The Swiss of Cortez are back to make some noise with a new album “No More Conqueror”. Grégoire Quartier the drummer and the founder member of the group talks to us about it:

1) To begin, I let you introduce your band Cortez : 

Hello. We are Cortez, a Swiss band born in 2001, we made 3 albums, 2 splits, and we toured all over Europe, and in Russia. We do hardcore math hardcore noise. 

2) The fact of being Swiss is a strength or at the opposite an obstacle to share your music ?

It’s a special thing. Switzerland has no intermittent status, so it’s boring for a group that doesn’t generate a lot of money. On the other hand, we have institutions that help us to tour internationally, which is very good. We are in a small country with three languages and three cultures, so we have to move quickly outside Switzerland and that’s very good, I think. It confronts us in the fact that Switzerland is like an island, and that it is very far from the reality of other countries. As for “Phoebus” (our previous album,) our new record was on the net before I had it in my own hands, so I guess sharing is easy for anyone who knows where to look for it. 

3) Your last album “No More Conqueror” was released in early November. What feedback did you get? 

Very good for the moment. Everything is going well, we are very satisfied. 

4) It has been 5 years between the last and the new album how do you explain this? 

We are not professionals, we don’t really intend to become professionals. On the other hand, we have the skills and discipline of the professionals. So we take our time, and we want to make the best music possible. For this record, we composed it in 2015, and we changed the line up for the live album. So the time to find new people, and to finish the record, we wasted some time. But we do have time… so it doesn’t matter.

5) Is the change of line up one of the consequences of this lapse of time  or does it only respond to new desires? 

Yes, that’s one of the consequences. Otherwise the record could have been released a year or two earlier, I think.

6) Can you tell us more about the cover of “No More Conqueror”? Who made it and what does it represent? 

We chose to work with an artist, Henrij Preiss, a letón who lives in London. I discovered him at an exhibition, and I really hooked up with his style. We contacted him, and he told us that we could use whatever we wanted for the record. I think he understood the approach we have, and that he supports it. In terms of representation, I think what’s cool at first is that he’s an artist who is independent of our music scene, but whose work are perfectly suited to what we do. It is a mixture of forms, an architectural and geometric construction, with a symmetrical aspect. There is a “post-hardcore” side, which is our original scene, but with something more. It’s fresh, and it’s also in color, which is different from our dark black cover before . The whole thing is very classy, powerful, impacting, chiselled, worked. It fits us.

7) The new thing on this album is the integration of a bass line, how did you get the idea?

Cortez, for a long time, was “this band that shits but has no bass player”. This is our trademark. And then we said to ourselves that it would be cool to integrate bass into the record, to have a real sound, a real grain, and impact. And also Loic Grobéty brought his bass player’s vision to a music already composed, which is a plus. On the other hand, during lives, there will always be three of us, guitar, drums and vocals.

8) Your music is a quite special hardcore, how would you describe this one? 

It’s a mix of hardcore, mathcore, noise, indie rock, black metal, there are concepts that come from contemporary music, and also electronic music. All under the hardcore banner finally. It is a mixture of styles and attitudes, it is the digestion of our influences, which are very eclectic. However, it is very important for us that it is done in a coherent way, and this coherence is found in a hardcore metal style.

9) Which artists inspire you in your compositions? 

Many ! Depends on what inspires us. Some artists are impressive, others powerful, others mysterious, others brutal, voluptuous, sensitive… etc. If I had to name a few bands, I would say Botch, Meshuggah, Converge, Gorguts, Ken Mode, Arab on Radar, Daughters, Dillinger and Escape Plan.

10) What are the projects that will follow the release of the album?

We’re going to tour in Switzerland, France, Russia, China and Canada to start. That’s pretty sure. And in the next years, we will see what we can do, and how we will do it.

11) Cortez has toured a few dates in France and Belgium recently. How is the group hosted in these countries? 

In France we have a very good contact. People like what we do. We have always had at least one French label, and we promote it in this territory. I personally love France very much. I feel good there and people are cools. In Belgium, we have only played in Brussels for the moment. We’re going back there in March, and maybe also in Liege. It’s in preparation, we’ll see. We have a Belgian label for this record, and we’ll see if it can bring us something or not. In any case, it’s a small label which is very good that I like it very much, and I’m proud to work with it.

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Photo owner : Stéphane Schmutz