Pensées Nocturnes, as surprising as it may sound given the complexity and finesse of this music, is the project of one man, Vaerohn. He has agreed to answer a few questions about Pensées Nocturnes, a project that will surely twist your brain and pierce your soul. You love Freak Shows and Black Metal, their latest album “Grand Guignol Orchestra” is made for you!

To begin, what is the history of Pensées Nocturnes? What hides behind this mysterious pair of words?

PN is initially a solo project and it was until 2017 that other members joined the project for lives, the studio remaining at the moment a mostly solitary work. The project allows itself all possible and imaginable freedoms as long as a coherent and logical material results from this work.

Many instruments and various influences are thus used to obtain relatively surprising effects for music rooted in Black Metal. Having debuted in 2008, the latest release, “Grand Guignol Orchestra”, is PN’s sixth album and develops a cursed circus atmosphere.

Why did you choose to set up this project alone?

Alongside the bands in which I was evolving at the time (almost 12 years ago!) I felt the need to be able to produce in total freedom, to be totally satisfied with all the choices made without having to negotiate or have to justify all decisions.

Working with others is obviously a more creative process, but it involves accepting concessions, which is not very easy in the artistic field. PN allows me to let my imagination run wild, without having to consider anything other than my ramblings. So there are genres with which I have affinities, the objective being to best meet my aspirations.

Despite its indisputable efficiency, Black Metal revolves around an overly restricted spectrum of emotions and diversifying the sounds allows it to stick to the spirit as well as possible. Being alone entails an undeniable freedom, in terms of composition but above all in the choice of instruments.

Interview Pensées nocturnes 2

We note an evolution musically and stylistically in Pensées Nocturnes, from DSBM to a sort of grandiose black metal circus-opera. What prompted you to change ways?

A work is always the image of an artist, obviously from a cultural point of view but also in terms of emotional balance. The first 3 albums, and more particularly the first, “Vacuum”, are the work of a person in search of self-definition, of the others, it is the expression of a deep void and the need to express it.

Today I’m really ashamed of this little crybaby and these albums because growing up, taking a step back, we quickly realize that everyone laughs at the crybabies and their droppings.

People follow what they care about, the leaders, the powerful, the strong, healthy, beaming and smiling.

So in the end, even if it means living, we might as well respond to this existential void with laughter, mockery, the destruction of the certainties anchored in formalisms. A mocking, provocative and belligerent laughter. This is what PN is today. Without losing sight of the pointless aspect of it all in the end, while maintaining a tragic outlook on life.

Although you are alone behind Pensées Nocturnes, you have chosen to surround yourself with musicians to bring the project to life during concerts. How did you choose the musicians who accompany you to take the audience to a dark circus for an evening?

They are only real killers in their respective fields. I already knew them personally, having evolved quite a bit together in other bands and it is this bond that allows to obtain this cohesion and this fluidity so quickly, both on stage and in band life.

The public feels this common desire to blow their brains out, in the same direction and it works really well. There is a lot of improvisation live and it was necessary to develop this bond and this fluidity to make it work.

Interview Pensées nocturnes 3

For “Grand Guignol Orchestra”, the last album, you chose to evolve in a circus from a bygone era where a genre of jazz is allied to a tortured black metal. Where do you get your inspiration from and how do you manage to bring together such different things to create a coherent and harmonious entity?

I would say that the main lines of the songs are generally defined by the place they occupy in the album but that the details are thought out secondarily, during the composition: a bit like a painter would draw the broad lines of his painting before painting the details. To summarize, the destination is known but not necessarily the paths to take, the route taking shape as you go. The experimentation being predominant in PN, it is practically impossible to know what a song will look like and that is what makes the charm of the project: the background is already thought out, all that remains is to find the form for it. the adequate one.

For “GGO”, some parts are more than two years old. True to my habit, I constantly knead, work, retouch and reshape the different parts. PN is a puff pastry that I keep folding, the layers pile up and add up without respite. A piece never comes out of the blue, everything is the result of constant work. The consequence is a certain density but also a perfect control of every detail. Everything is processed, gauged, listened to and listened to dozens of times.

Interview Pensées nocturnes 4

Could you give me between 3 and 5 albums or bands that marked and influenced your musical career, explaining why?

Diapsiquir – ANTI : for the ultra dissonant / dirty side and this extraordinary creativity.

Peste Noire – L’ordure à l’état pur : for this permanent provocation and the total lack of respect for the scene and the genre that fed it.

Unexpect – In a Flesh Aquarium : for creativity and the multitude of instruments and layers all over the place, without any respite.

Circus contraption – Our latest catalogue : the revelation for me in terms of cabaret / circus influence.

Shostakovitch – 1st cello concerto: for the madness that emerges from beginning to end.

During concerts (and also on the album) of “Grand Guignol Orchestra”, you use a megaphone as microphone at certain times. Where did this idea come from and how do you deal with this capricious little tool? Are you satisfied with the rendering?

This is indeed the tool with which I have the most technical problems in concert because on stage, we have absolutely no feedback on what comes out, or not … It has happened to me several times to give everything I had through the machine only to realize that a bad contact was blocking everything for a while …

In live it is not really useful to take the megaphone to the microphone and this freedom is quite pleasant. A bit like with the trumpet in a small room where it is not necessary to transfer the sound.

But beyond the DIY and nag aspect of the utensil, it is the timbre and the saturated / very compressed aspect of the voice that emerges from it that interests me. A sung voice, with a lot of grain, saturated by the megaphone fits in my opinion really very well in a BM mix.

What is your favorite song to play live, the one you feel most comfortable with or proud of?

For preference, it depends on the context and the audience. Nothing could be more exhilarating than playing reggae on a BM poster outright with “Le Marionnettiste” for example! Or tango with “Poil de Lune”. But in terms of personal pleasure and ease I would surely go for “Les Yeux Boiteux” with a rise in music, tempo and backing vocals for a strong set finale, after having chained the very slow and completely crazy parts.

You did quite a few dates with Pensées Nocturnes in 2019, did any of them particularly marked you and why?

Our best stage memories, and which will remain so for a long time I think, are our two participations at Beltane, the last of which was in May 2019. We surprised everyone in 2017 resulting in a truly extraordinary and exhilarating reaction from the part public.

In 2019, during our 2nd appearance at the fest, we were expected and the party was definitely there. It’s a little sad to say that this special little fest has ended today, but I guess it’s to make way for even more very soon.

What’s next for Pensées Nocturnes?

COVID halted us a little but affected us less than the rest of the scene because we were in a low period, between two albums. It must have been fatal to the bands which had just released their albums as well as to the labels which produced them.

So we are working more peacefully on the composition and recording of the next album, without too much distraction and it’s quite pleasant. We will then get back on the road once everything is finalized.

It is the last “question”. I let you the last word of your choice, something meaningful to you or something I didn’t approach.

Thank you to you for the time you gave to PN. I wish a good continuation to Metal Overload and see you soon under the marquee!


Pictures Pensées Nocturnes & Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Production

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