives at adulthood, and he accepts himself. After having struggled with his own nature personified by the inner ogre (“The Ogre Inside”), he made peace with himself and became Mr Strangler. He lets himself go to his murderous desires. These desires that he held back in Act I, understanding that he was a killer, but did not accept it by social pressure. Thus, during all of Act II, he indulged in his passion with his team and ended up getting caught. He ends up in prison in this new album.

Act III is an album on confinement, prison, psychiatric confinement. He faces his death, cut off from society. The passage to which you refer expresses its impossibility to be empathetic. He realizes it. He wants to be sorry, but he can’t be. Considered a monster, a non-human, he reminds us that he is a being of God and that thus, we are all creatures of God. Even the worst monster is a creature of God. I do not believe in God. But I find it amusing to remind this to believers, who have this tendency to consider the one who does not believe like them as being outside of humanity… This also evokes a little the Necessitarianism in philosophy…

You also told me that you had created a trilogy because you felt limited by the number of songs that a single album allowed to express your concept. Now that the third and last album is finished, do you think you were able to express everything you wanted?

Not entirely because there are things that remain unexplained in the trilogy and for which I have the answers. Like Strangler’s irrepressible urge to kill… So we will find again Strangler so that we can go further in history. Maybe in a novel or a comic book…

Your next tour “No Monsters In God’s Eyes Tour 2020” will pass through Milan, Lyon, Paris and Nantes. Can you already reveal other confirmed dates or tell us which other country (ies) you could cover? Do you think a date in Belgium will be scheduled?

We are very focused on the studio. We are touring, but we favor beautiful dates in beautiful halls in order to be able to deliver a show worthy of the name to our fans. We are more interested in the satisfaction of our fans than going to scrape a fee. We have a solid fan base that ensures the sustainability of the band without having to go to play in irrelevant festivals or in festivals at 10am, imagining that it will boost your career… After you end up whining because you still have no more than 1000 listeners on Spotify… With PORN not that. We respect our fans more than we need to scratch false visibility and we prefer quality to quantity.

What about the future of PORN now that this trilogy is over? Do you think in the future to go back on the same concept style with a story? Or maybe you already have something different in mind?

First of all as for the previous opus of the trilogy, we are going to release the remixes of Act III. We had the honor of bringing in bands like Combichrist, Orgy, Stabbing Westward, Chris Vrenna from NIN, Jimmy Urine from Mindless Self Indulgence, The Anix, Ash Code, Lluther… We are very proud of it! And what better way to pay tribute to the last breath of Mr Strangler than to involve all these large bands?
Then a new story will start, I will not say more, but it will happen very quickly.

As usual we leave you the last word to speak to your fans and our readers.

We are PORN, you are PORN. You are Mr Strangler.


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Antiq-interview

Meeting Léon from Antiq Records

Today, we decided to meet other actors of the music scene: records labels. We propose you the interview of Antiq Records, a French label that proposes diverse and varied bands while also promoting the local scene. Hungry for discoveries? Browse their catalog!

First of all, who are you and what is your role in Antiq ?

I am Léon, my role could be linked to a label manager, coupled with an artistic director. I am accompanied by Adrien and Joanna.

Briefly, how did the idea of ​​creating this label come about, what is its story?

Antiq originally came from a need to produce our projects according to our vision of the world of music. A small collective in almost autarky, with almost no connection with the rest of the professional world of music. Initially, there were three of us, including Adrien and myself, and we were helped by many of our friends involved in personal projects. Then quite quickly, we went back to two people, Adrien and I for 4 years, before adding Joanna. But we had already opened our editorial line, since the second year.

What are your key words or values?

The total work of art, and tend towards coherence between the lyrics, the imagery and the concept with the feelings that the music conveys.

How does band selection work at Antiq? Do bands apply for support or do you contact them?

Both cases can occur. But despite our status and size of a small label, one must understand that our selection is draconian: today we receive between 3 and 5 applications per week, that’s a lot. First because there are more and more bands, and secondly with our evolution we reach more people. And the selection is difficult because: there are many bands, we want to stay at a rate of 6-8 releases per year, our planning is now seen well in advance, and finally, it is necessary that the band enters our editorial line, basically that it is compatible with the universe we want to promote. Ah, and also, we must like it, it seems obvious.

What is your top 3 among the bands (and their albums) you produced in 2019?

Oh, it is impossible to answer you by keeping only 3 in mind. I love Véhémence and Malenuit, and the musical universe developed by Dorminn, and the sound and the special compositions catch me in Tan Kozh. I am also very proud of the split Incipient Chaos / Defenestration. But that is by disregarding Grylle, modesty obliges, and another release that has not yet arrived. In fact, I like all our releases equally, because there is a common coherence between the projects, otherwise we would not do them. So, no top 3, rather a top-all!

What is your favorite thing about Antiq?

The thrill of creativity. You feel it: when a known (and good) band contacts you or answers you. When a less known band sends you tracks that kill. When a new visual of a future production, of which you are already singing the songs, falls into your box and you are stuck by the force of the thing. When you send the files to manufacturing with this slight apprehension, normal for the rest, to have done everything well. When the packs finally arrive and you open them, feverishly, like a kid who gets his first record. When the chronicles fall and they are good, when customers come to see you and thank you for these novelties.

In fact, here again, everything. At every step, you tell yourself that the real pleasure is what you are doing. Before discovering that the next step is even more enjoyable. It is a sequence of crescendo shivers, all different but each with their share of unknown, and this is constantly renewed.

To all work there are positive and negative points. We have discussed what you prefer in your work. What about the worst thing or what you hate doing the most about the label?

Hmm, as you could understand it will be difficult to answer, given that I love every part of my work. The worst thing is probably having to leave the atmosphere of a festival when it comes to exhibiting. The atmosphere of a festival, the small routine of the stand and the discussions with the customers, it is such a pleasure of sharing, leaving it is always a little bit confusing.

When I interview bands, I ask them what their plans are for the coming year. I guess even within the labels, you have expectations and projects every year … What about for Antiq for the coming year?

Oh, yes, full of big, beautiful and fascinating projects. There we have our last release of the year that comes, a split of an ambient style particularly well executed. Ah, and also, the double vinyl edition of Grylle, a very beautiful object that is born. For next year, black avant-garde, black dirty punk, black atmospheric from a cold country, and always atmospheric.

Is there a band that you would have dreamed of including in your label but who is not? If so, why this particular group?

It must be at least ten years that I answer Borgia. This maelstrom of alchemical black death, served by declaimed historicist lyrics, had nothing to do with the lame concepts that often equate the style. It was to make history without doing a course of history, it was to listen to a violence whose refinement elevated the band to the degree of the sublime.

I leave you the last word of the interview.

Original interview, I was happy to answer it, I think you have all covered. I would like to add that all our productions are easy to find and to listen to them and that they only ask that we look to discover them, and that despite some current difficulties our site will soon be renovated for an optimal experience. Thank you to all readers, thank you Délia.

We end this interview with a musical excerpt from Grylle, band produced by Antiq Records.


Picture by Antiq on their page Antiq Label

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